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Week 9: Bats

Did you know Chicago has an official mammal? It’s the little brown bat! In 2018, this small species was recognized for its continued fight against white nose syndrome - a fungal disease affecting their numbers. Lincoln Park Zoo is working to observe and monitor little brown bats around the city! As LEAP families, you are helping support our animal friends - big and little!

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Week 1: Bugs

Bugs, pests, critters, creepy crawlers—insects go by many names. We find them in the grass, scurrying across the sidewalk, buried in the dirt, chomping on leaves, and sometimes even inside our homes! They may seem small, but they have mighty jobs. Before LEAP this week, see how many bugs you can find outdoors!

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Week 2: Birds

When you woke up this morning, did you hear birds? It’s spring! Birds are returning from their migration south in search of the perfect nesting spot. Soon the zoo will be filled with birds of all sizes and colors. Within the next few weeks, endangered Black-Crowned Night Herons will gather in Children’s Zoo to raise their young. Before LEAP this week, take a walk and listen to the tweets and chirps in your neighborhood.

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Week 3: Bats

Bats often get a bad rap. They seem creepy and spooky - perfect for Halloween! In reality, bats are amazing. They eat thousands of bugs every night and help pollinate many plants. Without bats, we’d be covered in far more mosquito bites! Bats call Chicago ‘home.’ Take a walk at dusk this week and look in the sky. Can you see any flying friends?

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Week 4: Bugs

The weather is warming up and we are hearing more sounds! Bugs are musicians! From the fluttering wings of dragonflies to the chirp-chirp of crickets, spring starts to sound like a bug concert. After LEAP this week, take a walk down to Nature Boardwalk. What bugs do you see? What bugs do you hear?

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Week 5: Birds

It’s the perfect time to be in Children’s Zoo - the Black-Crowned Night Herons are back! These large, feathered friends make their home in the trees at Lincoln Park Zoo every year. They make beautiful stick bundle nests and raise their young here. You might already hear the squawking of adult herons as they prep for babies. This week, spend some extra time in the Children’s Zoo forest, counting herons!

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Week 6: Bats

Bats are nocturnal - they sleep all day and spread their wings at night! 8 different types of bats can be seen - and heard - flying around Chicago. You can be a good bat neighbor by giving them their space, or creating a space for them, called a bat roost! Learn more at illinoisbats.org.

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Week 7: Bugs

Did you know that the Monarch butterfly is the state insect of Illinois? Monarchs can be found throughout our state - and definitely at Nature Boardwalk. They spend the colder months in Mexico, migrating in huge numbers. During this LEAP week, look for the unique black and orange of their wings - how many Monarchs can you find?

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Week 8: Birds

It’s baby bird season! Bird parents are perfecting their nests and laying eggs. Soon, you may hear the tiny chirps of newborn birds! Eventually, baby birds will start to fledge, or leave the nest. As you walk around your neighborhood, see how many nests you can count!