October 2016


Hey Frank, What are you going to be for Halloween??

                                                                          I'm going to be a Monarch Caterpillar!!

PHNRC to Burn the Slough In November

The PHNRC received the final approval to conduct its second prescribed burn of the Prospect Heights Slough from the City Council at the October council meeting. Earlier in the month, PHNRC also received the approval from the Park District and the Prospect Heights Fire Department.
The purpose of controlled burning is to manage natural areas and in this case, it is the west end of Prospect Heights Slough. Burning is the most important tool in the restoration tool box. It is the single most effective tool for removal of invasive buckthorn re-sprouts, other invasive woody vegetation and fire intolerant species. Burning saves countless hours of volunteer labor, while promoting strong new growth of fire tolerant native plants. Burning is necessary to achieve a healthy, bio-diverse habitat.

The burn crew is headed by PHNRC Chairperson Agnes Wojnarski, a veteran of several prescribed burns and is S-130 and S-190 certified. She will construct the burn plan, oversee the conditions and run the burn crew. The burn crew will consist of 3 PHNRC Commissioners and two volunteers from other burn programs. All of the crew members have completed Chicago Wilderness Burn Crew training and are certified.

The burn is scheduled to take place in November somewhere between the 11th and the 30th. Prescribed burns are dependent on weather conditions during that time so it is expected that a window of 2-3 days will be about as much advance notice that can be given. If favorable conditions do not present, there will be no burn.

They burn will be conducted very slowly as a controlled strip burn against a favorable wind. The entire burn should be completed within 4 to 6 hours. Fire Chief Tim Jones has endorsed the burn and will be standing by in support along with the Prospect Heights Police Department. Residents area invited to watch but will be held to a safe viewing distance. PHNRC Commissioners will be on hand to answer questions.

PHNRC will work with Assistant City Administrator Peter Falcone to keep residents informed and up to date about scheduling. In addition to letters to residents in the immediate area and the city e-news, the city will use the reverse 911 call system to notify residents living in the immediate area on the morning of the burn. 

Additional prescribed burns are slated for the Spring of 2017. They include another burn of the central zone at the Slough and a controlled burn conducted by Commonwealth Edison at the ComEd prairie restoration. They will be burning the east prairie.

Residents with concerns or questions can direct them to

Eagle Scout candidate and PHNRC volunteer Sam Sobczak with PHNRC Chair Agnes Wojnarski.

Sam Sobczak - PHNRC Superman

Sam Sobczak is a veteran of several PHNRC work days and over the course of time, he has fallen in love with being outdoors and working for the common good. When it came time for Sam to find an Eagle Scout project, he did not have to look very far. Having read the Resources Journal article about the Morava Nature Preserve grant from ComEd, he knew what he wanted to do and why.

"We have always known Sam to be very enthusiastic, thoughtful and apply himself to every task at hand.  He has always managed to exceed expectations when he has volunteered with us," said PHNRC Chair Agnes Wojnarski, "but this time he has exceeded every expectation," she concluded. "When Sam approached us about his Eagle Scout project, we met with him and walked the site, discussing the scope of the project and what was proposed under the grant. He lit up when we got to the interactive bridge that is to span the creek and join the upper and lower sections of the site." "That's what I want to do, I want to do the bridge," Sam exclaimed. "We discussed what needed to go into that; design, engineering, materials, labor, It was a really tall order," said Dana Sievertson, PHNRC Commissioner.

What Sam managed to do is short of miraculous. Sam reached out to the architectural firm of Chipman Design Architecture in Des Plaines and was able to get them to agree to volunteer their services in the design of the interactive bridge. They also volunteered to reach out to their engineering contacts if needed. Chipman has a "green team" that works on sustainability projects.
Pending troop approval, Sam and PHNRC will be meeting with Chipman Design Architecture group in early November to discuss the bridge design and how to proceed on the project.

Dr. Hilty will return in November

It's got to be around here somewhere........

Volunteer Appreciation Day 2016!!!

PHNRC does not work without the the incredible people who give so freely of their time to make a difference to the natural resources of Prospect Heights. Our volunteers are the lifeblood of the organization. Please join us on Sunday, November 20th as we celebrate the first ever PHNRC Volunteer Appreciation Day.

We will begin our regular work day with the annual seed processing ritual to be held at 9 Marion in Prospect Heights from 9:00 am to 12:00 pm followed by the Volunteer Appreciation potluck lunch and the presentation of the "Golden Loppers" award to the volunteer of the year from 12:00 - 2:00 pm. Spouses, children or significant others are welcome to attend the potluck lunch.
Volunteers who plan on attending are asked to rsvp with the number attending to PHNRC Secretary Jill Moskal at  no later than November 15th. Your potluck dish assignment will be emailed back to you. In addition to the potluck, the event will feature the first kielbasa roast of the season and drinks and antipasto generously donated by our partner organization, the Prospect Heights Park District.

The volunteer of the year will be presented with the Golden Lopper.  Recipients names will be engraved on the lopper just like the Stanley Cup.

Please join us on for a day of seed processing and great fun.
PHNRC Chair Agnes Wojnarski and Fermilab employee and Natural Areas Steward Jacques Hooymans

PHNRC and Fermilab Natural Areas Exchange Seed and Goodwill

This October PHNRC paid a visit to the Fermilab Natural Areas program for the purpose of a swapping native plugs grown in the PHNRC greenhouse program for seed collected at the Fermilab site. "We have always had a great and ongoing relationship with the FNA," said Commissioner Dana Sievertson. "Readers may recall the generous donation of FNA prairie mix seed that was redistributed at the ComEd restoration prairie project this last spring. This swap came out of a conversation between Our Chair, Agnes Wojnarski and Fermilab Ecologist and program head Ryan Campbell."  

"We had several plugs we produced this season that FNA was looking for like alum root, cardinal flower and elm leaf goldenrod in addition to fog fruit, Eupatorium and turtlehead seed we have collected
," said Wojnarski. " They had and abundance of  a species we were looking for in round headed bush clover, a prairie staple that we do not have in Prospect heights. The exchange netted several pounds of bush clover seed in addition to carex lupulina, Ohio spiderwort and several batches of hazelnuts. Additional conversations led to more plugs exchanged for pagoda dogwood saplings.

FNA also processed all of the penstemon seed collected by PHNRC volunteers this season in their hammermill. In return, PHNRC will try to grow out several higher grade natives in our greenhouse program this spring and return plugs to FNA in early summer. "Outreach to other restoration programs is essential," said Wojnarski. "It is of great benefit to all of us to freely exchange information, equipment, seed, plants and services. In doing so, we all grow and the environment wins."

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 followed by a Q & A session of the just released documentary film about the hundred year anniversary of the forest preserve. Details will be announced on the PHNRC website soon.

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 will be available on the website soon.

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 will be available on the website soon.

What's New at the Sites

Laurens Prairie is a product of the Grow it Don't Mow It outreach program.
Commissioner Peter Hahn weeding at Lynn's Prairie. ComEd has agreed to burn the east half this spring.
Several new plantings at the Slough as the vegetative buffer continue to grow and replace turf grass.
Ecologist Isabella Redlinski resamples the original quadrats at the ComEd prairie restoration 2 years later.
Copyright © 2016 Prospect Heights Natural Resources Commission, All rights reserved.

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