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Articles filed under Blaine, Valerie

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  • What’s it like to work for the forest preserve district? Dec 12, 2014 1:24 PM
    “I want your job!” said the twentysomething barista as I ordered my latte at the drive-up window. His comment was based solely on seeing the Forest Preserve District of Kane County emblem on my shirt. My colleagues have had similar reactions when wearing their uniforms. What is it about the Forest Preserve District logo that triggers this response?

     
  • Love the outdoors? Become a Kane County Certified Naturalist Nov 14, 2014 5:01 PM
    Are you someone who loves nature but doesn’t know how to learn more about it? Do you wish you could explore the woods but feel too shy to do it on your own? Come out of the closet and join like-minded people in the Kane County Certified Naturalists program.

     
  • How bad will our winter be? A caterpillar can tell you. Oct 22, 2014 3:28 PM
    Memories of last year's icy winter are etched in our minds. Many are wondering what's in store this winter. Look no farther than the woolly bear caterpillar. Like Punxsutawney Phil, the renowned groundhog who predicts the coming of spring, the woolly bear caterpillar is said to predict the winter ahead.

     
  • Nighttime nature hikes explore the nocturnal world Oct 3, 2014 1:56 PM
    Ever wonder what goes on at night in nature? The Forest Preserve District of Kane County is offering special night hikes this month to explore the nocturnal world. The guided walks will take place from 7 to 8:30 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 11 and 18, in St. Charles and Elgin.

     
  • The sandhill crane: A restoraton success story Sep 13, 2014 7:49 AM
    It's a restoraton success story. Just 10 years ago, the sandhill crane was a rare sight in Kane County. But wetland restoration efforts have been a boon to this big bird, and sandhills are now a common sight throughout northern Illinois.

     
  • The many uses - both good and bad - of stinging nettles Sep 8, 2014 11:30 AM
    You’re out for a walk in the woods, enjoying a stroll along the river. Then suddenly, you feel as if you’ve been stung by a thousand sharp needles. Your arms and legs start to burn and itch. Sound familiar? Welcome to the world of stinging nettles.

     
  • Summer twilight: an enchanting time Jul 18, 2014 2:40 PM
    The long, hot day melts in the dimming light. Faintly, the evening star appears in the sky. Animals begin to shift in the shadows. It’s twilight. It’s summer. And summer twilight is an enchanting time.

     
  • It takes many clovers to make a meadow Jul 7, 2014 6:01 AM
    There’s a whole world of clovers out there. Each kind is useful, and each is pretty in its own right. The next time you walk in a field, look around and you’ll surely see a clover or two. Here are some of the varieties you'll find locally.

     
  • World traveler, birder, teacher and naturalist: Jack Pomatto Jun 20, 2014 5:01 AM
    Losing a friend is a tough experience. Losing a friend who was an inspiration, a mentor, and a champion for the natural world is exceptionally hard. Retired naturalist Jack Pomatto of St. Charles died on June 12, after a valiant fight against cancer. The loss is felt by many in the naturalist community and in the community at large.

     
  • Wild geraniums herald the arrival of spring in Fox Valley woods May 29, 2014 10:13 AM
    Wild geranium is one of the highlights of the woodland flora right now, in full bloom in many forest preserves. It’s a distant cousin of the typical potted geraniums sold in garden stores.

     
  • On pelicans, pests and leaves: Answers to some recently asked questions Mar 29, 2014 6:01 AM
    From birds to oak trees and beetles, anything goes in the FAQ department here at the Forest Preserve District of Kane County nature center. Finding answers to questions is one of the most fun parts of being a naturalist. Here naturalist Valerie Blaine offers answers to some of the questions recently asked.

     
  • Maple sugaring heralds spring’s arrival Mar 5, 2014 1:00 PM
    The best things in life are worth waiting for. Spring, for example. The initiation of spring for many folks is maple sugaring. Both spring and maple sugaring are a long time coming this year. But they are coming.

     
  • 100 years later: Lessons we can learn from the passenger pigeon Jan 21, 2014 1:59 PM
    In today’s world, the passenger pigeon, which became extinct in 1914, could be branded an “extreme” bird. Some ornithologists refer to this species as a “biological storm.” By all accounts, it was extraordinary. The story of its demise is extraordinary as well.

     
  • Register now for Kane County Certified Naturalist program Dec 13, 2013 3:56 PM
    It's never too late to learn more about nature -- and yourself. Classes for the 2014 Kane County Certified Naturalist program begin in January, and include lectures and discussions on local ecology, and field trips to natural areas.

     
  • Creepy creatures: Myths and truths about spiders, bats and snakes Oct 4, 2013 8:22 AM
    Spiders, snakes, bats and other animals of ill-repute are everywhere this month. In real life, they’re way cooler than their Halloween personas, and their presence is a plus in our lives. The autumn holiday will come and go, yet these silent creatures will continue to creep and crawl and slither and flutter all year long.

     
  • Red oaks: Where and how they grow Sep 15, 2013 7:56 AM
    Did you know that black oaks are part of the red oak group? In this column we’ll take a look at the red oak group — who they are, where they grow, and what the future holds for islands of oak groves in a sea of suburbia.

     
  • Leaf peepers: Clues to help identify white oaks Aug 19, 2013 6:00 AM
    “There were many splendid oaks,” wrote John S. Wilcox in 1906, describing Kane County at the time of European settlement. These magnificent trees included white oaks, red oaks, black oaks and bur oaks. There were swamp white oaks and chinkapin oaks, Hill’s oaks and shingle oaks, too. Although oaks are in serious decline, these species can still be found in Kane County.

     
  • Find out why oaks are endangered and how to help preserve them Jul 29, 2013 3:37 PM
    The oak tree was once hailed as king of the forest. People called it magnificent, majestic and mighty. But that was then. Now, the oak no longer reigns supreme. As a group, oaks are in serious decline. As ecological communities, oak woodlands are imperiled.

     
  • Rescue me - or not? Why you should leave wild animals be May 31, 2013 3:53 PM
    What should you do if you have a chipmunk in your chimney, or a skunk in your cellar? What if you find a baby bird that seems to be abandoned? People may think that releasing animals into wild places is in the best interests of the animal but, in fact, it is not an easy or pleasant end for the misplaced creature. “Letting animals loose in preserves seems like the most humane approach but in reality that isn't often the case,” explained Bill Graser, Wildlife Biologist for the Forest Preserve District of Kane County.

     
  • Spring beauty wildflowers live up to their name Apr 24, 2013 1:08 PM
    There are some things in life that you just have to see for yourself. Photographs are pretty, but they're not as good as being there. Spring beauty, one of the first wildflowers to bloom in spring, is one of the world's wonders that you have to see "for real."

     
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