The Long Distance, Multi-Generational Migration of Monarch Butterflies

Periodically at First Light, host Brian O’Keefe takes listeners ‘Into the Woods’ with our friends from the DuPage Forest Preserve District. Recently, Brian stopped by the Willowbrook Wildlife Center in Glen Ellyn and met up with naturalist Stephanie Touzalin for a discussion about an amazing annual migration.

With cooler weather just around the corner, Monarch butterflies in the upper Midwest are fueling up for their trip to central Mexico

With cooler weather just around the corner, Monarch butterflies in the upper Midwest are fueling up for their trip to central Mexico

Photographing Forgotonia

Photographer Bruce Morton has compiled three books that chronicle the life and beauty of the 16 far western Illinois counties that are sometimes referred to as ‘Forgotonia’ (photo courtesy of Rich Egger)

Photographer Bruce Morton has compiled three books that chronicle the life and beauty of the 16 far western Illinois counties that are sometimes referred to as ‘Forgotonia’
(photo courtesy of Rich Egger)

This week in our look at stories from around the state…we have a story from the farthest west region of the state. A 16 county region of western Illinois is nicknamed Forgottonia. That’s also the name of a trilogy of photography books that document life in the region. Illinois Public Radio’s Rich Egger talked to the photographer about the project and has this story

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The Aurora Regional Fire Museum Celebrates 50 Years

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In just a few weeks, Chicago marks the anniversary of the event that literally wiped the city’s slate clean; and made possible much of the architecture that is celebrated today. The Great Chicago Fire began on October 8th of 1871 and continued to burn until the 10th. Stories connected to the fire reach far beyond the city to places you might never expect. First Light host Brian O'Keefe found a connection to the Great Chicago Fire when he visited the Aurora Regional Fire Museum.

One of the early engines on display at the Aurora Regional Fire Museum   

One of the early engines on display at the Aurora Regional Fire Museum

 

The distinctive green dome and keyhole windows are signature features of the one time firehouse that now serves as the home for the Aurora Regional Fire Museum (image courtesy of the Aurora Regional Fire Museum)

The distinctive green dome and keyhole windows are signature features of the one time firehouse that now serves as the home for the Aurora Regional Fire Museum (image courtesy of the Aurora Regional Fire Museum)

Walking into the main gallery of the Aurora regional Fire Museum

Walking into the main gallery of the Aurora regional Fire Museum

Harvesting Every Day At Klein's Farm

Farmer Matt Klein (left) and University of Illinois Extension educator Richard Hentschel (right) inspect a pair of "sugar cube" melons picked from one of Matt's fields

Farmer Matt Klein (left) and University of Illinois Extension educator Richard Hentschel (right) inspect a pair of "sugar cube" melons picked from one of Matt's fields

Every few weeks at First Light, University of Illinois Extension educator Richard Hentschel and First Light host Brian O'Keefe get together to discuss the state’s largest industry, agriculture. One of the fastest growing segments of the sector is farms that grow what the state has designated as specialty crops. For this ‘Farm to Table’ segment Richard and Brian visited one of those farms and the farmer that owns the operation in Kane County

Remembering The Crash of Air Illinois Flight 710

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This week in our look at stories from around the state, a story from Springfield and Illinois Public Radio’s Sean Crawford. If you’ve been around the state for a while you might remember a small commuter airline service called Air Illinois. It flew to airports from Chicago to small cities until 1983. Flight 710 left Springfield, quickly ran into trouble and crashed about a half hour later in a southern Illinois farm field. Bruce Rushton is a staff writer with the Illinois Times newspaper. He wrote about the crash and talked about it recently Sean Crawford

Chicago Architecture Center Ready To Welcome Visitors

Chicago Architecture Center President and CEO Lynn Osmond tells supporters opening the new facility is a dream come true. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel (left) and Architect Gordon Gill (right) joined Osmond for this week's ribbon cutting ceremony.

Chicago Architecture Center President and CEO Lynn Osmond tells supporters opening the new facility is a dream come true. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel (left) and Architect Gordon Gill (right) joined Osmond for this week's ribbon cutting ceremony.

Whether on a double decker bus, boat, or walking the city’s sidewalks, Chicago’s architectural tours are popular with residents and tourists alike. Now, people interested in building design and history can visit a museum dedicated to the topics. The city’s newest cultural destination, the Chicago Architecture Center officially opened its doors this weekend. First Light host Brian O'Keefe was there for the center's ribbon cutting this week.

