Friends of Orland Grassland,
Inside this message find...
Hike The Night-Saturday, 03-25
Quarterly Volunteer Meeting-Tuesday, 03-28
Interested in Bird Walks?
Workday Filmed by Morton Arboretum in You Tube
Thanks Habitat 2030 for Coming Out to Brats and Burn Workday
Prescribed Burn Season
Old Plank Road Prairie Workday
Earth Day at Orland Grassland is April 22
A Message from Jerry Adelman, Openlands Opportunities
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"Hike the Night," Saturday, Mar. 25, 8 p.m. to 10 p.m.
To honor Earth Hour, we are hosting a night hike into the interior of the grassland! Please RSVP so we can plan our treats.
Quarterly Volunteer Meeting, Tuesday, Mar. 28, 7 p.m.
Join us at the Orland Park Civic Center. We'll be reveling in our big win in Bird the Preserves with Mike, talking about the upcoming shrub workshop, upcoming events and other things that come up.
Come to get to know us and what we do. Maybe you would like to be a part of the team is helping to bring the prairie back to wonderful, healthy wilderness.
The results are in from Cook County Forest Preserves' "Bird the Preserves" competition for March through December 2016.
Of the 21 FPCC sites competing, Orland Grassland came in second to Busse Woods with 194 species! We also reported the highest number of new birders. (And there are rumors that we fared well in the "Frozen Grudge Match" during January and February this year.)
When scores were combined, Orland Grassland was the overall winner!
Congratulations to Mike McNamee and to all those who supported his huge effort to get Orland Grassland "on the map." Did you see the article about our victory in The Palos Regional?
Representing Orland Grassland at Forest Preserves of Cook County headquarters in River Forest for the "Bird the Preserves" recognition ceremony are (above, left to right) Mike McNamee, Pat Hayes, Marnie Baker, Jeanne Muellner Stacey, Bill Fath, Liz Salber, and Ralph Chichester. In photo on left, Mike McNamee speaks during the event, sincerely thanking everyone who helped Orland Grassland attain bird-watching glory.
Interested in Bird Walks?
From time to time, Mike McNamee and Marnie Baker lead bird walks at Orland Grassland.
For instance, they now are leading walks looking for short-eared owls, harriers, and whatever other avian species they may find.
If you are interested in participating in these, reply here and we'll add your name and e-mail address to the bird walk list.
Workday Recorded by Morton Arboretum
Now Showing on YouTube
Earlier this year, Morton Arboretum sent a video crew to one of our Wednesday workdays. The crew recorded footage for a series of inspiring videos highlighting volunteer stewardship and promoting the arboretum's Woodland Stewardship Program classes. (Don't let the class series name fool you; it's about prairies, too, and the bigger picture of the need for restoration.)
Three arboretum videos currently are on YouTube: "What is Ecological Restoration?" "What is the Woodland Stewardship Program?" and "What Do Volunteer Stewards Do?"
There are quick scenes of Orland Grassland volunteers in each video, but we are featured most prominently in "What Do Volunteer Stewards Do?"
Thanks, Habitat 2030, for Coming Out
to Brats and Burn Workday
Orland Grassland Volunteers celebrated the winter workday season with a brats-and-burn food fest, and folks from Habitat 2030 joined us.
With the extra hands from Habitat 2030, and two new volunteers from Orland Park Public Library, we got a ton of clearing done in Secret Prairie Savanna and enjoyed all kinds of scrumptious food to supplement with our brats. Good job everyone!
Photo, top left: one of two brush pile fires awaits the kettle of brats, big foil-wrapped packets of peppers and onions, and the pot filled with a family recipe of black beans and rice donated by one of the young women of Habitat 2030. Photo bottom left: setting up camp, food tables on the right. Photo above: Erik and Celia get the second pile going.
Prescribed Burn Season
It took us all by surprise this year—prescribed burns in February?!
Orland Grassland was burned south of Old 175th St. from La Grange Road to 104th Ave.
Bravo! Key remnants and savannas got the benefit of fire.
For Secret Prairie and Secret Prairie Savanna, it was the first burn ever. Betony Place and the Oasis will flourish; and we'll be so effective at getting at the birdsfoot trefoil that's been hiding under the thatch of Indian grass in Betony Place.
