Nature's Storytellers

A Blog About Nature in Our DuPage Forest Preserves

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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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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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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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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Best Wildlife Dads

In the natural world, we know that mom is usually boss when it comes to raising babies. And in many species, it is the mom who does most of the work on her own. However, there are some cases where dad plays a huge role and is crucial for the successful raising of young. In honor of Father’s Day, we’re highlighting some of the best wildlife dads in the area. 
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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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Great American Campout Comes to Greene Valley

Campers — beginners and experienced alike — can join the Great American Campout between Saturday, June 23 at 1 p.m. and Sunday, June 24 at 11 a.m. at the youth-group campground at Greene Valley Forest Preserve in Naperville. 
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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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Mistaken Identity

Spring at a wildlife rehabilitation center means daily arrivals of baby animals. At Willowbrook Wildlife Center, our patient load skyrockets in the spring and summer months. Typically it is the baby bunnies, squirrels, ducklings, robin nestlings and raccoons that people are finding, but occasionally we will be surprised with a less common orphan.
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Musseling to Maintain Healthy Habitats

on 5/18/18 8:23 AM By | Scott Meister | 0 Comments | Insider Plants Conservation Nature Natural resources
Maintaining healthy habitats is important, otherwise we wouldn’t spend time and money doing so. Like an automobile or a house, in addition to simple maintenance, sometimes we need to make repairs. Improving the environment, or repairing a broken piece of nature’s web, also improves our own well-being, and is a reason why many biologists like myself entered this field.
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Let's Go Native!

on 5/7/18 2:38 PM By | Debbi Gayon | 0 Comments | Insider Conservation Plants Natural resources Wildlife
We all have different sources of inspiration. Sometimes you just have to like something a little before you’ll try it. Other times you have to kick the tires and thoroughly research the matter before you dive in. So it is with gardening. 
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Forest Jewels

Twice a year, DuPage County’s forest preserves play host to hundreds of thousands of weary travelers: migrating birds looking for places to fuel up as they move between their summer and winter homes. But this season, none of these visitors likely excites birders as much as the warblers, the jewels of the spring migration.
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The Tangled Relationships in a Garden

on 4/30/18 10:32 AM By | Susan Urasky | 0 Comments | Insider Conservation Plants Natural resources Wildlife
The relationship between milkweed and monarchs is well known and well documented. Monarch butterflies feed on the nectar in milkweed flowers, collecting pollen before transferring that pollen to another plant. Female monarchs also lay their eggs one at a time on the leaves of milkweed plants. When the eggs hatch, the larva are dependent on the milkweed for food.
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