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Stories by Evan Garcia

Lincoln Park Zoo Announces $125M Campaign, Major Exhibit Plans

The Lincoln Park Zoo unveiled plans Thursday for major renovations to the Kovler Lion House and the construction of a new polar bear exhibit.

Shedd, Brookfield Zoo 1st in US to Receive Humane Certification

Mexican gray wolf pups, an endangered species, at Brookfield Zoo. (Brookfield Zoo)

Two Chicago-area institutions are the first in the nation to receive certification in a new program that assesses the well-being of animals held in captivity.

Study: Carbon Dioxide Could Keep Asian Carp out of Great Lakes

This bighead carp was caught in the Illinois River, the principal tributary of the Mississippi River. There are no North American fish large enough to eat Asian carp, according to the Asian Carp Regional Coordinating Committee. (USGS)

A process similar to making soda water may be an effective strategy in warding off an Asian carp invasion that’s threatening the health of the Great Lakes, including Lake Michigan.

Mayor Breaks Ground on 40-Acre Bike Park on Southeast Side

A BMX biker performing a wheelie. (Andrey Marshak / Wikimedia Commons)

Billed by the city as the first park of its kind in the Midwest, Big Marsh Bike Park will open this winter at a former industrial site that's now part of a 270-acre habitat restoration project.

Shedd Installs Largest Lithium-Ion Battery of Any US Aquarium or Zoo

The Shedd Aquarium has added a new source of power as part of its green initiative – and it isn’t coming from the institution's electric eels.

EPA: Widely Used Herbicide is Harmful to Wildlife

Some farm groups are criticizing a new report about the hazards of atrazine, a herbicide that was banned by the European Union more than 10 years ago.

Chicago Wins Gold at Gardening Show in Ireland

Chicago’s green thumb just got some international accolades. A garden designed by the Chicago Park District was awarded a gold medal at Bloom, Ireland's largest gardening show.

Officials Warn of Rabid Bats After 6 Found in Cook County

(Ann Froschauer / U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)

Six bats found in Cook County that were reported to local authorities this year, including three in Chicago, have tested positive for rabies, the Cook County Department of Animal and Rabies Control (CCDARC) said Thursday.

How a Park Bench Monitors Air Quality on Chicago’s Southeast Side

The Environmental Protection Agency recently installed a park bench equipped with air pollution sensors at a CPS elementary school. It's one of just seven such benches in the U.S.

Photographer Captures Rare Owls Nesting, Breeding in Cook County

Two years ago, amateur photographer Josh Feeney spotted a nest of owls within a Cook County forest preserve. Since then, he's returned to the site to check on the rare species and recently found evidence of successful breeding.

10 Things About Chicago Beaches You Might Not Know

Chicago’s beaches – all 27 of ‘em – open for the season Friday. Here are 10 things you may not know about the city's sandy side.

Volunteers Collect Dead, Injured Birds in the Loop

Since 2003, a group called the Chicago Bird Collision Monitors has made it their mission to collect birds that have been killed or injured after striking buildings and other structures.

Solar System Symphony Melds Music with Astronomy

Dark, narrow streaks on Martian slopes such as these at Hale Crater are inferred to be formed by seasonal flow of water on contemporary Mars. (NASA)

A Northwestern University graduate student is combining his love of music and astronomy to stage a solar system-inspired concert.

1st Successful Camel Birth at Lincoln Park Zoo Since 1998

With fewer than 1,000 Bactrian camels estimated to be living in the wild, the species is classified as critically endangered. On May 9, a Bactrian camel calf was born in Chicago.

‘Super Slimy’ Granddad at Shedd the World’s Oldest Aquarium Fish

Granddad is an Australian lungfish believed to be a century old that arrived at the Shedd Aquarium 83 years ago. (Shedd Aquarium)

Granddad is believed to be the oldest fish in captivity at any public aquarium or zoo in the world. The Shedd estimates he’s at least a century old and that an “excess of 100 million visitors” have passed through the aquarium since his arrival.

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.