Quote of the week: There was no master plan – not even close.


Cheap Trick in 2017 — Photo by David McLister

Tom Petersson, founding bassist for Cheap Trick talks about music, life, making plans and helping his young son through autism spectrum disorder.

Click here for the story.




Quote of the week: “We need to listen to the bees.”

Ed Popelka, resident beekeeper for the College of Lake County, talks about honey bees and native bees — and what’s being done to help them.  For a video and story, click here.


Quote of the week:I’m sure this is unprecedented that piping plovers are nesting on a Superfund site

  • pipingploverhenneghanBrad Semel in an article I wrote entitled, “Rare birds nesting at hazardous cleanup site in Waukegan”

Two more federally endangered birds have returned to Lake County, but the future of their nesting site remains undecided.

Last year, a pair of piping plovers nested at Illinois Beach State Park along Lake Michigan in Zion. And despite the fact that a peregrine falcon snatched the adult male before the chicks were born, all four young shorebirds survived — and one was even found wintering in Georgia.

This year, two of those chicks, now adults, returned to nest on the formerly asbestos-ridden Johns Manville property in Waukegan, the site of a federal Superfund project to clean up hazardous materials. The nesting site is about a half-mile from where they were born.

For the rest of the story,  click here.

Photo of piping plover at Johns Manville in Waukegan by John Henneghan

May 2 — Grunting rails and sea of woodland white


Happy second day of May — I chose to walk through Wright Woods today in Vernon Hills — Of course I was hoping for an influx of migrant birds — but it was fairly quiet — save for a few cool experiences I’ll reveal later on. But the most breathtaking moment, one I just cannot capture in film was the sea of white — the great white trillium carpeting the forest floor. If you have not been to Wright Woods in early May to see the trillium — get yourself there now. They don’t last long. They are in full bloom now and soon they will start to turn pink and wither.

Singing in the woodlands today were yellow-rumped and palm warblers, a northern waterthrush and two dueling yellow warblers —  I heard them singing from a shrub row off the path and hiked in to watch two males flying to and fro and shouting out their songs.   Yellow warblers sing sweet, sweet, sweet, sweeter than sweet, but they also sing a song similar to that of a chestnut-sided warbler — they were doing both today — so of course I had to get off the path to confirm 😉 My reward for getting off the path — two big deer ticks. I know ticks are nature, too, but still — I think it’s going to be a bad tick year.

Another little off the beaten path revealed a pair of wood ducks and a beaver — who realized I was there and swam out of sight, flapping his flat tail behind him.

So now for the grunting rails — while walking along some wetland/cattail areas at Half Day Woods, connected to Wright Woods, I heard a loud grunting noise — followed by another nearby.  I peered in between the cattails to see one rail  dashing after another. They continued their gruntings for a bit — I tired to join in, but they knew I was an imposter.

Here’s a link to the crazy sounds of Virginia rails.

This was really a cool and lucky find — they just decided to get “mad” at each other while I was walking by.

You just never know what you’ll find when you’re out in the wild — and to add joy to the day I met some lovely bird monitors and had a lovey chat with Jackie Dann about life, nature and birds.

Happy May 2.

A new blog trend: A Source’s Ultimate Quote


Greetings fellow writers, journalists and readers. I’m starting a new sidekick to my blog, Natural Editions called A Source’s Ultimate Quote. In interview so many interesting and fascinating people and get inspirational, amusing,  contradictory and thought-provoking quotes I’d like to share with you. I’ll also post quotes I find from stories I read on line that are — inspirational, amusing, contradictory and thought-provoking.

Here’s the first of many to come:

“I would liken the music of Carl Schalk to a bowl of crystal glass floating in water.”

copywright/Sheryl DeVore

I will post the article soon that includes this quote.

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.