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Karen Schik

Why insects matter and what you can do about their decline

In the past few years, news of the decline of insect populations has raised alarm bells. Experts say the world is losing around 1 to 2 percent of its insects each year. By now, most people know pollinators are vital to making about a third of our food supply. But what about all the other insects — does this overall population decrease matter?  >>

January 29

Counting critters at Pine Bend Bluffs, our longest-running restoration

Over the last 20 years at Pine Bend Bluffs, we've converted a buckthorn forest to oak savanna and a Siberian elm canopy to prairie. Now we're monitoring the site to see how wildlife is responding. Since we restore lands largely to benefit animals (and plants), documenting critters is a valuable measure of success. And survey says: We've been pretty successful.  >>

March 9

Spotting rare, native ladybugs

Lady beetles (also called ladybugs) are one of the most common insects we encounter in summer. They may be the first insects toddlers can identify, easily recognizable because of their bright red color and contrasting black spots. But almost all of the ladybugs you're likely to see aren't native. What happened to our 50 native species?  >>

February 10

Vermillion Falls Park: take a walk with walking fern

Where can you walk through a dry waterfall, find karst topography, encounter a walking fern, meet ancient bur oak trees and see the oldest operating flour mill in the state? Vermillion Falls Park in Hastings! Oh, and there's a large rushing waterfall here as well. >>

November 5

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