October 2020



Happy Halloween from PHNRC

Stay Safe everyone! Go see the Scarecrows!

It is the Most Important Election in the History of the United States! Please Get Out and Vote for the Planet

Run, trot, walk, skip, crawl, hobble, swim, jump, hop, fly, drive, cab, scoot, skate, bike, bus, horse, dog sled, or teleport but PLEASE get out and vote! There is no Planet B.

Burn Season Is Upon Us

Just a reminder from the NRC, November is a burn month. The Commissioners will be out conducting prescribed burns at all of our sites this fall. Safety is the only priority and if conditions are not right, the burn will not be conducted. ComEd will also be using their burn crew, Stantec to burn the ComEd prairie conversion. The NRC will be sending out notices with as much advance notice as possible. In addition, the City of Prospect Heights will be placing reverse 911 calls to residents in the near proximity of a given burn on the morning of.

Residents are invited to observe from a safe distance and Commissioners and volunteers will be on hand to answer questions and make sure a safe distance is maintained. 

A Complementary Fall

This has been one of the most colorful fall seasons in Prospect Heights that I can remember. One of the most striking and differentiating things I have noticed is that this fall seems to be proud of its complementary color schemes. I do not recall it ever being so pronounced. A complementary color scheme is one that uses a base color and its complement or the color on the exact opposite side of the color wheel. A complementary color scheme always results in the combination of one cool and one warm color. Think green/red, blue/orange, purple/yellow.

Generally speaking, in painting one color is the base and predominantly used while the complementary color is used as an accent.  What I love about nature is that it blows the doors off of convention and uses color with reckless abandon. I love to see the random vignettes where the dominant and accents flip flop. It's all been made more visually palatable by the grey overcast skies that help to neutralize the acidity usually associated with a complementary color scheme.
Riparian buffers at the Slough
The great purples are arriving on the backs of a proliferation of smooth and New England asters. The yellows courtesy of golden rods, senescing grasses and deciduous  trees. The screaming red of poison ivy against the last strongholds of chlorophyll is just as exciting.
We encourage everyone to make the time, get out and soak in the beauty of our natural areas. Look at the monochromatic arrangements and configurations of mushrooms that are appearing everywhere. Above all, harmonize with nature.

Prairie Respite.

We have an annual outing every fall where we travel to the Poplar Creek Prairie in Hoffman Estates to collect seeds with the Poplar Creek Stewards. For whatever cosmic reason, these events have always coincided with nearly intolerable levels of stress associated with my life. It is like magic how the cause and the cure collide in a massive, open sky prairie in Illinois.
It is hard to describe the therapeutic value of wind flowing within you and without you under the big sky, moving clouds, light and plant matter in such a way that the whole world seems a kinetic buzz as you move silently through the towering fields of Indian grass, collecting seed. 
It is that kinetic buzz that vibrates within and triggers a harmony that has lasting effects. I could feel the layers of compounded covid angst falling off of me and a complete sense of grounding. 
Light rolls across the rolling hills of Poplar Creek Prairie
Senescing compass plant in a field of little blue stem
Nature has always been known to reduce blood pressure, reduce anxiety and a long list of other health benefits. Poplar Creek is special. Very special. It is a place that embodies the greatness and the grandeur of prairies and their storied past. It is a place that connects with a profound magnetic earth vibe that is essential. We encourage you to visit, especially in the fall, sit in solitude, absorb the resonance 
and sense of calm.
Sandhill cranes at Leaky Lake - Photo courtesy of Seth Marcus
Commissioners with Brownies - Photo courtesy of Seth Marcus

Brownies Visit the Slough 

This October, SJS Brownie Troop 45971 Co-led by Sarah Beckman and Kim Glenn, visited the Prospect Heights Slough for a tour of the hiking trail. Organized with the NRC by parent Vicki Fabos, approximately 20 Brownies graced the Slough. The tour began with a brief introduction and history of the Slough and proceeded to hit the trail. Led by Commissioners Agnes Wojnarski and Seth Marcus, the girls were introduced to native plant species, migrating and resident bird species.

Masked and mostly distanced, the girls seemingly never ran out of questions. "It was amusing to watch commissioner Marcus show one group of girls how stick seed works," said Commissioner Wojnarski. "It was the perfect intro into a discussion of the different ways that nature distributes seed. Today was really nice. It was fun for us to walk around the Slough and share nature's stories with the girls and their Moms. It was very interesting to know that almost none of them knew the nature trail existed. The girls learned a lot about the importance of native plants," she concluded.

At the end of the tour, the girls made a mad dash for the milkweed seed pods at NRC HQ in the hopes of attracting their own monarchs next spring.
Photo courtesy of Seth Marcus

Next Up for Nature Speaks

Dr. Doug Tallamy - Nature's Best Hope

Thursday, November 19th, 2020 - Dr. Doug Tallamy 
7:00pm - 8:30pm Zoom Presentation

Please join us as we welcome the celebrated New York Times Bestselling Author, Educator, Researcher and Naturalist, Dr. Doug Tallamy as he gives his presentation "Nature's Best Hope".

Recent headlines about global insect declines and three billion fewer birds in North America are a bleak reality check about how ineffective our current landscape designs have been at sustaining the plants and animals that sustain us.

Such losses are not an option if we wish to continue our current standard of living on Planet Earth. This is one lecture you cannot afford to miss!

Click here to learn more                                   Click here to Register


Looking for that perfect Christmas present for anyone? Look no further.
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