Stories by Evan Garcia

West Humboldt Park Farm Raises Fresh Fish, Greens in Once-Empty Lot

Inside a 12,000-square-foot greenhouse on the Northwest Side of Chicago, thousands of fish – and the waste they produce – are an essential part of an innovative growing method called aquaponics. 

Ride of Silence to Honor Killed and Injured Cyclists

Cyclists pause during the 2005 Ride of Silence in Dallas. (Ride of Silence)

On Wednesday night, cyclists will ride slowly and silently through downtown Chicago – and in hundreds of other cities around the world – to pay tribute to fallen riders.

5 Endangered Gray Wolf Pups Born at Brookfield Zoo, 2 Sent to the Wild

Two Mexican gray wolf pups born at Brookfield Zoo last month were released into the Arizona wilderness as part of a carefully timed conservation effort. The species has been threatened by extinction for over half a century.

‘It’s Horribly Inhumane’ Says Lawmaker Trying to Ban Bobcat Trapping

(Summer M. Tribble / Wikimedia Commons)

This fall, hunters in Illinois will be able to hunt and trap bobcats for the first time in more than four decades. But some state lawmakers are pushing for a ban on trapping the animals and selling their pelts.

Why Migrating Purple Martins Need a Little Human Help

(Henry T. McLin / Flickr)

The migratory birds are starting to nest in the area, but their nests don't look like those found in trees. That's because purple martins, which spend their winters in South America, now rely almost entirely on man-made nests when they arrive each spring. 

In the Fight Against Invasive Plant Species, Fire a Worthy Weapon

How local forest preserves are using fire to maintain the Chicago area's natural ecosystem, much like Native Americans did prior to European settlement.

American Bison a Step Closer to Becoming National Mammal of US

The National Bison Legacy Act aims to put the largest land mammal in America on the same level as the bald eagle, the country's national bird and a cultural symbol of independence.

Orphaned Ducks Adopted by Injured Turkey at Wildlife Center

(Fox Valley Wildlife Center)

An injured turkey is raising mallard ducklings at a wildlife center in west suburban Elburn after a red-tailed hawk killed the ducklings' mother.

Mayor Announces Efforts to Increase Water Safety Monitoring

(Steve Johnson / Flickr)

Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Wednesday announced initiatives to reassure residents that Chicago's water is safe and lead-free.

First Bison Born This Year at Fermilab

The bison herd at Fermilab just got a little bigger: On Tuesday, the first bison calf of 2016 was born at the particle physics laboratory in suburban Batavia.

Corpse Flower Sprout Blooms at Chicago Botanic Garden

The giant corpse plant, a titan arum, is now in bloom. See what the plant looks like via the CBG's live stream, and find out about late hours for Tuesday night.

Young Hospital Patients, Staff Help Name Shedd Penguin Chick

After Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago patients, families, staff and volunteers took part in a voting contest last week, the 10-month-old penguin previously known as Chick No. 23 is now called Diego.

Animal ‘Selfies’ Captured in Amazon Rain Forest by Field Museum

The Field Museum recently captured some unusual animal portraits with motion-activated cameras in the Peruvian Amazon rain forest.

Over 150 Countries Sign Paris Climate Change Pact on Earth Day

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry signs the Paris Agreement on April 22. (@JohnKerry / Twitter)

The terms of the historic global pact were agreed upon by 195 countries on Dec. 12, 2015, at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris, but Friday – Earth Day – marks the first day of the yearlong signing period.

Another Corpse Flower to Bloom at Chicago Botanic Garden

If all goes as planned, the Chicago Botanic Garden is about to get very stinky in the next few days. That’s because Sprout, a titan arum–also known as a corpse flower–is very close to blooming.

Pacific White-Sided Dolphin Gives Birth at Shedd Aquarium

(Courtesy Shedd Aquarium)

Shedd Aquarium staff are watching a 28-year-old female Pacific white-sided dolphin and her newborn calf around the clock during what they call "a very crucial time."

For Tree Specialist, Only Plants with ‘Good Behavior’ Make the Cut

Less than half of the plant life found in the Chicago region is native to the area. As the Morton Arboretum's tree improvement specialist, it's Joe Rothleutner's job to make sure those native plants are protected.

Second Snow Monkey Born at Lincoln Park Zoo This Year

The snow monkey, born on Wednesday, has since clung tightly to 11-year-old mother Ono. Zoo employees have not yet named it or determined its sex. Maureen Leahy, the zoo’s curator of primates, said they prefer to give mother and infant plenty of space at this stage.

Mayor Creates Rodent Task Force, Adds More Rat Control Crews

Appearing at the site of the soon-to-be-demolished Children’s Memorial Hospital in Lincoln Park, Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced initiatives to respond to the city's growing rat problem.

Save the Monarch Butterfly: Plant Milkweed

The population of the monarch butterfly – seen here in Chicago's Grant Park – has declined by more than 80 percent over the past two decades. One recent study claims the lack of milkweed in the Midwest is a contributing factor. (Oriol Gascón)

Their annual migration from North America to Mexico has been called “one of the most spectacular natural phenomena in the world,” but the monarch butterfly is not only in decline – it’s closer to extinction than previously thought, research shows.

Chicago to Build 50 Miles of ‘Better Bike Lanes’

Chicago's first protected bike lane was installed on Kinzie Street in June 2011. On Monday, the city announced plans to design new bike lanes and improve existing ones. (Chicago Bicycle Program / Flickr)

Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Monday unveiled a new plan to build 50 miles of "better bike lanes" in the city over the next three years. 

More Pileated Woodpeckers: Emerald Ash Borer or Healthier Habitat?

In recent years, pileated woodpeckers have been noticed more frequently in areas closer to Chicago, an urban setting they generally avoid. (Joshlaymon / Wikimedia Commons)

Recent news coverage has suggested a spike in pileated woodpecker sightings in the western suburbs may be linked to the emerald ash borer. But according to at least two wildlife experts, it probably has more to do with the restoration of local habitat.

What's That Sound? Distinctive Birdcalls Heard in Chicago

You don't have to be an expert birder or ecologist to enjoy songs and calls from native and foreign birds in Chicago this time of year. Here's what to listen for.

New Climate Change Exhibit Educates Kids, Encourages Action

A new interactive exhibit on climate change at the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum addresses “the defining issue of our time,” says Steve Sullivan, senior curator of ecology at the museum. 

Wild Badger Implanted with Tracking Device in Cook County

Badgers are known for their elusiveness: the mostly solitary animals travel and forage at night, moving from one place to another very quickly. But wildlife biologists recently got lucky and caught one in northwest Cook County.