Exploring Nature in Illinois

A Field Guide to the Prairie State
Author: Michael Jeffords and Susan Post
A lavishly illustrated guide to fifty of Illinois's most beautiful wildlife havens
Paper – $24.95
eBook – $14.95
Publication Date
Cloth: 04/14/2014
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About the Book

Loaded with full color photographs and evocative descriptions, Exploring Nature in Illinois provides a panorama of the state's overlooked natural diversity. Naturalists Michael Jeffords and Susan Post explore fifty preserves, forests, restoration areas, and parks, bringing an expert view to wildlife and landscapes and looking beyond the obvious to uncover the unexpected beauty of Illinois's prairies, lakesides, river bottoms, and woodlands.

From the colorful variety of birds at War Bluff Valley Audubon Sanctuary to the exposed bedrock and cliff faces of Apple River Canyon, Exploring Nature in Illinois will inspire readers to explore wonders hidden from urban sprawl and cultivated farmland. Maps and descriptions help travelers access even hard-to-find sites while a wealth of detail and photography offers nature-lovers insights into the flora, fauna, and other aspects of vibrant settings and ecosystems. The authors also include diary entries describing their own impressions of and engagement with the sites.

A unique and much-needed reference, Exploring Nature in Illinois will entertain and enlighten hikers, cyclers, students and scouts, morning walkers, weekend drivers, and anyone else seeking to get back to nature in the Prairie State.

About the Author

Michael Jeffords is the retired education/outreach director for the Illinois Natural History Survey (INHS) and was staff photographer for The Illinois Steward magazine. Susan Post is a retired INHS research scientist and staff writer for The Illinois Steward magazine, and author of Hiking Illinois. They are co-authors of Illinois Wilds.

Also by this author

Curious Encounters with the Natural World cover


"These authors prove in no uncertain terms there is much to explore out-of-doors in Lincoln-land."--Booklist

 “Authors Michael Jeffords and Susan Post do an excellent job of ferreting out the best natural spots in the state. . . . Their passion and love of Illinois comes through in their descriptive and lyrical prose.”--Chicago Book Review

"The definitive guide to Illinois wildlife."--The News-Gazette

"A truly gorgeous, informative, educational volume."--The Rock River Times


“The goal is simple for Michael Jeffords and Susan Post: ‘We feel these special places and events should not be missed by any Illinois citizen with an interest in nature and wild things.’ As a fellow traveler in and appreciator of Illinois' wild places, I truly value the same love that Jeffords and Post show for their native state, and the expertise they bring to the book as biologists (entomologists) makes all our journeys through Illinois’s remaining places richer.”--Dale Bowman, outdoors columnist, Chicago Sun-Times

"The reader is transported into the vivid, multisensory landscape of Illinois’ most beloved natural areas. History and biology intertwine on a narrative pathway unabashedly intended to inspire travel. The authors remind us there is still much beautiful wildness to love and protect in Illinois."--Stacy James, Prairie Rivers Network

"Very well done! Exploring Nature in Illinois is an enjoyable read providing vivid descriptions of Illinois's special natural places. . . . [Jeffords and Post] know these areas well [and] highlight the history, natural character and resource management--all of which helps the reader develop a better understanding of each place. . . . I look forward to taking their challenge and venturing out throughout the state to listen, look, hike, photograph, paddle and explore Illinois's wild places."--Elizabeth Jones, Assistant Manager, Cypress Creek National Wildlife Refuge