November 2016


November for PHNRC Means Thanksgiving!

Like late December, November has always been a time of reflection for the Commissioners and volunteers of the PHNRC. Unlike the year end where we pause and reflect on our accomplishments, November is a time to reflect and give thanks to all of those who have contributed to and made possible, the many successes we have enjoyed throughout the year. 

We would like to acknowledge and extend our sincere thanks to the partners, friends, volunteers and officials that have give so much to make 2016 such a great year for the green spaces of Prospect Heights.

City of Prospect Heights
Mayor Helmer, City Administrator Joe Wade, Assistant City Administrator Peter Falcone, The Prospect Heights Aldermen and members of the city council, Treasurer Rich Tibbits, Patrick Colvin.

Prospect Heights Park District
Executive Director Christina Ferraro
Superintendent Dino Squires
Board President Tim Jones

Partner Organizations
Terri Campbell - Prospect Heights Public Library
Mary Lou Mellon & Lee Ramsey - Bird Conservation Network
Ryan Campbell & Jacques Hooymans  - Fermilab Natural Areas
Rick McAndless - Poplar Creek Stewards
John McCabe - Forest Preserves of Cook County
Kurt Dreisilker & Trisha Bethke - Morton Arboretum 
Doug Taron - Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum

Dr. John Hilty -
Ken Schaeffer - Oakton Community College
Mike Horcher - Horcher Farms

The Commissioners and their significant others
Carter the workday dog
And above all the wonderful Volunteers who make this all happen
PHNRC Chair Agnes Wojnarski on a November burn for FPCC with the legendary Kent Fuller, (left)

PHNRC Still Looking to Burn the Slough This Fall

The NRC is still planning on the scheduled prescribed burn of the south side woodland area of the slough this fall. "So far the conditions have been marginal and the fuel has not been made ready with solid frosts. We are looking out to early December as the best possible burn dates right now. If it snows though, we will not burn until spring." said a PHNRC spokesman. Residents will be notified of the burn date as soon as we can predict the right conditions."
Commissioner Peter Hahn with the Golden Clipper and Volunteer of the Year, Karl Humbert with the Golden Loppers.

PHNRC Celebrates Volunteers!!!

PHNRC held its first ever Volunteer Appreciation Day, featuring a kielbasa roast, a potluck lunch, donations of antipasto and drinks courtesy of the Park District and the presentation of the Golden Loppers, the annual award for the PHNRC Volunteer of the year. On a brisk November morning, it was warm and toasty inside the garage that served the day as the seed processing center. Volunteers worked diligently to process 42 pounds of seed they had collected earlier in the year to make ready for sowing and propagating.

"This was a very enjoyable day," said commissioner Dana Sievertson. "Special people came together for a special event and the result was a very productive afternoon with the ambience of a quilting bee. This is a very close-nit group and every time the volunteers come together for a work day we accomplish much and this was no exception. The difference today was the whole day seemed more like a celebration."

"We r
eally enjoyed the seed processing and were impressed with how smoothly the process was," said volunteer Peggy Lee. "I know that comes from so much prep work and it was so good to get together with those great volunteers we don't always get a chance to chat with," she added.

In it's very first year of inception, the Golden Loppers went to super Volunteer Karl Humbert. "Karl is a very special individual and totally deserving of the very first Golden Loppers award," said PHNRC Chair Agnes Wojnarski. "Karl has been with us since the beginning and has always gone out of his way to mentor, educate and show great compassion to all of the volunteers but especially the newbies and youngest of the volunteers. Karl's work ethic is second to none."

"The opportunity to work in Natural Area restoration and conservation projects has been one of the most rewarding of my experiences," said Humbert.  "To be the designated volunteer representing all of the volunteers is indeed an honor.  My thanks goes to Agnes and Dana who have built a vibrant organization, and the commissioners and volunteers who make every "work day" a pleasure.

After awarding the Golden Loppers, the Commission made a special presentation of the Golden Clippers to Commissioner Peter Hahn. "As a commission, we decided to omit ourselves from eligibility in the volunteer of the year award," said commissioner Ed Madden. "Peter has gone so far above and beyond the call of duty this year that it absolutely required a special recognition. We decide to create the "Golden Clippers" award specifically for this recognition."

