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Naperville
Thursday, November 24, 2022

Fond memories at May Watts Park during the merry month of May

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Above / The great blue heron can stand 46 inches tall on long legs with a wingspan of 72 inches. Its upper body is blueish gray and its neck is grayish. Its large dagger-like bill is yellowish orange and great for tackling fish. It’s tough to distinguish between males and females. For many years we’ve watched the great blue heron feed on tiny fish in May Watts Pond with one gulp. Until the last week in May, we’d never observed the big bird’s being challenged with figuring out how to eat a big fish.

As a Naperville resident, May Watts lived in a historic home on Jefferson Ave. on the campus of North Central College.

In the good old summertime, the colorful flowering landscape surrounding May Watts Pond is a natural tribute to a Naperville woman, May Theilgaard Watts, who enjoyed a passion for preserving, writing and teaching about the great outdoors.

And during the merry month of May, the park came alive with all kinds of unexpected action.

Whether high waters due to excessive April showers, a high school science experiment (Yes. PVC pipes float and can hold a teenager.), a family of Canada geese or cheers of soccer fans on the playing fields, May Watts Park offered variety for all ages and all types of wildlife.

Naturalist Watts (1893-1975) is remembered for her dedication to the Illinois Prairie Path at this park, trail and District 204 elementary school named in her honor, bordering Countryside and West Wind subdivisions in Naperville.

Visitors can enter the May Watts Park via its limestone trails, totaling .89-mile through the park and around the May Watts Pond, from Oakton, Whispering Hills and Sequoia roads.

PHOTO GALLEY / Click any photo to enlarge these images taken at May Watts Park in May 2017.

[shareprints gallery_id=”74304″ gallery_type=”squares” gallery_position=”pos_center” gallery_width=”width_100″ image_size=”small” image_padding=”0″ theme=”dark” image_hover=”false” lightbox_type=”slide” titles=”true” captions=”true” descriptions=”true” comments=”true” sharing=”true”]Be prepared to spot robins, goldfinches, seagulls, great blue heron, double-crested cormorants, red wing black birds, ducks, geese, squirrels, chipmunks and maybe even a beaver!  Take a fishing pole and join other anglers as they catch and release largemouth bass, sunfish, catfish or bluegill—and you might even sight a golden koi feeding and swimming along the banks.  

This past month high school students worked on environmental and physics experiments. Teens collected trash.

Buddy up with a friend and plan to explore the great outdoors this summer. Experience May Watts Park with its many play spaces.

‘The only way to have a friend is to be one.’  —Ralph Waldo Emerson


Note also that the May Watts Trail is a short hike and a clear shot from the nature trail around Lake Osborne, accessible from both Aurora Ave. and Oswego Road.

Above / When conditions are just right a strikingly colorful sunset happens, where the colors are pure oranges and reds. According to our photographer friend, Jo Lundeen, a slanting band of clouds is what makes a difference to photos that capture blazing sunsets. The clouds can act as a sort of projection screen to collect more of the orange and red light, and if the cloud cover is thin enough, it will reflect those colors. We caught this sunset just right on May 3, 2017,  as we were driving along Oswego Road.

With both natural settings named to recognize local women activists, try to imagine what May Theilgaard Watts and Marjorie Osborne would think of these two beautiful trails today.

Enjoy your neighborhood parks this summer!

From chirping crickets to buzzing cicadas to soaring dragonflies to singing birds to grunting double-crested cormorants to screeching squirrels, enjoy the sights and sounds of wildlife in local parks.

Just remember let wildlife be wild. Let the ecosystem thrive. Keep waterways clean. Encourage natural migration by keeping human food and snacks away from wildlife—especially ducks and geese.

And enjoy big bird watching right here in Naperville!

Naperville is blessed with natural park settings all along the winding DuPage River where that “watch” message can be applied to all the changes of the season during quiet walks through neighborhoods or along the Riverwalk.

Seize the moments to see nature run its course. Just watch out where you step. With an abundance of Canada geese that seldom migrates, their droppings make a mess on the trails, paths and open space.

—PN

RELATED POSTS / Use the “Search” tool on this website to discover photos and more about May Watts featured here.

Also, here’s a link to a Daily Herald story about May Watts during 50th Anniversary celebration in 2013.

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PN Editor
PN Editor
An editor is someone who prepares content for publishing. It entered English, the American Language, via French. Its modern sense for newspapers has been around since about 1800.

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Above / At least one family of Naperville residents puts the big rock in their front yard to good use to celebrate all-American holidays!...
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