Please Note: The location of Chapter meetings rotates through various sites within our membership area to facilitate easy access. In addition, Field Trips and also outside activities are in various locations. Therefore, always check the Calendar of Events for this month's location, day and time.General Contact Information:
Phone: 224-377-8201Chapter Contacts (as of March 2013)
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In support of Wild Ones’ initiative to support declining populations of monarch butterflies, Conserve Lake County has secured a limited supply of seed packets for six species of milkweed. These small packets will be available for $2.25 each at Conserve Lake County’s native plant sale, held three consecutive weekends beginning May 17 (open 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays) and supported by Wild Ones. The original seed source is Chiwaukee Prairie, via a specially approved collection project. The species are:
"Native Trees and Shrubs" . . . with Meredith Tucker, Naturalist and Educator for Citizens for Conservation
Location: Fremont Public Library - 1170 North Midlothian Road - Mundelein, IL 60060 - Click Here for a Map
For Directions: call 224-377-8201
Other: Families Welcome - - FREE - - No Registration required
If someone were to ask you, "What's a Native plant," would you say a TREE?
You'll be amazed at all the wonderful trees and shrubs that are native locally and are beneficial to plant here. Find a species that adds biodiversity to your yard or that replaces an ash that succumbed to emerald ash borer. Find out about host plants, damaging insects, and the use of systemic insecticides.
There will be photos and information about each tree and shrub discussed, many in various seasons of the year. There will also be photos and information about leaving dead trees and snags standing as habitat, and about fungi on fallen trees. (All photos are taken by CFC volunteers from their local yards.)
In addition to the information provided throughout the program, there will be an audience handout about the butterflies and moths that use these species. This program was created as a guide for homeowners about what native trees and shrubs to consider for their own homes.
Meredith Tucker is a member of the board of directors of Citizens for Conservation, co-chair of the Community Education Committee, and Managing Editor of CFC News. Besides a Bachelor of Arts degree from Northwestern University, she has a Master of Public Administration degree from Roosevelt University with a major in Environmental Management. She completed most of the Conservation Biology Certificate formerly offered by the Chicago Botanic Garden, including classes in Conservation Biology, Ecology, Botany and Taxonomy, Plant Reproductive Biology, and Grasses. Meredith has restored her yard in Inverness to native shrubs, trees, forbs, and grasses; her most recent and fondest addition is a rain garden.
Lake-to-Prairie is a chapter of Wild Ones, a national not-for-profit organization that promotes the use of native plants in landscapes.
May 13, 2013 (Mon)     Speaker: Rick Sanders, Communications Director, Lake-to-Prairie Chapter of Wild Ones,
Click Here to REGISTER for this program. Time: 7:00 p.m. There’s nothing more beautiful than the melodic sounds of a song bird drifting through the air, or the dazzling colors of a butterfly as it flits from flower to flower. These and more wonders of nature can be yours by simply planting a few native plants in your landscape. So, join us to learn how you can use native plants to attract, feed, and provide habitat for birds and butterflies in your landscape.
Attracting Birds and Butterflies with Native Plants
birder, biologist, and gardener.
Location: Fremont Public Library, 1170 N Midlothian Rd., Mundelein, IL 60060
For Directions Phone: (847) 566-8702
Speaker: Rick Sanders, Communications Director, Lake-to-Prairie Chapter of Wild Ones,
Click Here to REGISTER for this program.
Time: 7:00 p.m.
There’s nothing more beautiful than the melodic sounds of a song bird drifting through the air, or the dazzling colors of a butterfly as it flits from flower to flower. These and more wonders of nature can be yours by simply planting a few native plants in your landscape.
So, join us to learn how you can use native plants to attract, feed, and provide habitat for birds and butterflies in your landscape.
May 15, 2013 (Wed)     Speakers: Sandy Miller and Pam Wolfe, Lake-to-Prairie Chapter of Wild Ones Time: 7:00 p.m. Wild Ones and Monarch Watch have partnered to create Wild for Monarchs - an effort to educate the public on the plight of the Monarch butterfly and what each of us as citizens can do to help.
