Quote of the week: Those showy yellow flowers of many species of goldenrod have sticky, heavy pollen that clings to insects which carry the pollen to the next flower, so there’s not much chance the pollen will end up in the noses of hay fever sufferers.


Read why goldenrods don’t cause hay fever and why they are truly an American species, plus which ones to plant in your yard in an article about goldenrods featured in Natural Awakenings by Sheryl DeVore.


Quote of the week: It’s a cog in the wheel. All the cogs will help scientists understand more about dragonfly and damselfly populations.

Illinois Odonate Survey  monitor Jim Wolf  explains why he volunteers counting dragonflies and damselflies.  For more, click here. eaternpondhoawk

Quote of the week: Let’s protect our feathered residents as well.

Waukegan Alderman Lisa May spoke about a new partnership with the City of Waukegan and Lake County Audubon Society on monitoring the beach where rare birds nest.  Click here to read the story.Piping Plover 1bvctaken june2016 Photo of Piping Plover, a federally endangered species that nested at Waukegan Municipal Beach, by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Quote of the week:When asked what would happen if all the restoration volunteers in Lake County suddenly stopped working on natural lands, Nan Buckardt replied, “It would be devastating.”


Kathleen Garness collects white sweet-clover from a rare sand prairie in Zion. Photo by Sheryl DeVore. For the story on volunteer restoration workers, click here.

For more quotes of the week, click here.


The writing bug: What does that really mean?

I have a done a lot in my life (and I hope to do a lot more) — birding, gardening, exercising, reading, doing science, playing the flute, teaching, editing — and WRITING!!! I love them all, but here’s why writing is so important to me:

First. I am a journalist — so my writing is nonfiction — and as such, I understand the deep commitment to making every single sentence accurate and connected to the one before and after it. Not easy! But when it happens, I get that thrill – perhaps a type of thrill received by taking illicit drugs — I don’t know, because I never have done so, but I imagine my thrill is better and not harmful to my health.

I can get lost in my writing by moving words around, changing words, deleting words until it reads — I hope — like poetry, and is able to generate some sort of truth, insight and inspiration to the reader, and me.

I am most myself and absorbed with something else beside myself when I am working on a writing project that really moves me. That’s how you should choose your life’s role!

One of these I’d like to share with you is a story about a rock garden to be built along Lake Michigan — sounds simple enough, yes? But while working on it, standing on the expansive shoreline and seeing all those rocks created millions of years ago, with stories to tell, well, it just made me feel more connected to the universe — and also helped me see why we are all part of this beautiful planet that we need to protect. I also admired the commitment to conservation that an elderly woman has made in her part of the world for so many years — and the wonder she sees in all that’s around her.

Perhaps one reader felt the same way I do.  Click here for the story.


Here’s my favorite introductory paragraph to a really cool quote:

The garden also will feature several 500- to 600-pound stones linked to the geological history of the lake, including basalt, which came from the Earth’s surface in the form of lava and then hardened billions of years ago; granite, which was carried by the glaciers several thousand years ago; and limestone, Illinois’ bedrock, which contains fossils of marine creatures that lived when the state was once a part of a giant sea some 400 million years ago.

“You go from the huge natural stone, then it gets grinded down over time until it becomes rocks and then sand,” Grill said. “How amazing is that?”

For 2015, I have several writing goals — which I’ll share later. I want to keep them quiet and to myself for right now.

Why do you write? Why do you draw? Why do you paint? Why do you create? Would love to hear your thoughts.