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Monday, August 15, 2011

International Year of Forests

Posted by Alana T. and Dani G.

The United Nations General Assembly has declared 2011 The International Year of Forests.  Almost half the world's original forests have been destroyed, most during the past three decades.  There is a wealth of diversity and beauty still unknown to most people.  Close to home, we think of Illinois as being part of a big prairie, but large portions of the state were historically covered by forests.  Remnants of these areas have been set aside as National and State Parks.  And did you know - there are some wonderful hardwood forest remnants in Pere Marquette State Park (north of Alton) that look like something out of a Harry Potter movie?  It's true. 

For more information about forests in IL, visit the following links:
Illinois State Musuem link describing historical, ecological, and other aspects of Illinois forests; Pere Marquette State Park;   Shawnee National Forest;  Trail of Tears State Forest;  Sand Prairie State Forest.

If you want to visit one of our forests, we have field guides at the library for trees, wildflowers, poisonous plants, insects, butterflies, caterpillars, reptiles, birds and mammals.

If you're visiting a local forest with the kids, try some of these books (also great for adults needing to brush up on the basics):
Forest Floor by Elaine Pascoe
Food Chains in a Forest Habitat by Isaac Nadeau
A Log's Life by Wendy Pfeffer
Forest Explorer: A Life-size Field Guide by Nic Bishop 
Forest Life by Barbara Taylor

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