The finish line at hand.
Oh to be young and have each day, week and month stretch out endlessly before you!
Tomorrow, Tuesday May 31, 2nd grade, Room 210, visits the river at Berteau to learn about flowers, birds and animals, and the small creatures that inhabit the bottom muds. It is a walking trip that leaves Waters at 8:30, back by 10:30. If you can join us, meet at the fish tank after drop off.
Wednesday, June 1, 5th grade, Room 310 is off for their final trip to Sauganash as Mighty Acorns. The subject of this trip is "The Pressure's On" (see writing below) about how the fate of natural areas like Sauganash (and planet earth) are in our hands. What will we do? Meet for briefing at 9:00 in the Conference Room. We leave at 9:30, back at 1:00. Please consider that part of the goal of the Mighty Acorns is to have families permanently connected to individual sites, and committed to the protection of all our natural areas in the future. You are invited to participate, as a family, at any and all of the work dates.
Thursday, June 2, 5th Grade Room 308 repeats the trip describes above.
Wednesday night is garden night. Much work to do at this moment of MAXIMUM growth. Come learn the plants, meet friends and neighbors, work, eat, play. 5 until dark.
Saturday, June 4, is a Riverbank workday from 12-3pm. Weeding, trimming, maybe fences. Meet at Berteau Street.
Coming up are:
Waters 2nd Bio-diversity Day. Wednesday June 8, 8:30 - 3:15. All class rooms from 4th thru 8th grade will participate in attempting to identify every organism in our garden, from the tiniest ant to the biggest trees. We will have professional mentors, parent volunteers, iPads, and I-Nature robots to help us. Each child that completes the Discovery sheet and successfully names the organism will be credited as a discoverer. The goal here is to practice our skills and develop our appreciation of bio-diversity: how diversity creates more diversity, resilience and health. We will continue at Garden night. Bring your hand lens or binoculars.
Coming up but as yet un-scheduled are:
Recycling and Composting Luncheon;
1st Grade Tree Olympics;
8th Grade Garden Pizza and Lemonade party
The Pressure’s On
Sauganash Prairie Grove is a rare, remnant, ecosystem surviving in an ocean of intense urban development. Bio-diversity is high, but under constant pressure from pollution, alien invader species, vandalism, poaching, encroachment, and isolation. Without active management and stewardship, Sauganash would likely deteriorate into a degraded, weedy, scrubland with low bio-diversity. It would be dominated by a few aggressive alien species. The oak woods would vanish over time. The prairie grove would disappear to be replaced by a dark woodland dominated by buckthorn. The plant and animal species it hosted would also disappear.
For many years the Forest Preserve (FPD) believed that giving the land legal protection would allow it to survive in its original healthy and diverse state. But by the mid-1970s it was clear that most of the land was ecologically sick and losing its diversity of plants and animals. The advent of volunteer restoration groups, the Mighty Acorns, and the decision of the Cook County Forest Preserves to actively manage their precious holdings has begun to reverse this trend.
The FPD mission is: “to acquire, restore, and manage lands for the purpose of protecting and preserving public open space with its natural wonders, significant prairies, forests, wetlands, rivers, streams, and other landscapes with all of its associated wildlife, in a natural state for the education, pleasure and recreation of the public now and in the future.”
Sauganash and other preserves face many challenges. But it is clear that its fate depends on what we, the people, do or don’t do. Our actions will decide whether the plant and animal communities thrive and grow increasingly diverse, or whether they will decay into a wasteland.
Before we go on your final trip to Sauganash as a Mighty Acorn, we will perform an experiment that will illustrate how our actions, as individuals and as a community, will affect our last remaining, ancient ecosystems. Will they thrive, or be destroyed? It is up to us.
Fifth Grade, Spring