Skip to main content

Latest Posts

Are We There Yet?

As a group we Master Naturalists are a hopeful bunch. Just about all of our work anticipates future rewards. And so it is with the "pollinator pocket" my wife Cathy and I began two years ago. First, of course, we had to go to the Grand Prairie Friends plant sale. We got a Missouri ironweed, a...
Finish this story

Invasive in Paradise

While hiking the trail along the rim of Kilauea Iki volcano crater on the Big Island of Hawaii last July, we came across a dazzling beauty of a plant. It had multiple tiers of yellow flowers off a single central stem. As we neared the end of the trail, we came across knobby growth covering large...
Finish this story

Kingfisher Attack

A two-century-old homestead site, turned into a public garden, once had a large wood lot for fuel. The wood lot, part of the upland forest along the upper reaches of the Sangamon River corridor, is now declining. Huge earthbound white oaks spatter the wood lot's western cusp with snags and...
Finish this story

Meet the White Dogtooth Violet

You might actually know this plant more for its mottled leaves than for its flower. White Dogtooth Violet, Erythronium albidum, is a delicate, early spring, native perennial; it is usually found in colonies and has an affinity for moist soil on gentle woodland slopes. The word "Dogtooth" appears in...
Finish this story

The Year of the Hawks and the Fox

2016 was the year of the hawks and the fox at our home in southeast Urbana. We saw four fledging hawks grow to adulthood in July and August. And late in the fall we watched transfixed as a red fox enjoyed a little me-time in the fallen leaves outside our kitchen window. When my wife Lois first...
Finish this story

Farewell Winter... Welcome Spring

Late winter, frightened winter, winter that knows it's losing its grip on the earth. Late winter can't hold rivers in suspension like stone or hardened iron. Rivers are quietly coming to life, moving through the heart of Illinois like new blood coursing through the veins of winter's victim. Last...
Finish this story

The Buckeye

While wandering the grassy side paths at Meadowbrook Park, I stepped into a colony of medium-sized brown butterflies with circular orange and black markings on their forewings. It turns out they were Common Buckeye Butterflies (Junonia coenia). The markings are apparently a form of protective...
Finish this story

The Harvester

The words 'carnivorous' and 'butterfly' aren't often used in the same sentence outside of fifties-era grade B monster movies. But a chance encounter in my back yard set off a flurry of research into the lifestyle of this singular species. Meet Feniseca tarquinius, the Harvester. It is North...
Finish this story
Blog Archives