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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.  

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Posts By: Michael Bryson


Commonplace Nature, Close at Hand: Thinking about Leonard Dubkin as Spring Emerges

The other morning as I sat in my postage stamp of a back yard here in Joliet, watching house sparrows flutter and fuss in the blossom-laden branches of our flagrantly flowering lilac bush, I couldn’t help but think of one of my favorite naturalists and Chicago writers: Leonard Dubkin (1905-1972). If you’ve never heard ... Read More »


Wildlife in Chicago & Fracking in Southern Illinois: Ecological and Human Connections

Back in October, before winter had taken an early grip on the Chicago region, my students and I took a canoe ride on the North Branch of the Chicago River between Argyle Street and Montrose Avenue. We paddled through the flotsam and refuse of human life—miscellaneous garbage bobbing on the surface; chunks of wood and ... Read More »

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To Apprehend the Wild, Don’t Forget the Kids

There are opportunities in the day to see, hear, touch the wild—even in the city, even as we hustle through our chores and appointed tasks, rush from destination to destination, or monitor our flood of electronic communications. But we must be open to them—willing to stop, to look around and listen carefully—even if only for ... Read More »

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Canoes, Cities, and the Creatures of Bubbly Creek

My earliest encounters with nature took place in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, where my family would vacation every summer on the shores of Crooked Lake in Hiawatha National Forest. I took hikes in the woods, built campfires, stayed up late to gaze at stars, and explored the rugged sandstone bluffs of nearby Pictured Rocks ... Read More »

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