New Year’s Resolutions West Cook Wild Ones Style
–By Byron Lanning
New Year’s resolutions don’t always need to be about self-improvement. How about some planet-improvement resolutions? For instance, readers of the New York Times sent in their ideas for resolutions to help the planet. Here are some West Cook Wild Ones’ resolutions for planet Earth.
WOWC’s 10 New Year’s Resolutions for Biodiversity
- Take the Illinois Monarch Project Pledge. Plant milkweed and fall nectar plants like goldenrods and asters.
- Convert ____ square feet of your home landscape to native plants. The optimal amount is 70% of the home landscape, but any amount helps. Avoid cultivars.
- Small landscape or not interested in gardening? Super easy: Plant two native shrubs and one native tree in my yard. Plant the trees and shrubs properly and use mulch. Fence them if rabbits are numerous. Don’t plant trees near utility lines.
- Propagate and cultivate some native seeds. Then give or donate them to private or public native gardens. If you can’t find a place for the plants, email [email protected].
Don’t have space or inclination for cultivating native plants or planting trees? Take on these resolutions:
- Volunteer for workdays at the Forest Preserves Cook County,
- Adopt-A-Site Litter Cleanups
- Ecological Stewardship Days
- Group Volunteering
- Nature Ambassadors
- Nature Centers
- Trail Watch
- Volunteer Training & Leadership
- Become a member or donate money to local organizations promoting biodiversity such as:
- Wild Ones West Cook (Select IL-West Cook in the dropdown option for the chapter to join)
- Friends of the Forest Preserves
- Save the Prairie Society
- Citizens for Conservation
- Map the invasive species in your community. Learn to identify the invasive species in your area such as burning bush, Callery pear, Japanese barberry, bush (Asian) honeysuckle, buckthorn, garlic mustard … and so forth. Use a GPS or the cellular location on a smartphone to determine their coordinates and input their locations in a custom public Google map. Share the map with your community to illustrate the problem.
- Eat less meat.
- Buy less stuff.
- Visit a natural area at least four times, once for each season of the year, perhaps the Nashua Grasslands — it has bison— perhaps someplace closer as the Palos Preserves where it doesn’t seem like one is in Illinois. Each time you visit the natural area, stand in one place for five minutes and observe your surroundings using
your five senses. This type of mindfulness is also good for you. Record your observations in a journal or record them on a smartphone. Preserve your observations and keep them in a safe place. These types of records can be useful for the future.