(Danne / Pexels)

Scientists calculated the biomass of various groups of mammals, and humans’ impact weighs heavily on the planet.

Construction on the Rockford Airport cargo expansion has come right to the edge of Bell Bowl Prairie. (Courtesy of Cassi Saari)

Barring any last-minute court decisions, the Greater Rockford Airport Authority will soon resume construction on its cargo expansion project, bulldozing a portion of ancient Bell Bowl Prairie in order to carve out a new roadway.

A bald eagle is pictured in a file photo. (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)

Forest Preserve District staff and volunteers have been keeping a close eye on the nests of two mated pairs of eagles and recently confirmed that at least one of the couples is sitting on eggs.

Native bergamot seed heads. (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Midwest / Courtney Celley)

A new report highlights several supply-and-demand conundrums and makes recommendations for how to increase native seed production.

John James Audubon's illustrations are still revered, but the naturalist's troubling history is being called into question. (Biodiversity Heritage Library)

As a more complete, and complex, portrait has emerged of John James Audubon, birders and ornithologists have struggled to reconcile their missions with the troubling aspects of his legacy: buying and selling slaves, plagiarism and the exploitation of natural resources.  

Orland Grassland, a thousand-acre restored prairie. (Patty Wetli / WTTW News)

“There are places you walk where you see sky touching the earth, and you can imagine this as the gateway to the Grand Prairie,” site steward Pat Hayes said of Orland Grassland.

Bison are the largest land mammal in North America. (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Midwest Region)

New research shows bison are altering the landscape in unexpected ways when reintroduced to Midwest prairie ecosystems. 


Headlines spun out of control when it came to new research results on the Earth’s core. In other news, narwhals have had it with noisy neighbors.

(Jacub Gomez / Pexels)

Looks like we’re going to have to come up with replacements for terms like “starstruck” and “starry-eyed.” Scientists say the visibility of stars is rapidly fading as light pollution increases.

(U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Midwest Region)

A GPS collar allowed researchers to track the wolf from Michigan all the way to Manitoba, Canada. That's just one of the wild stories we followed this week.

Zebra shark. (Brenna Hernandez / Shedd Aquarium)

From industrious sharks to the bird of the year, here’s what caught our attention this week on the climate and nature beat.

(Yanna Zissiadou / Unsplash)

Openlands is hoping to find more Latino and Spanish-speaking volunteers to lead the Birds in My Neighborhood program, which educates kids on native birds through in-school lessons and field trips.

Motus antenna assembly at Ryerson Conservation Area. (Lake County Forest Preserves)

Lake County Forest Preserves has now joined a global wildlife tracking network, expanding the ability of researchers to follow the movement of migratory birds through the Chicago region.

Callery pear blossoms. (sharonshuping0 / Pixabay)

The candidates include well-known banes like garlic mustard and wild parsnip, but also a plant adored by landscapers and property owners: the Callery pear tree.

Zari, Lincoln Park Zoo's 4-year-old African lion, is expecting a litter in January. Here she is with her cub, Pilipili, born in March 2022. (Lincoln Park Zoo / Diana Miller)

"A birth represents preservation of a species that has faced many challenges in the wild,” said Mike Murray, curator of mammals and animal behavioral husbandry.

(BLazarus / Pixabay)

It’s been another wild week on the nature beat. The United Nations’ biodiversity conference kicked off Tuesday in Montreal with the UN Secretary-General calling humanity a “weapon of mass extinction.” Nowhere to go but up from there.