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Black bear. (Jitze Couperus / Flickr)

Officials are telling people to keep their distance from the bear. People aren’t listening.

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A piping plover on Waukegan Beach in 2018. (Ethan Ellis / Flickr)

A pair of endangered piping plovers, nicknamed Monty and Rose, nested once again at Montrose Beach, where their new chicks just hatched. Plover monitors are on the scene to make sure excited visitors don't inadvertently harm the birds.

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A census of the Chicago region's trees, last tallied at 157 million in 2010, is in progress. (Brian Crawford / Flickr)

The 2020 census of the region’s trees — the largest undertaking of its kind in the country — will build on the inaugural 2010 count and help municipalities set priorities for creating healthier green infrastructure, particularly in underserved communities.

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The Chicago Botanic Garden is welcoming visitors back starting June 24. (Chicago Botanic Garden)

To limit the potential for overcrowding, the garden is implementing a timed-ticketed entry policy. Non-members will get their first chance to register for a slot on Friday. Here’s what else you need to know.

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The Shedd Aquarium has shared new photos of its baby penguins, which hatched in May. (Shedd Aquarium / Brenna Hernandez)

Like any proud new parent, the Shedd Aquarium is sharing adorable photos of its newest arrivals: four Magellanic penguin chicks, all of which hatched in mid-to-late May.

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Chicago’s lakefront trail has been closed since March 26. (WTTW News)

Chicagoans are getting their beloved lakefront trail back, with the reopening of the 18-mile path set for next week. There’s just one condition: You’ve got to “keep it moving,” people.

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Deja Perkins, conducting field research. (Courtesy of Deja Perkins)

Chicago native Deja Perkins was one of the organizers of the recent #BlackBirdersWeek campaign. Her mission is to get more people who look like her interested in wildlife, natural resources, ecology and conservation.

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This 2019 photo provided by Noel Rowe and Centre ValBio shows a golden bamboo lemur in Madagascar. (Noel Rowe / Centre ValBio via AP)

Around the world, government resources diverted to pandemic efforts have opened opportunities for illegal land clearing and poaching. Lockdowns also have derailed the eco-tourism that funds many environmental projects.

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Biologist Amber Wendler is among those taking part in #BlackBirdersWeek. (@amberwendler / Twitter)

The social media campaign running through Friday was founded by 30 African American scientists, birders and nature lovers as a response to the racism encountered by birder Christian Cooper in New York’s Central Park.

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The James Woodworth Prairie Preserve is a rare remnant of original Illinois prairie. (Frank Mayfield / Flickr)

The Illinois Native Plant Society is hosting a Facebook Live virtual hike through James Woodworth Prairie Preserve on Saturday.

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"Chicago Transit Hikes" showcases trails accessible via CTA, Metro or the South Shore Line. (Credits: Patty Wetli / WTTW News; Belt Publishing; Lindsay Welbers)

A new guidebook showcases the region’s best hiking trails accessible via the CTA, Metra or the South Shore Line. Because someday, we’ll ride trains again.

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A Chicago police vehicle blocks the track at Mandrake Park on the city’s South Side. (WTTW News)

Despite restricted access to the lakefront and its adjacent parks during the pandemic, most Chicago parks are supposed to be open. Why some residents and park advocates are concerned about equitable access to these much-needed spaces.

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Campgrounds at Illinois state parks are reopened, with new guidelines in place. (Kelle Cruz / Flickr)

First of all, take note that “reopened” doesn’t mean “back to normal.” Guidelines, including limiting campsites and campfires to registered occupants, are in place.

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(Bolanu Teslaru Andrei / Pixabay)

Chicago Animal Care and Control and PAWS Chicago pivoted to online pet adoptions when Illinois’ stay-at-home order was issued. We check in on how that’s been going — and how else the pandemic has impacted animal shelters.

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Do these look like weeds? Native plants can create a beautiful landscape that's more eco-friendly than grass. (Ron Frazier / Flickr)

People have been spending a lot of time in their yards, and it seems that’s led to plenty of folks jumping on the native plant bandwagon, if a sold-out series of webinars is any indication.

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The Crown Fountain in Millennium Park is the type of amenity that earned Chicago’s parks top ParkScore marks. (R Boed / Flickr)

In an annual ranking by The Trust for Public Land, Chicago’s park system came in 10th out of the nation’s 100 largest cities, earning high marks for accessibility and amenities.

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