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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


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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 »

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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 »

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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 »

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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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