Rain Gardens, Butterfly Gardens, and Monarch Watch
Location: Grayslake Public Library, 100 Library Ln, Grayslake, IL 60030
For Directions Phone: (847) 223-5313
Speakers: Sandy Miller and Pam Wolfe, Lake-to-Prairie Chapter of Wild Ones
Time: 7:00 p.m.
Wild Ones and Monarch Watch have partnered to create Wild for Monarchs - an effort to educate the public on the plight of the Monarch butterfly and what each of us as citizens can do to help.
Jun 04, 2013 (Tue)     Speaker: Meredith Tucker, Citizens for Conservation Time: 7:00 p.m. "Native Trees and Shrubs" highlights many of the gorgeous and habitat-friendly native woody plants that one can use to replace buckthorn, bush honeysuckle, and other alien invaders. It was created as a guide for homeowners about what native trees and shrubs to consider for their own homes, but you'll be amazed at all the wonderful trees and shrubs that are native locally and are beneficial to plant here.
Native Trees and Shrubs
Location: Fremont Public Library, 1170 N Midlothian Rd., Mundelein, IL 60060
For Directions Phone: 224-377-8201
Speaker: Meredith Tucker, Citizens for Conservation
Time: 7:00 p.m.
"Native Trees and Shrubs" highlights many of the gorgeous and habitat-friendly native woody plants that one can use to replace buckthorn, bush honeysuckle, and other alien invaders. It was created as a guide for homeowners about what native trees and shrubs to consider for their own homes, but you'll be amazed at all the wonderful trees and shrubs that are native locally and are beneficial to plant here.
What a difference a day makes! Wild Ones volunteer guides met on Friday at Reed Turner Woodland (Long Grove) dressed in hats, coats, scarves, gloves and rain gear. They came a day early to inventory blooming plants in preparation for the Saturday walk. While some flowers were out, the amount could only be called “modest.”
However, on the day of the walk, a gentle sun brought profusions of wildflowers in full bloom — what terrific timing! Those flowers were greatly enjoyed by the 74 attendees, who broke into four groups, each led by an experienced naturalist. All saw the very obvious – great stands of Mayapple – as well as the very subtle – False Mermaid. And especially lucky attendees got to see the single specimen of Squirrel Corn in bloom.
There was so much to learn in just one walk. Examples:
Some of the group looked both low and high. Low-lookers saw 1,000s of wildflowers. High-lookers saw flying flowers (a.k.a. spring migrating birds) such as yellow rump warblers, palm warblers, black-throated green warbler, black and white warbler, and blue-gray gnatcatchers.
Our two-hour walk yielded happy people who saw beauty and appreciated it, learned a bit along the way, and benefited greatly by an ideal spring day in the woods.
Our largest gathering ever, 135 people, were treated to an evening rich with information about Monarchs: their life, their problems, and their needs. Pat Miller, regional coordinator for Monarch Watch, provided over 90 minutes of pictures, information and resources about our State insect, the Monarch butterfly.
Speaking about the Monarch life cycle, Pat explained that females lay 400 - 700 eggs, individually on leaves, preferring Common Milkweed as their prime location. These eggs hatch into larva [caterpillars] which go through five (5) different molts [instars] before reaching the pupae state [chrysalis], and then emerge as the butterfly we have come to know and love. Over this growth cycle, Pat noted, adults will become 3,000 times larger than the original eggs.
Adults live for 2 - 6 weeks, during which their prime directive is to mate. In the Fall, the last butterflies of the season are genetically different - sort of a "super" species, as they live 7 - 9 months. It is these last butterflies that migrate, mostly to Mexico with a few west of the Rockies that stay in California. Their migration can take them from the eastern seaboard, lower Canada, and the mid-west on a 3,000 mile journey to the Michoacan region of Mexico. There, they over-winter, hanging onto towering fir trees like golden, sparking overcoats for the evergreens.
The "super genetics" Monarchs are unique in that once they mature as adults, they can put their reproductive drive on pause. It is this feature that enables them to migrate, over-winter, and then start the journey North again in spring to their breeding areas. Once they reach the lower U.S., they re-start the procreation cycle, searching for milkweed to lay their eggs. Their offspring will be the ones that finally reach the mid-west and continue the summer long breeding process.
