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A Nature Journal

Experience the natural world with east central Illinois master naturalists
beech

If I were a tree, what would I be?

Posted by Maddy Kangas -

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hedgeapple png

Hedge Apples, Spiders, and Mice

Posted by Maddy Kangas -

From out in the southwest, in the drainage area of the Red River in Oklahoma, Texas and Arkansas, came a deciduous tree known as the Osage Orange ( Maclura pomifera ), often called the Hedge Tree. It was prized for its wood by the Osage Nation of Native Americans, as well as the Cherokee—producing the finest hunting bows available (the only challenger might be the English yew). Indeed, 2...

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Frog

Frog Call Monitoring: A Citizen Science Project

Posted by Maddy Kangas -

On a chilly March evening my wife Cathy and I stood in the starlight facing a nearly invisible wetland. We were listening to what sounded like thousands of tiny sleigh bells tinkling in the darkness, but was actually the calls of male spring peepers competing for mates. We listened for perhaps three of the five minutes required by protocol, confirming that, indeed, there were too many spring pe...

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Preservation Pond

Preservation Pond

Posted by Maddy Kangas -

There's a miniature prairie nearby, a gem of green space under an open sky in a neighborhood shadowed by mature trees. It is rich in native plantings, and is attracting quite a variety of wildlife. Casual visitors are surprised to learn it is not a park, but a retention pond built by the City of Champaign as part of its flood abatement program. West Washington Street had been prone to f...

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coyote america

Review of Coyote America by Dan Flores (2016)

Posted by Maddy Kangas -

Most of us who live or spend time in rural (and not so rural) areas have seen them, slender canines with long bushy tails usually casually loping away from us. Some of us are thrilled to spot east central Illinois' largest carnivore; others abhor them. Most of us are just surprised. However you react to coyotes, you'll find Dan Flores' Coyote Amer...

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