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Bur oak is one of more than 80 oak species native to the U.S. (Karen Roussel / Flickr Creative Commons)

A team of researchers, led by Morton Arboretum, spent the better part of the past five years creating the first-ever standardized checklist and threat assessment of the nearly 900 species native U.S. trees. Their work provides the foundation on which to build awareness, advocacy and future conservation efforts.

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Hill 'N Dale Farm South, recently acquired for permanent conservation as open space. (Indoor Drone Tours)

The Duchossois family — whose late patriarch, Richard Duchossois, purchased Arlington Park in 1983 — has announced the sale of its 246.5-acre Hill ‘N Dale Farm South property to Barrington-based Citizens for Conservation, ensuring the land’s protection as open space in perpetuity.

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Chicago Conservation Leadership Corps crew clearing buckthorn at Sand Ridge Nature Center, August 2022. (Patty Wetli / WTTW News)

While federal legislation to create a modern-day Civilian Conservation Corps inches its way through Congress, the Cook County Forest Preserve is moving full steam ahead with programs that deploy crews of youth and adults to tackle restoration and maintenance projects across the district’s acreage.

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Supporters of Montrose Dunes Natural Area say the site looks neglected, with invasive species taking hold. (Patty Wetli / WTTW News)

Some people are concerned about what they say are deteriorating conditions at the high-quality habitat where the endangered plovers Monty and Rose raised their three successive broods of chicks between 2019 and 2021. 

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Scientists gather around what may be a lateleaf oak, thought to be extinct. In Big Bend National Park, May 2022. (Courtesy of U.S. Botanic Garden)

The lateleaf oak has confounded botanists since it was first discovered in the 1930s. Scientists have been hard-pressed to find a single surviving example in recent decades. But a new discovery, pending genetic testing by Morton Arboretum, could put the tree back on the map. 

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Thompson Road Farm, now owned by The Land Conservancy. (Patty Wetli / WTTW News)

Climate change and the alarming trends of species extinction and habitat loss demand that conservation organizations think big. So The Land Conservancy of McHenry County stepped up its game.

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Granddad, in livelier days at the Shedd Aquarium. (Shedd Aquarium)

We all knew that Granddad, the Shedd Aquarium’s long-lived Australian lungfish, was an old-timer. Now, five years after he shuffled off to the big fish tank in the sky, Granddad’s true age has been revealed.

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Crew members from SailGP prepare to install native aquatic plants in the Chicago River. (Friends of the Chicago River)

Members of the SailGP international yacht racing league have converged on Chicago for an upcoming competition, but before taking their catamarans onto Lake Michigan this weekend, the athletes piled into canoes and helped install native aquatic plants along the Chicago River's banks.

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Food scraps can be composted into nutrients for soil. (herb007 / Pixabay)

The University of Illinois Extension in Cook County is teaming up with the Garfield Park Conservatory Alliance and Plant Chicago on a pair of compost collection events in Chicago on Saturday.

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Gov. J.B. Pritzker in his "Cargo Load" ad touting the expansion of Rockford Airport. (YouTube)

Environmentalists have been taken aback by a campaign ad in which Gov. J.B. Pritzker touts the expansion of Rockford Airport, which will demolish an 8,000-year-old remnant prairie.

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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)

A rare patch of 8,000-year-old remnant Illinois prairie has been granted a new three-month lease on life, as the Greater Rockford Airport Authority has again delayed demolition of the natural area, pending additional environmental review.

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(WTTW News)

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has allocated $225.8 million to the Brandon Road Lock and Dam invasive carp barrier. The funds will complete the planning and engineering phase of the project.

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Shedd Aquarium's Maggie Cooper demonstrates proper sawing technique during a work day at Skokie Lagoons. (Patty Wetli / WTTW News)

Skokie Lagoons may look like an oasis of green but a lot of that lush vegetation is actually an invasive species called European buckthorn. WTTW News tagged along as a group of volunteers charged into the thicket and tackled this enemy. 

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One of Carvana's auto vending machines. (Courtesy of Carvana)

In response to concerns about putting a see-through glass tower in the path of migrating birds, Carvana revised its plan to incorporate bird-friendly components. Critics called the proposed mitigations “woefully inadequate.” 

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Bell Bowl Prairie, a high-quality remnant of Illinois prairie, located within the boundary of Chicago Rockford International Airport. (Courtesy of Cassi Saari)

On Friday, the Greater Rockford Airport Authority filed a motion in U.S. District Court to dismiss a lawsuit blocking the airport’s planned expansion of its cargo operations, which would destroy a rare five-acre high-quality remnant prairie in the process.

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One of Carvana's auto vending machines. (Courtesy of Carvana)

A 140-foot-tall transparent structure that’s brightly illuminated 24/7, located across the street from Harms Woods nature preserve, along a key migratory greenway, is a triple threat to birds, environmentalists say.