Although adults can feed on many nectar producing plants, Pat emphasized that they must have milkweed for their egg laying. She reviewed the types of milkweed we can grow here in northern Illinois:
The Lake-to-Prairie Chapter of Wild Ones, in cooperation with Monarch Watch, is providing three of these species to our members so that they can plant "Monarch Way Stations" in their own landscape. "You need at least two different species of Milkweed and numerous nectar producing plants for a good egg-laying habitat." said Pat, "We all need to do our part to provide islands of habitat for these wonderful creatures."
When asked about why Monarchs are declining, Pat noted there are numerous factors. Many eggs, larvae, and adults are lost to natural predators, but it has always been this way - hence the large number of eggs that are laid. Man is the real culprit, especially in the areas of:
Pat concluded the presentation by answering a raft of questions from our enthusiastic crowd. Afterwards, people gathered around Pat for "one more question." In fact, we had to "encourage" our guests to cut their follow up questions short, as the library staff needed to close the facility for the evening. For those of you that were unable to make it, you missed an enthralling evening.
Resources- Access a full array of resources at the Monarch Watch web site http://monarchwatch.org/
- Register your Way Station at Monarch Watch http://www.monarchwatch.org/waystations/certify.html
- Follow the Monarch migration through Journey North http://www.learner.org/jnorth/monarch/
- Learn the basics of butterflies through Rick Mikula's book, "The Family Butterfly Book"
43 people came out on a cold February night to hear speaker Brett Rappaport discuss “the American lawn culture” which were the origins of municipal weed ordinances used to discourage native landscaping. Brett’s own yard reflects his land ethic, which he described as a personal obligation to the land. He pointed out that turf is a “taker,” harming the land in many ways. Not only do lawns waste water, time and money, but the chemicals used on them poison both the land and animals: “Did you know that ‘cides’— as in pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides — is Latin for ‘killer’?”
Brett pointed out some of the underlying misunderstandings that cause native plantings to be considered “weeds” - - they are thought to provide conditions for fire, vermin, mosquitoes, and pollen, and are also unsightly. He pointed out that these rationales are simply incorrect (e.g. most native plant pollen is spread by insects, not by the wind). As to the aesthetics of native gardens, Brett pointed out that many view a neighborhood of closely trimmed turf and imported shrubbery as very unsightly.
What’s a homeowner to do when their native landscape is faced with a local weed law? Brett recommended a “BRASH” approach:
At the end of Brett’s presentation, he answered audience questions, including some from Kathy Cummings, a homeowner in Chicago who has been in the news recently for her own fights with City Hall on her natural gardens. In 2004, the city of Chicago awarded Cummings a plaque for winning first place for naturalized landscaping in the city, yet this past October she was cited for having weeds in excess of the allowable 10 inches. (She is currently contesting the ticket, with help from various sources, including Wild Ones.)
At Lake-to-Prairie Wild Ones’ January 8 meeting, speaker Juli Crane started by stating that 96% of earth’s water is saline (in oceans, seas, and bays), while just over 2% is fresh water. Juli, a Principal Wetland Specialist with Lake County Stormwater Management Commission, took us from world-wide water availability to Lake County of which 26% is covered by water – it has 190+ lakes and 61,500 acres of wetlands.
Since water is such a critically important natural resource, it overseen by multiple agencies. Lake County’s water is protected by such entities as the Planning, Building, and Development Dept., the County Health Department, local municipalities, drainage districts, the McHenry-Lake County Soil and Water Conservation District, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, Army Corps of Engineers, and federal and state EPA agencies. Lake Michigan is the source of fresh domestic water for 40% of Lake County, but use of Lake Michigan water is rationed per limits set by international treaties (dating back to 1909) and federal and state laws.
Juli highlighted three key water issues – (1) runoff and flooding, (2) pollution, and (3) wasting water.
Runoff and flooding – Overall, the amount of moisture from the atmosphere hasn’t changed much over the centuries, but what is different in modern times is the amount of land that is impermeable – buildings, parking lots, and roads – meaning water has less surface to infiltrate back into aquifers. Additionally, since water now has fewer places to collect and flow, it concentrates in smaller runoff areas, causing it to run faster, which leads to erosion.
