Outdoors Adviser

Let your wildflower appreciation bloom

Credit Mother Nature, and blow her an Earth Day kiss.

A few nature notes

A tip of the hiking hat to Chicago Wilderness magazine, which is ceasing publication after more than 10 years of covering the area's native biodiversity and the professional and volunteer community devoted to it.

"It was a marvelous resource and very successful for the people that were very devoted to it, but like so many magazines we were seeing the subscriber base quickly eroding," said Melinda Pruett-Jones, executive director of the Chicago Wilderness alliance. The organization is looking into other ways to communicate in hopes of reaching a wider audience, but its archives — including its excellent searchable database of great nature spots, Into the Wild — will remain on chicagowildernessmag.org.

Speaking of outdoors archives, the Tribune now has one. Selected Outdoors Adviser columns are now at chicagotribune.com/outdoors. Go on some of my favorite outings — and if you have suggestions of your own, find me on Facebook.


Wildflower havens
Chicago Botanic Garden, 1000 Lake Cook Road, Glencoe; 847-835-5440; chicago-botanic.org

Morton Arboretum, Illinois Highway 53, north of Interstate Highway 88, Lisle; 630-968-0074; mortonarb.org

Harms Woods, near Morton Grove; entrance on Harms Road just south of Old Orchard Road

Black Partridge Woods, near Lemont; entrance on Bluff Road/111th Street, west of Lemont Road

Waterfall Glen Forest Preserve, Darien; main entrance on Northgate Road, just west of Cass Avenue

Ryerson Woods, Deerfield; entrance on Riverwoods Road between Half Day Road and Deerfield Road

For inspiration, check out Freeman's new photo book "Every Day in May," which follows her monthlong search for the birds and flowers of spring, available at inbeautyiwalk.com.

Tips for photographing flowers
Carol Freeman advises:
Look for blooms in shade or muted light.
Bright sun is too harsh.
Take your time.
Don't shoot the first bloom you see; keep looking for one that looks particularly pleasing, and maybe has an insect alighting on it.
Keep your hands steady
(because she shoots such low-growing flowers, she doesn't use a tripod).
Beware of wind.

Jackets recalled Remember the battery-heated jacket that was so toasty, lightweight and beautiful that it seemed too good to be true ("Hot-wired: Putting Battery-Powered Apparel to the Test," Dec. 17)? Turns out it was too good to be true. The Mountain Hardwear Refugium and Radiance jackets, and the Ardica Moshi power system they used, have been recalled. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, the electrical connections in the warming components can overheat, posing a burn hazard. The company received five reports of overheating, though no injuries were reported. My conclusion: If it's warm enough for me, it's probably dangerous.