Batavia Plain Dirt Gardeners will learn about the arrival of the periodic cicadas at April 16 meeting

The Batavia Plain Dirt Gardeners will present “The Magicicadas Are Coming!” on Tuesday, April 16.

The monthly meeting will begin with a social time at 6:45 p.m., followed by the business meeting and presentation at 7 p.m. at the Batavia Public Library, 10 S. Batavia Ave. (Route 31).

The genus of insects, better known as periodical cicadas, will be returning to northern Illinois in late spring. Collectively called Brood XIII, they are noted for their lengthy life spans and loud songs.

Naturalists Valerie Blaine and Pam Otto will discuss the species of the area, describing their ecology and behavior as well as what to expect when they emerge. Bring your questions and be ready to have a special brand of fun 17 years in the making.

After 15 years in trade publishing, Otto realized her dream of working as a naturalist with a volunteer position with the Forest Preserve District of Kane County in 1999. Volunteer work led to part-time, and then full-time employment, first at the district’s Tekakwitha Woods Nature Center and then Red Oak Nature Center in North Aurora. Along the way she earned master's degree in outdoor education from Northern Illinois University and joined the naturalist staff at the St. Charles Park District in 2007. She currently serves as the agency’s outreach ambassador which actually is just a fancy term for nature nerd with a pen and a mic. She writes of her adventures in “Good Natured,” a weekly column that appears in the Kane County Chronicle and other Shaw Media publications, and online at and

Blaine is a lifelong naturalist, native to the Prairie State. She holds a master's degree in forestry from the University of Illinois and a bachelor’s degree in botany and French, also from the U of I. She began her career as a naturalist with the Vermilion County Conservation District in the late 1970s. She also worked as a naturalist for the Peoria Park District and the Hayward Area Recreation and Park District in California. She became the Nature Programs Manager with the Forest Preserve District of Kane County in 1994, and worked for the District for 25 years. Now retired, Blaine is a volunteer steward, continuing her commitment to restoring health to the natural world. She keeps her foot in the door of environmental education by giving presentations, leading hikes, and writing nature columns.

If you have any questions, contact or via Messenger on

Article Comments
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the "flag" link in the lower-right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.