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June 24: Community Stewardship Workday

14 Jun

Join fellow volunteers at the next Rainbow Beach Dunes stewardship workday on Saturday, June 24, from 10am-12pm. 

Summer is in full swing and RBD is bloomin’! Co-steward Jen Raber will lead the workday and you’ll look for flowering prickly pear cactus (Opuntia humifusa), purple prairie-clover (Dalea purpurea), and the incomparable beauty, wild white indigo (Baptisia alba).

Rainbow Beach Park Advisory Council is also partnering with the MWRD and their “Restore the Canopy, Plant a Tree” initiative.canopy_logo

Look for a table near the nature area on 6/24 where you can take home and plant your own oak sapling in your yard or on the public way! Lots of research shows that urban trees are of huge importance in: reducing the urban heat island, sequestering carbon, creating aesthetically pleasing views, increasing greenspace, cleaning the air, and when our community and neighbors are involved in taking care of nature around our homes, we are all better environmental stewards.

RSVP here!

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 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 Fieldhouse.
  • Go to the end of the parking lot closest to the Nature Area. Meet at the banner!

Find directions and a map here.

*Mark your calendar*
  • July 22 2017
  • August 26 2017
  • September 23 2017
  • October 28 2017

May 27: Tis the season for cheatgrass

14 May

CC_Bromus_tectorum

Join fellow volunteers at the next Rainbow Beach Dunes stewardship workday on Saturday, May 27, from 10am-12pm.  We will focus on managing the cheatgrass (Bromus tectorum) population at RBD, an invasive plant that loves to grow in open patches between native grasses. Our efforts mean that native plants have room to grow and will be able to persist in higher density, creating healthy homes for a diverse set of plants and animals. 

RSVP here!

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 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 Fieldhouse.
  • Go to the end of the parking lot closest to the Nature Area. Meet at the banner!

Find directions and a map here.

*Mark your calendar*
  • June 24 2017
  • July 22 2017
  • August 26 2017
  • September 23 2017
  • October 28 2017

April 22: Celebrate Earth Day at Rainbow Beach Dunes

16 Apr

 

Our next workday is on Saturday April 22 from 9am-12pm (note the earlier start time) in partnership with Friends of the Parks Earth Day 2017! Other Chicagoans throughout the city will be participating by cleaning up their favorite parks at the same time. 

So that we can be sure to have enough supplies and cool t-shirts for you, if you plan to attend on 4/22 YOU MUST REGISTER HERE. We plan to get started on pulling the invasive cheat grass (Bromus tectrorum), take a nature walk, and clean up trash in the nature area.

 

Don’t want to work in the nature area but still want to come to Rainbow for Earth Day?
Then I encourage you to join the Rainbow Beach Park Advisory Council for their Earth Day beach cleanup on the same day! Please register here for that event.

Bring your family, friends, and neighbors to do good in the community with others from around the city.

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 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 Fieldhouse.
  • Go to the end of the parking lot closest to the Nature Area. Meet at the banner!
Find directions and a map here.
*Mark your calendar*
  • May 27 2017
  • June 24 2017
  • July 22 2017
  • August 26 2017
  • September 23 2017
  • October 28 2017

Follow up: March 25 workday

2 Apr

A small but resilient group of volunteers collected 8 bags-full of trash on a windy and cold Saturday morning. Thank you for your dedication to RBD!

We also saw a juvenile bald eagle get harassed by gulls, lots of overwintering praying mantis egg cases, and a dead coyote.
Not much is blooming, but rosettes of the biennial beach wormwood (Artemisia campestris caudata) are definitely getting a headstart on the growing season!

March 25: First community stewardship workday of 2017!

19 Mar

P1050351

Join us on Saturday March 25 from 10am-12pm for the first workday of the season. We’ll survey the changes that have gone on over the past few months and clean up trash that’s come ashore during the winter. Bring neighbors, friends, and family.

Meet in the first parking lot, close to the entrance of the Nature Area and look for the banner. 

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.

RSVP 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 Fieldhouse.
  • Go to the end of the parking lot closest to the Nature Area. Meet at the banner!

Find directions and a map here.

*Mark your calendar*

Follow up: October 29 workday

30 Oct

Our last workday of 2016 was awesome – we planted 1000 marram grass stolons!* Our goal was to encourage native plants to colonize the area around the new water filtration system on the north side of the nature area.

 

We had tons of volunteers, but I didn’t get many photos– too busy digging holes and planting stolons.

p1050256

Just a fraction of the volunteers who planted marram grass.

 

*What’s a stolon anyway?

Stolons are specialized stems that run horizontally just under the soil surface. We can cut them apart and plant them separately.

stolons

 

Late autumn is beautiful across the dunes!

 

 

p1040961p1050272

 

 

October 29: Marram grass planting and volunteer appreciation

16 Oct

p1040962

Marram grass (Ammophila breviligulata) is the resident dune-builder at RBD. Its roots reach deep into the sand, anchoring it in heavy winds, building up small hills and leaving behind swales.

On the last workday of 2016, we will plant marram grass to anchor sand around the new water filtration system. Afterwards we’ll have hot cider and donuts to celebrate our planting and a successful year of stewardship. Bring neighbors, friends, and family.

Join us on Saturday October 29nd from 10am-12pm for the last workday of the season and stay until 1pm to celebrate the year’s accomplishments with your fellow volunteers!

Meet in the first parking lot, close to the Fieldhouse and look for the banner. 

p1040961

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.

RSVP 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 Fieldhouse.
  • Go to the end of the parking lot closest to the Fieldhouse. Meet at the banner!

Find directions and a map here.

*Mark your calendar*
See you in March 2017

September 24: Community Stewardship Workday

20 Sep

P1040929

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

P1040702

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.

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!)

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