October 2014


Preparation for planting the prairie under the ComEd Right-of-Way next to Country Gardens is under way. Thanks to a grant from ComEd and Openlands, five acres of prairie next to the Prospect Heights Bike trail will be seeded this December. 50 lbs of seed and 1000 plugs have been purchased from local sources and 40 lbs of remnant prairie seed has been collected by dedicated volunteers.  
Iza Redlinski, restoration ecologist, led a site analysis of the site earlier this month. Quadrat sampling of the vegetation revealed that the area is 99% non-native grasses and weeds, with no value to wildlife. Right now, it is a "dead zone". The site will be sampled every year to document progress and quantify success and overall ecological benefit. Scientific analysis performed by Mrs. Redlinski will prove the prairie's ecological value in the long run. The Commission thanks her for her time and dedication, as she is a busy mother with a newborn!
This week, the area was herbicided to kill the Eurasian grasses and weeds.  The Commission is very thankful for all of the help from the Prospect Heights District. Executive Director Kathy Nowicki organized a boom sprayer capable of delivering the herbicide in less than an hour. A special thanks to Gerald Arden and Esteban Burciaga for their expert help and execution. A wonderful concerted effort from many to prepare the site for seeding!!


"Progress in the buckthorn wars has been significant over the last two work sessions," said PHNRC Commissioner Agnes Wojnarski. "While the work force has been small of late, the crew has been working together for some time now and work very efficiently in removing the invasive buckthorn. The skilled guys with the chainsaws have made all of the difference in clearing large areas."

"Last week, cutting began on Hillside at Elmhurst Road and worked east removing a sizable chunk of the dense wall that obscures the slough. The days effort removed the outer layer from Elmhurst Road and connected with the opening at 7 Hillside," said Commissioner Marcia Jendreas. "The area at 9 Hillside was also opened all the way down to the slough, exposing the water and the magnificent views. That whole area looks to be opened up this weekend as well." Some brush cutting was also accomplished at the intersection of Hillside, Maple and Olive. A big thanks to the Prospect Heights Public Works of joining the workforce mid-week and running a Brush Hog to prepare the large areas slated for seeding this year at 101 Hillside.

Seed collection is driven by when the seeds are ready to be collected. "That time is now, said Commissioner Wojnarski. "The need is for more volunteers for seed collection as the winter approaches and the days are getting shorter. Seed collection is very easy, educational and a great deal of fun with a great communal feel. This is the most important task we have right now if we are to meet our time tables for restoring the slough and the bike path prairie."

More information on volunteering is available on our website. Our next Volunteer Day is Sunday, October 26th from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm with the time being equally split between buckthorn removal and seed collection. Volunteer days occur every other Sunday. Please check the calendar of events for the latest information.


Seed Collection season is upon us and now is the time to collect as much as we can! This has been a favorite activity and a very rewarding one for the Prospect Heights Nature Stewards. Spending time with great neighbors and friends while enjoying nature has been a very pleasurable way to spend our Sunday mornings.
It has been a wonderful opportunity to experience our native plants in all of their glory, as they go from flower to seed, ready to propagate the next generation through insect, animal, wind...or the Nature Stewards.  The intricacies of seed pods, siliques, capsules and achenes make us all marvel at the evolutionary leaps and bounds that our native plants have made through thousands of years.
Thousands of insects, birds, amphibians and mammals have developed and evolved with those very same is our opportunity to expand their range and invaluable habitat for wildlife.  

Sunday the 26th of October will be  a split workday. 

This Sunday the 26th is a split volunteer workday that will be shared by buckthorn removal and seed collection. Buckthorn removal will begin at 9:00 on Hillside Avenue and go to 11:00. Seed collection will begin at 11:00 and go to 1:00. Seeders will meet at 11:00 on Hillside Avenue and caravan to the collecting site. Come when you can and stay as long as you can. A splendid time is guaranteed for all!
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