1. Published

    The mighty white oak tree, Quercus alba, has long been the subject of folklore and legend. Sometimes called the “King of Trees,” the oak is often associated with titans in the pagan pantheon, Zeus and Thor to name just two.

    In Illinois, we recognize its importance and have named the white oak our state tree. We celebrate the month of October as Oak Awareness Month or Oaktober fest.

  2. Published

    Illinois is the prairie state, but don’t think all prairies are the same.  While deep-soil, tallgrass prairie dominated much of the landscape, other prairie types found niches too.

  3. Published

    Will County Master Naturalist Amy Gibson points to deep, heart-shaped tracks in the soft mud of a leaf-covered ravine in Pilcher Park. She asks the fourth graders clustered around her, "what do we have here?"

    Two boys zig-zag through the group and eagerly shout, "don’t you remember, you taught us. These are deer tracks, and it looks like they are heading this way. Come on!" 

  4. Published

    Illinois Master Naturalists want to experience as much of the natural world as possible and share that passion with their fellow citizens. Peoria County Master Naturalist, Julie Robinson, took this mission to heart when observing students spending less and less time outdoors and more time in front of a screen. Throughout her life as a teacher and a community member, people would always come to her to for a place to go for nature and outdoor exploration, and after becoming a Master Naturalist is 2018, she became inspired to make this wealth of information public.

  5. Published

    Our first Master Naturalist profile is a man with a heart for conservation, Joe Richardson. 

    Joe doesn’t claim to be anything more than a retired man who loves nature. That stated, on average he volunteers 289.5 hours annually with our conservation partners at The Nature Conservancy’s Nachusa Grasslands. Joe read an article about the return of the bison to Nachusa in 2015.

  6. Published

    Did you ever splash in mud puddles as a kid? How about climb a tree or catch lightning bugs in a jar? If so, you just might be a naturalist.