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

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.

(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.

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. 

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

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.

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

Sandhill cranes. (ladymacbeth / Pixabay)

The region’s nature lovers eagerly anticipate the annual flyover of the large, raucous birds but for regular observers of the cranes, this year’s migration was cause for anxiety due to low numbers counted at their regular Indiana rest stop.

The wild turkey is a North American original. (Elljay / Pixabay)

When’s the last time you thought about the turkey not as dinner but as a bird? Here are some fascinating facts about this North American original.

Construction on the Rockford Airport cargo expansion has come right to the edge of Bell Bowl Prairie. (Courtesy of Cassi Saari)
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$50M airfield cargo expansion first phase of grander plan

The Rockford Airport Authority is not ceding Bell Bowl Prairie, an ancient prairie remnant that’s part of the airport’s nearly 3,000-acre property. In an interview with WTTW News, the authority reaffirmed its commitment to a $50 million expansion plan that would impact the five-acre prairie.

Big bluestem grass creates a colorful burgundy ribbon in a prairie. (Laura Hubers / U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)

So little prairie still exists in Illinois, most residents of the state have never encountered this rare landscape. Here, then, is an introduction.

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

The Natural Land Institute filed suit Wednesday in U.S. District Court to stop the Greater Rockford Airport Authority from tearing up the 8,000-year-old Bell Bowl Prairie as part of an airport expansion project.

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.

Bell Bowl Prairie, a high-quality remnant of Illinois prairie, located within the boundary of Chicago Rockford International Airport. (Courtesy of Cassi Saari)
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Conservationists are in a race against the clock to save a five-acre patch of rare Illinois prairie from being bulldozed as part of a 280-acre expansion of the Chicago Rockford International Airport's cargo operation.

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.

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.