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The Cook County Forest Preserves have offered respite during the pandemic. (Forest Preserve District of Cook County / Facebook)

Throughout the pandemic, nature has proved its worth as an outlet and resource, benefiting people’s physical, emotional and mental well-being. Now the question is, will people return the favor?

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A Red-tailed hawk, perched outside a Jewel-Osco, 3400 N. Western Ave., on Nov. 21, 2020. (WTTW News)

A red-tailed hawk, stoically perched atop a chain-link fence, was spotted Saturday outside a Jewel-Osco in Roscoe Village. Raptors are more common in the city than most people think, said a local hawk expert.

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Penguins from the Shedd Aquarium recently paid a visit to Soldier Field. (Brenna Hernandez / Shedd Aquarium)

A quartet of penguins from the Shedd Aquarium paid a visit to Soldier Field. Could this be the secret weapon the Bears need to take down the Packers during Sunday’s showdown?

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Parks and preserves are tightening restrictions due to a surge in COVID-19 cases. In the spring, even picnic tables were "closed." (Raed Mansour / Flickr)

With tighter mitigations in place due to a surge in COVID-19 cases, the Chicago Park District and surrounding forest preserve districts have suspended programs indefinitely.

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The “Dreadhead Cowboy” is seen on the Dan Ryan Expressway in Chicago. (Courtesy Vashon Jordan Jr. / @vashon_photo)

Adam Hollingsworth, 33, entered the plea through his attorney Thursday during a brief arraignment held in virtual court.

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Isoo O’Brien

Meet a high school student who’s on a quest to see more bird species in Cook County than anyone, ever.

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In this Thursday, Sept. 27, 2012, file photo, pieces of stag horn coral are shown growing in Nova Southeastern University’s offshore coral reef nursery in about 22 feet of water, near Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (AP Photo / Wilfredo Lee, File)

A first-of-its-kind assessment of coral reefs in U.S. waters is again sounding the alarm over the continued decline of these sensitive underwater ecosystems, which scientists deem essential to the health of the world’s oceans.

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Des Plaines River Trail. (Google)

The trail, which took nearly 60 years to complete, was one of 30 designated a National Recreation Trail by the U.S. Department of the Interior.

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(Cindy Parks / Pixabay)

From eating mosquitoes to restoring rainforests to making tequila (sort of), bats are amazing. The creature gets its due during International Bat Week, running through Oct. 31.

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In photo provided by the Washington State Dept. of Agriculture, an Asian Giant Hornet wearing a tracking device is shown Thursday, Oct. 22, 2020 near Blaine, Wash. (Karla Salp / Washington Dept. of Agriculture via AP)

Scientists in Washington state have discovered the first nest of so-called murder hornets in the United States and plan to wipe it out Saturday to protect native honeybees, officials said.

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(Rene Rauschenberg / Pixabay)

It's getting to be the time of year when young coyotes strike out from home in search of a mate and a territory to call their own. 

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(WTTW News)

Chicago is the six-time holder of a title that no city wants.

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(Veronika_Andrews / Pixabay)

From apples and pumpkins to pig races, hay rides, petting zoos and beyond, we’ve rounded up some options for fall fun in the Chicago area.

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What triggers the internal prompt that tells a tree "Oh hey, winter's coming"? It's a mystery to researchers. (Patty Wetli / WTTW News)

There’s still a lot that scientists don’t understand about what makes trees tick, especially when it comes to fall color. A team at the Morton Arboretum is working to unlock those secrets.

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Goats and sheep on the job at MWRD's Calumet plant. (Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago / Facebook)

A herd of 65 sheep and goats replaced more traditional mowing equipment this summer at MWRD’s Calumet Water Reclamation Plant, where the animals helped maintain the native prairie landscape. 

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The “Dreadhead Cowboy” is seen on the Dan Ryan Expressway in Chicago. (Courtesy Vashon Jordan Jr. / @vashon_photo)

Adam Hollingsworth, the man known as the “Dreadhead Cowboy,” has not yet entered a plea on a felony animal abuse charge, but the condition of the horse he rode for more than 7 miles during rush hour is reportedly improving.