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Chicago as seen from the International Space Station. The Palos Preserves Urban Night Sky Place is outlined in green. (Courtesy of the Earth Science and Remote Sensing Unit, NASA Johnson Space Center)

Palos Preserves has been named an Urban Night Sky Place by the International Dark-Sky Association. The site emits nearly 1,000 times less light than downtown Chicago, with four times as many stars visible in the night sky than can be seen in the city.

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Spring Lake Forest Preserve, Cook County. (Patty Wetli / WTTW News)

How much is nature worth? The Forest Preserve District of Cook County is about to find out. The district’s board of commissioners has thrown its support behind a proposal for a ballot referendum that would put a property tax increase for the preserves directly in the hands of voters.