Archive | October, 2012

Northerly Island Plant Rescue

24 Oct



Help rescue hundreds of native plants that currently live on the southern 40 acres of Northerly Island Park.

The Chicago Park District, The Field Museum, Audubon Chicago Region and Openlands with the assistance of Greencorps will be on hand to help dig up plants for individuals to take home and plant in their yards.

Saturday, October 27 from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Northerly Island, 1400 S. Linn White Drive

Starting in November, the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers will begin a $5 million Habitat Development project on the southern 40-acres of Northerly Island. The plan calls for major improvements in native habitat, along with a modified landscape and grading plan.  These improvements will create a higher quality and more diverse natural area for flora, fauna, and campers.

Plenty of shovels and garbage bags will be available.  Plant species include (in order of greatest presence):

• Andropogon scoparius –Little Bluestem
• Bouteloua curtipendula- Side Oats Grama
• Monarda fistulosa- Wild Bergamot
• Aster novae-angliae- New England Aster
• Ratibida pinnata- Gray Headed Coneflower
• Solidago rigida- Stiff Goldenrod
• Verbena stricta- Hoary Vervain


Saturday October 27: Last workday of the year!

23 Oct

Rainbow Beach Dunes is quiet through the winter– we’re lucky that we don’t have buckthorn or other woody species to contend with. So use the winter months to spend your time at places the do, like your local Forest Preserve.

At the last workday of the season, we’ll be planting several native species throughout the nature area. Our hard work will be rewarded with veggie chili. Bring a snack to share if you like!  Join us this Saturday October 27 from 10am-12pm.

Rainbow Beach is located at 3111 E. 77th St. By foot, walk east from South Shore Dr. on 77th St. By car, enter from 79th St., go past the water filtration plant, and park in the first parking lot. Please meet at the entrance to the nature area, which is located at the southern end of the beach. Tools and equipment will be provided, but please bring water, wear closed-toed shoes, dress appropriately for the weather, and prepare to get dirty. Contact Alison Anastasio at for questions and to RSVP.

Upcoming events of interest:

Saturday, November 3, 2012
Restoration Workday, Beaubien Woods

Thursday, November 15, 2012
Chicago Wilderness Congress, University of Illinois at Chicago

Saturday February 3, 2013
Wild Things Conference, Chicago IL

Cheatgrass as fodder for beer brewing

5 Oct

We should have been saving all our harvested cheatgrass! See the article below and listen to an interview with Idaho home brewer Tye Morgan on NPR’s Science Friday.

How Cheatgrass Could Soon Be In Your Pint Glass

Much of the acreage lost to wildfires in Idaho and the West this year means miles and miles of land opened up to cheatgrass.

For ranchers, this invasive species spreads quickly and requires time and resources to remove.

So what can ranchers do? How about making beer?  Home brewer Tye Morgan explains why cheatgrass is the perfect ingredient for beer.

“People used to gather local flora to ferment out their water so their water could be drinkable,” says Morgan. “And it would be a very low alcohol but it would make it so that it would kill off all the bacteria. And then all of a sudden I was like, ‘Cheatgrass is a grass.’ So I ran a quick nutritional value and found out that the carbohydrate to protein ratio is very similar to barley.”

Reno, Nev. couple Tye and Joe Morgan have been experimenting with making small batches of cheatgrass beer for three years. They formed a company and hope to start producing on a commercial scale soon. They shared their most recent batch with a group this summer, and it was a big hit.

“As a home brewer you know that one beer style is never going to please everybody,” Morgan says. “And so I had also brought some light American lagers because that’s the majority of what people drink. I had the people that liked the light American lager drinking the cheatgrass beer. And they were like, ‘No, this is great, I’m actually preferring this now.’ “

Morgan says she hopes that harvesting cheatgrass could be a profitable management tool for ranchers. Her company, Bromus Tech, would like to partner with breweries around the West to produce the beer.

Tye Morgan is going to be featured on Science Friday this afternoon, broadcasting live from Boise State University at noon.

Copyright 2012 Boise State Public Radio

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