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Naturalist Notebook

Reviews and journal entries inspired by nature in West Central Illinois.
Natural Area Review
Blackthorn Hill

A Walk Around Blackthorn Hill Nature Preserve

On a beautiful Saturday morning in July, I had the pleasure of joining four other Master Naturalists for a walk along the trails at Blackthorn Hills Nature Preserve in Warren County. This park is a prime example of our region's Grand Prairie-Forest division. There are old timbered areas that open up to prairie as well as forested bottom land along the meandering waters of South Henders...

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Sugar Maple

Sugar'n Tyme

Every year about this time, Argyle Lake State Park holds it's Maple Syrup Festival. I had the opportunity to attend the event about two weeks ago on a fine Saturday morning. The park has good stands of sugar maple trees(Acer saccharinum) well suited for tapping and collecting sap for boiling down for syrup or sugar. They have developed a great festival to display to the public how this old time...

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argyle

A Walk Around Argyle Lake State Park

Recently, I had the pleasure of attending a hike at Argyle Lake State Park near Macomb. The walk was hosted by the resident state naturalist and was attended by a few other brave souls on a cold December morning. This was the first time I had ever been to this state park. Despite being off the beaten path ,...

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Bruner Cemetery

Bruner Cemetery

One important lesson that the Master Naturalist training has taught me is to be observant of the natural world around me. The most amazing things can be revealed by watching and listening carefully to the land. I had always noticed a tall stand of grass in the middle of a neighbor's field since the time I first moved to the area. I watched the color of this grass change with the seasons...

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Belted Kingfisher Illustrated by Rose Moore MN

Johnson – Sauk Trail, State Recreation Area

Along Route 78 between Kewanee and Anawan in Henry County is a state park known mostly to locals but offering beautiful sites and experiences to all who would explore it. Situated on 1,365 acres with a manmade lake, the park was once the southernmost boundary of an area known as the Great Willow Swamp. This...

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