Species Spotlight


The silhouettes of a group of bats flying through the evening sky, swooping to capture flying insects raised many questions for me — How much do they eat? Where do they go during the day or in winter? What about vampire bats and diseases? How can I see more bats? Determined to find out, I […]

Northern Riffleshell

Historically, Illinois rivers supported approximately 80 species of freshwater mussels. Scientists estimate that 17 of those species have been extirpated (5 of which are globally extinct), including the northern riffleshell (Epioblasma rangiana). Last seen in Illinois over 100 years ago, the riffleshell was listed as federally endangered under the Endangered Species Protection Act in 1994. […]


This time of year we all love to be outside, hiking through the woods and grasslands, exploring the diversity of life around us. After spending a day watching birds and butterflies soar, seeing bumble bees fly from flower to flower, and listening to frogs sing, we return home only to find that unexpected visitors have […]


Ask any child what kind of snake they’ve seen and more often than not, the answer will be a “garden” or “gardener” snake. Most likely, they are referring to one of the species of gartersnake. Across North America, there are 16 species of gartersnakes in the genus Thamnophis and four of those are found in […]