RBD featured on The Nature Conservancy’s blog!

20 Apr

https://i2.wp.com/19mvmv3yn2qc2bdb912o1t2n.wpengine.netdna-cdn.com/conservancy/files/2016/04/RBD-city-view.jpg

Rainbow Beach Dunes skyline. Photo © Jason Steger

Connect With Nature: Seeing Another Side of Stewardship

Each year, during Earth Month, hundreds of Conservancy volunteers lend their hand at Connect With Nature events across the country – each with their own unique projects.

This year, Connect With Nature events at Chicago’s Rainbow Beach have a brand new feel. That’s because successful efforts to restore this vital natural area now require a different set of skills and efforts.

“Rainbow Beach is a small site, but it’s very high quality because of the careful stewardship that’s been going on there for years,” explained Forrest Cortes, community stewardship program manager.

“As a result, a lot of the activities this season are focused on monitoring and assessing the results of stewardship work.”

– See more at TNC blog including quotes from RBD stewards!

April 23: Community Stewardship Workday for Earth Day!

19 Apr

Alyrata2

 

Come out to Rainbow Beach Dunes this Saturday April 23 for Earth Day workday 2016!

Our earliest flowers (Arabidopsis lyrata [sand cress] and Arctostaphylos uva-ursi [arctic bearberry]) are in full bloom out on the dunes. You might also see some mallards, mergansers, or great blue herons, all sited from the dunes earlier this month!  At the workday, we’ll look for other early blooms and do more cleanup throughout the nature area.  Join us Saturday April 23 from 10am-12pm.

Remember to prepare for the weather and terrain: it could be cold, wet, or windy! Sturdy shoes, long pants and water are recommended. Tools, equipment, and snacks will be provided. Please RSVP here, and contact co-stewards Alison Anastasio (alison.anastasio@gmail.com) or Jen Raber (jennifer.raber@gmail.com) with questions.

….

 

Rainbow Beach Park runs parallel to South Shore Drive from 75th-79th Streets.
By foot, walk east from South Shore Dr. on 77th St.
By car, you can only access the park at the southern end.
From the north/west, follow Hwy 41 east as it splits from South Shore Drive at 79th St. Turn left into the park at Farragut.
From the south, follow Hwy 41 north and turn right on Farragut, just before the intersection of 79th/South Shore.
Once in the park, go past the stop sign and water filtration plant and turn right at the next opportunity, into the parking lot before the Field House. Go to the southeast end of this lot and park. Meet at the entrance to the Nature Area, which is located at the southern end of the beach (look for the banner!).

Bald Eagle Spotted in Chicago, Basking In Its Glory at Rainbow Beach Dunes

7 Mar


A bald eagle photographed on Chicago’s South Side near Rainbow Beach Dunes. View Full Caption  (c)Jerry Goldner

Source: Bald Eagle Spotted in Chicago, Basking In Its Glory at Rainbow Beach Dunes via DNAInfo

CHICAGO — While driving on Chicago’s South Side recently, veteran wildlife photographer Jerry Goldner noticed three crows bothering a large bird.

Goldner at first thought the bird being harassed on a tree near Rainbow Beach Dunes and the vacant former South Works steel mill site was a great horned owl.

But, upon further inspection, Goldner realized it was a mature bald eagle…

Monarch Conservation Strategies

6 Mar

august 2011-lm photo 181

Chris Helzer (The Prairie Ecologist) of The Nature Conservancy updates us on conservation of Monarch butterflies and what we can do to help. Read his report and plant more Asclepiads!

Last week, I attended a conference aimed at creating a statewide conservation plan for monarch butterflies.  The meeting was really informative and thought-provoking.  I learned a great deal about …

Source: Monarch Conservation Strategies

March 26: Community Stewardship Workday

6 Mar

 

Come out to Rainbow Beach Dunes on Saturday March 26 for the first workday of 2016!

Winter on the dunes was a mild one: warm temperatures and not many big storms. As a result, the foredune didn’t grow much this year; we’re likely to see lots of insects (they didn’t die off in a deep freeze); and the early spring will bring native blooms in just a few more weeks. You’ll also want to see the aftermath of a controlled burn in the autumn of the upper savanna: native species will soon overtake the invasive ones after the burn.

At the workday, we’ll survey the effects of winter together and pick up trash that has been tossed on shore and blown into the nature area.   Join us Saturday March 26 from 10am-12pm. 