The models in the Chicago Architecture Center Skyscraper Gallery stand in the shadow of some of the city's most recognizable buildings

The models in the Chicago Architecture Center Skyscraper Gallery stand in the shadow of some of the city's most recognizable buildings

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September's Night Sky

Every month, on the first Sunday of the month at First Light, College of DuPage Astronomy professor Joe DalSanto joins host Brian O'Keefe for a discussion of what you can expect to see in the night sky in the coming month. Joe and Brian also spend some of their time together to discuss discoveries and new developments in the realm of space science

College of DuPage Astronomy professor Joe DalSanto joins First Light host Brian O'Keefe each month to discuss space science and what there is to see in the night sky

College of DuPage Astronomy professor Joe DalSanto joins First Light host Brian O'Keefe each month to discuss space science and what there is to see in the night sky

A Japanese space probe is set to land on the asteroid Itokawa in early October. College of DuPage Astronomy professor Joe DalSanto discusses why this piece of rock could say a lot about the early Solar System.

A Japanese space probe is set to land on the asteroid Itokawa in early October. College of DuPage Astronomy professor Joe DalSanto discusses why this piece of rock could say a lot about the early Solar System.

227th Old Farmer's Almanac Ready To Entertain and Inform

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Over the past 20 years…the media landscape has seen tremendous change…but for nearly 230 years one media outlet has seen very few changes. The latest edition of The Old Farmers Almanac with its highly anticipated winter weather forecast is about to hit the shelf

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Remembering The Big Flood of 1993

This week in the First Light look at stories from around the state,  a story from Illinois Public Radio’s Daisy Contreras. This year marks the 25th anniversary of the Great Flood of 1993. The deluge affected parts of Illinois, Missouri, and Iowa. State climatologist, Jim Angel was there as emergency crews worked to hold back the Illinois and Mississippi Rivers. He talked with Daisy Contreras about what took place and what ‘The Great Flood of 1993’ suggests about what to expect in the future.

Illinois State Climatologist Jim Angel remembers seeing the 1993 flooding along the Illinois and Mississippi Rivers

Illinois State Climatologist Jim Angel remembers seeing the 1993 flooding along the Illinois and Mississippi Rivers

Gray Matters Games On Target For Growth

Some family moments are timeless. Whether it’s the way a Scrabble tile feels between your fingers as you try to maximize points for a five letter word, the joy on the face of a child when they’ve finally wound their way through the twisting, turning, multi-colored trail to reach Candyland, or the satisfaction of collecting the final piece of pie to end a game of Trivial Pursuit. First Light host Brian O'Keefe visited with the Glen Ellyn couple who've turned a love of board games into a growing start-up business.

Gray Matters Games owners Joe and Lauren Barron do market research by hosting game nights at their Glen Ellyn home. (photo courtesy of Gray Matters Games)

Gray Matters Games owners Joe and Lauren Barron do market research by hosting game nights at their Glen Ellyn home. (photo courtesy of Gray Matters Games)

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Elburn Farm Works To Diversify Regional Tree Inventory

This week, in the ‘Farm to Table’ segment…University of Illinois Extension educator Richard Hentschel and First Light host Brian O'Keefe continue a recent visit to Doty Nurseries in Elburn. The nursery is a wholesale tree farm that serves developers, landscapers, and local governments. With ash trees across the region devastated by Emerald Ash Borer there’s been a push to further diversify the area’s tree inventory. Doty Nurseries owners Ken and Ryan Doty gave Richard and Brian a tour of the farm.

Rows and rows of trees grow at Doty Nurseries in Elburn

Rows and rows of trees grow at Doty Nurseries in Elburn

University of Illinois Extension educator Richard Hentschel (left) inspects a sampling with Doty Nurseries owner Ryan Doty, while Ken Doty (right) talks with First Light host Brian O'Keefe

University of Illinois Extension educator Richard Hentschel (left) inspects a sampling with Doty Nurseries owner Ryan Doty, while Ken Doty (right) talks with First Light host Brian O'Keefe

Cantigny Reopens Public Gardens

Earlier this summer, Cantigny celebrated the completion of one of the first steps of its ‘Project New Leaf’ with the re-opening of the formal gardens. The gardens were closed to the public since last fall…but now they’ve been freshened up and in some cases redesigned. Before the work was complete, First Light host Brian O'Keefe had a chance to walk through the gardens to get a sense of what’s changed, and what’s still to come.

Cantigny's Lower Display Garden (photo courtesy of Cantigny)

Cantigny's Lower Display Garden (photo courtesy of Cantigny)

Cantigny reopened its formal gardens this summer after a months long redesign  (photo courtesy of Cantigny)

Cantigny reopened its formal gardens this summer after a months long redesign
(photo courtesy of Cantigny)

Photographer Helps Shelter Animals Find Homes

This week in our look at stories from around the state…we get a story from an Illinois Public Radio affiliate in western Illinois. A Macomb woman is helping give available shelter animals a home with the click of a shudder. Emily Stieren has the story.

