Shame, if you don’t recall, is the feeling you get when you accidentally introduce two people who used to date, or when you misplace a child you’ve been entrusted during a carnival. Thankfully this feeling is usually fleeting for you. You’ll get it again this spring if you see a withered up salamander on your doorstep – that was caused by the salt you dumped there. Instead of taking all this shame upon yourself, feel free to spread it around to other salt users by de-icing the whole block yourself with good old Lake Michigan Sand. Most importantly, shame on your local government for sanctioning road salt, which causes fish kills in local water bodies, hurts the paws of dogs and the feelings of their walkers, and wreaks havoc on the amphibian world by literally broiling them alive in their skin. (more…)
Spring is just around the corner and the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum has posted all the Frog Monitoring workshop dates. Check out the calendar at our sister site Wild Things Community for more details. This may be the nerdiest and most wonderous thing you do this year, so jump on it!
To get you in the mood for the frog call memorization you’ll surely do on the train during your commute, we’ve put together a pop music guide to frog calls. (more…)
Why is it that when
Things are wrapped in plastic they
are more exciting?
I found a corner
of your chip bag at the beach –
white, color faded (more…)
In August 2014 I was an artist in residence at ACRE (Artist Cooperative Residency and Exhibitions) in Steuben, Wisconsin. It is located in the lower southwest corner of the state in a region known as the Driftless Area, marked by its lack of glaciation in the last glacial period. I researched and explored the Hogback Prairie, which is located on a ridge not far from the residency. The land has a long history of human interaction- beginning with possible burnings by native peoples, heavy grazing by early settlers, and management by The Nature Conservancy and now the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. For a show at the Kitchen Space in Chicago I created an installation titled Mysteries of the Hogback based on my research which was geological, botanical, historical, religious, and folkloric in nature.
My grandma was an anarchy gardener. This is of course, not what she’d refer to herself as, but it is the term I used when referencing her style of tossing seeds, seemingly willy-nilly throughout her large back yard in Joliet, IL just waiting to see which species won the epic battle for light, water and nutrients.
Well lookee who finally got themselves a logo!
After much discussion from the H2030 Advisory Group (much) we have our new logo and we love it.
From freelance artist Kelsey Oseid who worked closely with us and our many demands, our logo is meant to be a Chicagoland endemic species explosion. Pictured here are compass plant, side oats grama, red and white trillium, mayapple, (Chicago) chanterelle, and our good friends the blue-spotted salamander and American mink. Also as one of our AG members says, “I’m pretending that the dots represent all of the smaller creatures like insects and microorganisms.”
With that in mind, what all of these species have in common is that despite looking exceptionally unique, they all require a little bit of exploration to “see.” You have to look under the mayapple’s kilt to see its flower, under logs for sallies, and you have to hold very still for a long time by a river for a mink to appear. There are brief windows where gramas, trilliums and chanterelles are showing their characteristic form. Even the stately compass plant requires a certain kind of vision for it to emerge from the magic eye picture that is our native prairies.
Basically, each of our native species requires you get to know them a little in order to develop a deeper relationship with them. At first, when you are embarking on your voyage into the seas of our indigenous wild landscape, nature might all appear like one big blurry burst of greenishness. If you open up yourself to that bursting, if you let your eyes focus and unfocus on the explosion, then details start to take shape – each with its own story and aspirations.
(And if you are like, “Oh man, why didn’t they put in _____ species?!” don’t worry, someone at some point in this process has already said that. Just pretend it’s one of the dots!)
As we focus some of our restoration efforts on the entire bi-state Calumet area, the Illinois portion of that (which has admittedly gotten the most love from us, but not because we hate Indiana!) is also the geography represented by a group called the Millennium Reserve. Started by former, yet-to-be-incarcerated IL governor Pat Quinn, the goal of this consortium is to collaborate region-wide on improving the environment, communities, municipalities, and the economies of the Reserve geography. We, Habitat 2030, are just one of those partners.
Despite it being Rauner-time (which is like a combination of Miller-time and Hammer-time, but with considerably less beer and no parachute pants and also no state budget), the Millennium Reserve persists, and they even wrote up this nice profile of the work we’re doing in Calumet. Check it out! You can then click on the link at the end of the article that will take you back to this website, and you can fall into a clicking loop until the internet breaks.
My connection to Habitat 2030 began with a simple conversation. On a mildly cold December day at a restoration workday at the Jarvis Bird Sanctuary, I was speaking to a girl working towards the required certifications to steward a site within the jurisdiction of the Chicago Park District. She mentioned the organization and their purpose, empowering young people to become the next generation of restoration leaders. At the time I barely understood what the term restoration meant. (more…)