January 2017

January Creates Unique Work Days

The last work day in January brought one of the most unique and memorable work days in memory to the PHNRC. An "Instant Winter Classic", the day went from removing invasive highbush cranberry on the west side of the Slough, to skating across the slough on thick ice to remove invasive buckthorn from the steep banks of the north end of the wetland.
"This has been on our agenda for two years now," said PHNRC Commissioner Dana Sievertson. "We were never able to get the invaders from the shore line in the north corner because the banks over there are just too steep. We were always going to wait until we had ice so we could stand on the water surface and very easily remove the buckthorn and honeysuckle." 

"Today was a blast," continued Sievertson. It was the quintessential winter experience. It is really special to be walking around in the middle of the slough and see everything from the perspective of a duck. It's a great way to see what is really going on with the shore line and track the progression of the cattails into the center. It is pure magic.

Nature Speaks - Forest Preserves of Cook
County - 100 Years Documentary

On Thursday January 26th our good friends John McCabe and Kristin Da Pra make a return visit to present the acclaimed  documentary  “Chicago’s True Nature: The Forest Preserves of Cook County.”

Produced by the The Forest Preserves of Cook County, in partnership with WYCC PBS Chicago and Juneteenth Productions, the hour-long documentary captures the sights and sounds within the Forest Preserves as it marked its 100th anniversary throughout 2015. Audiences will see and learn about the benefits of nature, the impact of open land to our quality of life and what lies ahead in the next century for the one of the oldest and largest forest preserve systems in the nation. 

As most of you know, John is the Director of the Department of Resource Management for the Forest Preserve District of Cook County and Kristin is the Stewardship Aid/ Volunteer Resources for the Forest Preserve District of Cook County. This dynamic husband and wife team will present this fantastic documentary and take questions and answers immediately after.

The presentation will take place at the Prospect Heights Public Library's Borland meeting room and will start promptly at 7:00. Nature Speaks is free admission but registration is necessary. Please click here to register.  Visit our website at for more information about future Nature Speaks speakers, volunteering or our projects.

PHNRC Chairperson Agnes Wojnarski and local Prospect Heights residents.

Winter Means Big Fun on the Slough

Winter is one of the best times of the year for the Resources Commission. This winter, the Slough and Hillcrest Lake have seen a marked increase in people out enjoying the remarkable changes the season bring and in this case, the frozen surface of the Slough. We have seen hockey games go sun up to sundown while people walk their dogs the length of the slough and ice skaters abound.
"We noticed an big increase in foot traffic at the Slough that started late last summer after we completed the first phase of the hiking trail," remarked Commissioner Peter Hahn. "It has not slowed down much in spite of the winter weather. If the water is frozen, people and pets are out there. If it's not, they're on the hiking trails or taking leisurely walks around the water, breathing in the landscape.
Commissioner John Kamysz added, "I was out on the ice in the middle of Hillcrest Lake a few days ago and was amazed to see very clearly, fish swimming around below the ice. Needless to say, it's a very unique experience."

Commissioners Hit the Speaking Trail

February will be a busy month for PHNRC Commissioners as they hit the speaking circuit as part of the outreach program.  

First the Commissioners will be making a presentation to 200, 6th grade students at the MacArthur Middle School on invasive and native plant species. "We will be showing the children why invasive species are not good for the local habitat and why the native plants are so beneficial," explained Chairperson Agnes Wojnarski. "We want to highlight the interrelationship of of plants and wildlife and point out the areas when these examples can be seen in Prospect Heights."

Later in the month the commissioners will be honored to give the presentation "From Grassroots to Deep Roots: Small Organizations With Big Ambitions" at the Wild Things conference to be held at the University of Illinois at Chicago. "We have been asked repeatedly, how have we accomplished so much in so little time," said Commissioner Dana Sievertson. "We are looking to explain that with a review of what we have accomplished; talk of our infrastructure and support system and the incredible volunteers who make it all happen. At the end of the day, your intentions, focus and the love with which you execute it all make a huge difference." "We are hoping to inspire and empower other start-ups and grassroots programs with what we have accomplished and learned along the way," added Ed Madden, PHNRC Commissioner. 
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