Tag Archives: nature

Midwinter images

24 Mar


While the sun was shining at the workday last Saturday, it was still so gray– out in the canada wild rye and sand reed grass, flattened by the late winter snows. But several weeks ago, in the deep winter, when green in the dunes seemed like a figment of your imagination, it sparkled.


Wild Things Conference – February 2, 2013

27 Jan

If you didn’t get a chance to register for the Wild Things Conference, coming up this Saturday February 2, you can still register the day of the conference!

Wild Things is for volunteers, professionals and  anyone interested in local nature.

This day-long conference brings together the region’s best experts, hardest working professionals, most dedicated volunteers and anyone interested in nature. Technical presentations and interactive workshops will explore the latest in natural areas conservation, wildlife protection and monitoring. The conference is organized in “tracks” designed for everyone from newcomers to experts. There is special focus on empowering citizen scientists, stewards and advocates with information, networking and good ideas.”

July 14: Get to know Rainbow Beach Dunes with the Calumet Outdoor Series

6 Jul

Join us for a special event next Saturday, July 14 at 9am, sponsored by the Calumet Outdoor Series. Learn about the history of the Calumet region and the nature area at Rainbow Beach. We will meet at 9 am at the Field House for a short presentation, then head out to the dunes! Mid summer is the most spectacular time of year for flowers, so be ready to botanize and explore. Bring a field guide, hand lens, camera, etc.

Note, this is not a workday! But rather a presentation and a guided tour through the nature area, therefore perfect for families, friends, and guests from out of town. We will walk for about 2 hours in a sandy area with little to no shade, so please come prepared with water and appropriate clothing/shoes.

*Mark your calendar*
Saturday July 28 – Stewardship workday
Saturday August 25 – Stewardship workday

The Calumet Outdoor Series is a collection of monthly canoe/kayak events and hikes throughout the Calumet region: Northwest Indiana and the Chicago Southland. It is sponsored by several Northwest Indiana and Chicagoland organizations that focus on promoting the outdoor assets of the Calumet Region. See the calendar below for more events this year in the Calumet!

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. Meet at the FIELD HOUSE, which is located between the north and south parking lots. Please bring water and dress appropriately for the weather. Contact Alison Anastasio at alison.anastasio@gmail.com for questions and to RSVP.

Follow up: May 26 stewardship work day

3 Jun

It was great to see all the new faces at last Saturday’s workday. New volunteers and a large group of enthusiastic Gary Comer College Prep Middle School students contributed to collecting a monstrous 18 trash bags full of cheatgrass and plant debris.

Some of our favorite brilliant summer flowers are thinking about starting to bloom, so next month’s workday is sure to be a beautiful one!

*Mark your calendar*
Saturday June 23 – Stewardship workday
Saturday July 14 – Calumet Outdoor Series
Saturday July 28 – Stewardship workday

Followup: Saturday April 24 Workday

27 Apr

Thank you to everyone who joined us on Saturday for an introduction to Rainbow Beach Dunes! We cleaned up trash, learned about the history of Rainbow Beach, and tried our best to identify plants, few of which were flowering. If you weren’t able to attend this time, keep in mind that workdays will typically be on the 4th Saturday of the month throughout the spring and summer.

I also wanted to follow up with a few things we talked about on Saturday. I mentioned a great book, Dune Country by Glenda Daniel, which is explicitly about the plants and animals in the Indiana Dunes, but many of these can also be found at Rainbow Beach Dunes.

Additionally, Marion brought up a grass species with pesky burs that we have identified as Cenchrus longispinus, the mat sandbur, a plant native to our region.

Finally, I just wanted to list some of the species we focused on, in case you wanted to read up more about them:
Acer saccharinum (silver maple)
Arabidopsis lyrata (sand cress)
Arctostaphylos uva-ursi (bearberry)
Artemisia biennis (biennial wormwood)
Asclepias syriaca (common milkweed)
Asclepias tuberosa (butterfly milkweed)
Cakile edentula (sea rocket)
Daucus carota (Queen Anne’s Lace)
Equisetum hyemale (horsetail/ scouring rush)
Lathyrus japonica (beach pea)
Opuntia humifusa (prickly pear cactus)
Phragmites australis (common reed)
Populus deltoides (cottonwood)
Prunus pumila (sand cherry)
Salix interior (willow)
Schizachyrium scoparium (little blue stem)
Vitis riparia (riverbank grape)

Mark your calendars for a big event next month: on Saturday May 22 we will be planting native forbs on the upper beach near the parking lot, and spreading seeds on the upper ridge abutting the water treatment plant. We will need YOUR help!

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