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.



Quote of the week: “It’s possible we’re the first generation to use this site since the native peoples.”

Pamela Newton said this about the new nature preserve in Hawthorn Woods, designed to help monarchs and other wildlife. It contains myriad native trees, shrubs and wildflowers; plus volunteers and officials are working to eradicate purple loosestrife and buckthorn and add more native vegetation. Read here.

Photo below of Hawthorn Woods mayor releasing monarchs at the preserve’s opening. Sheryl DeVore/Photography




Quote of the week: They don’t make root beer like this anywhere else.

Roy Miller and family celebrate 50 years running a Dog N Suds in Ingleside, Illinois. At its heyday, more than 600 Dog N Suds operated int he U.S. Today, only about 14 are left and Miller’s is one of them. Read more.   Below, Roy’s daughter, pours a draft root beer, made the same way it was five decades ago. Photo by Sheryl DeVoreIMG_7627

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.