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MY JOURNEY INTO THE WILDS OF CHICAGO
A Celebration of Chicagoland’s Startling Natural Wonders
by Mike MacDonald

Introducing the groundbreaking book that inspired this website

 

“There is much to admire in MacDonald’s book
filled with 
glorious, full-color photographs. . .
This impressive, cloth-bound debut is a
lucid perspective on the prairie…
It is celebratory, soulful, and poetic.
PUBLISHERS  WEEKLY

“Mike’s breathtaking photographs are
visual proof that Tallgrass Prairie can be as
magical as any environment in the world.

—BILL KURTIS, legendary journalist

“The words ‘electrifying’ and ‘monumental’
come to mind. I can imagine many people saying,
‘This book changed my life.’

—STEPHEN PACKARD, world-renowned conservationist

 

At Wolf Road Prairie in July, wildflowers combine to resemble a fireworks display.

At Wolf Road Prairie in July, wildflowers combine to resemble a fireworks display.

THE BOOK

In My Journey into the Wilds of Chicago, photographer and humorist, Mike MacDonald, takes you on a trip to Chicago’s wild side—a verdant, untamed Chicago that has been there all along, just waiting to be explored. MacDonald combines breathtaking images and imaginative prose to lead you on an adventure into enchanted and faraway lands located just up the road. From kaleidoscopic tall grass prairies to the verdant canopies of rare oak savannas, from the miniature realm of the bumble bee to the mysterious world of the clandestine coyote, startling photographs of a vast and wild Chicago evoke shock and delight with every turn of the page.

Watch Mike’s interview on WTTW Chicago Tonight.
Listen to Mike’s interview on WBEZ’s WorldView.

 

 

 

 

At Bluff Spring Fen in Elgin, Illinois, pearl blossoms of foxglove beardtongue catch the morning rays and a new day awakens—one as splendid and picturesque as any place on Earth.

At Bluff Spring Fen in Elgin, Illinois, pearl blossoms of foxglove beardtongue catch the morning rays and a new day awakens—one as splendid and picturesque as any place on Earth.

THE VISION

In our fast-pace world of technology, where populations are becoming more urbanized and life is increasing experienced on electronic screens, people are losing their connection to nature. Yet nature is all around us, especially if you live in the Chicago area. But few Chicagoans know it’s there.

From kaleidoscopic prairies to the open canopies of rare oak savannas, my photographs convey the marvels of the every day, yet a magnificence that rivals any place in the world. Insiders of the local nature community are keenly aware that the prairie, on which Chicago was built, still thrives in stunning expanses, but this fact remains a surprise to millions.

Unfortunately, you cannot love and support something that you don’t know about, which is why he created this book. Mike has made it his mission to play matchmaker, to introduce Chicagoans to that gorgeous neighbor next door and to spark thousands and thousands of love affairs.

Over twenty years in the making, this book is Mike’s gift to the world. It is his contribution towards transforming the mindsets of current and future generations by helping people of all ages discover the great outdoors and to foster a new era of biologists and botanists, nature-minded voters and volunteers, and environmentally-friendly business and political leaders.

 

A great blue heron takes flight as the sun sets over Saganashkee Slough in Palos Hills, Illinois

A great blue heron takes flight as the sun sets over Saganashkee Slough in Palos Hills, Illinois.

THE DETAILS

This 12×12″, 240-page, full-color, hardcover, coffee table book of Chicago features more than 200 photographs, most of which are page-filling landscape images that swallow you up into the scene. Twenty-two essays and poems explore Chicago’s unique habitats and species, including the smells, the seasons, and worlds big and small. Twenty-four specially selected locations from the Chicago Wilderness region are also featured, bordered by the Lake Michigan shore to the east, Chiwaukee Prairie (just north of the Illinois border), as far south as Kankakee and Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, southwest to a prairie in Lockport, west to Batavia, and northwest into McHenry County.

 

 

 

 

 The Fine Details:

ISBN-10: 0-9963119-0-4
ISBN-13: 978-0-9963119-0-8
Hardcover: Smythe-sewn, purple cloth with silver debossing
Dimensions: 12.25 x 12.25 x 1 inches
Page Count: 240
Weight: 5.2 lbs.
Images: 205 full-color photos using wide-gamut inks with photos finished with a spot varnish
Extra Touches: High-quality matte paper is used for easy reading but photos are glossy for greatest impact
Book Jacket: Laminated and full-color using wide-gamut inks
Illustrations: Locator map (2-page, full-color)
Packaging: Shrink Wrapped