July 25: Community Stewardship, Habitat 2030, potluck

20 Jul

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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?!

 

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June 27: Community Stewardship Workday

21 Jun

 

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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

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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

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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!).

2 things you can do if you are an advocate of Rainbow Beach Park

20 Apr

RBAC flyer 20151. Attend a Rainbow Beach Park Advisory Council meeting (4th Monday of the month, 6:30 pm, Rainbow Beach Fieldhouse). Next meeting is on April 27.

2. Take a short survey to give input about how YOU use Rainbow Beach Park! TakeSurvey_green

March 28: Community Stewardship Workday

24 Mar

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Come out to Rainbow Beach Dunes this Saturday for the first workday of 2015! The dunes are laying low: grasses matted down from heavy snow and frozen wetlands, and a great missing foredune. Mosses are sucking up the snow melt and pushing out sporophytes.

We’ll survey the effects of winter and pick up trash that has been tossed on shore and blown into the nature area.   Join us this Saturday March 28 from 10am-12pm. 

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

Also of interest:
Attend a meeting TONIGHT to give your input on the framework plan for our nearest park neighbor- Park 566, just on the northeast corner of the USX site. Join your community members and others interested in shaping the fate of this burgeoning park TONIGHT! ( Tuesday March 24rd at 6:30 pm) in the Rainbow Beach Field House. A flyer is attached….

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 2015

12 Mar

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Happy spring! Our first community stewardship workday of 2015 will be on Saturday March 28, 10am-12pm.

Additional dates for 2015 are as follows (10am-12pm on the 4th Saturday of the month) so mark your calendar!

April 25
May 23
June 27
July 25
Aug 22
Sept 26
Oct 24

Stay tuned for information about special events and projects, like Earth Day, marram grass planting, Habitat 2030 and more.

RBD winter announcements

22 Jan

Happy New Year! Even though our stewardship work at RBD is on winter hiatus, there are some things around town you still might be interested in.

-Volunteer Training Assessment Survey via The Nature Conservancy
In response to a growing interest in regional training and shared learning opportunities for volunteer stewardship, The Morton Arboretum and The Nature Conservancy have joined in partnership to develop a survey to establish baseline information around current volunteer training and interests. The results will be used to identify strengths, gaps and opportunities that will guide the development of regional training priorities and education programs. Please take a few moments to complete the survey ASAP. Results will be shared in the winter 2015 and will include collective responses for each question. If you would like to receive a copy of the results of the survey, please add your email at the end of the survey and we will send you a summary of the results. Take a moment to complete the survey. Start Survey Here

Public meeting about our closest park! (see attached flyer and distribute widely)

    Park 566 (USX)

Wednesday, February 5th, 6:30pm
Rainbow Beach Park Field House

Please join us for the first public meeting to discuss the planning process for Park 566, located between 79th and 87th St. We want to hear you vision for the park!

-Other restoration and stewardship opportunities in the area (winter is the best season for brush-cutting and burn piles)

via Calumet Stewardship Initiative
via Habitat 2030
via Cook County Forest Preserve District

Park 566 Public Meeting Flyer

Dunes are dynamic!

21 Jan

Remember that big storm on Halloween weekend?  There was some snow, and heavy rain and waves from Lake Michigan closed part of Lake Shore Drive.

While we know marram grass as the ‘dune-builder’ — because its roots hold fast, collect the blowing sand, and help the dune grow — sometimes the forces of nature are even stronger and the dune’s inner connective tissue are broken.

photo 23

Follow up: October 25 workday

16 Nov

The Opuntia project is off to a great start. We are monitoring the native prickly pear population at RBD and have marked and collected data for more than 500 plants. (The population is estimated to be about 1500 plants.)

Many hands make light work, and our dedicated volunteers did a fantastic job in this first part of the project!

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October 25: Community Stewardship Workday

21 Oct

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Come out to Rainbow Beach Dunes this Saturday for the last workday of the season! We’ll record data for our marked prickly pear plants, collect some seeds, and reflect on the incredible work volunteers have done this year.

Join us this Saturday October 25 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. Go to the southeast end of this lot and park. Meet at the entrance to the Nature Area, the which is located at the southern end of the beach (look for the banner!).

 

Scenes from July

15 Oct
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Lobelia spicata

For some folks, summertime means fireworks at the beach. Unfortunately, these can be damaging to plants and animals in the nature area, they leave a mess behind (that volunteers kindly clean up), and of course are illegal in Illinois.

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BBQing is an awesome and fun thing to do in the park as well, but coals should be dumped in the red charcoal trash bins, not on trees or the beach.

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Public service announcements aside, we had a great workday! Everyone felt very accomplished about the significant eradication of the white sweetclover.

September 27: Community Stewardship Workday

25 Sep

Come out to Rainbow Beach Dunes this Saturday to see the gorgeous and vibrant grasses changing color, work more on prickly pear monitoring, and collect seeds from some of our favorite native plants!

Join us this Saturday September 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.

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. Go to the southeast end of this lot and park. Meet at the entrance to the Nature Area, the which is located at the southern end of the beach (look for the banner!).

*Mark your calendar*
Saturday October 25 – Last workday of the season

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