Nature Boardwalk at Lincoln Park Zoo

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February 24, 2014
Sharing Notes on Urban Wildlife

For the past few years the Urban Wildlife Institute has been chronicling the diversity of wildlife at Nature Boardwalk and Lincoln Park Zoo. We use motion-triggered camera traps to collect photographs of mammals (coyotes, raccoons, etc.), conduct visual observations of birds and butterflies, and even deploy hoop-net traps to monitor the turtle populations in our ponds.

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September 7, 2012
Web Masters

Spiders are incredibly diverse, with around 40,000 different species worldwide. Some spiders roam across the ground actively hunting for prey, while others construct complex webs to capture anything unfortunate enough to fly, jump or fall into them.

Researchers at the Urban Wildlife Institute often encounter spiders in the grass or on trees at Nature Boardwalk at Lincoln Park Zoo.

August 31, 2012
Plant of the Week: Little Bluestem

This attractive prairie grass is a tussock, or bunch, grass: it grows as a singular plant in clumps, tufts or bunches. It displays blue and silver-tinted stems and leaves in the spring that turn to lovely shades of wine-red in fall.

August 20, 2012
Plant of the Week: Blue Vervain

Rising from the ground up to 5 feet, this slender perennial of the mint family resembles an Indian mystic’s rope trick, with erect cord-like stems that delicately sway in the breeze. Blue vervain’s green or red stems are actually squarish and four-angled, terminating in flowering spikes. The spikes are densely crowded with scentless, reddish-blue or violet flowers.

August 8, 2012
Plant of the Week: Rattlesnake Master

Its common name sounds like an ominous villain in a western. But this odd member of the carrot family—sporting yucca-like leaves and prickly balls of flowers—is simply a tall wildflower prairie species with a unique appearance and colorful past.

July 27, 2012
Solitary Wasps Making a Home at Nature Boardwalk

A close look at the solitary wasp spotted at Nature Boardwalk.

These past few weeks biologists at the Urban Wildlife Institute have been seeing large sphecid wasps (of the Sphecidae family) buzzing around Nature Boardwalk at Lincoln Park Zoo.

July 13, 2012
Plant of the Week: Blue Hyssop

Blue hyssop is an upright, clump-forming perennial of the mint family that's native to parts of the upper Midwest and Great Plains. It's noted for its mid- to late-summer bloom of lavender to purple flowers and anise-scented foliage. The flowers appear in false whorls, which are densely packed into cylindrical, terminal flower spikes.

July 3, 2012
Black-Crowned Night Herons Fledging at Nature Boardwalk

A black-crowned night heron fledgling rests between attempts at flight.

The black-crowned night herons are always a wonderful sight at Nature Boardwalk at Lincoln Park Zoo. Heron chicks have been heard in the area since early May. Finally, now, a number of them are trying to figure out how to fly.

June 26, 2012
Nature Boardwalk Through the Seasons

Sunday marked the second anniversary of Nature Boardwalk at Lincoln Park Zoo. Celebrate two years of growth in the urban oasis with these time-lapse photos showing the landscape in spring, summer, fall and winter.

June 22, 2012
Plant of the Week: Butterfly Milkweed

This beautiful prairie wildflower has weathered the recent drought well at Nature Boardwalk. Butterfly milkweed is a tuberous, rooted perennial. It grows in clumps to 1–3 feet tall and features clusters of bright orange to yellow-orange flowers atop upright to reclining, hairy stems with narrow, lance-shaped leaves.

June 15, 2012
Snapping Turtle Yearlings at Nature Boardwalk

Lincoln Park Zoo biologists have been tracking the movement of a snapping turtle that was released into the pond this March.

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