blog posts Searching the Texas brushland for a rare, temperamental plant Aug 18, 2022 9:45 am 'As it stands with most rare species, this work isn’t always easy, but it is fulfilling. The excitement of seeing one rare plant – let alone a thriving population – is enough to sustain me in this work.' Waiting for the sun to set to find a rare bird Jun 30, 2022 10:00 am Each night, we perform checks of Whip-Poor-Will nests to record development of eggs and chicks, as well as instances of predation or failure. Nests are at risk on the ground, but a few broods hatch and reach fledging age, when they begin to fly. Rescuing ancient Maya history from the plow Jun 22, 2022 3:45 pm Anthropology professor Lisa Lucero and her colleagues are working to capture the history from Maya ruins before they are plowed under. Vet Med: Saving an endangered breed of donkey Jun 3, 2022 10:45 am Numbers of Baudet du Poitou donkeys have dwindled to only 300-400 worldwide. A breeding effort is underway at Illinois to expand their numbers and help save the breed from extinction. Photos by Michelle Hassel. Building back a tiny piece of prairie Nov 15, 2021 11:45 am Working to restore a prairie on century-old farmland – especially when starting from seed, as the Delcomyns did – requires plenty of patience and a lot of help. Staging a threatening encounter at a blackbird nest Oct 7, 2021 8:00 am 'The male stares me down while flicking his tail and wings – a sign that I’m not welcome here. Red-winged blackbirds are among the most brash and vocal birds you’ll ever meet.' Exploring the remnants of an ancient forest Sep 2, 2021 4:15 pm Hundreds of researchers have made use of these two woodlands over the decades, and these and other natural areas owned by the U. of I. are vital to training students in ecological research. Hunting a creature that hunts me Aug 20, 2021 1:15 pm When I reach the trap...I see that it’s covered in ticks. Hooray! Quickly though, I realize that I’ve introduced my own CO2 to the scene, along with the added attractant of my body heat. Suddenly, I become the local target of choice for the ticks. In pursuit of Indiana bats Jun 22, 2021 8:45 am 'My role at this site is to attach temperature-sensitive radio tags to reproductive female Indiana bats. We’ll use these tags to track the bats to roost trees during the day and to monitor their body temperatures.' Taking a cicada road trip May 27, 2021 9:30 am 'Every night, we quietly lurk in the dark at the edge of the lawn to listen for the rustling of dried leaves as the cicadas come out of their burrows. It’s a bit creepy, but also stunning...' Catching bats for conservation May 18, 2021 11:00 am 'With all the intimidation and preparation leading up to this night, I had built the bats up to be something dramatic – even fearsome – in my mind, but sitting there in my hand, the bats are smaller and sweeter than I anticipated. They are fuzzy.' Pondering U of I's ecological impact Apr 22, 2021 9:00 am I am biased, but I think the university’s leadership in so many areas of environmental research is exceptional. Here’s why. Connecting a virus to cancer – in sea lions Mar 31, 2021 9:45 am 'To say the images made us pathologists excited is an understatement. It was a eureka moment that was a long time in the making.' Hunting Goodenough Days Nov 30, 2020 8:00 am Artist Bea Nettles uses photographs of names from gravestones to create poetry for her book projects. Her most recent book 'Head Lines: Worlds Warning' is a chronology of the COVID-19 outbreak. Finding one elusive bird Oct 16, 2020 9:00 am Illinois Natural History Survey assistant ornithologist Anastasia Rahlin conducted field surveys in Volo Bog State Natural Area, and her efforts paid off with the discovery of a king rail, a water bird that blends in well with its surroundings. Unearthing an uncommon, burrowing snake Oct 12, 2020 9:30 am Kirtland’s snakes were once widespread in Illinois, but now are listed as a threatened species. With more than 99% of Illinois’ natural prairies lost to agriculture and urban development, these snakes struggle to maintain their current populations. Celebrating our diversity through food Sep 28, 2020 9:30 am 'My background is not a gauge of my worthiness or an obstacle to communication but an amalgamation of experiences and culture that I can share with my colleagues,' writes undgrad student Yi-Ying Tung. Following the sounds of prairie cicadas Sep 24, 2020 1:00 pm Scientists at the Illinois Natural History Survey study the elusive insect. Gathering data to save a rare turtle Aug 13, 2020 9:45 am 'Our goal is to learn as much as we can about (Blanding's turtles). Knowing...how many Blanding’s turtles remain – in the context of the turtle community as a whole – will help in the development of viable conservation and recovery plans for them.' Building a prairie and watching for bees Aug 6, 2020 8:45 am Two years ago, Professor Alexandra Harmon-Threatt built this outdoor labby planting more than 80 prairie species here. Her mission is to attract ground-nesting bees. She is here to see which bees are showing up. But that’s not all she’s after. Chasing bumble bees on a patch of prairie Jul 21, 2020 9:15 am Scientists know so little about bumble bees that it’s hard to make recommendations about the kinds of habitat they need, says Tommy McElrath, insect collection manager of the Illinois Natural History Survey. Grace and healing: Parkinson's dance class exercises body, mind Jun 12, 2020 10:30 am Dance for People with Parkinson’s uses dance to inspire patients to expand the limits of their condition. 