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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!

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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

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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!).

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!).

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

 

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!).

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!).

May 17: Community Stewardship Workday

14 May

CC_Bromus_tectorum

It is cheatgrass season! This invasive grass (Bromus tectorum) is typically thought of wreaking havoc on rangelands in the western US, but it is moving across our site as well. This is an easy one for volunteers to pull, so we’ll be focusing on it for the May workday.

Join us this Saturday May 17 from 10am-12pm.

Remember to prepare for the weather and terrain: it may be windy and wet. Sturdy shoes, long pants and water are recommended. 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 May 17 (not 5/24) – Community Stewardship Workday
Saturday June 28 – Community Stewardship Workday
Saturday July 26 – Community Stewardship Workday

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April 19: Community Stewardship Workday

16 Apr

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Come out to Rainbow Beach Dunes this Saturday to clean up trash in the nature area, and start this season’s invasive species hunt. We’ll begin by looking for cheatgrass. We’ll also look for the earliest flowering species at the dunes: arctic bearberry and sand dune rockcress!

Join us this Saturday April 19 from 10am-12pm.

Remember to prepare for the weather and terrain: it may be windy and wet. Sturdy shoes, long pants and water are recommended. 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 May 17 (not 5/24) – Community Stewardship Workday
Saturday June 28 – Community Stewardship Workday
Saturday July 26 – Community Stewardship Workday

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Goodbye 2013; hello 2014

25 Mar

We sent our stewardship activities on winter break after our last workday of 2013, October 26.

Volunteers collected seeds from healthy little bluestem populations in the center of the nature area and dispersed them in the developing area on the east end.

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We started up again just last weekend, with volunteers collecting 4 big bags of trash! We’re ready to start the year with a clean slate.

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March 22: Community Stewardship Workday

17 Mar

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Come out to Rainbow Beach Dunes this Saturday for the first workday of 2014! The dunes are laying low: grasses matted down from heavy snow, frozen wetlands, and a huge ice shelf on the lake. The only thing green out there is moss, drenched with snowmelt.

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 22 from 10am-12pm.

Remember to prepare for the weather and terrain: it will 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.

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 April 19 (not 4/26) – Community Stewardship Workday/Earth Day celebration
Saturday May 17 (not 5/24) – Community Stewardship Workday
Saturday June 28 – Community Stewardship Workday

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Followup: June 22 workday

30 Jun

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We had a small but mighty group attacking the leading edge of the cheatgrass! Thanks to volunteers from Chicago Cares and CPD for their hard work.

Followup: Invasive species management

17 Jun

We really attacked the cheatgrass, but the truth is we barely made a dent.

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Nevertheless, our volunteers from Gary Comer and Chicago Cares had a blast!

Follow up: Clean-up and invasive species pull

6 May

Saturday morning we went out with Ms. Beals class from Gary Comer Middle School. Our goals were to collect trash and dig up the invasive species du jour, dandelions (Taraxacum officinale). Chicago Cares volunteers joined us too. By the time advisories from Gary Comer College Prep joined us in our mission, we had collected 8 bags of trash and every dandelion we could see.

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A student carries a handful of dandelions and a bag of trash

Openlands black oak, 4/27/13 with Gary Comer College Prep and Chicago Cares

Openlands black oak, 4/27/13 with Gary Comer Middle School and Chicago Cares

Looking up close at an opossum skull

Looking up close at an opossum skull

Sunday, Ms. Cowgill and her class from Gary Comer Middle School came out to clean up trash at Rocky Ledge. In addition to filling more than 8 bags of trash and one of recycling, students found lots of cool rocks and shells and leftovers from the former steel mill next door.

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