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

More than 500 names were submitted for the chicks, which hatched in June, and the selected monikers reflect the history and spirit of Chicago.

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Bison at Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie. (USDA Forest Service)

July is National Bison Month — who knew? Here’s where you can catch buffalo roaming, close to home, in Illinois and Indiana.

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

The three chicks hatched in mid-June and now local birding organizations have created a contest to give them names. Submissions are open through Wednesday.

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Northern Saw-whet owl. (James St. John / Flickr)

The northern saw-whet is a tiny owl with a big personality. U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service staff caught this normally secretive owl performing a hilarious stare down.

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A monarch butterfly feeds on milkweed, which is the sole food source for monarch caterpillars. (Patty Wetli / WTTW News)

Scores of Chicagoans have planted milkweed — the monarch’s host plant — in their yards and other green spaces, but how effective are those efforts? The Field Museum is recruiting citizen scientists to find out.

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Regal fritillary butterfly. (Doug Taron)

Similar in size to the monarch, the regal fritillary is also a stunner in the looks department, but the native prairie butterfly has nearly disappeared from Illinois. To save this pollinator, we need to save the prairie.

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Jeff Skrentny (WTTW News)

More than 200 species of birds have been identified at this small forest preserve, along with hundreds of other living things. We meet up with Jeff Skrentny and several dozen volunteers for a morning of pre-pandemic restoration work.

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In this Aug. 7, 2019, file photo, the queen bee (marked in green) and worker bees move around a hive at the Veterans Affairs in Manchester, N.H. (AP Photo / Elise Amendola, File)

American honeybee colonies have bounced back after a bad year, the annual beekeeping survey finds.

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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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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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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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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 bumble bee is one of hundreds of species of bees native to Illinois. (Judy Gallagher / Flickr)

The United Nations created World Bee Day to raise awareness of these pollinators and the threats they face. The honey bee may get all the glory, but there are 400-500 species of bees native to Illinois. 

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Dandelions are an important food source for pollinators, especially in the spring. (Patty Wetli / WTTW News)

The dandelion — a once-prized plant that gardeners used to exhibit at county fairs — now holds the title of Public Lawn Enemy No. 1. But is this reputation deserved?

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