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29 Spring Snake Migration at La Rue-Pine Hills

Snake Road

Just north of Wolf Lake you will find Snake Road; the name says it all. The road is flanked by 350-foot tall bluffs on the east side and flatland swamps on the west. Snakes like to hibernate in the bluffs during the winter, but in the summer they feed in the swamps. This provides the answer to the age-old question, “Why did the snake cross the road?” During the spring nearly 35 species of snakes — and other reptiles and amphibians — migrate across the road to reach their summer habitats.

A two-and-a-half mile stretch of the Snake Road (also called LaRue Road or Forest Road 345) is closed to traffic from March 15 to May 15 for the snake migration. The road is still open to hiking but don’t expect to see hundreds of snakes wriggling across the road like some kind of bad horror movie. The migration is a slow process that lasts several weeks.

Interested in learning more about snake migration? Head down to Southern Illinois to catch a glimpse of these snakes and explore everything else the area has to offer.

LaRue-Pine Hills Ecological Area features the state’s greatest vegetative diversity. The massive Pine Hills bluff line borders the Big Muddy River and towers 300 feet above the LaRue Swamp. Prehistoric-looking Great Blue Heron soar silently above the swamp waters, hunting fish. In addition, Inspiration Point is a popular spot for viewing panoramic sunsets. The view is gorgeous and you can often see Bald Eagles and other birds of prey flying below.

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30 Get Green

Its Future is in our Hands, by aussiegall

Today is Earth Day and there’s no better way to celebrate its 40th birthday than by getting involved in this special day of appreciation.  Whether you’re getting your hands dirty, shopping for the cause or participating an eco-educational event, you can make a difference this Earth Day!

So c’mon, indulge in this excuse to grab a friend or the whole family and head out to one of these Earth-friendly activities/events:

The Children's Discovery Museum in Normal is getting green

Community Clean Up Day 2010
Saturday, April 24
8:30 am – 1:00 pm
Throughout Crystal Lake
Registration: www.clchamber.com
Community Clean Up Day is a great way to give Mother Nature and eco-boost while enjoying the outdoors. Enjoy free breakfast and lunch on the Crystal Lake Chamber of Commerce in exchange for picking up after the spring thaw.

Get down and dirty…

ECCO Green Expo
Sunday, April 25
10:00 am – 5:00 pm
Elgin Community College
1700 Spartan Drive, Elgin IL

Get educated…At the ECCO Green Expo, you can learn how to be green year-round! Join other households, businesses and community organizations and discover the power and ease of being a “Green Hero.” Enjoy musical entertainment and engage in panel presentations on City plans, Transportation, Conservation, Recycling, Organic Gardening and much more!

Earth Day Celebration
Children’s Discovery Museum
Saturday, April 24
10:00 AM – 2:00 PM
101 E Beaufort
Normal, IL

Make it a family affair…Grab the kids and celebrate Earth Day at the Children’s Discovery Museum! Free activities including composting worms, water conservation projects, circle the Earth bracelets and many more Earth-loving activities!

Green Retreat
Green Retreat
6096 Chautauqua Rd.
Murphysboro, IL

Get out of town…Whether you’re looking for a change in scenery with your family or business group, a green retreat is a great way to mindfully celebrate Earth Day. Green Retreat in Murphysboro offers various lodging and recreational choices amongst nearly 100 acres of forest, cropland, ponds and horse paddocks. Its combination of fields, gardens, greenhouses, as well as “green technologies” and environmental education opportunities make Green Retreat an ideal option for a broad range of groups.


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31 IL Insider chicago parks to stroll

Promontory Point by nautical2k

When the weather starts to warm up, there is nothing better than a peaceful walk in one of Chicago’s many parks to recharge and reflect. Here are two of our favorites:

Promontory Point, know by locals as “The Point” in Hyde Park is a jewel on the south side of Chicago, located just across the street from the Museum of Science and Industry. Walking through a tunnel under the busting traffic to walk into a beautiful park and beach feels like stepping into another world.

If you’re a dog-owner, be sure to stop by the pet-friendly fountain at the heart of The Point. Sit on the rocks looking out over the incredible Lake Michigan or pack some food and enjoy a BBQ at one of the grilling areas.

The Scarecrow by Jeremy Burgin

If you head north for nine miles you’ll find Oz Park in the Lincoln Park neighborhood. Oz Park is a great place for parents and their children to gather and enjoy a spring day. The park has a “Wizard of Oz” theme, so visitors will be greeted by life-size statues of the Tin Man, Cowardly Lion, Scarecrow and, of course, Dorothy and Toto.

Kids can swing, climb and run at “Dorothy’s Playlot,” which is filled with all kinds of play equipment. Oz Park also has the “Emerald Green,” where families can take a leisurely stroll amongst beautiful greens and flowers.

Oz Park does more than just accomodate kids and parents, though. You’ll find tennis and basketball courts as well as baseball and soccer fields for all ages scattered throughout the area. It also hosts organized t-ball and soccer.

What’s your favorite park in Chicago? Have you been to “The Point” or Oz Park before? Tell us about it, or comment below!


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32 Earth Day Eats

Corn by jasonippolito

The best part of spring, besides the wonderful weather and freshly bloomed flowers is Earth Day, which happens every year on April 22. This year is pretty special because it marks the 40th Earth Day, a day designed to inspire awareness and appreciation for the Earth’s environment.

So as we celebrate and take a little extra care of our wonderful planet, we should also make sure where we eat our food on Earth Day reflects this extraordinary event!

So check out these Illinois Earth Day Food Spots!

More Link

33 Lets go Fly a Kite

Kite Fest by Eileen Milligan

I am so glad that Kite Fest is back in Decatur again this year! Last year a few of us were able to attend (adults and children!) and we were blown away by all of the beautiful bright kites flying in the air. The kids had a blast flying their free kites (The first 250 children get a free kite) and were enamored by all of the fun shapes and sizes the kites came in. Illinois Kite Enthusiasts did some amazing stunt kiting throughout the festival.

This event takes place this weekend at Progress City at Richland Community College from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. both Saturday and Sunday and admission is free. For more information call 217-428-4321 and ask for Norm.


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