CCDPH continues to investigate measles in suburban Cook County. At this time, the overall risk of getting measles is low and transmission is not widespread. For the latest update, visit www.cookcountypublichealth.org/…/current-public-hea…/measles
Forest Preserve Natural and Cultural Resources Master Plan (NCRMP)
The Prairie Research Institute at the University of Illinois has been working on the Natural and Cultural Resources Master Plan (NCRMP) this past year which will provide the foundation to achieve the goal set in our Next Century Conservation Plan of restoring 30,000 acres to high natural quality in 25 years. The first phase of this project has been completed and the public document part of the plan will be presented at the February 11, 2015 Centennial Board meeting.
We invite you to one of four information sessions where the identification and prioritization process for the 30,000 acres will be shared before the NCRMP is made public. Each session will consist of an identical 1-hour presentation by PRI staff, followed by a 30-minute question and answer session that may focus more on the region where the meeting is being held.
The four sessions will be:
Hanover Township Senior Center (http://goo.gl/maps/Yblui)
Saturday, February 7; 9am-10:30am; Northwest
240 S. Rt 59; Bartlett, IL
Mathew Bieszczat Volunteer Resource Center (http://g.co/maps/bjw9h)
Saturday, February 7; 1pm – 2:30pm; North
6100 N. Central Ave, Chicago, IL 60646 / 773-631-1790
Little Red Schoolhouse Nature Center (http://g.co/maps/5eugh)
Sunday, February 8; 9am-10:30am; Southwest
9800 Willow Springs Rd, Willow Springs, IL 60480 / 708- 839-6897
Sand Ridge Nature Center (http://g.co/maps/wtrcw)
Sunday, February 8; 1pm – 2:30pm; Southeast
15890 Paxton Ave, South Holland, IL 60473 / 708-868-0606
More information regarding NCRMP can be found here.
Upcoming Special Events in the Forest Preserves
Check out some of the great upcoming events in the Cook County Forest Preserves:
|December 20 – March 2
Every day, weather permitting
|Cross-Country Ski Trails Opens at Sagawau Environmental Learning Center, Lemont
Trails will be opened and groomed as snow conditions permit. Sagawau Nordic is open daily, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. All skiers must obtain a free trail pass. Rentals available until 2 p.m. Equipment must be returned by 3:45 p.m. Call for exact opening date.
Beginner Cross-Country Ski Lessons at Sagawau Environmental Learning Center, Lemont (9:30 a.m. Saturdays & Sundays through March 1)
Learn to ski with a professional instructor! Ages 12 & up. Experienced paddlers – bring your canoe or kayak and ring in the New Year by paddling down the Chicago River from Willow Road Dam to Linne Woods in Morton Grove. Shuttle runs 8 a.m. – 2 p.m. from Linne Woods (Dempster St and Ferris Ave) to Willow Road Dam.
7:00 – 9:00 p.m.
|Third Thursdays: DIY Creative Reuse Bird Feeders at Thatcher Woods Pavilion, River Forest
Make DIY bird feeders out of recycled materials! We’ll make an assortment of feeders and learn about using different foods to attract a variety of birds.
|Winter Night Hike at River Trail, Northbrook
Meet us for a winter night hike to learn about the nocturnal animals that live at River Trail. Afterwards, warm up inside with snacks and hot chocolate. Register by 2/18. Check-in at 6:45 p.m.
9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
|Surf the White Winter Wave at Sagawau Environmental Learning Center, Lemont
Join us for a Polynesian take on winter. After skiing the “frozen wave,” relax and enjoy surfing videos and live updates on surf conditions from Oahu’s North Shore. Dress Hawaiian and win a prize!
11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
|Chinese New Year Celebration at the Chicago Botanic Garden, Glencoe
Bring the whole family to enjoy this special day filled with hands-on, interactive activities and free puppet and shadow puppet performances (11:00 a.m. & 1:00 p.m.) celebrating the Year of the Sheep! Free!
Habitat Restoration to Begin Near Wheeling
Staring in December 2014, the Forest Preserves of Cook County will begin a new phase of work this month to restore 259 acres of forest preserve land near northwest suburban Wheeling. Contractors will remove a large number of trees from the Portwine, Dam #1 Woods and Willow-Sanders properties, which stretch from Willow Road in the south to Lake-Cook Road in the north. The project began last winter with smaller-scale, targeted brush clearing in more sensitive areas. This next phase will be more dramatic.
Many of the trees being removed are invasive species that encroached on previously open land in the absence of fire. Others were planted in the middle of the last century, when conservation efforts were biased toward preserving forested landscapes. As the field of conservation has evolved, however, scientists have come to understand the critical role of grasslands and other open environments in preserving our region’s complete biodiversity.
The major restoration push will continue through the winter, and aims to restore habitat for plants and animals native to our prairies and woodlands. Removing trees will increase the amount of sunlight that reaches the ground, encouraging the growth of grasses, sedges and wildflowers. These will provide food and shelter to a greater diversity of wildlife, as well as reducing soil erosion. In some areas, the work will leave selected trees in place, creating savanna and providing a buffer from street traffic.
“You may be using the Des Plaines Trail or driving down Dundee Road and see heavy equipment at work,” said Forest Preserves chief ecologist Chip O’Leary. “Some parts of the landscape may look fairly bare for a while. But give them a season or two, and they will rebound very well with grasses and wildflowers. By enlarging existing meadow clearings, this landscape will function much better as habitat for lots of creatures. It’ll also improve as a place to hike and explore.”
The restoration work this winter will cost $500,000, and is being paid for with wetland mitigation funds from the Illinois Tollway Authority. Also, for the first time, the Forest Preserves will be using most of the wood removed for restoration to produce lumber and firewood. (It is typically either burned or chipped onsite.) This will save approximately $235,000 over the course of the project.
“This project reflects our commitment to restoring natural landscapes through collaboration and leveraging of public dollars,” said Forest Preserves General Superintendent Arnold Randall.
The work is being done during the winter, when plants are dormant and the ground is frozen and less subject to compaction. The Des Plaines River Trail will remain open during the project.
Property Tax Appeal Seminar
On Monday, November 17th, I will be co-hosting at property tax appeal seminar with Northfield Township Assessor Patricia Damisch at Northbrook Village Hall (1225 Cedar Lane). This free event, presented by Cook County Board of Review Commissioner Dan Patlak, will offer attendees the opportunity to learn how to appeal property tax assessments and fill out appeal forms for submission at the end of the event. Analysts from the Board of Review will be available to answer any questions. This promises to be a very informative event – I hope to see you there!