STORY 12: The Beauty of Dark Sky Places
In this episode we speak with Ashley Wislon the director of conservation for the International Dark Sky Association (IDA). In 2021, the IDA named Forest Preserves of Cook County’s Palos Preserves, in partnership with the Adler Planetarium, as the largest Urban Night Sky Place in the world. The Palos Preserves is part of the largest area of protected natural land in Cook County, Illinois encompassing 6,662 acres. The Adler Planetarium also measured about four times more stars that are visible in the night sky over the site than in the City of Chicago.
21 Apr 2022
An Opportunity for Water in Cities
In this episode of Inside, Out & About we are joined by Mary Pat McGuire, associate professor of landscape architecture at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and director of Water Lab. McGuire talks about the relationship between water and pavement, and the vital need to rethink our overreliance on impervious paved surfaces. She details how we can undo the harmful environmental effects of paved surfaces by reducing their area, which creates positive impacts for human and ecological health, aesthetics, and resilience instead.
26 Feb 2022
Episode 10 Inspiring Leaders and Ideas
Our Inside, Out & About series is expanding in its second year to feature people whose work inspires action and advocacy for the natural world; advancing ideas and strategies of how we can all work together to and improve and protect the river system for people, plants, and animals. The featured guests on the first episode of this year’s series are the recipients of our 2021 River Commitment Awards. These individuals are exceptional leaders on behalf of the river system who inspire others to get involved to improve and protect it.
14 Jan 2022
Students learn from the Chicago River
Solorio Academy High School chemistry and environmental science teacher Greta Kringle - the 2019 recipient of our Educator of the Year award - successfully uses the Chicago River as a teaching tool to help her students learn science develop a sense of stewardship for the river and its wildlife. In this episode, Kringle discusses her passion for teaching, the environment, and her active engagement in our premier education program the Chicago River Schools Network.
3 Nov 2021
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Crooked Creek, A Flowing Beauty
Traversing through the Palos Preserves of southwest Cook County, Illinois – the largest concentration of preserved land in the Forest Preserves of the county– is beautiful Crooked Creek. A winding tributary to the Cal-Sag Channel, which is a part of the Chicago River system, Crooked Creek and the surrounding land are fertile habitat for dragonflies and damselflies, including the endangered Hine’s emerald dragonfly. It is also home to many fish species including largemouth bass, bluegill, and pumpkinseed.
22 Oct 2021
In this episode we take you on a journey to Whistler Woods in south suburban Riverdale, Illinois, just outside of Chicago. The 137-acre forest preserve along the Little Calumet River is an excellent site to see a wide diversity of bird species and to explore the historic Major Taylor Trail named for Marshall “Major” Taylor, who was an African-American bicycle racer and civil rights advocate. Taylor was one of the first African-American athletes to become a world champion in any sport. He was known for many years as the fastest bicycle rider in the world.
8 Oct 2021
Wampum Lake forest preserve is located in south suburban Cook County near Thornton, Illinois. At 412-acres it includes the Wampum Lake Nature Preserve, a mosaic of sand seep, freshwater marsh, dry-mesic upland forest, wet floodplain forest and an eroding bluff community located along Thorn Creek which runs through the west side of the preserve and flows to the northwest side of the lake. The lake itself has nearly one mile of shoreline. The site includes a mix of creekside habitat, savannah, woodlands and floodplain forest and also has natural springs that create wet, marshy areas in the woods, particularly in spring. In this episode, Margaret Frisbie, executive director of Friends of the Chicago River, interviews Kim Roman Natural Areas Protection Specialist for the Illinois Nature Preserve Commission, and Maggie Jones, Conservation Programs Manager at Friends of the Chicago River.
24 Sep 2021
Big Marsh Park
Hosted by Friends’ Executive Director Margaret Frisbie, this episode includes interviews with Stephen Bell, park supervisor for Big Marsh Park, who discusses the history and restoration efforts at Big Marsh as well as upcoming plans. Chicago sound artist, designer and composer Norman Long, also discusses sound art production using field recording, electro-acoustic composition and dub technique within the larger context of landscape.
16 Jul 2021
One of Chicago's wildest places, LaBagh Woods in located on the Upper North Branch of the Chicago River on city's Northwest Side. In this episode Liza Lehrer, Assistant Director, Urban Wildlife Institute and Chicago Lead at the Urban Wildlife Information Network, discusses the Chicago region's native bats species that like the river-edge places such as LaBagh Woods. Lehrer also discusses the work being done to protect bats that are unfortunately at conservation risk. Annette Anderson, Friends’ volunteer and events coordinator, and Aqsa Ali, Friends’ project planner, discuss the important work of volunteers in restoring special forest preserve sites along the Chicago and Calumet Rivers.
4 Jun 2021
In this episode Chris Anchor, senior wildlife biologist for the Forest Preserves of Cook County, discusses how osprey are increasing along the Chicago River system due to a FPCC program that has installed about 20 constructed osprey nesting platforms so far. From Openlands, Aquatic Ecologist Laura Barghusen, and Education and Community Outreach Coordinator Lillian Holden, discuss The African American Heritage Water Trail which is one of the most recent contributions to the cultural history of the Calumet region.
7 May 2021