Mindful Metropolis August 2010 : Page 15

3 a frog-lover’s spot environmental scientist meshawn ayala gets 3 the prairie spot children’s art teacher and front desk manager erin english heads to the chicago Botanic Garden at least once a week. though the cen-tral gardens are fairly populated, the 3-mile path that winds around the park’s perimeter passes through lush prairies and dense wood-lands. Highlights include herons, tallgrass upwards of 8 feet, and turtle sightings along the skokie river. 1000 Lake cook rd., Glencoe, ill. noIse LeVeL: 3 prIMary sounds: wind through tallgrass possIbLe dIsTurbanCes: conversation of other visitors away from it all by scouting for amphibians, butterflies, and summer wildflowers at the sand ridge forest preserve. a small pier overlooking vast ancient sand dunes is especially napper-friendy because on the lovely weekend we scouted, we didn’t see anyone else on the trails. 15891 paxton ave., south Holland, ill. noIse LeVeL: 3 prIMary sounds: birds, wind through trees possIbLe dIsTurbanCes: low traffic hum the spot by the river on a recent cleanup for Friends of the chicago 5 a spot with a view to bike mechanic Bill mccarthy, the city is quiet-est when seen from a distance—particularly from promontory point in Burnham park. though the fields just west of the lake may be crowded, the lakefront rocks feel surprisingly secluded, and you can often rest on a bench without hearing anything but the crash of the waves. 5491 s. south shore dr., chicago noIse LeVeL: 5 prIMary sounds: birds, waves possIbLe dIsTurbanCes: airplanes river, i myself realized how lovely this urban waterway is. tucked between busy streets on the northwest side, ronan park gently slopes down to the river, with towering white oak trees and wildflowers lining the forested trail. Just north, river park continues along with wide grassy areas, making for a good mix of scenery in this small urban hideaway. 3000 W. argyle st., chicago noIse LeVeL: 3 prIMary sounds: birds, flowing river possIbLe dIsTurbanCes: children playing nearby interested in visiting these spots? Get ready to give those overworked ears a break and check out the map at: http://bit.ly/9yzeCg 3 Daisy Simmons is a freelance writer and editor based in Chicago. She spent the last couple of years covering all things green for Ideal Bite, and now you can find her thoughts on the city’s eco-scene, food and community at daisysimmons.com. REad moRE aboUT THis ToPiC! Visit mindfulmetropolis.com mindfulmetropolis.com 15

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