Category Archives: travel

Ayers Sand Prairie in Carroll County was once the western edge of the Wisconsin Glacier. Among the small dunes explorers can spy plants and animals friendly to the dry growing conditions such as the birds-foot violet and the Olympia marble … Continue reading

The middle fork of the Vermilion River runs through Kickapoo State Park. Just a short walk from Middle Fork Woods Nature Preserve, explorers will find forest-lined bluffs and a a multitude of creatures.  Large dragonflies patrol the banks along the … Continue reading

Henry N. Barkhausen Wetlands Center is the perfect starting point for exploring the Cache River ecosystem. From the visitor center window one can spy muskrat, river otter hummingbirds and various other creatures that thrive in the restored wetlands. But there … Continue reading

Matthiessen State Park in LaSalle County is a feast for the eyes in all seasons. With greenery and wildflowers in the spring and summer, colorful foliage in the fall, and the arresting sight of icefalls in the winter, there is … Continue reading

The Ballard Nature Center is a glimpse into what Illinois was like before the landscape gave way to cultivation for corn and soybeans. Located between Altamont and Effingham, just off old Route 40, Ballard Nature Center is a remarkable prairie … Continue reading

On the very the southern tip of Illinois, in the Cache River State Natural Area, you’ll find Little Black Slough Nature Preserve. Well known for its cypress-tupelo swamp, Little Black Slough has floodplain forests, upland woods and small patches of … Continue reading

The Garden of the Gods Recreation Area in the Shawnee Hills is a treat for anyone with a taste for geology. The sandstone bluffs and huge boulders at Garden of the Gods present unique formations including one dubbed “Camel Rock.” … Continue reading

Robert Allerton Park in Piatt county hosts over 1,090 species of plants and sixty species of breeding birds.  The Sangamon river floodplain is the perfect environment for a variety of flowers including cardinal flowers, Dutchman’s breeches, spring beauty, wild geranium … Continue reading

Apple River Canyon State Park in northern Illinois provides the kind of topography that much of the state would seemingly lack. This Jo Daviess County nature site is featured in Exploring Nature in Illinois: A Field Guide to the Prairie … Continue reading

In Exploring Nature in Illinois: A Field Guide to the Prairie State, naturalists Michael Jeffords and Susan Post invite you to discover fifty preserves, forests, restoration areas, and parks in the Land of Lincoln. Each Wednesday we’ll preview some of the … Continue reading