Winter Has Arrived - U of I Extension

News Release

Winter Has Arrived

This article was originally published on January 8, 2018 and expired on January 15, 2018. It is provided here for archival purposes and may contain dated information.

I feel like it has been a very long time since we have had a truly cold winter.  Last winter was so mild I think we all forgot what a real winter feels like in Illinois.  And, the way November and most of December felt, I think we all thought that we were going to get away with a second mild winter.  However, winter is here and it feels like it is making up for the past couple of years. 

Winter is bleak and dreary, but there is some true beauty in winter as well particularly when there is snow on the ground.  However, the past couple of weeks have made it difficult to imagine being outside for more than a few seconds, but there are some wonderful things to do in the winter.

1.      Go for a snow hike. In my mind, there are few things more beautiful than the woods when there is snow on the ground (or better yet when it is snowing). The woods are so quiet when there is snow on the ground and there is so much beauty in the monochromatic landscape.  Try tracking some critters that we have in our woods in the winter, take a camera and try your hand at some photography, or just enjoy the quiet of the woods. 

2.      Go Skiing.  I know what you are thinking.  This is Illinois, one of the flattest states, but there is more than just downhill skiing.  Cross-country skiing or snowshoeing is a great way to get outside and enjoy the outdoors, get some exercise, and maybe try something new.

3.      Go to a State Park.  There are a number of spectacular places to see how beautiful nature can be in winter.  Taking a hike at places like Starved Rock and Matthiessen State Park will reward you with frozen waterfalls and a great opportunity to see some eagles on the Illinois River.  Illini State Park offers an outdoor skating pool, as well as hiking and other winter sports.  Mississippi Palisades offers some spectacular views and the opportunity to see eagles along the mighty Mississippi.  There is no better time to see the animals at Wildlife Prairie Park.  The animals are active and easily spotted in the winter snow.

Though it is cold outside now, that does not mean that you cannot enjoy nature.  Bundle up and go on a winter adventure in your backyard.

If you have any questions about winter activities, contact Jason Haupt ( for more information.

Source: Jason Haupt, Extension Educator, Energy and Environmental Stewardship,

Pull date: January 15, 2018