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A Nature Journal

Experience the natural world with east central Illinois master naturalists
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Invasive in Paradise

Posted by Maddy Kangas -

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 areas of the floor of the tropical forest. We stopped a passing park ranger to ask what it was. She...

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Kingfisher Attack

Posted by Maddy Kangas -

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 declining limbs in the canopy. This is where a pair of kingfishers perches year after year, peering down o...

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How One Master Naturalist Changes Our World

Posted by Maddy Kangas -

INVASIVE SPECIES REMOVAL Much of the work over the last year has focused on the removal of invasive and/or aggressive plants along the Copper Slough. The work initially focused on the removal of honeysuckle, autumn olive, multiflora rose, and willow. This was followed by a big initiative to remove poison hemlock and, as the season progressed, giant Ragweed....

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Meet the White Dogtooth Violet

Posted by Maddy Kangas -

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 the name since the plant grows from a small edible corm which some folks think looks like a dog's...

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An Acrostic for Our Friends

Posted by Maddy Kangas -

NATURALIST N ature A bounding with T errain U rban R ural A ll around L and forms I slands in lakes and oceans S...

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Bruce Hannon Levee Trail Grand Opening

Posted by Maddy Kangas -

Save the date!...

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The Year of the Hawks and the Fox

Posted by Maddy Kangas -

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 spotted the young hawks in mid-July, they were hanging out under the hedge of rose of sharon a...

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