Publications

April 22, 2021

Keep This Oath

In 1915 Wilhelm Miller, then head of the University of Illinois’ Landscape Extension—the first of its kind in the country—published a small but influential tract titled The Prairie Spirit of Landscape Gardening. Miller had come to Illinois a few years prior believing that the true American style could first be realized in a region less burdened by European tradition—in other words, right here in the heartland.
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March 22, 2021

Water, the Ineffable

As I write this, I have just returned from a morning spent carrying wood to burning brush piles at Somme Prairie Nature Preserve in suburban Northbrook (Cook County, IL), a dedicated Illinois nature preserve where a large expanse was recently cleared of invasive trees and brush.
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February 17, 2021

Since December 1

Since December 1, the amount of snow that has fallen on Cook County as of Tuesday evening—42.7"—is the equivalent of 5.35" of rain. 5.35 inches of water equals 87.9 billion gallons across the expanse of Cook County.
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January 15, 2021

What Could Possibly Go Right?* (Also Join a Virtual Tour of the Water Reclamation District)

I’ll get to the catchy title in a moment, but first I wanted to invite you to join a virtual tour of the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District’s Deep Tunnel and other facilities on Tuesday, January 19, 2–3:30p.m. CST. Admission is free, there’s no age limit, just BYOP (Bring your own popcorn)!
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November 11, 2020

Seeds, Velcro, and Solstice Celebration

Dog covered with burs.jpg

Don’t great stories usually begin with a dog? Consider George de Mestral, a Swiss electrical engineer who took his dog for a walk in the woods 50 years ago and invented Velcro as a result.
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October 21, 2020

Virtual World, Virtual Water

The US Water Alliance has decreed that today we are to “Imagine A Day Without Water.” Think of it: no water to brush our teeth, flush our toilets, shower or bathe; no milk for our cereal or ice for a cocktail; no tea, coffee, or even juice. If you look up the essential ingredients for life on Earth, the first and foremost is liquid water.
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