Water pollution – Juli described “legacies of tradition,” Americans’ love of mowed turf, which has resulted in water pollution (from fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides). In fact, Juli pointed out that in seeking their traditional green, unblemished landscapes, homeowners use 10 times more pesticides than agricultural users. Lake County’s water quality as evaluated by the EPA is “Fair, trending toward Poor.”
Water use – Nationally, 34% of water is used for irrigation, but most of that is used for turf grass, not agricultural crops. This habit is also costly:
Juli’s call to action was to urge us to:
What a great night for a party and for the 60 people that attended our annual Holiday Celebration.
In the kitchen, most all of the board and several members were busy getting the food ready. There were hot appetizers, cold appetizers, special crock pot recipes, sumptuous desserts, and even chips and guacamole. The array of food was awesome and tantalizing. Sandy Miller (president), Janice Hand (secretary), Pam and Cindy just kept the food coming.
The room at Colby Barn (Prairie Crossings) was festooned for the holidays with decorations on every table and little lights strung across the ceiling. The room was just beautiful.
Cindy Kaimakis (treasurer) and Pam Wolfe (membership) greeted everyone with a big holiday smile and provided both name tags and tickets for the prize drawings.
As people filed in and milled around looking at the art work, they enjoyed faux cocktails like passion fruit spritzers, sunny sunrises, mango bellinis. In fact there were so many choices that the bartender, Rick Sanders (communications) and his able assistant, Jodi Miller, had a menu to make it easier to choose.
After people had gotten acquainted at their tables, viewed the art work, satiated their hunger, and tried their favorite mock drinks, there were prize drawings for art work, live plants, a Doug Tallamy book, and holiday floral arrangements.
These were well received and accompanied by more than one gleeful person yelling out, “Me, me me . . . that’s me”! That was followed by another round of drawings where all of the table decorations were given to lucky winners.
In closing the evening, Rick reminded us of the upcoming meetings for January – April and thanked everyone for their support of Wild Ones and its mission. The spirit was among us as we added 9 new people to the member roster. It was a truly wonderful evening.
A special note of thanks goes out to our photographer of the evening, Jamie Godshalk.
|Here are four (4) happy new Wild Ones members that received a free copy of Doug Tallamy's book "Bringing Nature Home" for signing up on the night of our meeting. Welcome to the Lake-to-Prairie Chapter.||
Our November meeting was set in the year 1763, narrated by L2P president Sandy Miller, who is also a 19-year participant and interpreter of Trail of History, a living history interpretive event.
Sandy started with the correct pronunciation of Metis as “Meh-tea,” and went on to explain that these people planted crops for the summer, not returning to harvest their planted crops until the fall. Crops were mainly “the Three Sisters” – corn, beans, and squash, inter-planted together. The harvest, as well as native foods, were dried, smoked, and otherwise prepared for winter travels to the fur-rich North.
Some of the Metis’ foods are eaten today—elderberry, wild rice, and wild grapes. Other foods include:
The Metis also used native plants for medicine, being careful with doses, as some cause nausea and vomiting. Some medicinal plants include:
For more information:
At Lake-to-Prairie’s Oct. 2 meeting, PhD candidate Rebecca Tonietto shared her bee knowledge with an audience of over 40. Her focus was telling us what we can do personally to help bees, as well as helping us to understand these insects.
What bees need from us:
Among some of the more startling facts Rebecca cited are that the life span of most bees is just 4-6 weeks, but bumblebee queens can live several seasons. Most bees flight range is between 500’ and 1.2 mi., Female bees do most of bees’ work: nectar and pollen collection, nest building and maintenance; only female bees sting and only female honeybees die after stinging. There are 5 families of native bees: (1) sweat, (2) leaf cutter, (3) plasterer, (4) bumble, and (5) carpenter bees.