Photo shoot at the McDonough County Animal Shelter (photo by Emily Stieren)

Photo shoot at the McDonough County Animal Shelter (photo by Emily Stieren)

Geneva Concours d'Elegance To Spotlight Steam Power

Mike Roach's two Stanley Steamers, the car in the foreground will be at next week's Concours d'Elegance in Geneva

Mike Roach's two Stanley Steamers, the car in the foreground will be at next week's Concours d'Elegance in Geneva

During the summer, communities across the area host cruise nights and car shows. Those shows give car enthusiasts a chance to display their prized classic and modern cars and trucks. While some cruise nights award prizes the competition is secondary, that won’t be the case next weekend in downtown Geneva. The annual Concours d’Elegance is the highest level of competition you’ll at a car show. First Light host Brian O'Keefe visited with Libertyville's Mike Roach. Mike will have a fully restored Stanley Steamer at the Geneva Concours.

The dashboard, dials, and gauges of a Stanley Steamer is a combination of automobile and steam powered locomotive

The dashboard, dials, and gauges of a Stanley Steamer is a combination of automobile and steam powered locomotive

Libertville's Mike Roach goes through the process to fire up the boiler and build up enough pressure needed to start his Stanley Steamer

Libertville's Mike Roach goes through the process to fire up the boiler and build up enough pressure needed to start his Stanley Steamer

Into The Woods: Slithering Through DuPage County

Fox snake is one of the common snake species found across northern Illinois (image courtesy of the DuPage Forest Preserve District)

Fox snake is one of the common snake species found across northern Illinois
(image courtesy of the DuPage Forest Preserve District)

Periodically on First Light, host Brian O'Keefe takes you ‘Into the Woods’ with our friends at the DuPage Forest Preserve District for a look at the local flora and fauna. This week, Brian visited with naturalist Stephanie Touzalin at the Willowbrook Wildlife Center

Garter snakes are the most commonly seen snake in DuPage County and they can be a great addition to your backyard garden (image courtesy of the DuPage Forest Preserve District)

Garter snakes are the most commonly seen snake in DuPage County and they can be a great addition to your backyard garden (image courtesy of the DuPage Forest Preserve District)

Brookfield Is Home To World's Largest Vintage Video Game Arcade

Finding a way to beat the sometimes-oppressive August can be a challenge…but if you’re looking for hours of air conditioned fun…look no further than Brookfield. Remember guiding Pac-Man through a maze of power pills, blasting Space Invaders, and the rapid-fire pest control of Centipede. First Light host Brian O'Keefe visited the Ghost Arcade where you can chance to post a high score

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STEM at Traditional Liberal Arts College

This week in the First Light look around the state we have a story from Illinois Public Radio’s Rich Egger. A private liberal arts college in western Illinois is launching what it calls a major academic innovation.  It plans to add programs in the “STEM” fields of science, technology, engineering, and math. Rich Egger has the story

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Exhibit Highlights DuPage Architects

The importance of Chicago’s architecture is well known. There are any number of walking, river,  and bus tours that spotlight the various building styles that were either born in or thrived in the city. First Light host Brian O'Keefe takes you to a new exhibit in Wheaton points out there is also significant architecture in the suburbs

Blueprints show the design and floor plan of the building that was Wheaton's first public library, today the building houses the DuPage Histroical Museum

Blueprints show the design and floor plan of the building that was Wheaton's first public library, today the building houses the DuPage Histroical Museum

Artifacts related to architect R. Harold Zook 

Artifacts related to architect R. Harold Zook 

DuPage Historical Museum, the building was originally Wheation's first public library

DuPage Historical Museum, the building was originally Wheation's first public library

Giving Families In Crisis Some Respite

Just over 40 years ago, after what had been a long night at Children’s Hospital, a Chicago committed to finding a way to make the experience more bearable for other families. The result was the first Ronald McDonald House. While many people have heard of the temporary housing for families dealing with a medical crisis, few have ever been inside one. First Light host Brian O'Keefe takes you inside the Ronald McDonald House at Central DuPage Hospital

Central DuPage Hospital is visible through the windows of the Ronald McDonald House's great room

Central DuPage Hospital is visible through the windows of the Ronald McDonald House's great room

The signature 'Toy Room' at the Ronald McDonald House

The signature 'Toy Room' at the Ronald McDonald House

Ronald McDonald greets families from the front porch of the house in Winfield

Ronald McDonald greets families from the front porch of the house in Winfield

Trolls Continue To Patrol Morton Arboretum

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With summer winding down, and families looking for last minute getaways and things to do, First Light host Brian O'Keefe revisits a story he first told you about in early June. If you’ve driven down I-88 in recent weeks, you may have noticed a giant wooden creature peering down on the traffic from a hill on the Morton Arboretum property. It’s one of several trolls installed at the Lisle based outdoor museum to celebrate summer. Brian met Arboretum Manager of Interpretation and Exhibits Sarah Sargent near the main parking lot where one of the trolls has crushed a car with a giant rock. The Trolls are the work of Danish artist Thomas Dambo

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