Monday, October 17, right after drop off – Mighty Acorn Parent / Volunteer Workshop
.... Parents will receive an intro into how they can help their kids get the most out of their Mighty Acorn Field excursions: map reading, field journaling, free writes, behavior in wild places, student-led explorations, etc. Please join us for this hour long workshop. Coffee and cakes provided.
Also, on Friday October 14, 6th grade 305 is going to River Park to do water quality testing. I'm wondering if there is a volunteer that would like to run the benthic station, hauling rocks and creatures out of the river to ID them? I have waders and a "D" net and can teach you the basics. Any takers?
Also, also, I have to invite our school community to the amazing restoration work going on at Montrose Point, led by one of our own neighbors for the past (could it be?) 10 years. Leslie Borns I knew as a birder, who took an interest in the Magic Hedge, but when events transpired to create the new dune at Montrose Beach, Leslie fledged into a powerful, determined and passionate restorationist, becoming the steward of Montrose Point, organizer, proponent and defender. Below I have re-produced her last invitation to a Montrose Point workday, coming up this Saturday.
"Dear Volunteers and Friends of Montrose Beach Dunes,
Happy Fall! The 2016 growing season is coming to an end and our last stewardship workday will take place on Saturday, October 15, from 9 a.m. – noon. The main activities will be clearing remaining cottonwood seedlings from the western panne, installing native plugs and seed, and reinforcing rabbit caging around sensitive plants in preparation for winter.
Each growing season has its highs and lows, and this year’s will probably be best remembered for the high water levels across the entire length of Montrose Beach which resulted in dramatic changes to our dune flora and fauna. The 2017 forecast is for an El Nina year (colder winter and drier spring/summer) - it will be a welcome shift! The ‘low’ of 2016 was no doubt the return of the ill advised Surf Park proposal, successfully scuttled again by your strong and immediate negative response.
I want to thank each and every one of you for your hard work, dedication, advocacy, and positive energy that continue to make Montrose Beach Dunes one of the most vibrant and healthy natural areas in the Chicago region.
Fall bird migration is winding down, but many species can still be seen stopping to rest and refuel at Montrose. Mid-October should bring in the duck species. In late September, there were record numbers of the beautiful and elusive Nelson’s Sparrow in the dune pannes (25-30 one day according to birder Robert H. Hughes). Flocks of American Pipits can still be seen flying around the beach. Attached are several lovely photos of the Nelson’s Sparrows, Pipits and other migrant birds of the past month.
There's also a photo of an interesting spider discovered by Tree Swallow monitor Clark Landwehr as he was emptying the two nest boxes. At the end of each season Clark cleans out the boxes and takes the nests to the Field Museum for analysis by biologist Dr. Bates for parasites. This pretty little Bold Jumping Spider found a warm, grassy place to spend the winter, and fortunately Clark freed him before bagging the nests.
October 15 promises to be much colder, so please be sure to dress warmly for the workday and bring a bottle of water, sunscreen (yes, you still need it), and a wide-brimmed hat. Pack binoculars if you have them for viewing late migrant birds. Tools and equipment are generously provided by the Chicago Park District, and hot beverages and refreshments thanks to volunteer Margaret Enger and the Anne Sather’s restaurant.
Please email me if you have any questions. I look forward to seeing you all on the 15th as we return to our beloved dunes and bid farewell to another successful growing season.
PS Leslie's emails always include beautiful photos of the flowers and birds at the point.
To get on her list, send her a note at Leslie Borns.
Finally, I got a message from a Professor at NEIU, by way of my friend and long time river volunteer and activist Chris Parson: her name is Jennifer Slate. The thing about biology teachers is interesting.
But the thing about Karen Segura, (former Waters student and child of Hilda Segura part of the CAPE Parent project) makes me very proud!
"I met with Chris Parson today, and he told me about your Waters program to introduce kids to nature. I really like what he told me- your program sounds fantastic.
I will be probably be teaching biology to future middle school teachers next year, for students who are looking to get an endorsement to teach middle school science. I would love for my students to see what you are doing.
In addition to Chris, we have another acquaintance in common. Karen Segura is one of my students at NEIU, and she has been conducting research in my lab for about the past year. Karen collected and identified sponge species in the Chicago River this summer, which is why we met with Chris today. Chris also has an interest in sponges.
NEIU is so close to Waters, so perhaps there would be ways for us and for our students to interact in the future".
So many connections!
So much history.
Such a rich and powerful and loving community.
Such a spectacular Fall!