April 2015

Prospect Heights Park District and PHNRC Classes Start

The Prospect Heights Park District and the Prospect Heights Natural Resources Commission nature classes are starting next week. Classes begin with the Nature Walk on 4/22 and Birding Basics on 4/25. Spaces are still available and you can register for these two fine events on-line at  or by stopping by the park district between 6:30 am and 5:00 pm for walk in registration, fax your registration to (847) 394-7799 or phone in your registration to  (847) 394-2848.

Information for the classes is listed below.

Nature Walk
Connecting with Nature - An overview of the new nature
classes. How does Prospect Heights have anything to do
with native Illinois prairie, savanna and wetland
communities and their habitats? Take a walk with
restoration ecologist Iza Redlinski and members of the
Prospect Height Natural Resources Commission to find out.
#14029 / W / April 22
6:00-8:00 PM
This is a free class.

Birding Basics
Learn where to look for birds in your community, which
binoculars are best and how to use them. Become familiar
with some of the field guides available. Then go on a bird
walk with an experienced birder! Please bring binoculars
and a field guide if you have one and dress for the weather.
#14030 / Sa / April 25
8:30-11:00 AM
This is a free class.

All classes leave from Gary Morava Recreation Center picnic shelter and are held outdoors, please dress appropriately. To view all the rest of the summer offerings, please visit the Park District listings on page 14. 

May will feature 9 Bird Walks, June has 2 tree and shrub ID programs, July has 3 local flora classes, 2 summer evening wetland walks and August will host 2 summer evening prairie walks.

Boy Scouts Lend a Helping Hand at PHNRC Workday

Boys and parents from local area Scout Troop 468 joined forces with regular PHNRC volunteers this last weekend to lend a big helping hand in removing the last pockets of invasive buckthorn that remain in the Prospect Heights slough along Elmhurst Road. 

Work began at 9:00 with an orientation and safety instructions for the boys and their parents before turning the energetic scouts loose on the mission. PHNRC chainsaw workers had already precut major areas of buckthorn to make ready for the scouts earlier in the week so their mission was to cut the fallen limbs into smaller pieces and get them into the burn sites. 
"With so many volunteers, we were able to split the workgroup into two groups and spread out the attack, said PHNRC Commissioner Agnes Wojnarski. We had two burn sites going, one on each side of the inlet creek that feeds the slough."

As brush was cleared, Scouts discovered a Mallard nest with 8 eggs. The area was marked off so no one would disturb the nest and we are happy to report, the mom returned that evening and all is well. Scouts were also amazed at the amount of trash that just gets tossed into the natural area and spent a good amount of time collecting it.

Scout Sam Sobczak, described the volunteer experience as, "Very fun. I learned how buckthorn got it's name and how to identify it. I learned not everything gets burned and some of the old dead trees are left for habitat for animals. We also found a Mallard duck nest with a lot of eggs in it."

Asked about her days experience at the slough, Scout Parent Amy Sobczak said, "It was nice to experience the community effort going on and I learned about a project that I didn't know about going on right here in my own back yard."  
"The Scouts and their parents really worked hard today, a lot was accomplished, said Commissioner Dana Sievertson. These guys were part of the solution today. It is great to see these young men take an interest in their community and the natural areas and do something about it to make it better. Their participation in todays work was great and hopefully it is something they will continue to do into adulthood."

At the end of the day, everyone enjoyed roasting Kielbasa, hot dogs and chips. The scouts have agreed to participate in PHNRC volunteer workdays until the end of June. Please see our website for workday information and times, We invite you to join us and learn about our restoration projects and see what all the fun and excitement is all about.

PHNRC Gears up for Planting Natives

Last Fall, the PHNRC and its dedicated volunteer group concentrated on the ComEd bike path prairie.Time was spent collecting native seeds from our local remnant prairie, sorting and processing them. The seeds were then combined  with purchased native seeds and sown into the restoration site in December. See the archive store here.

The winter months saw the team focus on buckthorn removal. Great progress was made in that effort with the invasive removal finally 
reaching Elmhurst road.
 The month of May will see the start of phase two of the Prospect Heights Slough and ComEd bike path prairie restorations begin with the planting of native plugs.

"We have three areas selected on the northeast side of the slough for the installation of 67 different native plant species," said Commissioner Kari Spiegelhalter. " The plants have been selected specifically for the soil and environmental conditions within the 3 sites. We have plants that will be planted in the water or on the shoreline in aquatic conditions, plants that are going into a wet soil conditions, (wet mesic- a saturated soil condition, mesic- one with a moderate or well-balanced supply of moisture) and into a drier prairie environment."

"We also had to factor in existing trees and the effect they had on the sun conditions," said Commissioner Agnes Wojnarski. "Matching the right plant to the existing conditions is critical for its success," added Commissioner Colleen Graudins. "Protecting the seedlings from wildlife in this early phase is also of great importance."

"The exact timing of the plantings is yet to be completely firmed up because it depends on the timing of the deliveries from the greenhouses. We have tentatively targeted the May 24th and an extra workday on May 31st as planting days," said Commissioner Marcia Jendreas. "We will be looking for volunteers for sure on those dates and more complete information can be found on the PHNRC calendar  and in the workday email notices in the coming days." 

Between the slough sites, the prairie and a small installation at the Park District offices, PHNRC and the volunteers are looking to install 9,000 plugs in total.
Copyright © 2015 Prospect Heights Natural Resources Commission, All rights reserved.

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