Before European settlement, Beaubien Woods, located on Chicago’s South Side in the Calumet region, was a wet prairie and open savanna. Early agriculture and grazing altered the soil and removed native vegetation. Railroad and expressway construction further damaged soils and cleared areas for use in construction staging. Today the area is the focus of robust restoration efforts and boasts a mix of prairie, woodland and wetland habitats, with Flatfoot Lake as the centerpiece. Join Chicago Studies and ecologist Alison Anastasio (ENST) for a guided trek through this fascinating landscape where the city blends into woodland, and the beauty of restoration can be admired and enjoyed.

Alison Anastasio is an urban ecologist broadly trained in evolution and ecology. As an Assistant Instructional Professor, Dr. Anastasio teaches undergraduates in the Environmental and Urban Studies major to examine the human entanglement with the environment through a scientific lens while in a humanistic context, including urban ecology, human health and the environment, habitat restoration, and part of the Environmental and Urban Studies core sequence. She has a particular focus on engaging students experientially with the city of Chicago and its communities.

To attend the Urban Hike at Beaubien Woods, meet at the Urban Lounge (1155 E. 60th Street) at 12pm CT on 10/22. The hike will last from 12:00-5:00pm CT. Register here.


This event is open to all invitees regardless of vaccination status and, because of ongoing health risks to the unvaccinated, those who are unvaccinated are expected to adopt the risk mitigation measures advised by public health officials (masking and social distancing, etc.). Public dining may not be safe for all and carries a risk for contracting COVID-19, particularly for those unvaccinated. Participants will not know the vaccination status of others, including venue staff, and should follow appropriate risk mitigation measures.


Chicago Studies works to help the College forge genuine bonds with Chicago’s diverse communities. They offer classes, programs, and resources that support student engagement with Chicago, enabling students to have a positive impact on their new home. Chicago Outdoors’ Urban Hikes invite participants to explore Chicago in and beyond Hyde Park, in both natural and built environments. Led by faculty, staff, and partners, their hikes offer an in-depth look at Chicago’s diverse ecosystems. Urban Hikes help to expose students to Chicago itself, while building relationships with faculty and partners and providing path-making opportunities for further inquiry. Registration is now open.

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