Remember to prepare for the weather and terrain: it could be cold and windy! Sturdy shoes, long pants and water are recommended. Tools, equipment, and snacks will be provided. Please RSVP here, and contact co-stewards Alison Anastasio (alison.anastasio@gmail.com) or Jen Raber (jennifer.raber@gmail.com) with questions.

….

Rainbow Beach Park runs parallel to South Shore Drive from 75th-79th Streets.
By foot, walk east from South Shore Dr. on 77th St.
By car, you can only access the park at the southern end.
From the north/west, follow Hwy 41 east as it splits from South Shore Drive at 79th St. Turn left into the park at Farragut.
From the south, follow Hwy 41 north and turn right on Farragut, just before the intersection of 79th/South Shore.
Once in the park, go past the stop sign and water filtration plant and turn right at the next opportunity, into the parking lot before the Field House. Go to the southeast end of this lot and park. Meet at the entrance to the Nature Area, which is located at the southern end of the beach (look for the banner!).

Scheduled Community Stewardship Workdays for 2016

19 Jan

 

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Happy new year! Our first community stewardship workday of 2016 will be on Saturday March 26, 10am-12pm.

Additional dates for 2016 are as follows (10am-12pm on the 4th Saturday of the month) so mark your calendar! We encourage you to use the new RSVP form here.

  • March 26
  • April 23
  • May 28
  • June 25
  • July 23
  • August 27
  • September 24
  • October 29

 

December seed dispersal

3 Jan

John Drake from Indiana TNC is a great friend to Rainbow Beach Dunes. He brings rare treats (seeds from healthy native dune populations in Indiana) and always tells RBD how good it looks.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

October 24: Last Community Stewardship Day of the season!

20 Oct

DaleacandidaDalea candida in bloom, and when gone to seed

Autumn on the lakeshore has been beautiful and sunny. This is the time of year when we disperse seeds of native plants, to emerge again once we have forgotten them in a few years. This is a very successful practice at RBD, and each year new plant community members pop up around the site. Last year was our first fringed gentian from seed; this year there were at least 7 individuals! In the back corner, we noted an influx this year of wild quinine and prickly pear cactus from seed.

Join us this Saturday October 24 from 10am-12pm for the last workday of the season! We will start up again in March 2016.

Remember to prepare for the weather and terrain: there is no shade in the hilly, uneven dunes area, so wear sturdy shoes and bring a hat, sunscreen, and water. Tools, training, and snacks will be provided. Contact Alison Anastasio at alison.anastasio@gmail.com for questions and to RSVP.

Find directions and a map here.

Rainbow Beach Park runs parallel to South Shore Drive from 75th-79th Streets.
By foot, walk east from South Shore Dr. on 77th St.
By car, you can only access the park at the southern end.
From the north/west, follow Hwy 41 east as it splits from South Shore Drive at 79th St. Turn left into the park at Farragut.
From the south, follow Hwy 41 north and turn right on Farragut, just before the intersection of 79th/South Shore.
Once in the park, go past the stop sign and water filtration plant and turn right at the next opportunity, into the parking lot before the Field House. Go to the southeast end of this lot and park. Meet at the entrance to the Nature Area, which is located at the southern end of the beach (look for the banner!).

*Mark your calendar*
See you next year on the 4th Saturday of the month, beginning March 26, 2016!

September 26: Community Stewardship and National Public Lands Day

22 Sep

 

1-P1010945Join nature lovers around the country in celebrating some of our most beautiful natural resources- land protected by our local and federal governments. Come out to Rainbow Beach Dunes this Saturday to enjoy the healthy dune ecosystem supported by the Chicago Park District. We’ll be collecting seeds from robust populations of native plants in one part of the site and distributing seeds to more degraded areas. The grasses are red, orange, golden, and green and you might catch a glimpse of the beautiful fringed gentian in bloom.

Join us this Saturday September 26 from 10am-12pm for National Public Lands Day!

Remember to prepare for the weather and terrain: there is no shade in the hilly, uneven dunes area, so wear sturdy shoes and bring a hat, sunscreen, and water. Tools, training, and snacks will be provided. Contact Alison Anastasio at alison.anastasio@gmail.com for questions and to RSVP.

Find directions and a map here.