For more information:
Those who missed Lake-to-Prairie’s September field trip to Illinois Beach State Park near Zion missed a quintessentially perfect outdoor day – sunny, temperatures in the low 70s, light breeze, few bugs, and glorious scenery. Added to that were 40 interested people, two Park-savvy tour leaders, and one birding guide. Priceless
The 9am tour started with a briefing at the Visitor Center by site steward Don Wilson and naturalist Duane Ambrose, then a guided hike that started over a swale and walking bridge spanning a wet area that is highly attractive to birds. Among the highlights of the hike were: beach grasses holding parts of the beach in place to form new sand dunes, sand dune blowouts, the “Dead River” that sits quietly until water from the land or waves from the lake break through a narrow dune holding the river from the lake, and the sight of prickly pear cactus growing among beach grasses.
The Park provides habitat for rare species; we saw Nodding Lady’s Tress orchid, Sea Spurge, and Sea Rocket. The group stopped frequently to identify (and admire) some of the many blooms such as Western Sunflower, three kinds of Blazing Star, Showy Goldenrod, Mountain Mint, Sneezeweed, and Prairie Clover. The Black Oak was the predominant oak, but tucked among these were also Burr and other oak trees.
Bird guide Dave Johnson pointed out almost 30 species such as Merlin, Great Blue Heron, Eastern Phoebe, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Rose-breasted Nuthatch, Black-throated Green Warbler, and Eastern Bluebird.
There were not only geographic formations, plants, flowers, and birds, but the group also got to see dragonflies (Green Darner, Cherry Face Meadowhawk, Black Saddlebags, and Red Saddlebags) and butterflies (Monarch, Mourning Cloak, and Regal Fritillary).
Our thanks to our guides, Steward Don Wilson, Naturalist Duane Ambrose, and Birder Dave Johnson for making this such a great day!
The reference book Don Wilson used on our walk was 'Plants of the Illinois Dunesland' by Elizabeth T. Lunn, published by the Illinois Dunesland Preservation Society, & sold at the Illinois Beach State Park office, for $15 in cash or check, during regular weekday office hours. (Note: it is not otherwise generally available.) If someone wants to purchase the book outside of business hours, they should make prior arrangements with the office secretary during the week by calling, 847-662-4811, so that a copy may be left for them with the security guard.
Lake-to-Prairie Chapter members, Pam Wolfe, Sandy Miller, and Ray Biederer, staffed our booth at the Master Gardener Conference. They spoke with hundreds of Master Gardeners about the importance of using native plants in landscaping and protecting milk weed plants for Monarch butterflies.
Our own Janice Hand, secretary for the Lake-to-Prairie Chapter, receives the Outstanding Master Gardener award from Joe Tomam, Regional Director. Among her many Master Gardener activities, Janice managed a project to revitalize a one acre rain garden for the Lake County Permit Facility.
Given the summer’s drought conditions, the August 7 meeting topic — rain gardens — was both refreshing and very informative. 34 Attendees listened intently as presenter and Master Gardener Janice Hand started by pointing out that rain gardens’ purpose is to soak up rain water runoff from buildings and landscapes, holding it until the water can infiltrate into the soil. Among rain gardens’ benefits are that they:
Because the presentation included a lot of detailed information, Janice prepared a summary you can download and print for your personal use. Topics covered include:
For more recommendations, call University of Extension Master Gardeners for a list of recommended rain garden plants for sun and for shade.
Meredith Tucker, education director for Barrington-based Citizens for Conservation, started her presentation by asking, “What are alien invasive plants, anyway?” Her answer: they are non-native plants to the Americas, generally brought to the US by settlers from Europe and Asia. Since the plants’ predators were not included, without natural enemies these alien invasive plants spread unchecked.
What’s so bad about these plants? They are aggressive spreaders which destroy biodiversity, provide no “services” to the ecosystem (e.g. food and shelter to animals). These plants typically have a longer growing season than native plants, which also allows them to out-compete natives.
Citizens for Conservation has targeted 11 species as especially hazardous to local ecosystems – 3 shrubs, 5 forbs, 2 grasses, and 1 tree species. Meredith and Peggy Simonson discussed why each is an ecological problem and suggested replacements.
Sarah directs the Conservation@Home* program for Conserve Lake County.
