September 24: Community Stewardship Workday

20 Sep

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Come out to Rainbow Beach Dunes this Saturday September 24 to celebrate National Public Lands day, take a nature walk, clean up the nature area, and collect seeds from native plants!

The Chicago Park District manages public land throughout Chicago including natural areas of all local habitat types. Public lands managed by CPD ensure there is space for recreation, education, and exploration of greenspace while providing homes for native plants and animals and connected corridors for them to migrate and disperse.

Join us this Saturday September 24 from 10am-12pm.

Remember to prepare for the weather and terrain: it could be cool and wet, or sunny and warm! Sturdy shoes, long pants, bug repellent, 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.

**Other notes**
Want to stay in the loop about the Rainbow Beach Park community and all kinds of events and programs in the Park? Join the Rainbow Beach Park Advisory Council, attend a meeting on the 4th Monday of the month at 6:30, and certainly visit their Facebook page to learn more.

**Mark your calendars!**
Upcoming community stewardship workdays at RBD:
Saturday October 22, 10am-12pm – marram grass planting and last workday of the year!

….

Rainbow Beach Park runs parallel to South Shore Drive from 75th-79th Streets. Find directions and a map here.

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!).

August 27: Community Stewardship Workday at 9:00am

23 Aug

P1030661-002

Come out to Rainbow Beach Dunes this Saturday August 27 at 9:00 am to take a nature walk, clean up the nature area, and collect seeds with birders from around Chicago!

Rainbow Beach Dunes and all of Rainbow Beach Park support permanent resident birds, as well as migrants throughout the year. All the work we do to improve the quality of the habitat makes it even more appealing for our animal friends. As part of “Give Back to Birds Work Day,” birders from around Chicago will join us at 9am for stewardship work at the Dunes. If you would like to join them for an early morning bird walk, meet in the east parking lot at 7am! More details to be found here.

Join us this Saturday August 27 from 9am-11am. Please note the earlier start time for the workday.
Early morning birdwalk led by veteran birders Geoff and Christine Williamson begins at 7:00 with details here.

Remember to prepare for the weather and terrain: it could be cool and wet, or sunny and warm! Sturdy shoes, long pants, bug repellent, 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.

**Other notes**
Want to stay in the loop about the Rainbow Beach Park community and all kinds of events and programs in the Park? Join the Rainbow Beach Park Advisory Council, attend a meeting on the 4th Monday of the month at 6:30, and certainly visit their Facebook page to learn more.

**Mark your calendars!**
Upcoming community stewardship workdays at RBD:
Saturday September 24, 10am-12pm
Saturday October 22, 10am-12pm

….

Rainbow Beach Park runs parallel to South Shore Drive from 75th-79th Streets. Find directions and a map here.

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!).

July 23: Community Stewardship Workday and cactus monitoring

19 Jul

Come out to Rainbow Beach Dunes this Saturday July 23 to observe and collect data about the native prickly pear cactus.

We started the Opuntia Project in 2014 to collect data about the health of the cactus population at Rainbow. Citizen scientists have collected data over the past few years on the size of plants at the site and how many of them reproduce. One team will work on collecting data, but if you’d rather have a chance to dip your toes in Lake Michigan, a second team will collect trash along the beach at the water’s edge.

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

Remember to prepare for the weather and terrain: it could be cool and wet, or sunny and warm! Sturdy shoes, long pants, bug repellant, 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.

**Mark your calendars!**
Upcoming community stewardship workdays at RBD:
Saturday August 27, 10am-12pm
Saturday September 24, 10am-12pm
Saturday October 22, 10am-12pm

….

Rainbow Beach Park runs parallel to South Shore Drive from 75th-79th Streets. Find directions and a map here.

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!).

June 25: Community Stewardship Workday

20 Jun

P1010658

Come out to Rainbow Beach Dunes this Saturday June 25 for invasive species management and to see the dunes in bloom!

More beautiful native plants are blooming! and they will keep coming over the next few months. Native prickly pear flowers [Opuntia humifusa], New Jersey tea [Ceanothus americanus], milkweed [Asclepias spp.], and rare Pitcher’s thistle [Cirsium pitcherii] are just opening up; pale beardstongue [Penstemon pallidus], beach pea [Lathyrus japonicus], and sand coreopsis [Coreopsis lanceolata] are in full bloom! (Find out about all these species and more at Illinois wildflowers.)

But the invasive Bromus tectorum [cheatgrass or downy brome] and Melilotus officianalis [sweet clover] are also making themselves known across the site and we need volunteers to help remove it.

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

Remember to prepare for the weather and terrain: it could be cool and wet, or sunny and warm! Sturdy shoes, long pants, bug repellant, 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.

**Mark your calendars!**
Upcoming community stewardship workdays at RBD:
Saturday July 23, 10am-12pm
Saturday August 27, 10am-12pm
Saturday September 24, 10am-12pm
Saturday October 22, 10am-12pm

….

Rainbow Beach Park runs parallel to South Shore Drive from 75th-79th Streets. Find directions and a map here.
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!).

Follow up: May 28 workday

2 Jun

 

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Our May workday was a great one, including students from Gary Comer College Prep, members of the Rainbow Beach Park Advisory Council, and other volunteers. We got a lot of work done, pulling by hand the invasive cheatgrass (Bromus tectorum) from throughout the site.

 

 

Calumet Quarter at Rainbow Beach Dunes

25 May

CQ students 2016-05-20

Students from University of Chicago’s Calumet Quarter visited Rainbow Beach Dunes to learn about stewardship, urban nature areas, and prickly pear cactus!

Here’s a blog post from student Saul Levin:

The Cacti at Rainbow Beach Dunes

Perhaps unsurprisingly, my strongest impressions and most pressing questions following our visit to Rainbow Beach Dunes are about the “sexiest”[1] part of the dunes: Opuntia humifusa, more commonly known as Eastern Prickly Pear Cactus.[2]

I was interested by the impressive abundance of the cacti at the site we visited, especially when I discovered that its abundance is not consistent across its range. The prickly pear cactus has no unusual legal status at the federal level, but it is listed as rare vulnerable, or endangered in three states.[3]  The cactus owes its abundance in part to its ability to reproduce in three different ways.[4]  O. humifusa can reproduce through pollination and seeding. Detached segments can also travel on passing animals or simply fall off and roll away, taking root nearby. A third option called “layering,” in which still attached segments input new roots into the soil, explains why it is so difficult to distinguish adjacent plants from one another.

Read the rest of Saul’s article here, and view the gallery from their May 20 trip here.

 

May 28: Community Stewardship Workday

23 May

rainbow wood betony

 

Come out to Rainbow Beach Dunes this Saturday May 28 for invasive species management!

More beautiful native plants are blooming, like Triglochin maritima [seaside arrow grass], Pedicularis canadensis [wood betony or lousewort; pictured above], Sisyrinchium angustifolium [blue eyed grass, in the iris family], and Lithospermum canescens [hoary pucoon]. (Find out about all these species and more at Illinois wildflowers.)

But the invasive Bromus tectorum [cheatgrass or downy brome] is also making itself known across the site and we need volunteers to help remove it! Join us this Saturday May 28 from10am-12pm.

Remember to prepare for the weather and terrain: it could be cool and wet, or sunny and warm! 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.

….

Directions and a map can be found here.

Rainbow Beach Park runs parallel to South Shore Drive from 75th-79th Streets. Find directions and a map here.
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!).

 

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

 

P1010422

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!

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