Environment

Common goldeneye

Meet Your Neighbors: The Duck with a Golden Eye

By Jack MacRae Goldeneyes don’t dabble. They are diving ducks with a talent of Olympic proportion. They’re synchronous divers. When feeding, all the birds in one section of a flock may dive at the same time. They swim to the bottom of lakes and rivers in search of crunchy food. Analyses of their stomach contents … Read more

resolutions 2018

Resolution 2018

Resolution 2018: Connect to Nature By Gary Swick It’s in the middle of the Friends of the Fox River’s mission statement; Connecting people to nature is what we do. It initiates a natural wonder within people that brings a sense of joy and a desire to care for what we love. We want people to love … Read more

Meet Your Neighbors: Happy Pines to All

By Jack MacRae December seems like an appropriate time to talk about evergreens. You see them growing on most landscaped properties in the region! Not only are these trees everywhere, this is the month when pines, firs, cedars, and spruce are bedecked as Christmas trees and wreaths. In spite of their ubiquitous nature and celebratory … Read more

Meet Your Neighbors: “Eat Your Neighbors!”

Eat Your Neighbors! By Jack MacRae Homer Simpson once commented that turkeys are the only animals smarter than man (season 13, episode 3). He was wrong, of course, as there are no doubt others. But people and turkeys do share a special bond, if not an elevated IQ. The wild turkey is a highly recognizable, … Read more

Students Volunteering

New Education Team

New Education Team for the Fall Season By Gary Swick For many years, Friends of the Fox River’s streams outreach education program was a one-man show, run by retired Johnsburg teacher David Rigby. In 2009, the project was funded by a federal grant for 3 years. The program quickly grew beyond Dave’s capacity. Just in … Read more

rainbow darter

2017 Fox River Basin Survey

The 2017 IDNR Fox River Basin Survey By Steve Pescitelli, Illinois Department of Natural Resources, Division of Fisheries During the summer of 2017, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources conducted fish surveys in the Fox River basin as part of a statewide program to monitor the health of Illinois stream resources. This is the fifth … Read more

Meet Your Neighbors: “Squirrels, Chucks and Chips”

Squirrels, Chucks and Chips by Jack MacRae Squirrels are the Fox Valley’s original “preppers.” Every autumn, both tree and ground squirrels spend considerable time gathering and stashing their nuts for the months to come. Acorns, nuts, seeds, and corn provide the critical calories necessary for winter survival. Where Did I Leave My Stash? Both fox squirrels … Read more

GS in kayak

Lessons from the Total Eclipse

By Gary Swick Picture yourself standing on the banks of the Fox River 1,000 years ago. Imagine experiencing a total solar eclipse without any knowledge of what is actually occurring, or why it’s happening. It is more likely that it would be regarded as frightening than interesting or exciting. After it passed, you probably would … Read more

native grasses root systems

Meet Your Neighbors: “The Lives of Grass”

“The Lives of Grass” by Jack MacRae There are many grasses in the Fox River Valley; tall types, short types, native and introduced. Here are three short biographies. Grama Grass Through the lens of a magnifier, sideoats grama, Bouteloua curtipendula has some of the prettiest reproductive organs you can find in nature; feathery white stigmas … Read more

Flooded Fox brings some Lessons

by Gary Swick Rivers and their tributaries usually have seasonal cycles of spring and fall flooding, with a “low flow” condition in summer. Flooding has benefits to the natural river system through nutrient distribution and scouring of sediment. The land areas that absorb the flood conditions are referred to as flood plains. Land use planners … Read more