Strolling Emily Oaks

July seems to be nature month for me. Freshly energized by the North Park Village Nature Center, I decided to spend a humid afternoon at Emily Oaks Nature Center recently.

The park was filled with day campers, but that didn’t deter me from taking my strolls around the short trails. The kids were encouraged to explore marine biology by fishing at the edge of the pond, and then analyzing and reporting what they found. I also saw tents set up by one picnic area, so I guess a camping lesson was part of the day’s lessons too. What a great way to spend a summer day!

Meanwhile, I found a solitary spot at the Reflection Point where I could hear the kayakers but not see them.

Sitting here allowed me to snap some pictures of saddlebag dragonflies, while other skimmers were camera shy, but wonderful to observe.

Obligatory selfie.

My critter cam also captured a hairstreak butterfly, which are abundant this year.

As I was walking along the wood-chipped path I noticed treesap from a tree, and along its trail was an ant lifting a critter twice its size!

The birds were camera friendly too, except for the woodpecker I spotted scurrying away.

I love observing the variety of trees and their states of life.

Nature makes beautiful sculptures as well. It reminds me of some of my friends’ works.

There was a random rooster, which I believe animal control took away later.

I probably shouldn’t be gushing about this lovely nature retreat so much, since that means more people will know about it, but it is a lovely mini-sanctuary when you want to feel like you’ve been “in the woods” but aren’t prepared for a 2-mile or more hike.

There are lovely flowers year-round, and I have spotted deer here on occasion. These crown flowers are my favorite.

The pond offers lovely reflection areas.

The center has a variety of activities for families and children, and interesting exhibits in the center as well.

You can also buy plants here, which I presume have not been treated with pesticides like big-box plants, so you can actually create a functioning pollinator garden.

The Milkweed is doing its job here.

Emily Oaks Nature Center is part of the Skokie Parks District and located at 4650 Brummel Street, just off of Howard Street.

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