As of this writing, the black char from the burn is already green.
Far top: What a mess! A close-up shows some cut honeysuckle and tree seedlings in the foreground. Near top: Becky, Kathy and Bill set to work on top of the berm in Zone 4 near Ridgeland Ave.
A Message from Jerry Adelmann, Openlands
Jerry Adelmann, President and CEO, Openlands, recently sent out this message. There's much angst about possible political impact on our lands and resources. Here's his message, with more to come:
Friends and Fellow Openlanders,
We are monitoring events at the Federal level closely.
As you certainly have heard, this week the Trump Administration proposed a Federal budget that includes drastic cuts to critical environmental and social programs. We wanted to draw your attention to some of the proposed cuts that directly affect the open spaces of the Chicago metropolitan region:
•The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) is eliminated. The GLRI is an eight-state, binational, bipartisan effort to clean up polluted areas left by our region's industrial legacy and restore them to their natural conditions. The Great Lakes provide drinking water to 30 million Americans, they sustain the region's economy and agriculture, and they offer expansive habitat for wildlife.
• Funding for National Heritage Areas (NHAs) is eliminated. Chicago became the birthplace of NHAs when I helped to establish the Illinois and Michigan Canal NHA under President Reagan. Pending proposals to expand this wildly popular program in Chicago, through the creation of the Calumet and Black Metropolis NHAs, would be scrapped.
• Many other foundational land protection programs are deemed 'low priority' and eliminated.
Although the specifics of this budget proposal remain hidden from the public, Openlands' ongoing efforts to establish Hackmatack National Wildlife Refuge and expand Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie will almost certainly be affected.
From our founding, Openlands has worked to connect people to nature. We remain committed to building community at the local level through education, empowerment, and access to nature.
We remain committed to inclusion, public participation in decision-making, and science-based actions. And we remain committed to protecting open spaces and natural resources for generations to come.
We are thoroughly investigating how these budget proposals will impact our mission and will share more information with you early next week.
Thank you for your continued support,
Openlands President and CEO
Old Plank Road Prairie Workday
On the first and third Saturdays of each month we try to get out to Dewey Helmick Illinois Nature Preserve where we also do stewardship.
We call them pick-up days because they are an "as we can" workday.
Saturday, March 18, we were at this Grade A prairie. All we have to do is get rid of the invasives and ancient plants will come alive again.
If you'd like to be on the list of volunteers who go out to Old Plank Road Prairies, between Ridgeland and Central, south of Route 30, RSVP here and we'll put you on the list. It's always the same time, 9 a.m until noon, but we meet up at different places depending on the work area.
What a difference a day makes! Six volunteers worked the south side (lower portion of photo) while four volunteers maintained the brush pile burn on the north side of the trail. We're still hoping to get some prescribed burn fire on here yet this year. Oh, baby! This place will jump alive. Already, viney pea and lead plant are struggling at the top of the berm. On the south slope of the berm, hoary puccoon, bastard toadflax and many other prairie icons almost lost to the world still remain, struggling to hang on amid the invasives, but still here.
Earth Day at Orland Grassland, April 22
Mark your calendars!
There will bird walks in the early morning, restoration activities from 9 a.m until noon, and for those who just like to give the place a spring cleaning, plenty of black bags for trash pick-up.
See this page for more information.
Here are some opportunities you may be interested in:
Friends of the Forest Preserves is looking for people ages 15-19 to join their paid summer program, Chicago Conservation Leaders Corps. Contact Friends of the Forest Preserves for more
Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie is looking for weekend Rangers to lead people on interpretive hikes. Training is March 21 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Contact Allison Cisneros at (815) 423-2149, ,
Friends of the Chicago River is looking for wildlife monitors for bats, turtles and osprey. Mostly sites up north, but there will be sites opening up in the Calumet area soon. Contact Mark Hauser at for more information.
Citizens for Conservation is having a native plant, shrub and tree sale in Barrington on May 6 and 7 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. For more information call 847-382-7283.
Hope to see you on the grasslands soon!
Site Steward, Orland Grassland, FPCC