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.