Dear ecology friends,
The earth is turning back 'round to Spring
and daylight savings time has given us an extra hour of light in the evening.
We officially open the Wednesday garden nights this week!
Wednesday, March 13th.
There is work that can be done, but there are strong predictions for rain,
but here is our plan:
We meet at 5:00. Greet each other. (hugs, laughter)
Look at the list of tasks.
Maybe we'll do some work.
If it's raining hard, we could go home.
But some of us plan to go to a 7pm meeting at Sulzer Library about ....
Preventing flooded basements! (and rain and protecting the river)
Sounds mundane, but it isn't.
It is about rain, the river, the sewer system, the river, pollution,
and what we can do to help keep the river cleaner, and our basement dry.
See the flyers below.
Maybe stop somewhere between the two
for a bite to eat and drink?
Looking forward to getting together with our garden community soon!
Julie Peterson and Pete Leki
An Evening with
Your Leaky Basement
Wednesday, March 13
Sulzer Regional Library
4455 N. Lincoln Ave.
Tired of worrying about your house every time it rains?
Not sure how to keep the water out? Join Center for Neighborhood
Technology’s RainReady experts, a Chicago Dept. of Water
Management representative, and a flood expert from Power Plumbing
for an engaging discussion of pipes, sewers, seepage,
back up, and flooding and discover improvements in and around
your home that can keep your basement dry and
your rainy days worry-free.
FREE raffle of a
RainReady Home Assessment
The dramatic rescue attempt of neighbors to free a male mallard duck with its head stuck in a plastic 6-pack ring is documented by Mary Schmich in the tribune today.
Here's the link, with a great photo by Tribune photographer Armando Sanchez:
Button up your overcoat, bundle up the kids,
we are going on an adventure tomorrow with
Room 207, 5th Grade Mighty Acorns,
to Sauganash Prairie Grove.
It will be cold, but sunny.
Our bus, and "warming center" will be parked on Bryn Mawr within view of our work site.
We will be doing hard work.
And we will be experiencing the bracing reality of winter
that other animals face daily,
and that plants monitor and measure,
and judge and wait for... the change.
Within a few weeks (or days) the Sun we re-assert itself.
The polar vortex will withdraw,
and spring will spread across the wild lands.
But, we will have witnessed winter,
it's stark and beautiful reality.
And we will know more than we did before.
Please join us for this last winter trip.
Meet at the fish tank at 9:00 for briefing, coffee, and to outfit our students with extra winter-ware as needed.
Bus leaves at 9:30.
Back to school at 12:30 or so.
We had a lovely walk to the Horner park River trail with room 203 last Wednesday.
If you have not been on this walk, MAKE PLANS. It goes all the way from Montrose to Irving. When you are on the paths at the top of the bank, you are park of the park, tho the contrast between "natural" areas, and programmed parkland is striking. But when you follow the lower paths, below grade, you enter another realm, from which, for moments, you wonder where you are. On Wednesday, the lower paths took you out of the wind, and when the Sun shone, the promise of Spring seemed close enough to grasp.
The Army Corps and the Park District are getting very good at restoring some semblance of natural ecosystems to our river and parkland. If you haven't gone for a look, make another excursion to River Parks, east and west. They have removed the old dam and replaced it with a frothing, bubbling, rapids, aerating the water, and inviting fish to spawn up stream into the old North Branch. And the banks (to the distress of some) have been cleared of trees and regraded in preparation for replanting of native plant communities, including oaks and shrubs. This is a work in progress, but like the bike path, it is, bit by bit, piecing together stretches of vital habitat for birds and other animals including people.
I would say wonderful and positive and surprising. I hope that some of our hazelnut branches will be transplanted on these sites. (anyone have a truck?!)
We had two fizzled Mighty Acorns trips this past week. Buses never showed up. The blame? Blame me. I can take it! But in truth, the season has seen so many re-schedules, and the process for checking new dates: teacher, the school, CPS, myself, the Forest preserve District, the bus company. Any error along the way can fizzle the trip.
Anyway, we did better with the first fizzle, because we put the kids to work on the school grounds, with saws and loppers, severely pruning back the hazelnut bushes in Snake and Turtle garden, to prepare them for transplanting. The kids did a great job, reminding me of what a powerful, constructive force they can be, and how they view their work as Fun!
When the second trip fizzled, I got started on the same work at Waters, but then received word that a bus was on its way: 15 minutes! So we packed up tools, gathered the kids and waited, and waited, and called (no answer) and waited, and sang, and waited and by 11:30 we called it off. I promised the kids a special garden outing, with fire, and work, and song. My apologies to all the parents that took out time to attend, only to wait and freeze.
Fragrant twig bundles
One idea that came my way was to have the kids help me make many bundles of fresh twigs, from the many fruiting trees and bushes that will be taken down or transplanted to make way for the new Annex. I understand that very fine grill chefs like to put bundles of fruit branches on the coals, just before grilling the steaks, or chicken or squirrel or whatever. It imbues the dish with an exotic, intangible edge of the wild. Further, that we could offer to sell these bundles to our school community to raise money for the ecology program, or the 8th grade trip. I have produced sample bundles of red currant, American Plum, Peach, Black Cherry, Concord grape, Hazelnut, blackberry, raspberry, already. And will add Aronia, gooseberry, oak and black walnut. What do you think? Is this a worthwhile effort? Part of the idea is to honor these beautiful plants that have given us their sweet fruit for the past 18 years, and to conscientiously use the stored carbon for the greatest good. Below is a pic of several bundles.
Also, please note that
The Fight Between Quiet and Noise
is available for purchase
everyday at school, in my office.
It is a fundraising effort for Waters School Ecology.
Last minute call!
I am not going to try to burn the brush piles today.
It's too sleety and wet.
So please sleep in or do some other worthy task.
I'll let you know about a re-schedule,
Visit the Waters Ecology Program Website for current/historical writings, films, photos, and interviews.
Water Ecology Program Website
Friends of the Chicago River
Forest Preserves of Cook County
North Park Village Nature Center