Nature's Storytellers

A Blog About Nature in Our DuPage Forest Preserves

It Takes Heart to Save a Blanding's Turtle

This past Valentine’s Day started out unexpectedly for some zookeepers at Wheaton Park District’s Cosley Zoo when they found a small Blanding’s turtle unconscious in one of the rearing tubs.
Read More

Group Thanks District for Program That Connects Youth to Nature

Students and educators from the School Association for Special Education in DuPage County thanked the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County for providing them with many fun outdoor adventures over the years through the District’s Special Needs Outdoor Education Day, held  at St. James Farm Forest Preserve in Warrenville.
Read More

A Special Role for a Special Blanding's Turtle

Meet Shirlee, a rare yellow-colored or “xanthic” Blanding’s turtle now on public display to help spread the word about the plight of the state-endangered Blanding’s turtle. She’s also a great example of how it takes a village to help save these creatures.
Read More

Greene Farm Barn Provides Clues to Future Forestry

Scientists are hoping old-growth timber from the Greene Farm Barn and Graue Mill will help them determine how to help future trees withstand adversity in the form of fires, pest outbreaks and extreme weather conditions.
Read More

Law Enforcement Completes Rapid-Deployment Training

on 2/1/19 9:14 AM By | Forest Preserve District of DuPage County | 0 Comments | Insider Nature
Forest Preserve District ranger police officers Laura Michael and Mark Pinnella led rapid-deployment training for the Law Enforcement department — including its sworn officers, sergeants, lieutenant and chief — in January. Rapid-deployment training is based on standard law-enforcement principles and techniques used during emergency situations, large-scale incidents or crises (such as at a public school or shopping mall) that require multiple agencies from across the state to work effectively and efficiently together.
Read More

Sowing Seeds in the Snow

on 1/23/19 11:03 AM By | Forest Preserve District of DuPage County | 0 Comments | Insider Plants Nature
For local gardeners, winter’s a time to take stock of what did well during the previous year and to look forward to the coming crop of plant catalogs in the mail. But in DuPage County, Forest Preserve District employees and volunteers are already seeding for spring. It’s a technique called “frost seeding,” and it uses the way many plants grow naturally to improve a variety of habitats.
Read More

How to Keep Pets Safe from Coyotes

on 1/15/19 2:03 PM By | Dan Thompson | 0 Comments | Insider Wildlife Nature Coyote
It’s always heartbreaking to hear about encounters between pet dogs and coyotes, as recently happened in Wheaton. We want to remind folks of some simple ways to keep their pets safe from the native wildlife that also call DuPage home. 
Read More

Part 4: The Dining Room Oilcloth

on 1/3/19 1:53 PM By | Keith McClow | 0 Comments | Insider Locations
The oilcloth on the dining room floor at Kline Creek Farm's farmhouse museum could be easily overlooked. In fact, we planned it that way. It is meant to fit in as just one more part of the farmhouse, but it is really a handcrafted and very valuable work of art.
Read More

Life Under Ice

on 12/17/18 1:42 PM By | Jennifer Rydzewski | 0 Comments | Insider Take 5 Wildlife Conservation Nature
After the last leaves fall and the cold winds start to blow, winter settles across DuPage County. Ground squirrels and woodchucks hunker down in underground burrows.
Read More

Feathered Friends Feel the Freeze: How to Help Birds Survive Winter

Although the ground is cold (and possibly covered in snow), winter doesn’t mean hibernation and hiding for all wild animals, especially for some of the more common creatures you’ll see this time of year: the birds. 
Read More

Part 3: The Parlor Pump Organ

on 12/5/18 8:35 AM By | Keith McClow | 0 Comments | Insider Locations
Once we had the wood-burning stove in the works, our next project was to restore our pump organ at the 1880s farmhouse museum at Kline Creek Farm in West Chicago. I knew it had major problems and I had money in the budget to restore it, but one day it stopped playing so it moved up higher on our priority list.
Read More

Tracking the Origins of Invasive Zebra Mussels

on 11/29/18 9:09 AM By | Dan Grigas | 0 Comments | Insider Locations Natural resources Conservation Nature Invasive
Visiting a beautiful lake or pond surrounded by mixed woodlands or sprawling prairie is one of the most serene and relaxing things I can think of doing on any given day. Nothing beats hearing the hum and buzz of surrounding wildlife, feeling the gentle breeze on my face, and looking down upon the refreshing clear water. Wait, what? Pool-clear lake water? That’s not right. Healthy lakes and ponds typically have a slight greenish/brown hue to them, an indication they contain an ample amount of phytoplankton, the base of the food chain. Being too clear is often a sign that something is afoot in that aquatic ecosystem. 
Read More

We're Thankful For Our Volunteers

on 11/16/18 11:39 AM By | Forest Preserve District of DuPage County | 0 Comments | Volunteer
The Forest Preserve District of DuPage County offers many of its popular events, programs and services with assistance from a dedicated corps of volunteers. These individuals not only help us deliver long-standing programs but also bring many new experiences to forest preserve visitors. They help to rehabilitate injured wild animals, cut and remove invasive brush, care for domestic animals, attend to chores and interpret our DuPage heritage, among many other things.
Read More

Our Top 10 Things to Do to #OptOutside

Between the Thanksgiving dinner prep and the holiday shopping spree, get outdoors with your family and friends to experience the physical, emotional and spiritual rewards of spending time in nature. Today an ever-growing body of scientific research finds that nature is good for the body, mind and spirit. Nature makes us healthier, sharper and even happier, too! 
Read More

Let's Talk Turkey: Fun Tidbits About This Popular Bird

For a lot of people, it’s turkey time. There are hand turkeys, turkey trots, turkey bowls and even tofu turkey with all the trimmings. If you hike through the woods at Herrick Lake, Blackwell, Danada or St. James Farm forest preserves, you just may see the real deal.
Read More

The Plight of the Rusty Patched Bumble Bee

on 11/6/18 2:20 PM By | Andres Ortega | 0 Comments | Insider Locations Natural resources Plants Conservation Nature
I think it’s just human nature to run in the opposite direction when we see a big black-and-yellow insect flying our way. But when it comes to the rusty patched bumble bee, our reaction to this federally endangered species should lean more toward excitement and compassion.
Read More

Part 2: The Kitchen Wood-Burning Stove

on 10/30/18 12:35 PM By | Keith McClow | 0 Comments | Insider Locations Conservation Nature
The first project we tackled was replacing the production kitchen wood-burning stove in our remodeling project at Kline Creek Farm’s 1880s farmhouse museum. 
Read More

Fall Faves From the Field

on 10/25/18 8:10 AM By | Forest Preserve District of DuPage County | 0 Comments | Insider Locations
Cooler temperatures, fewer bugs and amazing colors make this time of year perfect for outdoor outings. An informal survey of Forest Preserve District of DuPage County employees — those women and men who spend most of their workdays out in the preserves — revealed these especially scenic must-see sites.
Read More

Saving the Eastern Prairie Fringed Orchid

Patience is a virtue, especially if you’re trying to save the federally threatened eastern prairie fringed orchid.
Read More

Busy Beavers Prepare for Winter

Late fall means slowing down for many species (including people), but beavers are busy repairing their lodges and dams and poking branches and saplings into mud where the woody material, which is their winter food cache, stays fresh, even under ice. They can cut down trees over a foot in diameter.
Read More