Explore Wild Illinois Websites, Field Guides, and Local Natural History

These resources will help you explore and protect the unique environment found in the Cook County and Great Lakes areas.

Questions about these materials, or looking for something else? Ask a Librarian!

Local Resources

Books Available at MVCC Library

60 hikes within 60 miles: Chicago: Including Wisconsin and Northwest Indiana

"The best way to experience Chicagoland is by hiking it! Get outdoors with Illinois author Ted Villaire as he helps you find and enjoy the top hikes within 60 miles of the city. These selected trails transport you to scenic overlooks, wildlife hot spots, and historical settings that renew your spirit and recharge your body. With a highly accomplished outdoors writer as your guide, you'll learn about the area and experience nature through 60 of Chicago's best hikes! Inside you'll find: A perfect blend of popular trails and hidden gems; Expert tips about where to hike and what to expect when you get there; Key at-a-glance information to quickly and easily learn each trail; The local author's recommended hikes by category; Detailed directions and GPS-based trail maps to guide you along."--Back cover

Great Lakes Rocks: 4 Billion Years of Geologic History in the Great Lakes Region

"The geologic story of the Great Lakes region is one of the most remarkable of any place on Earth. 'Great Lakes Rocks' takes readers on this fascinating journey through geologic history, beginning with an investigation of the surface features--the hills and valleys, waterfalls and caves, and the Great Lakes themselves--that we encounter on a daily basis. Throughout, the book gives special attention to the link between the region's geology and its modern history, including the impacts of geology on settlement patterns as well as the development of industries and the present-day economy. Other discussed topics include natural hazards that are geologic in nature, including earthquakes, floods, landslides, and coastal erosion, as well as information on rocks, minerals, and ancient life seen in fossils. Written for nonspecialist readers, this book provides a detailed but easy-to-follow introduction to the geology of the Great Lakes region, and it is an ideal fit for introductory geology courses, including those aimed at nonscience majors."--Publisher description

Mammals of the Great Lakes Region

"Today mammals include over 5,500 living species and occupy every major environment. The Great Lakes region is home to 83 species, ranging from tiny shrews that weigh less than a tenth of an ounce to immense moose, known to exceed a half ton. Profiles of species include detailed information on physical characteristics, behavior, and natural history alongside all new color photographs and distribution maps showing geographic range in the Great Lakes region and in North America. A section on the tracks of common mammals has also been added."--Publisher description

The Sibley Guide to Birds

A completely revised edition of Sibley's landmark guide, with more than 600 new paintings and 111 rare species added, new information on habitat and behavior, and more tips on finding species in the field

Amphibians and Reptiles of the Great Lakes Region

"Most people have limited knowledge about the reptiles and amphibians found in the Great Lakes area, so they do not realize the importance of these species to the environment. This book by James H. Harding is a welcome volume that is sure to increase the awareness and knowledge of these often-misunderstood Great Lakes animals. Amphibians and Reptiles of the Great Lakes Region offers thorough coverage on all the important subjects and issues confronting the world of herpetology today. While being a volume of great usefulness to naturalists in this field of study, it is also accessible to high school and college students. It serves as a handy reference tool for the many people who live in the Great Lakes wilderness areas and for tourists venturing into the wild for the first time."--Publisher description

Growing Trees from Seed: a Practical Guide to Growing Native Trees, Vines and Shrubs

"Covers the ecology, abundance, fruit characteristics and edibility of the more than 200 species of trees, vines, and shrubs. Gives expert guidance on when to gather fruits, how to extract seeds from the fruit, and when and how to treat and germinate the seed, plus information on transplanting and expected growth rate. Alerts throughout the book identify closely related non-native species now common to various regions. " --Publisher's description

The Natural Heritage of Illinois: Essays on its Lands, Waters, Flora, and Fauna

"Written in lively, accessible prose, and illustrated with color photographs, 'The Natural Heritage of Illinois' discusses how wind, water, glaciers, earthquakes, fire, and people have shaped Illinois' landforms, natural habitats, rivers and streams, and the ways in which native plants and animals, from individual species to entire ecosystems, have thrived, survived, or died out. Essays look at issues of species decline, ecosystem preservation, Illinois' animal and plant species and their conservation, invasive species, the way species have responded to climate change and dwindling habitats, and the state's early natural history, including the vegetation and wildlife that greeted its first European settlers. Full of fascinating information and expert knowledge, this book will prove invaluable to scholars, students, teachers, and casual nature lovers."--Back cover


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