Nature's Storytellers

A Blog About Nature in Our DuPage Forest Preserves

Life Under Ice

on 12/17/18 1:42 PM By | Jennifer Rydzewski | 0 Comments | Nature Insider Conservation Wildlife Take 5
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.
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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. 
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Tracking the Origins of Invasive Zebra Mussels

on 11/29/18 9:09 AM By | Dan Grigas | 0 Comments | Nature Insider Locations Conservation Natural resources 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. 
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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.
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The Plight of the Rusty Patched Bumble Bee

on 11/6/18 2:20 PM By | Andres Ortega | 0 Comments | Nature Insider Locations Conservation Natural resources Plants
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.
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Part 2: The Kitchen Wood-Burning Stove

on 10/30/18 12:35 PM By | Keith McClow | 0 Comments | Nature Insider Locations Conservation
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. 
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Saving the Eastern Prairie Fringed Orchid

Patience is a virtue, especially if you’re trying to save the federally threatened eastern prairie fringed orchid.
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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.
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One-Year Checkup Shows Mussels Are Thriving

A one-year checkup on some of the 24,377 freshwater mussels released last fall into the West Branch DuPage River and two tributaries shows they are doing great and growing, according to Jessi DeMartini, the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County’s aquatic research center coordinator.
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Remodeling an 1880s Farmhouse Museum

on 10/4/18 2:50 PM By | Keith McClow | 0 Comments | Nature Insider Wildlife Locations Conservation
As I listen to an ad on the radio telling me that my home is getting dingy and tired and could really use some sprucing up, I cannot help but think of the challenges of maintaining the farmhouse museum at Kline Creek Farm in West Chicago.
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Duck Race Supports Habitat Restoration

Congratulations to Marianne Logsdon, the $500 cash prize winner who entered our rubber-duck race to support restoration at West Chicago Prairie Forest Preserve in West Chicago. Her prize-winning pintail crossed the finish line first in a duck race on September 22, 2018 at Spring Brook at St. James Farm Forest Preserve in Warrenville. 
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Donations Fund St. James Farm Fountain Restoration

The granite and marble horse trough fountain at St. James Farm Forest Preserve in Warrenville has been restored to its original beauty thanks to private donations made to the Friends of the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County.
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Forest Fave: Willowbrook Butterfly Garden

When Willowbrook Wildlife Center site manager Sandy Fejt needs a break from caring for injured native wildlife at the center, she doesn’t have to look far. One of Sandy’s favorite spots at the Glen Ellyn forest preserve is the butterfly garden. She helped with the original design of the garden and loves to teach visitors the benefits of creating a garden out of native plants. Sandy plays a large part in the District’s mission to grow and maintain milkweed plants to provide habitat and food for the struggling monarch butterfly population. 
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Small Mammals Busy Preparing for Colder Weather

While many small mammals and bats are putting on fat in fall to prepare for a long, cold winter hibernation, many are not. For the most part, our common small mammals -- the eastern chipmunk, white-footed mouse and meadow vole – remain active during the winter with periods of torpor — a short period of inactivity but not true hibernation. 
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Monarch Butterflies Start Long Migration

Late summer and early fall is a peak time for monarch activity as they prepare for the long migration south to the forests of central Mexico. It’s also a great time to view them as they feed on late blooming flowers like goldenrod and aster to fuel their long journey.
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Protecting the Baltimore Checkerspot Butterfly

on 8/6/18 11:11 AM By | Tom Velat | 0 Comments | Nature Insider Wildlife Locations Conservation Natural resources
Working on the Baltimore Checkerspot Butterfly Project over the past several years has been a fascinating experience for me.
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Helping the Hine's Emerald Dragonfly

on 7/3/18 9:07 AM By | Andres Ortega | 0 Comments | Nature Insider Wildlife Conservation Natural resources
Being a parent is one of the most difficult — but most rewarding — jobs I have ever had.  You watch your children grow from someone in need of constant attention and care until, all too sudden, they become independent, self-sufficient young adults. While neither of my children have reached that final stage where they “fly the coop,” I can sense it in the not too distant future. For me, raising the federally endangered Hine’s emerald dragonfly at the District’s Urban Stream Research Center — while obviously different — also has many parallels to parenthood.
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Butterflying in the Forest Preserves

Watching butterflies in DuPage forest preserves is a favorite summer pastime for some insect enthusiasts. But even the lesser experienced bug lover in you can find butterflying a rewarding hobby with some patience and a little know-how. If you don't know where to begin, our top 10 observation tips will get you started butterflying this summer in the preserves.
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New McDowell Grove Bridge Reopens

Forest Preserve District of DuPage County officials celebrated the opening of the new two-lane entrance bridge at McDowell Grove Forest Preserve in Naperville at a May 29 ribbon-cutting ceremony at the preserve on Raymond Drive.
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Honey of a Plan Lands at Kline Creek Farm

A team of sixth graders from Hadley Junior High School in Glen Ellyn visited Kline Creek Farm in West Chicago recently to spread its message about helping save bee populations as part of a class project.
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