Rainbow Beach Park runs parallel to South Shore Drive from 75th-79th Streets.
By foot, walk east from South Shore Dr. on 77th St.
By car, you can only access the park at the southern end.
From the north/west, follow Hwy 41 east as it splits from South Shore Drive at 79th St. Turn left into the park at Farragut.
From the south, follow Hwy 41 north and turn right on Farragut, just before the intersection of 79th/South Shore.
Once in the park, go past the stop sign and water filtration plant and turn right at the next opportunity, into the parking lot before the Field House. Go to the southeast end of this lot and park. Meet at the entrance to the Nature Area, which is located at the southern end of the beach (look for the banner!).

*Mark your calendar*
Saturday October 24 – Community Stewardship Workday at RBD (last workday until March 2016!)

July 25: Community Stewardship, Habitat 2030, potluck

20 Jul

P1040147

Come out to Rainbow Beach Dunes this Saturday for a fun mid-summer workday with our friends at Habitat 2030! What’s Habitat 2030, you ask?

Habitat 2030 is a group of volunteers who care about the remarkable natural areas of the Chicago region. We host habitat restoration workdays, nature hikes and weekend camping trips, social gatherings, and educational opportunities. At workdays, we remove invasive plants, gather and spread seeds, and learn about nature as we go. We link interested newbies to expert mentors and are building a community where people of all skill levels can discuss local ecology, conservation, and habitat restoration issues. Everyone is welcome!

We’ll share our knowledge of dune ecosystems and native plants and all work together to monitor the flowering and fruiting of the prickly pear cactus. After a fulfilling few hours of monitoring, please stay for a potluck lunch with a great group of volunteers!

Join us this Saturday July 25 from 10am-12pm. Bring something to share and join us for a potluck after the workday.

Remember to prepare for the weather and terrain: there is no shade in the hilly, uneven dunes area, so wear sturdy shoes and bring a hat, sunscreen, and water. Tools, training, and snacks will be provided. Contact Alison Anastasio at alison.anastasio@gmail.com for questions and to RSVP.

Find directions and a map here.

Rainbow Beach Park runs parallel to South Shore Drive from 75th-79th Streets.
By foot, walk east from South Shore Dr. on 77th St.
By car, you can only access the park at the southern end.
From the north/west, follow Hwy 41 east as it splits from South Shore Drive at 79th St. Turn left into the park at Farragut.
From the south, follow Hwy 41 north and turn right on Farragut, just before the intersection of 79th/South Shore.
Once in the park, go past the stop sign and water filtration plant and turn right at the next opportunity, into the parking lot before the Field House. Go to the southeast end of this lot and park. Meet at the entrance to the Nature Area, which is located at the southern end of the beach (look for the banner!).

*Mark your calendar*
Saturday August 22 – Community Stewardship Workday at RBD
Saturday September 26 – Community Stewardship Workday at RBD
Saturday October 24 – Community Stewardship Workday at RBD

 

Plants of Concern at RBD

14 Jul

Plants of Concern has been supported, hosted, and cared for over many years by Susanne Masi at the Chicago Botanic Garden. She retired last year, and left behind a thriving citizen science program in the hands of Rachel Goad and a team of botanists.

Monitoring the biotic and abiotic conditions of the habitat over time is a critical part of stewardship at RBD. We participate in a number of citizen science monitoring programs, including Plants of Concern, Adopt-a-Beach, and now the Opuntia monitoring program. We hope to add monitoring programs in the future for purple martins and monarch butterflies and their obligate food source, milkweed (Asclepias spp.).

If you or someone you know are committed to taking a leadership role in current monitoring programs at RBD, or new ones like purple martins or monarchs, please come out to a workday and let us know!

On Saturday, we monitored for Plants of Concern species. It was a lovely morning by the lake

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and we saw lots of other native plants in bloom as well.

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How many native plant species can you identify in this photo?!

 

P1040237

 

June 27: Community Stewardship Workday

21 Jun

 

RB_Flyer15-0627

Come out to Rainbow Beach Dunes this Saturday to make a dent in the populations of some pernicious invasive plant species: sweet clover (Melilotus officinalis) and cheat grass (Bromus tectorum). Regular volunteers will confirm that these are very fulfilling workdays – it sure feels great to pull big weeds out of the sandy dune soil.

Join us this Saturday June 27 from 10am-12pm.