Conserve Lake County invites you to visit their web site for a detailed review of "Savvy Lawn" practices. http://conservelakecounty.org/conservationhome/eco-friendly-lawns
Susan Surroz, from Conserve Lake County, presented an enjoyable and informative lecture about Natural Lawn Care. Beginning with the history of Lawns and continuing on how to change over to natural lawn care.
Homeowners going for natural lawn care should follow these tips;
(Americans over feed and most of it washes away)
+ No mow - Buffalo grass - warm season grass, grows in summer, stays brown till summer
+ Low mow - go with Fescue
Her advice to all of us . . . "Relax, mow high, and call it a day."
For additional information, visit the web site: Natural Lawn Care - www.safelawns.org.
Huge . . . Fantastic . . . Two great adjectives to describe our Nature Up Close program. We had over 66 people in attendance. Thank goodness there was no meeting in the next room as we had to open the wall, literally, to provide additional seating.
The business meeting was short, mostly announcements about upcoming native plant sales (click here to download a copy of the list).
So why was everyone there? . . . to see a fantastic photo collage presented through the macro lens of a camera. If you weren't there, you missed something really special! There were oohs and ahs, impromptu comments from the crowd, and finally, rousing applause from everyone in attendance.
Joan Sayre showed why she has won many awards with her photogrpahy; it spoke for itself. In addition, she provided personal insights on ways you and I can take those same photographs, although few of us probably have the patience and steadiness needed to capture the micro inner workings of nature.
Her presentation covered a wide arrary of subjects, but all from right here in Lake County: Frost & Ice, Butterflies & Moths, Flowers & Mushrooms, Dragonflies & Damselflies, Insects, Spiders, Reptiles, and Other Backyard Visitors
But in addition, she focused our attention on intricate details that only a macro lens can capture, for example:
So, if you see some woman with a camera flat on her stomach hanging over the edge of the pond at the Chicago Botanic Garden, or crouched in among the flower displays at the Farmers Market, or on her hands and knees slowly creeping up on dragonfly, it's a pretty good guess it will be Joan. Stop and say hello!
Earth Week was a busy time for the Chapter.
These photos are from the MCCD Earth Day Celebration at Prairie View Nature Center. The crowds were amazing all day, with lots of young families and numerous home owners asking questions about native plants, how to attract butterflies, "what should I plant?" One of the biggest hits of the day was the opportunity for kids to color and make their own butterfly ring.
L2P members helping out at the booth included, Sandy Miller, Pam Wolfe, Cindy Kaimakas, and Rick Sanders.
Business Meeting announcements:
In front of an audience of over 30, grower David Husemoller reviewed his “Top 10” things to do to be sure we’re ready for the spring growing season. In order:
#10 - Spring clean-up. Cut and clear out last year’s growth. If you are able to conduct a controlled burn on a prairie area, do that before the land greens up. The black ash that lies in the fields will heat the soil faster for a quicker green-up.
#9 – Tool care. Repair your tools and sharpen pruners, clippers, and shovels. A sharp edge on shovels and spades will make digging markedly easier. Use a lubricant like WD-40 to clean and lubricate moving parts on your tools, too.
#8 – Prune properly. David showed some pictures of proper pruning cuts and emphasized that limbs should be cut from trees leaving a small stub, which allows the tree to heal over the scar. Too close leaves a scar that cannot heal and a stub that is too long will be unsightly and may rot. He recommended that homeowners not “bubble-cut” their shrubs, since new growth will be encouraged where the cuts are which means that the shrub will “puff out” along the cut line. Instead, cut out larger, older limbs at ground level to open up the shrub to air and light and trim the top at variable heights.
#7 – Mulch correctly. We’ve all seen trees with mounds of much around the trunk—David calls these “mulch-canos” for their volcano shape. Mounds of mulch touching the trunk can cause diseases, provide habitat for pests, and rot the tree’s bark. For flower beds, he recommends mulching with leaf or other organic compost, both for plant health and to reduce weed growth.
#6 – Turn the compost. Especially after the winter, the compost pile needs oxygen. It will also need the appropriate mix of “browns” and “greens” to promote rapid decomposition of the organic matter.
