Celebrate the Summer Solstice

A Blog Story About Nature in Our DuPage Forest Preserves

Celebrate the Summer Solstice

Posted by Dave Andrusyk | 6/15/20 10:15 AM

If you want to make the most of your time in DuPage forest preserves, mark your calendar for Saturday, June 20, 2020.

On this day you’ll have the most amount of sunlight of the year. June 20 marks the summer solstice and the official start of summer. It also brings us the longest daylight and shortest night of the year. The sun will rise around 5:17 a.m. and set at about 8:31 p.m., providing 15 hours 10 minutes of daylight.

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In the northern hemisphere, the summer solstice (also known as the June solstice) happens when the sun reaches its highest and northernmost point in the sky. It also marks the official start of the southern hemisphere’s winter when it has the shortest amount of sunlight.


The Origin of the Solstice

The word “solstice” comes from the Latin word solstitium. The word sol means sun and stitium means still or stopped. The daylight is longer because it takes longer for the sun to reach the highest point in the sky, and then to come back down again when it sets.

If you live in the northern hemisphere, notice the early dawns and late sunsets, and the high arc of the sun across the sky each day around the summer solstice. See how high the sun appears in the sky at local noon.

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Ways to Celebrate

There are a lot of different ways to join in the worldwide celebration of the summer solstice. Many can be done in your favorite DuPage forest preserve.

  • Watch the sunrise and/or sunset to celebrate the longest day of the year. This is often done traditionally at the famous Stonehenge in England.
  • Notice the early dawn, late sunset and high arc of the sun across the sky. 
  • Look at your noontime shadow. On the summer solstice, it’s your shortest noontime shadow of the year.
  • Find a peaceful spot in a DuPage forest preserve or your yard and create a sense of balance by meditating, doing yoga, writing in a gratitude journal or just relaxing.
  • Work in your garden. It is said that the summer solstice is the halfway point between planting and harvesting. The solstice is a perfect time to maintain your garden to keep those vegetables and flowers growing. 
  • Relax by the water. Salute the sun by taking in the sounds and smells by a stream, waterfall, or lake. There are several of these in DuPage forest preserves, including Blackwell, McDowell Grove, Warrenville Grove, Hidden Lake, Pratt’s Wayne Woods, West Branch, Wood Dale Grove and Mallard Lake, to name a few. 
  • Take a look back at your New Year’s resolutions and use the longest day to kickstart you to exercise. DuPage forest preserve's trails are perfect for hiking, biking and jogging. Take your family for a walk and soak up that sun!

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Topics: Insider, Wildlife, Conservation, Nature

Written by Dave Andrusyk

Dave Andrusyk is a naturalist at the District’s Fullersburg Woods Nature Education Center in Oak Brook and has worked for the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County for 20 years. He spent five years working in Natural Resource Management, doing restoration work in the preserves. Dave later taught school, scout and general public programs in the District’s forest preserves. His knowledge of native gardening stems from years of field experience with the Forest Preserve District and working on native plots at his home.