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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


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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Imagining Their Stories

When I was reviewing and selecting my favorite city creature photos for this post, my mind kept going back to a quote about people-watching in Found magazine’s interview of musician Willis Earl Beal.

“When I’m watching people, I feel like I develop this powerful, almost God-like understanding of them. I can see deep within them. ... Read More »

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The Fall of the Sparrow

“There is special providence in the fall of a sparrow.” 

By the time Hamlet utters these words in Act V of the eponymously titled play, scholars generally agree that Shakespeare’s tragic hero has resigned himself to his fate, his destiny, his death; and in so doing he espouses a traditional Christian worldview: that nothing happens unless ... Read More »

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Walking Out

“There is no inner man, man is in the world, and only in the world does he know himself.” ~Maurice Merleau-Ponty

Four years ago this August I left my apartment in Rogers Park, Chicago’s northern most neighborhood, and walked all day long for two days, some 63 miles, hugging the shore as closely as was ... Read More »

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The Pigeon Diaries

Random acts of bird watching from my first two months as a city creature.

July 28, 2014

We have pigeons! Only two days here and I have found birds to watch from my 8th floor living room window. My husband says I will tire of them. All city people do, he tells me.

July 31, 2014

There are ... Read More »

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It Doesn’t Howl But It Might As Well

I moved from arid Colorado to Washington, D.C., two years ago. I’m starting to get used to the idea that the swamp is always pressing in. Turned your back on weeding for a couple of weeks? Enormous stalks suddenly take hold. Forgot to prune last season? Now you practically need a chainsaw. But the insect ... Read More »

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The Needle Chase: The Travails of Deer Immunocontraception-on-Hudson

Over a year ago I described how the small village of Hastings-on-Hudson, New York, was planning to respond to the population explosion of white-tailed deer (“Ethics on the Edge,” May 28, 2013). We resolved to control it through contraception rather than culling. Here I would like to share what happened during our first try ... Read More »

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Eulogy for the Passenger Pigeon

Imagine a bird shaped a bit like a mourning dove but much larger, slate blue on the back, salmon pink on the breast, with an opalescent necklace of green and rose. The bird lived in flocks so large they would darken the sky, sometimes for three days, as they passed overhead. Their wing beats were ... Read More »

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Rest and Recovery

There’s a smudge on the floor of the porch below the plate glass window. I suspect what the smudge might be, but don’t want to think about that. I’m home from a long day of work so I pull bills and magazines out of the mailbox and rummage through my small brown purse for my ... Read More »

Patience in Springfield, Missouri

Thirty Times a Minute

Could the act of looking at animals be part of a larger search for connection with something beyond ourselves, beyond our humanness—an attempt to connect with the mystery that nature inspires, even when this experience is heavily mediated? Why do so many people want to look at animals? Why do we defend or implicitly support the ... Read More »

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