My parents visited several weeks ago, so we went to see the prairie at Meadowbrook Park , the prairie grove at Busey Woods, and Kickapoo State Park. The latter, a former strip mine, is slated to close on Nov. 30 due to state budget woes, though that may change.

Monarch on thistle (Meadowbrook Park). Butterflies rarely hold still for me, so I’m happy this turned out.

Spider vs dragonfly (Busey Woods). This is a yellow and black garden spider. We came by the web shortly after the dragonfly was caught, so got to see most of the struggle. There were quite a few of these spiders at one spot along the path.

Sephski, this is for you. (Meadowbrook Park, where there is a lot of sculpture, most of it less identifiable)

Two weeks ago, J and I helped clear bush honeysuckle at Weaver Park, which is a relatively recent purchase by the city of Urbana. They plan to put ball and soccer fields there; people also want to preserve the 7 or 8 oak trees (red, white, and chinkapin) that are 300-400 years old. It’s neat to get in at the start of a project like that.

Yesterday, I went to Meadowbrook Park to collect seeds, which the park district uses there and at other parks (including Weaver) and sells. We had about a dozen plants we could have collected from, but most of us focused on one or two because it’s not easy to learn to id plants by seed head, especially when the leaves have already fallen off.

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