Nature's Storytellers

A Blog About Nature in Our DuPage Forest Preserves

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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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. 
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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 | Insider Locations Wildlife Conservation Nature
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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