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Under Rocks

  • It’s a dance as old as humanity itself: Bees make honey, humans steal it. And for the most part, we get away with it with nothing more than an occasional sting. But over time, we’ve learned we must do more for the honeybee, which is propping up our fragile ecosystem. The Under Rocks team managed to get itself invited to peer into the process of stewarding bees and harvesting honey with Tim Benedict of Orion Organics. It’s his farm in Lee County where bees roam with the bison among the wildflowers of Nachusa Grasslands.
  • Take a stroll through your nearest downtown and chances are you're going to see some big bold public art on at least a few buildings. Cities and towns are embracing murals as a way to support artists and show some civic pride. We sent WNIJ's Under Rocks team to downtown Rockford to learn more, starting in the studio of muralist Brett Whitacre. (We'd love to see your favorite mural! Send a photo and location to rocks@niu.edu)
  • Hike along with the Under Rocks crew as they slog through woods and fields in search of the jewel of springtime, the morel mushroom. To put it another way, watch them get skunked with Chris Fink. But there are triumphs along the way, lessons to be learned, and even a few consolation prizes.
  • For six Fridays every year, temporary restaurants pop up in churches, clubs, and community buildings across the Midwest. Menus may vary, but they stick with one theme. Fish. Fried fish.
  • What do you think of when you hear the word "mead?" Vikings, Renaissance Faires, a cloying sweet nectar? The Under Rocks team discovers the joy of modern mead during a visit to downtown Elburn.
  • The Culinary Historians of Northern Illinois are preserving our stories, recipes, and community cookbooks -– and putting it all into a bigger societal context. Join WNIJ’s Under Rocks team as we take a deep dive into grandma’s recipe box and serve up a big slice of chocolate kraut cake. Your ideas are welcome at rocks@niu.edu!
  • Flags fly over Sycamore, Illinois as it celebrates the world’s favorite orange gourd: The Pumpkin Festival gets underway the last full weekend before Halloween. It’s those orange flags with the grinning jack-o'-lantern that drove a listener to contact WNIJ’s Under Rocks team to get answers to some burning questions. And make sure you listen ‘til the very end of the show for a special appearance by our favorite Illinois Enthusiast!
  • You don't need a passport to get to a world-renowned meditation center. In fact, the Illinois Vipassana Meditation Center is just a short hop from Rockford. The Under Rocks team takes you there — but can they go ten days without speaking?
  • How would you handle yourself in a medieval melee? Do you know what realm you live in? In the latest Under Rocks podcast, our team joins up with Team Belegarth in a Kane County park. When the herald cries "weapons up," these foam fighters really "lay on!"
  • So you've spotted a flock of huge white birds with comically-large beaks riding the Rock River surf. They couldn't possibly be pelicans, could they? They're far too exotic for the Midwest. Right?WNIJ's Under Rocks team heads out in search of the American White Pelican — and finds a festival devoted to these spring-time visitors along the way.Email us your story ideas at rocks@niu.edu!