Tag Archives: prickly pear

Saturday July 14: Community stewardship workday, aka summertime at the beach!

11 Jul

Midsummer is really one of the best times to see dune ecosystem shining – barn swallows nesting and swooping for insects, prickly pair cactus, 3 milkweed species, prairie clover, and bee balms all blooming to convince bugs to pollinate them with their bright colors and sweet nectar. 

Come out to Rainbow Beach Dunes from 10am-12pm this Saturday July 14, 2018 to help pull weeds (sweet clover and cheat grass), pick up trash, and take a nature walk. This is a great workday for the whole family – we always feel very accomplished after playing a game of spot-the-sweet-clover. 

Please RSVP for the workday here. Questions? Contact co-stewards Alison Anastasio (alison.anastasio@gmail.com) or Jen Raber (jennifer.raber@gmail.com).

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. Parking permits, tools, equipment, and snacks will be provided.

 …

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 Hwy 41 at Farragut.
  • 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 far right corner of the parking lot farthest from the field house at the entrance to the Nature Area. Meet at the banner!
  • Find directions and a map here.

**Mark your calendar!** 

Workdays in 2018 are the second Saturday of the month, 10:00am-12:00pm:

Saturday, August 11
Saturday, September 8
Saturday, October 13

RSVP to a Community Stewardship Workday here.

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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!).

Calumet Quarter at Rainbow Beach Dunes

25 May

CQ students 2016-05-20

Students from University of Chicago’s Calumet Quarter visited Rainbow Beach Dunes to learn about stewardship, urban nature areas, and prickly pear cactus!

Here’s a blog post from student Saul Levin:

The Cacti at Rainbow Beach Dunes

Perhaps unsurprisingly, my strongest impressions and most pressing questions following our visit to Rainbow Beach Dunes are about the “sexiest”[1] part of the dunes: Opuntia humifusa, more commonly known as Eastern Prickly Pear Cactus.[2]

I was interested by the impressive abundance of the cacti at the site we visited, especially when I discovered that its abundance is not consistent across its range. The prickly pear cactus has no unusual legal status at the federal level, but it is listed as rare vulnerable, or endangered in three states.[3]  The cactus owes its abundance in part to its ability to reproduce in three different ways.[4]  O. humifusa can reproduce through pollination and seeding. Detached segments can also travel on passing animals or simply fall off and roll away, taking root nearby. A third option called “layering,” in which still attached segments input new roots into the soil, explains why it is so difficult to distinguish adjacent plants from one another.

Read the rest of Saul’s article here, and view the gallery from their May 20 trip here.

 

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!)

July 25: Community Stewardship, Habitat 2030, potluck

20 Jul

P1040147

Come out to Rainbow Beach Dunes this Saturday for a fun mid-summer workday with our friends at Habitat 2030! What’s Habitat 2030, you ask?

Habitat 2030 is a group of volunteers who care about the remarkable natural areas of the Chicago region. We host habitat restoration workdays, nature hikes and weekend camping trips, social gatherings, and educational opportunities. At workdays, we remove invasive plants, gather and spread seeds, and learn about nature as we go. We link interested newbies to expert mentors and are building a community where people of all skill levels can discuss local ecology, conservation, and habitat restoration issues. Everyone is welcome!

We’ll share our knowledge of dune ecosystems and native plants and all work together to monitor the flowering and fruiting of the prickly pear cactus. After a fulfilling few hours of monitoring, please stay for a potluck lunch with a great group of volunteers!

Join us this Saturday July 25 from 10am-12pm. Bring something to share and join us for a potluck after the workday.

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 August 22 – Community Stewardship Workday at RBD
Saturday September 26 – Community Stewardship Workday at RBD
Saturday October 24 – Community Stewardship Workday at RBD

 

Plants of Concern at RBD

14 Jul

Plants of Concern has been supported, hosted, and cared for over many years by Susanne Masi at the Chicago Botanic Garden. She retired last year, and left behind a thriving citizen science program in the hands of Rachel Goad and a team of botanists.

Monitoring the biotic and abiotic conditions of the habitat over time is a critical part of stewardship at RBD. We participate in a number of citizen science monitoring programs, including Plants of Concern, Adopt-a-Beach, and now the Opuntia monitoring program. We hope to add monitoring programs in the future for purple martins and monarch butterflies and their obligate food source, milkweed (Asclepias spp.).

If you or someone you know are committed to taking a leadership role in current monitoring programs at RBD, or new ones like purple martins or monarchs, please come out to a workday and let us know!

On Saturday, we monitored for Plants of Concern species. It was a lovely morning by the lake

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and we saw lots of other native plants in bloom as well.

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How many native plant species can you identify in this photo?!

 

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Follow up: May workday

27 May

On this May workday, we flagged and marked another 500 or so Opuntia individuals – we will collect data for these plants later in the season. We love when families come out to help at RBD! Kids of all ages have a great time in the nature area. P1040144

 

We also saw an eastern kingbird and many native plants in bloom!

 

 

May 23: Community Stewardship Workday

19 May

IMG_0208

P1010661

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

 

October 25: Community Stewardship Workday

21 Oct

RB_Flyer102514

Come out to Rainbow Beach Dunes this Saturday for the last workday of the season! We’ll record data for our marked prickly pear plants, collect some seeds, and reflect on the incredible work volunteers have done this year.

Join us this Saturday October 25 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. 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!).

 

September 27: Community Stewardship Workday

25 Sep

Come out to Rainbow Beach Dunes this Saturday to see the gorgeous and vibrant grasses changing color, work more on prickly pear monitoring, and collect seeds from some of our favorite native plants!

Join us this Saturday September 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.

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 October 25 – Last workday of the season

RB_Flyer092714

 

August 23: Community Stewardship Workday

20 Aug

IMG_0208

Come out to Rainbow Beach Dunes this Saturday to kick off a new 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 mark (with a small flag) each of the individuals in the nature area.

Join us this Saturday August 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. 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 September 27 – Community Stewardship Workday at RBD
Saturday October 25 – Community Stewardship Workday at RBD
Date TBD — Bird walk

RB_Flyer082314

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.

P1020987

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!

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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 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*
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

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Followup: June 22 workday

30 Jun

P1010659

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.

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