Wild in the City: Chicagoland's Urban Ecology

A Budding Movement

As the Victorian Era wound down and met the dawn of the 20th century, our oak was more than 60 years old and about as many feet tall, while the city it has grown up alongside topped one and a half million residents.

Gone were the virgin prairie and savanna, replaced by the perfectly aligned grid of Chicago streets. The city’s geometric design was interspersed with wide boulevards and parks, and transected by a network of manmade waterways, roads and rail lines, branching out of the city center to the suburbs and beyond. As urbanization steadily progressed, so did a small but solidifying movement to better understand, embrace and advocate for the environment and local ecosystem. These efforts would continue to grow and influence the ways in which the city interacts with its natural environment in the decades to come, shaping the lives of all of its residents: flora, fauna, and even that family strolling through the zoo on a warm fall day in 2019, pausing in the shade of a great old oak tree near the gibbon yard.

Exhibit continues with "GROWING A PATH FROM THE GRASS ROOTS">>

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