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Individual litter cleanup efforts will have to replace the Chicago River Day group event this year due to the coronavirus. (Courtesy Friends of the Chicago River)

The organization had to cancel its Chicago River Day cleanup due to the coronavirus. Instead of bringing thousands of volunteers together for a one-day event, the new Summer Challenge encourages people to pick up litter in their neighborhoods.

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Professional forager Dave Odd tastes the flower of an eastern redbud tree in Chicago’s Gompers Park on Thursday, May 7, 2020. (Evan Garcia / WTTW News)

Dave Odd, a professional forager in Chicago, says the COVID-19 pandemic is shaking up how we obtain food and will perhaps force people to pick their own. We go for a look at edible plants in Gompers Park.

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Look for an American goldfinch during Saturday's Big Day birding event. (Ken Gibson / Flickr)

This weekend, people around the world will report their bird sightings as part of a massive citizen-science project. Here’s how it works.

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A cyclist wearing a face mask rides a Divvy bike in Chicago. (WTTW News)

Since the city shut down lakefront parks and other public spaces in March, there have been calls for more open spaces. But some advocates say that push overlooks the priorities of communities of color, which have been hardest hit by the coronavirus. 

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Brookfield Zoo welcomed a litter of seven African painted dogs in January, and is leaving the name of one of the pups up to the public. (Jim Schulz / Chicago Zoological Society)

The African painted dog was born in January and still needs a name. Brookfield Zoo has four options, with voting open to the public through May 20.

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“Chicago Tonight” viewer J. Scott Sykora shared this photo of a harvest supermoon eclipse on Sept. 27, 2015.

There hasn’t been a lot to get excited about in 2020, but one bright spot has been the moon, specifically the string of supermoons we’ve enjoyed this spring. 

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In this Dec. 30, 2019, photo provided by the Washington State Department of Agriculture, a dead Asian giant hornet is photographed in a lab in Olympia, Wash. (Quinlyn Baine / Washington State Department of Agriculture via AP)

The world’s largest hornet, a 2-inch killer dubbed the “Murder Hornet” with an appetite for honey bees, has been found in Washington state, where entomologists were making plans to wipe it out.

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In this March 24, 2020 photo, provided by Conner Brown, he is seen using binoculars to look for birds in Cedar Island, Maryland. (Elizabeth Wright / Courtesy of Conner Brown via AP)

With coronavirus restrictions dragging on, interest in bird-watching has soared as bored Americans notice a fascinating world just outside their windows. 

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Geese are more relaxed this spring with fewer humans around, researchers say. (Jocelyn Piirainen / Flickr)

With fewer humans out and about during the coronavirus pandemic, Canada geese are more relaxed during this spring’s nesting season, according to researchers at Ball State University. 

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Star Farm in Back of the Yards makes up for in ambition what it lacks in size. (Patty Wetli / WTTW News)

Star Farm in Back of the Yards makes up for in ambition what it lacks in size. Founder Stephanie Dunn’s mission is to use urban agriculture as the means of creating a healthier, more resilient community. 

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A record breaking hole in the ozone above the Arctic has closed. (Anita Ritenour / Flickr)

No pandemic silver lining here, but the good news is that healthier ozone levels mean an uncommonly strong and stubborn polar vortex is finally loosening its grip.

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Wet weather means it's time to minimize water entering the city's combined sewer system. (Vivek Jena / Flickr)

We’ve had a string of wet days, which stresses Chicago's combined sewer system. Here are conservation tips to minimize the chance of an overflow.

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This undated photo provided by Michael Thomas in April 2020 shows a clouded sulphur butterfly in Cromwell, Conn. (Mike Thomas via AP)

The world has lost more than one quarter of its land-dwelling insects in the past 30 years, according to researchers whose big picture study of global bug decline paints a disturbing but more nuanced problem than earlier research.

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Visitors have been ignoring forest preserve rules, leading officials to place limits on access. (Raed Mansour / Flickr)

Too many visitors are flocking to the most popular forest preserves and ignoring social distancing rules, prompting weekend parking lot closures through the end of May, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle announced Friday.

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(WTTW News)

As governors grapple with the question of when to reopen their states, the need for a wide-scale contact tracing effort is at the top of many experts’ lists. Help may be on the way, but it’s getting a lot of scrutiny.

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The University of Illinois at Chicago Circle (now UIC) was a hub for the first Earth Day. (Courtesy UIC archives)

Chicago was a hub for environmental activism on the first Earth Day, and it remains a pioneer today.

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