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Harmony, the Shedd Aquarium's new Pacific white-sided dolphin. (Shedd Aquarium / Brenna Hernandez)

Students from across Chicago voted on the name for the Shedd’s 5-month old Pacific white-sided dolphin calf.

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Birds that spend the winter in Chicago can handle the weather, experts say. (Pavel Danilyuk / Pexels)

There’s a misperception that birds such as geese and ducks need help finding food when it snows. If they couldn’t cope with Chicago’s winters, they wouldn’t be here, experts say. 

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Garield Park Conservatory's indoor garden is reopening to visitors. (Courtesy of Garfield Park Conservatory)

The landscape has been pretty bleak of late. Here to brighten our outlook: The Garfield Park Conservatory has announced its indoor gardens will reopen to the public at the end of February.

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Midewin, the first national tallgrass prairie in the U.S., was established Feb. 10, 1996, celebrating its 25th anniversary. (Patty Wetli / WTTW News)

The 18,000-acre restoration site continues to evolve, as this home of the former Joliet Arsenal gradually returns to its native prairie state. 

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Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow this Groundhog Day, Feb. 2, 2021. (Punxutawney Phil / Facebook)

It’s Groundhog Day. Will it be six more weeks of winter or an early spring?

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Veterinarians, technicians and staff prepare Malena, a 10-year-old endangered Amur tiger, for total hip replacement surgery at Brookfield Zoo, Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2021 in Brookfield, Ill. (Ashlee Rezin Garcia / Chicago Sun-Times via AP)

An Amur tiger that underwent hip-replacement surgery only to dislodge the orthopedic implant within hours has been operated on again, officials at a suburban Chicago zoo said Monday. 

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Take a close look at bark. It has a lot of clues about a tree's identity. (Pexels / Elizaveta Dushechkina)

There are quirky details to be found in bark, twigs and buds that can turn a walk in the woods or around the block into a game of “name that tree.”

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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 Dune 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.