News From Indiana Dunes Blog

Bikes, brews, best stays, places to play, and so much more. Define your Dunes getaway for yourself with the help of our local stories.

Bison Visit the Vet

Bison Vet Day may be one of the most important days at Kankakee Sands each year. Certainly, it is by far one of the most emotional – for humans and for bison. Inside each Bison Vet Day are profound emotions of anxiety, awe, exhilaration and relief. Months of work have gone into the preparation for…

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Four and Twenty Blackbirds Gracing the Sky

October is loud and raucous on the Kankakee Sands prairie. It can also be dark and ominous. In the early morning, you can hear them long before you see them. Off in the distance is a lone tree or perhaps a small cluster of trees. Their branches beginning to tremble. Growing ever louder, a…

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American Bittern: Thunder Pumper of the Wetlands

On this chilly May morning, I’m bundling up for a pre-dawn excursion. With binoculars round my neck and bird book in hand, I meet up with other Kankakee Sands staff and volunteers for our annual Kankakee Sands Bird Survey in the bison pasture. We are looking and listening for all the birds that…

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Indiana's Springtime Wetlands

There’s something about having your feet in water that is a thrill. As a kid, I jumped and splashed in puddles and ponds just to see how big an impact I could have. Now, as an adult, I enjoy watching kids jump and splash, but my way is different now… I prefer to walk slowly through the water…

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Chorus Frogs Calling at Kankakee Sands

While the March prairies are still sleeping and the woodlands are just beginning to break bud, our Indiana wetlands are waking up. Wetlands are critical habitat for so many plant and animal species. One of our first Indiana wetland residents to begin filling the spring air with its call is the…

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Shucks, No Shrikes

Well, shucks, try as I might, I have not yet been successful in seeing a northern shrike at Kankakee Sands. Even though more than 450 beautiful bird species have been documented in Indiana over the years, this winter, I had my sights set on just one—the clever northern shrike. Classified as a…

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25th Anniversary of Kankakee Sands

Twenty-five years ago, Kankakee Sands wasn’t. It wasn’t a prairie, it wasn’t home for a herd of 100+ bison, it wasn’t managed with fire, and it wasn’t visited by families and friends. It simply wasn’t. But today, it is! This very December marks the 25 th year that the Indiana Chapter of The Nature…

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If Monarch Wings Could Talk

Without a doubt, September is the month of the monarch. I am loving all the monarch photos that people are posting to social media and sending to me via text and email. The photos of the brightly colored, seemingly perfect monarchs are stunning. With their bold and bright, orange and black wings…

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Nature Notes: Stem Research

In third grade, my teacher Mrs. Curran introduced all 27 of her students to the scientific method. It felt so hard to remember all those steps to the scientific method, and in the right order, but the first one was easy to remember and easy to do: observation. All I had to do was look at something…

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Hoary Vervain: A Crowd Pleasing Wildflower

I overlook things all the time – but insects don’t. I walk, bike, and drive the roadsides of Kankakee Sands every day, nearly oblivious to the thousands of hoary vervain ( Verbena stricta ) that I am passing. But the insects are keyed in—they know that this plant is a treasure. Hoary vervain grows…

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