Prairies in Bloom
Gensbug-Markham prairie with blazing star, goldenrod, and wild quinine.
The prairies of the Chicago area are ablaze with summer wildflowers. I've been out trying to enjoy what I consider to be one of the best times of year to see the prairies. One of my favorite wildflowers is dense blazing star, Liatris spicata, which has spikes of purple clusters of flowers. A recent visit to Gensburg-Markham prairie, part of the Indian Boundary prairies, did not disappoint. The mix of blazing star, towering grasses, and other wildflowers displays the beauty of God's creation.
I was also treated to a spectacle of monarch butterflies. Although in years previous I had only seen a few monarchs all summer, I saw at least a dozen (probably more) during one morning walk. With monarchs in decline in the Eastern United States for several years, this makes me hopeful that they may be making a rebound. As you may know, monarchs are amazing in their migration ability. Several generations live all their lives in our part of the world, and then in the fall, a new batch of butterflies makes the migration south (mostly to Mexico), never having been there before. Hopefully there will be good reports about the migrants that make the flight to Mexico this fall and overwinter there.
Monarch butterflies on blazing star and rattlesnake master flowers.
Another fun place to visit not far from Trinity is the Little Red Schoolhouse Nature Center. The grounds near the nature center feature a rain garden demonstration and a restored prairie, and some remnant areas of prairie are just a short hike down well maintained trails.
Little Red Schoolhouse Nature Center, with wild bergamot blooming in the foreground.
Where ever you are, I hope you have a chance to get out and explore the beauty of God's world.
Little explorer at Gensburg-Markham prairie
I'm a biology professor at Trinity Christian College. I'll be using this page to share interesting stories related to ecology and conservation at Trinity and in the Chicago area (although I might be tempted to expand my geographic focus upon occasion).