Driving along 31st Street in suburban Westchester, Cook County, Illinois, you may notice the Forest Preserve District sign on the south side of the road proclaiming “Bob Mann Woods.” The sign is not situated in a woodland, but in what we call a “Eurasian meadow” or “old field” habitat. Looking at the state aerial photograph… Read more »
Posts Categorized: Essay
Spring is just around the corner and the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum has posted all the Frog Monitoring workshop dates. Check out the calendar at our sister site Wild Things Community for more details. This may be the nerdiest and most wonderous thing you do this year, so jump on it! To get you in… Read more »
post originally appeared on The Jackass Gardener. So in an effort to be better at my job, I’m forcing myself to memorize the scientific names of local plants and then figure out how to match those names with their owners by using a Key. I’ve decided to start with native oak trees as they seem… Read more »
On frigid cold January weekends, my grandpa used to take me ice fishing on Beebe Lake, in Saint Michael, Minnesota. As we sat there quietly on our plastic buckets, waiting for our bobbers to plunge, I remember marveling at all the clusters of people clad in marshmallow jumpsuits, eyes peeled on their 10” holes. In… Read more »
While perusing Kelly Kindscher’s Medicinal Wild Plants of the Prairie last year, one plant especially stood out: Cucurbita foetidissima or Buffalo Gourd, Fetid Wild Pumpkin, Stinking Gourd etc. Not only did the Buffalo Gourd have an extravagant number of medicinal uses, but mystique, reverence, and fear surrounded it.
I highly recommend you find a nature preserve near you to volunteer in regularly. It’s impossible to articulate how special it is to get to know a piece of wilderness in all its stages, meeting all its blooms and residents, temporary and permanent. And seeing the effect our restoration work yields.
I worked for the Forest Preserves of Cook County before coming to Niles North High School and working as a Hort Club Sponsor. You wouldn’t imagine that the the Chicago area would be a hub for the ecological restoration community, but “Chicago Wilderness” is home to many passionate groups like the North Branch Restoration Project and other… Read more »
I was walking through a floodplain woods with a friend recently when we happened on a typical resident of that habitat’s ground layer. I joked that we were seeing one of the showiest members of the floodplain flora, than pointed out the humble Honewort. We wondered a bit about the curious common name, and I… Read more »
Besides being my original gateway to natural areas stewardship and rare plant illustration, I’ve learned that plants in the family Violaceae are amazing all on their own.