Fifth ward Alderman Matt Dolick was in attendance and took the opportunity to thank the volunteers and the commission on behalf of the city for all their hard work and dedication to the green spaces of Prospect Heights. It was a grand day all around.
PHNRC Volunteers process som 42 pounds of seed
Poplar Creek Stewards Rick McAndless and Dave Webb with PHNRC Chair Agnes Wojnarski

Poplar Creek Stewards contribute to PHNRC!!!

On a gorgeous fall day, PHNRC commissioners traveled to the Poplar Creek Stewards seed processing day at Crabtree Nature Center to lend a hand processing seed, receive a donation of old generation seed processing equipment, borrow some additional new things and more importantly, learn how its done by the big boys.

"We were very impressed with the organization of this large scale event," remarked Commissioner Peter Hahn. "There were fifty plus people in attendance, it was amazing to see how everyone was working as a whole and how much actually got done." "We will definitely incorporate the concepts we learned here today into our seed processing event," added PHNRC Chair Agnes Wojnarski. "It was a model of efficiency."

Additional donations to PHNRC included  seeds in exchange for propagating in the greenhouse program next spring. 
The highly organized seed processing room at Poplar Creek.

Dreisilker Talks Invasives.

Kurt Dreisilker, Head of Natural Resources was the featured speaker this fall's Nature Speaks event. Dreisilker presentation "Invasive Plant Prevention  at Morton Arboretum" was chock-full of information.

The presentation began with the realization that the Arboretum has learned from their years of historical data that all plants are not good players.

Dreisilker recalled the Arboretum's history and mission which was to import collections from around the world and assemble them into collection plantings throughout the 1700 acre plot. This amounted to some 75 different collections covering about 50% of the site, the other 50% intended to be naturalized.

Kurt explained that the herbarium represented a great resource and documented everything that had been done in great detail; becoming a great historical record. In the early years, the estate was planted like crazy; 100,000 trees and shrubs every year. As it turns out, a lot of it was buckthorn and honeysuckle, the major invaders on site to this very day. It was somewhere in 1950's that Charles Elton's concept of invasives and invasions of plants and animals that began a period of self examination. 

Ray Schulenberg of the prairie project fame was acting Curator of Collections in the mid 80's when he ordered the removal of the Chinese lacquer tree after close examination of the historical records. When Schulenberg looked at the landscape, he could see that the seedlings were propagating at an alarming rate and very clearly were weedy. It would be suggested that his decision to remove the tree probably stopped an invasion. 

Kurt went on to explain that "invader biology" took off in the late 80's and early 90's and that then President  Clinton signed a document defining invasives. Fast forward to 2004 when Dreisilker becomes the Manager of Natural Resources and quickly realizes that the woodland area is infested with among other things, buckthorn and honeysuckle. People now fully understand invasives.

The Arboretum manages collections and natural areas. They have some 4,000 species in the collection under observation with reliance on the herbarium and people constantly out in the field, updating the records to understand what is going on and what plants, trees and shrubs are doing. They routinely consult with regional contacts and monitor the 88 plants and shrubs on the invasives list. He went on to sight the recent  removal of burning bush from all parts of the Arboretum and mentioned that they will be hosting a summit on invasives this November 10th at the Arboretum. "The goal is to stay out in front of invasives and new plants. Going forward with new additions, Curators will decide what is to be planted from similar climates around the world. They will select and study, before adding anything to the collections."

Dreisilker was a very articulate and engaging speaker with a great deal of information. Another great speaker for the program.

What's Coming to Nature Speaks

January 26th, 2017 - Kristin DaPra and John Mc Cabe from the Forest Preserves of Cook County will be here to give an introduction to a screening of the just released documentary film about the hundred year anniversary of the forest preserve. Details may be viewed here

Winter February 28th, 2017 - Abigail Derby Lewis, Senior Conservation Ecologist at the Field Museum will be discussing climate impacts and the role urban nature plays in helping to adapt on February 28th. Details may be viewed here

Spring April 19th, 2017 - 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 may be viewed here.

What's New at the Sites

Just in time for Thanksgiving, Corn from the seed bank at the Slough.
The walking path is marked out for the future naturalized area at the Morava Nature Preserve
While most have seeded into the areas planted by volunteers this summer, some great blue lobelia are still blooming.
The plantings at Tully Park continue to prosper.
Copyright © 2016 Prospect Heights Natural Resources Commission, All rights reserved.

unsubscribe from this list    update subscription preferences 

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp