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A section of open beach is being added to the protected Montrose Dune Natural Area. (Patty Wetli / WTTW News)

Conservationists are celebrating a big win for wildlife along Chicago’s lakefront, where the expansion of a “treasured” natural area will give more room to some high-profile occupants: a pair of endangered Great Lake piping plovers, Monty and Rose.

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A plover parent and chick at Montrose Beach in 2019, courtesy of the Shedd Aquarium. (Credit: Susan Szeszol)

Shedd Aquarium is hosting a pair of cleanup and habitat restoration days at 63rd Street beach, where 12 acres of dunes have attracted piping plovers, among other bird species.  

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Garfield Park Conservatory's "Saturation" exhibit. (Patty Wetli / WTTW News)

After months of staring at Chicago’s bleak and barren winter landscape, Garfield Park Conservatory’s spring show is a bit like landing in Oz.

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Great Lakes piping plovers, like the one pictured, need more protected habitat along Chicago's lakefront, advocates say. (Vince Cavalieri / U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)

Ald. James Cappleman has joined the chorus of supporters lobbying the Chicago Park District to set aside a section of Montrose Beach as protected habitat for Monty and Rose, Chicago’s beloved pair of Great Lakes piping plovers.

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A rendering of John Ronan Architects’ plan for the Park District’s new headquarters. (Courtesy of Chicago Park District)

The 17-acre former industrial site in Brighton Park will encompass not only the Park District’s new headquarters, but a field house, nature play space, grand lawn, water features and more. “It’s going to be transformative,” said Park District Board President Avis LaVelle.

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The Chicago Park District's indoor swimming pools are reopening in spring session, which begins April 5. (tookapic / Pixabay)

Registration is open for the Chicago Park District’s spring session, including its aquatics programs and spring break camps for children 6 to 12 years old.

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(Courtesy Friends of Big Marsh)

The projects, proposed by Mayor Lori Lightfoot at Wednesday's City Council meeting, would largely be funded through Tax Increment Financing dollars.

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Nearly a year after lakefront parks were closed due to the coronavirus, officials are set to announce their reopening. (WTTW News)

The Chicago Park District announced Tuesday that lakefront parks and playgrounds will reopen, nearly a year after they were closed due to the coronavirus.

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(WTTW News)

Last summer, three Christopher Columbus statues were removed after violent altercations between police and protesters. For months, the sites sat empty. But last fall, a display of Italian American pride banners appeared in place of the former statue in Chicago’s Little Italy neighborhood.

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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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Lauren Umek of the Park District and research assistant Alifya Saify at Big Marsh Park. (Courtesy of Chicago Park District)

Portions of Big Marsh Park were once heaped high with waste from the area’s now defunct steel mills. The soil has since been remediated, and now the Chicago Park District is working to find out if native plants can grow and thrive there.  

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Limited in-person winter programs kick off Jan. 25. (Courtesy of Chicago Park District)

Registration is now open, with limited in-person programming beginning Monday.

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A new CPS school will be connected to the existing field house at Riis Park, 6100 W. Fullerton Ave., in Belmont Cragin. (Riis Park Advisory Council / Facebook)

During Wednesday’s monthly meeting of the Chicago Park District Board, commissioners unanimously agreed to lease property within Riis Park to Chicago Public Schools for the construction of a new elementary school.

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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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Chicago Park District in-person programming is suspended, but virtual sessions are still open for registration. (Courtesy of Chicago Park District)

Winter programs have been suspended due to mitigations in place to stem the spread of the coronavirus, but people are still welcome to enjoy park trails and outdoor spaces.

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Christmas trees. (Lisa Fotios / Pexels)

Starting Jan. 9, you can drop off your tree for recycling at one of two dozen Chicago parks. Here’s everything you need to know.