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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


A Private Solstice Celebration

Today, one day past the Solstice, that pregnant time when what-was and what-will-be seem more closely intertwined than at all other times, conditions are favorable: chilly, wind picking up, lowering clouds, the smell of rain in the air.

A paper grocery sack full of seeds has been sitting in the kitchen by my back door since ... Read More »


Exile on Clark Street

So, I’m a wildlife biologist. And that means I have colleagues who work in places like the Serengeti, in Tanzania. They tell stories of working near rhinos, which they describe as being like boulders in motion. They set monitoring equipment, with awe and fear, where lions sleep. They have tales of cars breaking down a ... Read More »


Little Bluestem Highways

Fresh off the trail from a 3-month horseback expedition to document the changing Great Plains landscape, I drove from Sheridan, Wyoming, to Colorado Springs to visit my family. To go entirely across a state and into another in a matter of eight hours is a peculiar thing once you’ve taken about three ... Read More »


The Nature of My Inspiration

I used to think that I needed to escape the city to experience nature. To me, the city of Chicago was a vast, looming mass of industry where one had to search through a steel maze to catch a glimpse of sunlight at any hour that wasn’t noon. I grew up in the southwest suburbs ... Read More »


Happy Holidays to Us All

“What is the message that wild animals bring, the message that seems to say everything and nothing? What is this message that is wordless, that is nothing more or less than the animals themselves—that the world is wild, that life is unpredictable in its goodness, and its danger, that the world is larger than your ... Read More »


A Stranger in Our Midst

The caterpillar wrinkling along its way looked like your standard issue caterpillar: lots of legs, little hairs, patterned with vaguely geometric design elements. “Its way” happened to be just at the border between the sidewalk and the lawn of a multiunit apartment building down the street from my house.

I had been alerted to it ... Read More »

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Looking at Animals

“Erasing the awe-inspiring variety of sentient life impoverishes all our lives.” ~Joanna Bourke

The Wolves

Nearly 20 years ago, I went to northern Minnesota to run with the wolves. Or at least buzz them from a bush plane. It was in February and the temperature when I arrived was in the single digits.

The three-day Wolf ... Read More »


The Wild and Not-So-Wild City Creature Neighbors at, by, and in My House

The city creature neighbors in and around the place I dwell are a diverse group of other-than-human people of all shapes, sizes and personalities. Not only are they neighbors, my relationships with these folks informs an essential part of who I am. I moved with my family to Chicago at the age of ... Read More »

Cedar Waxwing

Never More Than a Cedar Waxwing

If I said I live on ten acres in a nearly 100,000-acre area known here as the “Agricultural Reserve,” where might you imagine that is? Could such a place be twenty minutes from a movie theater or cafe? Yes, in fact the Reserve is essentially just steps beyond the swath of Washington, DC’s, urban/suburban landscapes. ... Read More »

Rouge falcon with Amb Brdg rev

The Return of Detroit River’s Charismatic Megafauna

What comes to mind when someone mentions Detroit? Is it automobiles, the Rust Belt, Motown, or professional sports? Each of these is accurate. However, there is another aspect of metropolitan Detroit that is not well known by most people. Most people know that Detroit’s mighty Detroit River is a shared resource between the United States ... Read More »

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