August 2016
Intern Daniella Sanchez explains the "Taz" test to PHNRC Chair Agnes Wojnarski

Reflections on Our First Summer Intern

When we first heard of the possibility of getting a paid summer intern, we were giddy. Our expectations were high, the anticipation was great. We won the lottery, we could achieve so much with a 5 day a week paid position. As a volunteer group, this was huge. The candidates were all great, the interviews were interesting and compelling and everyone seemed to be a great hire. We hired Daniella Sanchez as our last interview and first resume received. What we never expected, was Daniella Sanchez.

Having an intern was a great deal of responsibility yet the benefits could be so great. Suddenly we needed to rethink safety, education, logistics, daily substinance, hydration, paperwork and clear and concise communication. We needed to account for her every work hour, treading between heat stroke, pulled muscles, boredom, bug bites and the sheer exuberance of the miracles and wonderment of nature. 

What we could never see coming was a life changing experience for all of us. More than just an intern, we adopted a daughter, found a compatriate, a champion of the Slough and a life long friend, all rolled into one. We worked really hard together and achieved beyond all expectations in an atmosphere of of love and mutual respect. We learned from each other, sweat, bled and laughed together. 

Summer is all but over and Daniella is headed back to school to complete her senior year. "Taz" was the real deal. Her intellectual curiosity and internal drive to know and understand was remarkable, as was her compassion, humor and sense community. It will serve her well. Her plans after graduating next year are to go into environmental policy. We are very happy to have had the opportunity to give her a baseline of what should go into sound environmental policy. 

We miss her already.

French Artist Didier Nolet to Paint the Slough

Renown French landscape artist Didier Nolet has announced his intention to create a series of works based on his recent visits to the PHNRC projects at the Slough, the ComEd prairie and the Morava Nature Preserve. 

"The first paintings that I created in the US were inspired by my childhood memories in France.  After spending a number of years, first in Chicago, then in Phoenix, Arizona, and back to Chicago, my work was inspired by my many experiences of places in the US," said Nolet. 
"Earlier this year," he continued, "Dana asked me if I would come to see the Slough across from his house in Prospect Heights. Eventually I made it over there and I was really inspired by the landscape. I thought that it would give me a great opportunity to start a new body of work based on a landscape that is purely Midwestern".
Nolet has agreed to an exhibition of the Slough inspired works to be held at the Prospect Heights Public Library and will offer the public a chance to see how a French born artist interprets the local landscape. The show will open September 1st 2017 and run through the 30th. The artist's reception and a brief talk will be held on Thursday, September 7th at 7:00 pm at the library.
Spiderwort in the webmaster's garden

 Dr. Hilty Will Return Next Month

Commissioner Agnes Wojnarski and Congressman Bob Dold

Commissioner Wojnarski is a Finalist for Friends of the Environment Leadership Award.

Dr. Agnes Wojnarski was nominated for the 10th congressional district's Friends of the Environment Leadership award and learned in late July, she was one of 3 finalist for the award. This August, PHNRC commissioners and Dr. Wojnarski attended the awards gala hosted by Congressman Bob Dold at the beautiful Gorton Community Center in Lake Forest.

"I was honored and very pleased to have been nominated by my peers in Prospect Heights for this distinction and very happy to have been selected as a finalist," said PHNRC Chair Agnes Wojnarski. "Everyone here tonight was a winner," she concluded

The awards showcased the commitment the nominees in all categories have to community and the strong will they all shared to make their communities better places to live. "This was a very good event tonight," said Commissioner Ed Madden. "This event did a great deal to shift the focus to the good in people and the good things they do. Congressman Dold is to be commended on a fine job."

Kurt Dreisilker is Next Up for Nature Speaks

The Nature Speaks program picks up again with our fall speaker Kurt Dreisilker, Head of Natural Resources at the Morton Arboretum. 

In Dreisilker's presentation "Invasive Plant Prevention  at Morton Arboretum" you will learn how this public garden controls invasive woody species by using several unique resources, such as: ninety two years of history, 1700 acres of living collections surrounded by natural areas, a herbarium, and numerous naturalists employed over time who recorded information about the regional flora.  The presentation will share examples and insights into how The Morton Arboretum deals with plant invasions and evaluates the plant collections for invasive species.

Since 2004, Kurt Dreisilker has developed and led the natural resource program at The Morton Arboretum.  As the Head of Natural Resources he leads and implements ecological restoration programs and projects throughout 900 acres of the Arboretum, including oak woodlands, wetlands, and prairies.

