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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.


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.



Late autumn is beautiful across the dunes!







Scenes from July

15 Oct

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.


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.


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

Followup: June 28 workday

5 Jul


The flowering plants at the Dunes are exploding this time of year. It’s very orange and yellow now. If you only visit Rainbow Beach Dunes once this year, I’d suggest going in the next couple weeks!

We had a great group at the Dunes last Saturday, on June 28: park neighbors, old friends, master gardeners, Chicago Cares volunteers.


We took a nature hike, and then went to work pulling weeds (cheatgrass) from between the cactus and little bluestem.


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The tree on the edge of the parking lot is gone!


June 28: Community Stewardship Workday

23 Jun

The showy season has begun! Prickly pear cactus has started its first blooms, along with butterfly weed, and purple prairie clover. We will take a nature walk to see all the action around the site. But the window of opportunity to get rid of more cheatgrass has not closed, so we will also work on weeding.

Join us this Saturday June 28 from 10am-12pm.

Remember to prepare for the weather and terrain: it may be windy and wet, or sunny and dry! Sturdy shoes, long pants and water are recommended. Tools, training, and snacks will be provided. Contact Alison Anastasio at 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*
Every Sunday this summer from 12-5 in Rainbow Beach Park at 79th/South Shore — come to the South Shore Farmers Market!

Saturday July 26 – Community Stewardship Workday at RBD
Saturday August 23 – Community Stewardship Workday at RBD
Saturday September 27 – Community Stewardship Workday at RBD


Recent workday photos

22 Oct

Autumn is a great time of year to collect seeds from native plants at the dunes because so many bloom in the summer time.

We’ve been collecting:
Dalea purpurea purple prairie clover


Liatris aspera
– rough blazing star

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Monarda fistulosa – wild bergamot

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Volunteers came from the South Shore neighborhood, Chicago Cares, Gary Comer College Prep, and elsewhere in Chicago.

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