#5 – Reduce turf. The cost of America’s addiction to turfgrass is air pollution and noise (from mowing) and water pollution (from fertilizer runoff). Turf is also very labor-intensive and harms biodiversity since almost no beneficial insects or animals can live in turf. David noted that perfectly-mowed lawns came to America from Europe, where the owners of castles kept sheep to shear the grass around the castle. He cited statistics that lawns consume 30% of all water used on the east coast of the US, while the figure is 60% on the west coast.
#4 – Make a garden plan. Reduce your turf by adding to existing garden beds and adding trees and shrubs. He stressed three key factors that will ensure success: (#1) Right conditions, (#2) right soil, and (#3) right plant. As to how many plants, David recommended planting an odd number of plants – 5 to 7 is usually ideal – and he suggested planting them in a zig-zag pattern (not in “straight soldier rows”).
#3 – Order native plants. Now is the time to get locally-grown plants. In addition to David’s company (EarthWild Gardens), other local sources are Lake County Forest Preserve District’s Mother’s Day weekend native plant sale, and the Gardeners of Central Lake County plant sale.
#2 – Develop a maintenance plan. Set up a specific plan of when to weed, when to water, and make sure that you avoid deer browsing your favorite plants by using repellants early. Deer especially seem to like young plants.
#1 – Consult and network. To learn what to do and to get ideas, David recommends being relentless in talking with others and networking. His hints included Wild Ones, U of I Extension, Liberty Prairie Conservancy, and local businesses.
If you have questions or want more information, you can reach David Husemoller at EarthWild Gardens, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our program was a big success, with over 36 in attendance.
Business Meeting announcements:
Ann started her presentation by first explaining how the last glaciers transformed the soils in our area. She explained that, aided by fire, the area became a prime location for oak-hickory woodlands and grasslands. One of the key woodlands is the Southern Des Plaines River Preserves which The LCFPD has been managing for over 20 years.
An assessment of the ecology of the area shows it to be one of the most diverse ecosystems in Illinois with 85% of the salamander and frog species, 75% of the turtle and reptile species, and 138 of 200 species of birds.
In 1820, abut 1/3 of Illinois was forested. Now, only 12% remains and half of that is oak-hickory woodlands. A cursory look at the woodlands would seem to show they are healthy because of their massive trees, but this is not the case.
Sugar maples dominate the woodland floor and have increased 4000% since the 1960's. Emerald Ash Borer has decimated 100% of the ash trees. Regenerative fires have been suppressed and now invasives, like buckthorn, prevent new slower growing trees like oaks from getting established.
Virtually no light reaches the woodland floor. The canopy in places is so thick that it blocks 85% of the sunlight. Thus, less than 0.2% or the trees are seedlings or saplings, and many tree species are absent all together.
The trees are not the only ones suffering. The lack of these smaller trees also creates a lack of food and shelter for the fauna of the region from foxes to field mice, birds, and insects. Because oaks are a keystone species, the next phase of managing these preserves, will be canopy management.
In Phase II, management activities will focus on increasing sunlight penetration and encouraging oak and other tree regeneration. This may require the selective removal of some trees, or the girdling of others, but a healthy forest generally has 10-20% dead trees which can provide both nutrients and shelter. Thus as the woodlands regenerate, the biodiversity will increase.
Ann then explained the restoration work going on in the Chiwaukee Illinois Beach Lake Plain. This is a massive 4,500 area on the coast of Lake Michigan spanning both Illinois and Wisconsin preserves. It has 14 different vegetative communities, 500 plant species, 300 animals, and over 160 different types of birds.
This project has been underway for four years. It is funded in part by a Federal grant, and has a long, long list of partners from State, local, and non-profit organizations in both Illinois and Wisconsin.
The major focus of the project has been to control the cattails and other invasive plants. And the results after just four years are impressive.
No materials were handed out (due to photo rights), but if you have questions or want more information, you can reach Ann Maine at AMaine@lakecountyil.gov.
The meeting started off a bit askew as our speaker, Kelsay Shaw, discovered he was missing a key cable that would enable him to show his prepared slides. Fortunately, he was able to make a connection to another device, and shared some slides from a different but relevant presentation.
