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Construction on the Rockford Airport cargo expansion has come right to the edge of Bell Bowl Prairie. (Courtesy of Cassi Saari)

Supporters of the movement to save Bell Bowl Prairie, a small patch of rare remnant prairie situated within the boundaries of Chicago Rockford International Airport, say they have a simple solution that preserves the prairie and allows the airport to expand: Just move a road.

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Volunteers turned out Oct. 2, 2021 for Friends of Illinois Nature Preserves’ first recruitment event at Shaw Woods. (Courtesy Friends of Illinois Nature Preserves)

Friends of Illinois Nature Preserves, founded in 2020 to rally support for the state’s protected natural areas, is now launching a major recruitment effort to grow its ranks and muster a corps of volunteers to steward the sites in a race against invasive species and climate change.

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The rusty patched bumble bee, pictured here, was the first bee in the continental U.S. to receive an endangered species listing. More bumble bees are now being considered. (Courtesy U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)

One of North America’s most common native bumble bee species, the aptly named American bumble bee, is on the ropes. Among the threats to its survival: competition from honey bees.

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An ivory-billed woodpecker specimen is on a display at the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco, Friday, Sept. 24, 2021. (AP Photo / Haven Daley)

Death’s come knocking a last time for the splendid ivory-billed woodpecker and 22 more birds, fish and other species: The U.S. government on Wednesday declared them extinct.

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Native plants are highly beneficial for the environment, but they often get mistaken for weeds. (Patty Wetli / WTTW News)

The creation of the Native and Pollinator Garden Registry means Chicago gardeners now have protection from overzealous ticket writers. And plants like milkweed can take their rightful place alongside other “flowers” instead of being mistaken for weeds.

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The endangered rusty patched bumble bee. (Courtesy U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)

Four years after the rusty patched bumble bee was placed on the endangered species list, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has released its final recovery plan for the insect, a plan critics say manages to go too far and yet not far enough at the same time.

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(WTTW News)

The nonprofit El Valor has raised thousands of monarchs, and each year the community comes together for a butterfly release. 

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More than 30 million migrating birds will pass over Illinois in the coming days. (Dariusz Grosa / Pexels)

With close to 100,000 birds expected to pass over Chicago this weekend, the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and its partners have issued a “lights out” alert for the city, encouraging building owners and residents to turn off as many lights as possible between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m.

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The Route 66 Monarch Flyway combines ecotourism with conservation to save two endangered entities: the monarch butterfly and small towns. (Visit Litchfield Illinois / Facebook)

The Route 66 Monarch Flyway in Illinois aims to breath new life into small towns while providing critical habitat for the imperiled butterfly.

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The Thompson Center’s glass facade wouldn’t pass muster today under a new law requiring bird-friendly design for state buildings. (WTTW News)

Nearly 600 million birds are killed annually in North America due to collisions with buildings. A new Illinois law mandates bird-friendly design for state buildings.

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Currently, the city’s tree canopy cover is at 16%, a 3 percentage point decrease since 2010, according to a 2020 census of Chicago’s trees led by the Morton Arboretum. (WTTW News)

The City Council has unanimously approved an ordinance to create an Urban Forestry Advisory Board — charged with strategically caring for Chicago's urban tree canopy.

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Monty and Rose's plover chicks, 2020. (Courtesy of Bob Dolgan)

The full-length documentary captures the story of Monty and Rose from their hatching in 2017 to their status as standard bearers for piping plover conservation efforts. 

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Great Lakes piping plover. (Vince Cavalieri / U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)

Chicago’s indomitable piping plovers have welcomed three chicks, with a fourth still possibly on the way, plover monitors have reported.

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Chicago has room for 900,000 more trees in under-resourced areas alone. (Facebook / Openlands)

Supporters are calling it a big win for Chicago’s trees, but say the real work begins now. How the new Urban Forestry Advisory Board will bring together public and private partners to care for and enhancing the city’s urban canopy.

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Artist Philip Juras painting at Somme Prairie Grove in Cook County. (Credit Robin Carlson)

Artist Philip Juras spent more than five years visiting prairie remnants in Illinois, capturing the beauty of the state’s signature landscape past and present. An exhibit of his paintings is now on view at the Chicago Botanic Garden.

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A Boykin spaniel with an ornate box turtle in its mouth waits to hand it over. (Cathy Bazzoni / Chicago Zoological Society-Brookfield Zoo)

Specially trained “turtle dogs” took part in a field study of threatened ornate box turtles at Nachusa Grasslands, one of the species last homes in Illinois.