Nature's Storytellers

A Blog About Nature in Our DuPage Forest Preserves

Bald Eagle Reunited with its Family

A female bald eagle was returned to her home and family after 21 days of TLC at the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County’s Willowbrook Wildlife Center.
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Blanding's Hatchlings Raised by Shedd Aquarium Released in DuPage Preserves

Like proud new parents, staff from the Shedd Aquarium released 23 Blanding’s turtle hatchlings in DuPage forest preserves this week.
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Help Wanted: Pollen Patrol

Summer is a busy time in DuPage County, but many of the area’s busiest residents are so small they almost go unnoticed, even though they’re performing one of the most important jobs on the planet.
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Feeding Habits of Daring Dragonflies

Dragonflies – while the origin of their name is a mystery, it is an appropriate description of these voracious predators. Both the aquatic nymphs and the flying adults are some of the largest and most aggressive insect hunters in the world.
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Restoring More of the Great Prairie

The 358-acre West Chicago Prairie Forest Preserve in West Chicago is one of northeastern Illinois’ premier natural areas, containing more than 600 species of native plants and animals.
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Birds of a Feather

While out birding at Blackwell Forest Preserve the other day, a very curious pair of trail users caught up to me and inquired about all the brown ducks on the water. What species were they? Where were all the mallards?
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Help Wanted Spotting Rare Bumble Bee

In ecology, timing is everything. While some organisms can be easily found through much of the growing season, others can only be seen for a short time and have peak viewing times of the year.
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A Perfect Day in the Life of an Aquatic Biologist

In early June three staff from the Forest Preserve District’s Urban Stream Research Center in Warrenville made an exciting discovery while preparing for a stream restoration project at Blackwell Forest Preserve.
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A Fish Tale to Remember

By David Koldoff I’m a fisherman and I’m not lying when I tell you: There’s a 42-inch northern pike lurking in Silver Lake at Blackwell Forest Preserve in Warrenville!
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Citizen Scientists Wanted to Help Track Water Levels at Four Preserve Lakes

We need your help! Our ecology staff is looking for citizen scientists to help track water levels at several DuPage forest preserve lakes as part of the international Lake Observations by Citizen Scientists & Satellites.
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Enlisting Crayfish to Help the Hine's Emerald Dragonfly

on 5/29/19 1:17 PM By | Tom Velat | 0 Comments | Insider Natural resources Wildlife Conservation Nature
  Whenever we tell stories about nature, they can be very interesting but can get quite complex when you look at how many of the pieces are interconnected. This is what happens when we tell the story of the federally endangered Hine’s Emerald dragonfly, its habitat, and ways we’ve tried to create more habitat for them in DuPage forest preserves. As you’ll see, the story is at times interesting, complex, tragic, and exciting.
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Points to Ponder Before Raising Monarch Caterpillars

on 3/20/19 11:50 AM By | Andres Ortega | 0 Comments | Insider Plants Wildlife Conservation Nature native plant
Full disclosure: I’ve always liked insects. As a child I found them intensely interesting and spent hours just watching them walk, feed and fly. As an adult I came to realize their critical importance to our natural habitats (not to mention our food supply). 
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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 | 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. 
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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 | 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.
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