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Headwaters of Bubbly Creek and the Racine Avenue Pump Station. (Courtesy of USGS)

Congress authorized a plan from the Army Corps of Engineers to restore the Chicago River’s South Fork, a 1.25-mile stretch more familiarly known as Bubbly Creek. Now actual dollars need to follow. 

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Great Lakes piping plovers, like the one pictured, don't tend to spend the winters with their mate. (Vince Cavalieri / U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)

Rose is spending the winter in Florida, while a sighting of Monty was recently confirmed in Texas. Trouble in plover paradise or the secret to the couple’s success?

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Show appreciation for nature on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. (photoforyou / Pixabay)

The Cook County Forest Preserves are encouraging people to give back to nature on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Head out on a self-led litter cleanup hike at one of the preserves’ nature centers or Dan Ryan Woods.

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In this Aug. 28, 2019 file photo, a Monarch butterfly flies to Joe Pye weed, in Freeport, Maine. (AP Photo / Robert F. Bukaty)

The problem, sometimes called the insect apocalypse, is like a jigsaw puzzle. And scientists say they still don’t have all the pieces, so they have trouble grasping its enormity and complexity and getting the world to notice and do something. 

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Urban Growers Collective maintains a herd of 17 goats at its South Chicago farm. (Courtesy of Urban Growers Collective)

Where humans see a messy pile of dried needles, goats see a tasty meal. The herd at Urban Growers Collective’s South Chicago farm can dine for weeks on recycled Christmas trees.

Here’s where to see this raucous beauty near Chicago

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A male pileated woodpecker, distinguished from a female by the red stripe on his cheek. (Veronica Andrews / Pixabay)

With its flaming red crest and distinctive cackle, the pileated woodpecker is a favorite of birders, not least because it resembles Woody Woodpecker. Though sightings have been rare in urban areas, they can be found in the Chicago region’s forest preserves.

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Montrose Beach Dunes Natural Area on the left, and the proposed section of Montrose Beach that would be incorporated into the protected area. (Patty Wetli / WTTW News)

Chicago’s birding community is already preparing for the return of Monty and Rose, the piping plovers that captured national attention two summers ago when they made the surprising choice to nest on Chicago's lakefront. But will their favored habitat be secure in 2021?

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A group of suckers on the move in Door County, Wisconsin. (Courtesy of Shedd Aquarium)

Walking along Lake Michigan or the Chicago River, it’s difficult to imagine an underwater world teeming with life. But it’s there, promises Karen Murchie, a research biologist at the Shedd Aquarium, and we have to protect it.

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Hudson, Brookfield Zoo’s 14-year-old polar bear, frolics in the snow. (Jim Schulz / Chicago Zoological Society)

Both Brookfield and Lincoln Park zoos will temporarily close during January and February, but they have plenty of online content in the works to remain connected with the public.

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In this photo provided by Kate Hilts, Ross Hettervig, left, and Kate Hilts pose for a photo with their cat, Potato, on Nov. 14, 2020, in Washington. (Kate Hilts via AP)

Ten months into quarantines and working from home because of the pandemic, household pets’ lives and relationships with humans have in many cases changed, and not always for the better.

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(Jerzy Górecki / Pixabay)

On the first day of winter, Cook County officials touted the benefits of spending time in nature, encouraging people to discover the nearly 70,000 acres of forest preserves this season — safely.

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Magic, a bottlenose dolphin born at Brookfield Zoo in 2013. (Jim Schulz / Chicago Zoological Society)

The Chicago Zoological Society said it was devastated by the loss of the dolphin, Magic, who was born and hand-reared at Brookfield Zoo. Others who had visited the dolphin expressed their sadness on social media.

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Paul Eberhart, a lead animal care specialist at Brookfield Zoo, spends some time with the Nigerian dwarf goats. (Jim Schulz / Chicago Zoological Society

For institutions with “living collections,” there’s really been no such thing as a shutdown during the pandemic. Even with no visitors coming through the door, zoos and aquariums are still caring for their animals around the clock.  

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Chicago-area artist Eric Widitz. (WTTW News)

He is a crafty artist who uses a gas-powered paintbrush and tree trunks as his canvas. Meet Eric Widitz, a Chicago-area entrepreneur who has been using chainsaws to make wood sculptures for nearly 40 years.

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A monarch butterfly on butterfly milkweed. (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Midwest Region / Flickr)

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says the monarch butterfly warrants inclusion on the endangered species list but due to a lack of resources is being wait-listed behind higher-priority plants and animals.

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Cardinal. (tlparadis / Pixabay)

The National Audubon Society’s annual bird count is underway. Now in its 121st year, the tally gives researchers and conservationists a good picture of how North America’s bird populations are changing.

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