The presentation will take place September 27, 2016.  All programs take place at the Prospect Heights Public Library's Borland meeting room and start promptly at 7:00. Nature Speaks is free admission but registration is necessary. On-line registration is now open.

Click here to learn more.                         Click here to register

SPECIAL NOTE: Doug Taron, Curator of Biology and Vice President of Research and Conservation at Chicago Academy of Sciences’ Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum has signed on again to Nature Speaks to give his outstanding presentation on Monarch Butterflies on April 19th, 2017 to coincide with Earth Day festivities. Details will be available on the web site soon.

Chris Anchor Speaks and Everyone Listened

Our Natures Speaks Summer speaker Chris Anchor came to speak, and everyone listened. 

A captivating speaker, Chris spoke about his role as the Senior Wildlife Biologist and wildlife management over the past three decades in the Cook County Forest Preserves.  Monitoring wildlife behavior is crucial and there are many things that the District Wildlife Division employ to understand the Fauna that make the Forest Preserves their home. As Chris noted, he'll put a transmitter on anything. 

One of the most important projects that Chris has been leading is the Urban Coyote project.
 A collaboration with the Ohio State University, Max McGraw Wildlife Foundation, and the Cook County Department of Animal and Rabies Control, it is  the country’s largest and longest running study of coyotes. This study is helping us understand how coyotes live in urban areas and interact with wildlife, pets, and humans.
This fascinating project studies the movement and behavior of Coyotes and notes the adaptations in behavior as coyotes learn to coexist with humans in an urban environment. As we all found out, there are coyotes all around us. Coyotes hunt, mate and reproduce in some of the most surprising places in Cook County. It was comforting to learn that living among coyotes is not scary, as long as humans respect them as wild animals and do not interact with them or feed them.

The White Tailed Deer Project has been one of the most important and successful projects that Chris has led. As large predators have been extirpated over the last several decades, deer have overpopulated the Forest Preserves to a population that is unhealthy for them, the flora and the entire balance of the ecosystem. The Wildlife Division monitors and surveys the deer population and controls the numbers to a healthier level. 

Chris spoke about his partnership with the Center for Disease to closely monitor zoonotic diseases and how his work is important in understanding, preventing, and treating diseases that can be transmitted from animals to people. His division keeps samples of blood and tissue for many years so that when the need arises, they can have the material to study and understand disease.

Chris is on the cutting edge of tracking devices and a sought after as a consultant for the development and testing of new devices. His deep seeded love of his work transmitted through his entire talk and took great pride in describing his programs to
mentors the next generation of scientists through internships and field experience classes. 

It was a splendid evening, well attended and thoroughly entertaining and highly informative.


Necessity is the Mother of Invention

It has been said that necessity is the mother of invention and this is certainly the case with the new watering system cobbled together by PHNRC commissioners.

With close to 20,000 native plugs planted so far this year, the need for watering them became the all pervasive task. "We have spent the better part of the summer with carts that have 5, 5 gallon containers that we would fill with water and haul up and down Hillside Ave to water the plantings at the Slough and over at the Morava Nature Preserve," said Commissioner Dana Sievertson. "We would start at 6:30am most mornings and go to 8:00 or  8:30 am then finish up in the evening."

After the light bulb went on, Commissioners ordered a 125 gallon tank that fits nicely into the back of the van and reached out to Bill Petersen, President of Turborain for and additional solar rain pump. Turborain is the solar powered rain water pump that makes moving water in remote situations a breeze. " Petersen gladly donated another system for the project." continued Sievertson. "The Turborain consists of a an encased pump with and 18 amp battery that is charge by the solar panel. The system draws water up from the tank on the input side and outputs to whatever the device is that it is attached to. In our case it is a 50' garden hose with  a sprinkler," he concluded.

"This is a perfect solution for anyone doing restoration work, park districts and municipalities who need to get water anywhere when it is just not easy or practical," added PHNRC Chair Agnes Wojnarski. "This is a very simple and practical solution".

Contact us at if you would like to see a demo or visit the website for more informationabout his great sustainable products. Bill may also be reached at for more information about pricing and delivery.

What's New at the Sites?

Mowed walking path at the ComEd Prairie.
Stabilization of the shoreline at the Morava Nature Preserve.
1000 new native plugs at the Isaac Walton sign
Arrowhead blooming at the Slough.
Creek bank restoration in progress at Tully Park.
The Woodies are growing up at the slough..
wild sienna Sienna hebercarpa, cardinal flower, Lobelia cardinalis, water parsnip, Sium suave, and many, many others make an appearance at the slough.
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