Horizon 2

City Creatures Blog

As urban populations grow, and contact with nature becomes more constricted, is our psychological and social well-being in jeopardy?  Are healthy ecological communities, biological diversity, and even wilderness compatible with urban areas?  An extension of our City Creatures project, this blog explores how cities can be remarkable places that offer opportunities for intimacy, connection, and transformation with other species, and with one another, in our shared urban habitats.  

To request guidelines for blog post submissions, please email gavin@humansandnature.org


Cougar Towns and River Cats

The following is part one of three blog posts on the topic of large carnivore dispersal. I begin with the thing itself: large carnivores are finding their way to Illinois with increasing frequency. What does this portend? Part two will explore the types of public outreach that might best prepare people for coexistence with large carnivores. Part ... Read More »


The Technological Education of a Luddite

Sometimes we derive comfort merely from knowing that a special place exists. For me, one such place is Yellowstone. The phrase “love at first sight” is not too extreme to describe my exhilaration the first time I passed through the Roosevelt Gate and encountered pronghorn, bison, elk, and swans all within a few minutes.

I ... Read More »

Feathers from 10 species of starlings (2013). Photo: Chris Maynard

Why I Find Feathers Alluring

Growing up, three bothersome younger sisters drove me to seek beauty, knowledge, solace, fun, and wonder in the big woods surrounding our home. This was in a rapidly suburbanizing area just east of Seattle. I remember, at 14, crouching by an overgrown ditch along a busy road, watching a foot-long trout, motionless in the clear ... Read More »

Processed with VSCOcam with a5 preset

Alleys of Chicago

The city of Chicago has about four thousand miles of roadway. Let me put that in perspective. If you were to lay those roads out in a straight line, you could have a highway that runs from the Florida panhandle to parts of Alaska. Or, you could build a road that went back and ... Read More »


A Nature Preserve Conjured from the Bottom of the Burning River

Early last winter on a sunny day before the lake iced up, I stood on the hardened perimeter seawall of the Cleveland Lakefront Nature Preserve and watched a group of Bufflehead Ducks, one male and three females hunting in the shallows. The male was glossy black and white, shot through with the winter sun, gleaming ... Read More »


Restoring an Urban Creek and its Monarchs

Eighteen years ago, my late husband and I bought a century-old brick industrial shop building along with its half a block of weedy, junk-strewn abandoned property. Our friends thought we were crazy. But we were in love, Richard with the decaying shop—which he could see as his studio, and the rare land in town where ... Read More »



Allegory lurks in abandoned factories. It prowls about the rooms where hundreds, perhaps thousands, of people wore the floors down to a leathery patina. It seeps into the mortar decaying between bricks. A factory gone dark is a shadow of our consumer selves. We want what we want, whatever the price of our longings—lost jobs, ... Read More »



I know it’s nearing sunset because the crows begin to fly east.

On the West Coast, the light is not always a reliable indicator of the end of day. Sometimes it stabs through everything, silver and sharp—surgical. At other times, it softens blue to indigo. Many evenings, the marine layer spills over the point, submerging San Diegans ... Read More »


Corner of Carl & Arguello

I am here. Right. Here.

Shortly before midnight, a great horned owl announces its presence at the corner of Carl and Arguello Streets. Perched atop my apartment building, ten feet above the bed in which I lay sleepless, the bird punctuates the quiet night with its territorial proclamations.

I am here. Right. Here.

I close my eyes and ... Read More »


I Thought Ladybugs Would be Easy

The Two-spotted Ladybug (Adalia bipunctata) is characteristically named. Most specimens have a black spot on each of their glossy red elytra, the modified beetle wings that act as protective covers for their delicate inner wings. A smaller proportion of the species are melanistic variations, black-bodied with red spots and rectangles. That makes them look quite ... Read More »

Copyright © 2013 Center for Humans & Nature. All Rights Reserved.