He started the presentation by asking for questions and got one related to soil compaction. He noted that average urban soils are compacted within 5# of concrete and almost always need amending. He recommended spreading compost, and then just flipping the soil - - not trying to roto-till it.
He next went through a slide of Challenges facing the use of Native Landscaping.
He pointed out:
Speaker: Ed Collins, McHenry County Conservation District Natural Resource Manager
Speaker: Rick Sanders, birder, biologist, and gardener.
But the overall message was, "Native plants that attract the most leaf-eating insects [Lepidoptera family] also attract the most birds, butterflies, dragonflies, etc."
Rick presented several charts, courtesy of Doug Tallamy, that rank ordered the total Lepidoptera species attracted by plant. This was a real eye opener as few in the audience picked trees like oak or black cherry to be the top insect attractors.
Another chart that attracted a lot of attention was one showing a list of native plants that are the best at attracting beneficial insects and the times during the year in which they bloom and are at their peak.
In support of the charts, Rick went through individual slides on the top thirty trees, tall shrubs, low shrubs, plants, vines, and grasses along with their key statistics, pictures including some leaf pictures.
During the wrap up, Rick fielded numerous questions and also provide handouts of his resources; Janice Hand handed out the Lake-to-Prairie list of resources for native plants.
The meeting started with an unexpected surprise - - we were locked out of the Reed-Turner facility. But after a few minutes, one of the attendees found a nice park table in the back and we conducted our first ever "under the stars" meeting. Ms. Berns reviewed the LCFPD’s standards for Where and When to conduct controlled burns and provided personal experience from conducting burns on her own and neighboring lands.
Among key points that she made were:
http://www.epa.state.il/us/air/permits/openburn/ (to get a permit)
http://www.epa.state.il.us/public-notices/2008/general-notices.html#smoke-management-plan (to view a smoke management plan)
http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/publicats/fulltext.asp?Name=095-0108 (IL Prescribed Fire Act)
The Lake-to-Prairie(L2P) Chapter had a booth at the Citizens for Conservation’s (CFC) Fall Tree and Shrub Sale and Green Fair on September 17, 2011,(from 9:00 to 1:00), staffed by Janice Hand and Rick Sanders.
(a) Flint Creek Wildlife Rehabilitation for a potential meeting, as they show wild raptors and other birds, as well as
Another organization attending was Safer Pest Control Project (a NFP supporting natural pest control) (www.spcpweb.org 773-878-7378) .
Speaker: Professor Rory Klick, Horticulture Department Chair/Assistant Professor of Horticulture
She defined a prairies as “a North America meadow or grassland in which grasses predominate.” In a normal prairie, 75-80% of vegetation cover is grass species. In designing prairies for modern-day landscapes, most designers work for a 50-50% mix of grasses to forbs, which is seen as more pleasing.
Native or restored prairies support a tremendous number of species. One study, which looked at square meter sections of prairie, found around 100 species per square. Today less than 1/10th of one percent of native/original prairies remains in the US, yet when settlers moved into the country 80% was prairie.
In discussing restoration work she has conducted and which has been done at CLC, Professor Klick said that controlled burns are a critical tool. Weedy plants sprout early in the cool of early spring, so a controlled burn kills these species and warms the soil, helping native plants to germinate. Burns have been controversial; the Yellowstone Park fires of 1988 were the turning point in the conservation community’s debate over fires in natural areas. When the burned area quickly regrew and showed significant increases in diversity, thinking began to change. Locally, the Lake County Forest Preserve District has carefully implemented a public awareness campaign to ensure that residents understand the reason (and support) for burns on Forest Preserve properties.
Professor Klick gave some key tips to those who want their own prairie or prairie area in their yard:
For the first "re-energizing" meeting, Wild Ones Lake-to-Prairie Chapter hosted a panel discussion about native plants and plantings. Two well-known native plant growers, Kelsay Shaw of Possibility Place and David Husemoller of Earth Wild Gardens, entertained and educated meeting attendees.
Lake-to-Prairie Wild Ones chapter will host its next meeting at the Grayslake Public Library on May 26 featuring Gene Wells talking about "Thinking Outside the Rain Barrel" – how to make them, how to hide them, and how to care for them."
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Updated: May 09, 2013.