| Story by Cindy Cain |
You don’t have to travel 3,000 miles to the Galapagos Islands to see an ecosystem teeming with exotic diversity.
Just head south on Route 53 to a cluster of preserves that provide the rare conditions necessary for an incredible mix of native plants, animals, insects and birds to survive and thrive.
The preserves feature a wonderful abundance of native species and a mixture not found elsewhere in the county, said Floyd Catchpole (pictured above), the Forest Preserve’s land management program coordinator.
For instance, if you take a hike in Kankakee Sands Preserve in July, you're likely to see swamp milkweed, great blue lobelia, common milkweed, sand milkweed, spotted hemlock, blue iris, golden aster, elderberry, button bush, marsh vetch, marsh field fern and showy tick trefoil, to name a few.