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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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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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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Chatty Little Grasshopper Sparrows

Nature isn’t always what it seems —a chatty little grasshopper sparrow taught me that. For the first ten or so years that I worked at the Kankakee Sands Nursery, I was always looking down, either at the native plants that I was planting into the soil or at the seeds that I was harvesting for our…

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Savannas: Beauty in the Making

Savannas: Beauty in the Making By Alyssa Nyberg A hike through a savanna any time of the year will have its “oh-wow, I feel so happy moments”: in the spring, when wildflower displays are stunning with the purple show of the wild lupines, pink of the phloxes, the blues of the violets and the song of…

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Monarchs: Crossing Those Lines

Monarchs: Crossing Those Lines by Alyssa Nyberg This past September upwards of 2,000 monarchs congregated on the oak trees growing atop the dunes at the Bison Viewing Area. The monarchs roosted in the trees for several days before they continued on their long journey to their overwintering location…

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Long-legged Leapers of the Kankakee Sands Prairie

Northern leopard frogs are fast, real fast! They aren’t called leopard frogs for nothin’. They are the long-legged leapers of our Kankakee Sands prairie, and catching one is not only thrilling but hard to do! On a sunny November day, I had the good fortune of finding a northern leopard frog ( Rana…

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