Category Archives: natural history

It was my first day on the Falkland Islands, and our group of five headed to Volunteer Point. I felt as though I was not supposed to know the point’s location—and I didn’t—as we piled in the Range Rover at … Continue reading

Born on July 12, 1909, Herbert S. Zim taught at the University of Illinois in the 1950s. It was during his years in Champaign-Urbana that Zim penned or cowrote several of the Golden Nature Guides that taught generations of schoolchildren about … Continue reading

Volvariella bombycina (Schaeffer) Singer [The cap is] oval at first, becoming bell-shaped to broadly complex or nearly flat; whitish or tinged yellowing to brownish in age; the margin not lined; dry; covered with silky hairs. Volvariella bombycina sounds like a nickname … Continue reading

Morganella pyriformis (Schaeffer) Kreisel & D. Kruger The habitat on wood and the abundant white rhizomorphs make this puffball easy to identify. Morganella versus Lycoperdon. It’s the mycologist’s version of pepperoni or sausage, Godzilla or Mechagodzilla, Tastes Great or Less Filling. A … Continue reading

It’s spring, and the insects have returned in force. Though, unless you live in Antarctica, it’s doubtful you go a day without seeing an arthropod even in winter. These creatures are everywhere and have been for tens of millions of … Continue reading

Feel the breeze as you wander among the cottonwoods. To your left, the burble of the great river. To your right, forests busy with rabbit and beaver, where bald eagles build nests in the peaks, the better to keep an … Continue reading

Clear LaRue Road. Today marks the day officials close the storied roadway to assist of one of Illinois’s majestic natural wonders: the spring snake migration in Shawnee National Forest. The limestone bluffs come alive as snakes, as well as various turtles, frogs, toads, … Continue reading

The new UIP book The Science of Sympathy takes readers back to the Victorian Era and into the arguments over sympathy’s place in Darwinist reconsiderations of science and humanity. Charles Darwin placed sympathy at the crux of morality in a … Continue reading

On November 8, 1810, the first recorded load of Illinois coal reached the market in New Orleans. The event may sound ordinary, but it represented a significant pivot in state history. Coal would go on to become an important business, … Continue reading

This weekend, citizens in Olney will begin the annual census of the town’s famous albino squirrel population, to see just how the white varmints have fared over the past year. White squirrels have a presence in Olney. They appear on … Continue reading