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Just 4% of Illinois is officially protected. Nature preserve status is the highest level of protection available in Illinois. (Patty Wetli / WTTW News)

Illinois has made a commitment to conserve 30% of the state’s land and water resources by the year 2030. What will it take to reach that target?

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For the first time in more than 50 years, Congress held an open hearing on unidentified flying objects.

Tuesday, Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence and Security Ronald Moultrie and Deputy Director of Naval Intelligence Scott Bray testified for more than 90 minutes before House lawmakers, and later went into closed session to discuss information related to unidentified aerial phenomena(UAP) they won’t yet make public.

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Monty’s legacy will be the chicks he and Rose brought into the world, seen in 2020. (Bob Dolgan)

In a brief announcement on social media, news was shared Friday evening by monitors that Monty the piping plover has died.

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Red swamp crayfish pulled from the Chicago River during May 15 cleanup. (Twitter / @Bates-Jefferys)

In its 30-year history, Friends of the Chicago River’s annual cleanup has evolved from a focus on litter to invasive species. An invasive crayfish pulled from the river over the weekend highlights the work to be done.

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Chicago Park District superintendent Rosa Escareño calls the CPD day camps “the best deal in town” from a cost perspective, she wants people to know that there are discounts available for those who need it. (Courtesy Chicago Park District)

The warm weather has finally arrived, and that means it's time to start planning your summer activities. The Chicago Park District opened registration at the park district website for all its summer programs, including the one many parents have been waiting for — day camps. 

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A total lunar eclipse, seen from Joshua Tree National Park in 2015. (Brad Sutton / National Park Service)

After a string of clear, sunny days, rain and clouds are expected to move in for the weekend. Depending on the extent of the cloud cover, the eclipse could still deliver an “ooh-aah” moment, or it could be a womp-womp for Chicago.

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Hundreds of millions of birds are migrating through the U.S. this weekend. (hollandevens / Pixabay)

The timing coincides with the annual World Migratory Bird Day. The best way to celebrate? Dim external lights to help out the millions of migrating birds passing over Cook County.

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(Pixabay)

The combination of high temperatures and humidity sent heat indices soaring above 100 degrees Wednesday. Thursday will see more of the same.

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Field assistant Kylie Ruble, left, and Robert DePalma excavate a slab of fossils from the Tanis deposit. (Courtesy of Robert DePalma)

An international team of researchers say they have found fossilized remains of fish and a dinosaur in North Dakota at a site that they believed died on the very day of an asteroid impact. That story is told in a new documentary called “Dinosaur Apocalypse” airing on WTTW.

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The Chicago Excellence in Gardening Awards honor the city's green thumbs, wherever they garden, whether backyards, parkways, patio containers or urban farms. (Chicago Excellence in Gardening Awards)

Submissions are being accepted through July 1 for the 2022 awards, which will be judged in-person again after going virtual in 2020 and 2021. The contest is open to all Chicago residents; entry is free.

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“All you need are your eyes, a comfortable chair and a blanket to enjoy,” Chicago astronomer Joe Guzman said. “Those who have telescopes set them up and share this experience with your family as we observe one celestial object get in the way of another!” (WTTW News)

A celestial show is coming to Chicago next weekend - on the evening of Sunday, May 15, a lunar eclipse will grace the night skies. Chicago astronomer Joe Guzman says it's a great reason to spend an evening moongazing.

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Lumpsuckers at the Shedd Aquarium. (Shedd Aquarium)

The Shedd Aquarium recently welcomed a group of lumpsuckers, a fish that’s weird in so many ways, it’s hard to know where to start.

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Chuoy the buoy, reporting for data-monitoring duty in Lake Michigan off the Chicago shoreline. (Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant)

Anchored a mile off Navy Pier, Chuoy the Buoy fills a Chicago-sized gap in shoreline monitoring. Swimmers, boaters, anglers, researchers and meteorologists alike will benefit from data collected close to the city’s lakefront.   

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A midge swarm on Lake Erie. (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration)

Swarms of gnat-sized midges, which look like mini-mosquitoes, minus the bite, have been reported along the Chicago lakefront. But in this case, “swarm” is relative. 

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(Nikolas Noonan / Unsplash)

April was the rollercoaster ride, weather-wise, Chicagoans have come to expect from spring's most capricious month.

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Bison at Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie, one of three natural areas in the region where bison have been reintroduced. (USDA Forest Service)

The recent births highlight the success of restoration and conservation efforts in Illinois.