'You just have to keep moving, one way or another. If I ever stop moving, that’s the end of it.' says participant Gary Stitt. Rediscovering a path to the Milky Way May 6, 2020 11:00 am We’re here because it’s wet. Archaeologist Tim Pauketat, who has studied Cahokia 25 years, wants to see it flooded. Watching how the water flows here will help unlock some of the secrets of this place, he says. Rohit Bhargava: My path to Illinois Apr 9, 2020 9:15 am 'Illinois technology has transformed lives, from the transistor to the LED, the MRI and the web browser. I knew we had the science and people to transform cancer too, if only we could bring them together.' Will Schneider: My path to Illinois Apr 6, 2020 2:00 pm 'Illinois has historically played a large role in shaping our understanding of child maltreatment, and I believe that we can alter the trajectory of generations of children to come.' Teresa Cardador: My path to Illinois Mar 30, 2020 2:15 pm 'Meaningful work is not simply something you go out and find like an egg at an Easter egg hunt. It’s something co-created, over time, by individuals and the organizations they work in.' Girish Chowdhary: My path to Illinois Mar 27, 2020 9:00 am 'At Illinois, this vision has bloomed into an invaluable research collaboration for some of the brightest minds crop sciences. The robots can do the research fieldwork required in a fraction of the time.' Professor Esther Ngumbi: My path from the Kenyan coast to Illinois Mar 23, 2020 9:45 am 'I grew up on the Kenyan coast... My parents were teachers, but their income was not enough to sustain us and send us to school. So, we also farmed. I got up early every day to work on the farm before school.' Reading history in the soil Jan 28, 2020 8:45 am Archaeologists are often asked, 'What is the most interesting thing you’ve ever found?' My answer...is not as much about the objects I find as it is about the stories I learn from them. Finding time for play Dec 5, 2019 8:00 am Graduate student Mary Lyons studies teachers’ strategies for supporting young children’s play-based learning. Surviving a football frenzy Nov 15, 2019 9:45 am Photographer Fred Zwicky puts you on the field as bedlam unfolds and Illinois fans celebrate a major upset victory over heavily favored Wisconsin. Measuring the unseen life of a river Sep 25, 2019 8:00 am Illinois researchers can learn about the life of a river without seeing the animals that live there. Bringing yesterday's plants to digital life Jul 31, 2019 1:00 pm This imaging process is part of Endless Forms, an NSFdigitization project. Our part is to digitize specimens from across the country in three groups: succulent plants, carnivorous plants and epiphytes. Tracking an invisible world Jul 22, 2019 9:30 am Successful experiments are worth the sleepless nights I spend dissecting the processes in living things that are essentially invisible to us. Extracting history from a cornfield Jul 17, 2019 8:45 am The scientists and students have access only to the foundations of the 800-year-old village, as plows have erased everything else. Looters, too, have damaged the site. Govindjee's photosynthesis museum Jul 9, 2019 8:00 am Plant biology professor emeritus Govindjee, who has made key contributions to the scientific understanding of photosynthesis, is also an archivist and historian of photosynthesis research. Petroglyphs: Preserving the Past in 3D Mar 7, 2019 1:45 pm Archaeology team uses a portable 3D scanner to recreate the details of a hand petroglyph from a site overlooking the Mississippi River in Monroe County, Illinois. Building an orchestra of brass Feb 21, 2019 10:15 am The University of Illinois Saxophone Ensemble tackles music never meant for the saxophone. Destination: Conservation Feb 12, 2019 8:45 am My task is to survey randomly chosen fields in the (Conservation Reserve Enhancement) program to figure out whether and how these conservation areas are affecting birds that have declined in numbers Finding the holiday spirit in rare books Dec 20, 2018 3:00 pm The Rare Book and Manuscript Library has holiday- and winter-themed books and images, from a depiction of a 1683 frost fair on a frozen river to illustrations of Norse folk tales Excavating a cave without leaving campus Nov 14, 2018 11:45 am Students learn to map a cave, lay out an excavation grid and use ground-penetrating radar to locate potential underground features - all in virtual reality Finding water closer to home in Jimu Village Oct 10, 2018 4:00 am Many of these happy faces wore skeptical frowns last April when we first approached the villagers with our crazy idea to find a new water source for them using high-tech instruments Deciphering the history of a Chinese vase Sep 29, 2018 8:45 am Scientists are helping determine the age of an antique Chinese porcelain vase in Krannert Art Museum’s collection through an X-ray fluorescence analysis of its paint Playing a parasite for science Aug 22, 2018 10:15 am I act the part of the cowbird: I spy on robins to find their nests and slip a foreign egg into each one. Finding an ancient Maya city in the jungles of Belize Aug 7, 2018 8:45 am 'The site is impressive, with monumental buildings and a temple that rises 30 meters above our heads. ...the west side of the temple platform is a sheer 10-meter drop' Tracking a forest’s recovery one year after storm Aug 1, 2018 10:00 am In February, 2017, a tornado swept through this part of the Shawnee National Forest. There are few canopy trees left standing and invasive understory plants have taken over In search of ‘white birds in a nest’ Jul 24, 2018 8:00 am Our willingness to tromp through swamps and brambles is fueled by the hope of catching a glimpse of “white birds in a nest” (Macbridea alba) in bloom Journey to becoming a physician-innovator Jul 17, 2018 8:45 am A a member of the inaugural class of the world’s first engineering-based medical school talks about how she got to Illinois Illinois outreach: The weavers of Tambo Perccaro Jul 16, 2018 3:45 pm 'About 70 people are waiting for us in the courtyard of the community center when we arrive. They are llama herders, farmers and weavers. Many have walked for miles to be here...' Exploring the unknown: The Motmot sinkhole Jul 9, 2018 9:00 am 'The ancient Maya viewed openings in the earth, such as this sinkhole and a nearby pool, as portals to the underworld – a realm within which deities and ancestors reside'