Please remember to prepare for the weather and terrain: there is no shade in the hilly, uneven dunes area so wear sturdy shoes and bring a hat, sunscreen, and water. Tools, training, and snacks will be provided. Contact Alison Anastasio at alison.anastasio@gmail.com for questions and to RSVP.

Find directions and a map here.

Rainbow Beach Park runs parallel to South Shore Drive from 75th-79th Streets.
By foot, walk east from South Shore Dr. on 77th St.
By car, you can only access the park at the southern end.
From the north/west, follow Hwy 41 east as it splits from South Shore Drive at 79th St. Turn left into the park at Farragut.
From the south, follow Hwy 41 north and turn right on Farragut, just before the intersection of 79th/South Shore.
Once in the park, go past the stop sign and water filtration plant and turn right at the next opportunity, into the parking lot before the Field House. Go to the southeast end of this lot and park. Meet at the entrance to the Nature Area, which is located at the southern end of the beach (look for the banner!).

*Mark your calendar*
Saturday July 25 – Community Stewardship and Habitat 2030 workday at RBD
Saturday August 22 – Community Stewardship Workday at RBD

 

Follow up: May workday

27 May

On this May workday, we flagged and marked another 500 or so Opuntia individuals – we will collect data for these plants later in the season. We love when families come out to help at RBD! Kids of all ages have a great time in the nature area. P1040144

 

We also saw an eastern kingbird and many native plants in bloom!

 

 

May 23: Community Stewardship Workday

19 May

IMG_0208

P1010661

Come out to Rainbow Beach Dunes this Saturday to continue to our Opuntia monitoring project! Everyone loves the native prickly pear cactus (Opuntia humifusa) and we have a very healthy and vigorous population at RBD. By monitoring individuals over time, we’ll have evidence of how the population changes in size and in timing of important life events (making new leaves, flowering, making fruits, etc.). Our goal for this workday will be to continue to mark and tag individuals in the nature area.

We’ll also clean up trash and look for invasive plants (probably cheat grass, Bromus tectorum) to remove.

Join us this Saturday May 23 from 10am-12pm.

Please remember to prepare for the weather and terrain: there is no shade in the hilly, uneven dunes area so wear sturdy shoes and bring a hat, sunscreen, and water. Tools, training, and snacks will be provided. Contact Alison Anastasio at alison.anastasio@gmail.com for questions and to RSVP.

Rainbow Beach Park runs parallel to South Shore Drive from 75th-79th Streets.
By foot, walk east from South Shore Dr. on 77th St.
By car, you can only access the park at the southern end.
From the north/west, follow Hwy 41 east as it splits from South Shore Drive at 79th St. Turn left into the park at Farragut.
From the south, follow Hwy 41 north and turn right on Farragut, just before the intersection of 79th/South Shore.
Once in the park, go past the stop sign and water filtration plant and turn right at the next opportunity, into the parking lot before the Field House. Go to the southeast end of this lot and park. Meet at the entrance to the Nature Area, which is located at the southern end of the beach (look for the banner!).

*Mark your calendar*
Saturday June 27 – Community Stewardship Workday at RBD
Saturday July 25 – Community Stewardship and Habitat 2030 workday at RBD
Saturday August 22 – Community Stewardship Workday at RBD

 

April 25: Community Stewardship Workday

22 Apr

P1010572

Come out to Rainbow Beach Dunes this Saturday for an Earth Day workday! We are stewards of the nature area all year round, but Earth Day is a great time to celebrate our hard work and think about stewardship in a broader context. We’ll be picking up trash and other debris in the nature area.

Join us this Saturday April 25 from 10am-12pm.

Remember to prepare for the weather and terrain: it may be cool and windy! Sturdy shoes, long pants and water are recommended. Tools and equipment will be provided. Contact Alison Anastasio at alison.anastasio@gmail.com for questions and to RSVP.

Rainbow Beach Park runs parallel to South Shore Drive from 75th-79th Streets.
By foot, walk east from South Shore Dr. on 77th St.
By car, you can only access the park at the southern end.
From the north/west, follow Hwy 41 east as it splits from South Shore Drive at 79th St. Turn left into the park at Farragut.
From the south, follow Hwy 41 north and turn right on Farragut, just before the intersection of 79th/South Shore.
Once in the park, go past the stop sign and water filtration plant and turn right at the next opportunity, into the parking lot before the Field House. Go to the southeast end of this lot and park. Meet at the entrance to the Nature Area, which is located at the southern end of the beach (look for the banner!).

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