Natural History of Odonata: Dragonflies & Damselflies
Photo by Marla Garrison
With ancestors dating back over 300 million years, a time when dragonfly-like creatures with two and a half foot wingspans ruled the air, the insect order Odonata is an ancient one and continues to captivate us. Today these successful aquatic insects represent a diverse group of carnivores with a complex life cycle. The 100 plus species known from Illinois can be excellent wetland indicators and are truly fascinating to observe. Experience an image intensive, up-close and personal presentation of this intriguing, and visually splendid, group of insects. Through macro and micro photography, come explore the captivating world of local dragonfly and damselfly fauna including their anatomy, life history, behaviors and diversity.
Marla Garrison is a biology faculty member at McHenry County College. She sits on the Executive Council of the Dragonfly Society of the Americas and is the author of Damselflies of Chicagoland, a local area field guide available online for free download through Chicago's Field Museum of Natural History http://fieldguides.fieldmuseum.org/guides/guide/388 . She conducts field studies and surveys in McHenry County and throughout the state of Illinois.
Seed saver and winter sower extraordinaire Linda Walker will share her seeds and strategies for propagating our own native plants. Use the magic of winter conditions to help you get new plants inexpensively with local connections.
Seguin Garden and Gift Center in Cicero, IL will be hosting the special event. There is a $5 fee to attend and registration is required at Seguin: https://www.seguingardens.com/collections/classes-events/products/wintersowing
We will have some supplies and seeds to share, but consider bringing a container. There might be supplies for purchase too from Seguin.
Oak Park Main Library, 834 Lake St, Oak Park, IL, 60302 Map
GCC Green Guides: Monarch Action
We are proud to be part of this effort!
The Monarch Butterfly is in trouble.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is evaluating the status of the monarch butterfly for listing under the Endangered Species Act. Faced with the possibility of extinction of this beloved species, communities locally and nationally are mobilizing to increase monarch habitat.
Thats where you come in.
We can help save the monarch by providing pockets of habitat in every park, school, congregation and yard, whether large or small. And by meeting the monarchs needs, we will also be helping save many other pollinators that are also endangered.
Urban & suburban areas are the monarchs best hope for survival.
To build awareness and commitment a group of partners are launching an Oak Park & River Forest area campaign to engage the community in this important work.
RSVP Here (NOTE: There is a morning and an evening option): Green Guides Monarch Action Campaign Kick-Off
Together we can make a difference:
Monarch Mobilization Kick-off Event
Tuesday, January 31, 2017
Oak Park Main Library, 834 Lake Street
At the time of your choice:
10 - 11:30 a.m. OR 7 - 8:30 p.m.
This event is free and open to the public. Come and bring a friend!
Cheney Mansion, 220 N Euclid Ave, Oak Park, IL, 60302 Map
Pam Todd Presents "Wildly Beneficial" at OPRF Garden Club
Free and open to the public!
The Oak Park and River Forest Garden Club is hosting this presentation given by Pam Todd, President of WCWO. This presentation will give participants an overview of the beauty and utility of Illinois's wildflowers. Native plants are valuable in designed landscapes because they offer so many benefits by:
Solving landscaping difficulties
Reducing landscape maintenance
Supporting local ecosystems and biodiversity
Providing beautiful and healthy environments for clients and employees
Participants will learn how they can install their own native plant/butterfly gardens or add native plants to existing gardens. They will also learn how to become part of the West Cook Wild Ones Native Garden Corridor in Oak Park and River Forest.
There is a membership meeting at 12 pm. Presentation by Pam begins at 1 pm.
Triton College Performing Arts Ctr, 2000 5th Ave, River Grove, IL, 60171 Map
The Beautifully Natural Garden Conference 2017
In 2015 Doug Tallamy taught us why it's important for us to use native plants in our landscapes. Our gardens and yards are vital for the health of the environment and are important refuges for animals that need habitat. Tallamy helped us understand the critical connection between native plants and animals. This year's conference brings two highly esteemed speakers who will explain the importance of design in our landscapes to create life and beauty. Rick Darke and Heather Holm will teach us how to design with native plants in our landscapes.
Rick Darke, an award-winning landscape architect and co-author with Doug Tallamy of The Living Landscape, will present his Putting Wildness to Work in the Living Landscape program in two parts. His work uses nature's layers in a landscape as a model for designed landscapes. He focuses on how all plants from the ground layer (forbs, grasses) to the middle layer (shrubs, understory trees) then to the canopy (large trees) all work together to create a beautiful, efficiently functioning ecosystem.
Part One: Looking at the Layer
Authentic wildness is a renewable resource, and as responsible stewards we need to learn how to put it to work. The richness of life in any landscape is linked to the richness of its layers from groundcovers up to the canopy layer. Rick Darke will begin with an illustrated discussion of the living layers in local and regional landscapes, as they occur naturally and as they are modified by human activity. This will provide the basis for understanding the characteristics of healthy layers and why they should be conserved and enhanced in home gardens and shared landscapes.
Part Two: Designing and Managing for Beauty, Biodiversity and Function.
Rick Darke will demonstrate how an understanding of living layers and relational biodiversity can be put to practical use in the making and maintenance of vibrant residential gardens and community landscapes. Strategies for employing organic architecture will be presented in detail.
Heather Holm, author of Pollinators of Native Plants, will present to us about how to consider native bees in our landscapes. Heather owns a Minnetonka-based landscape design and consulting firm specializing in pollinator landscapes and native landscape restorations. She is currently working with the University of Minnesota Extension faculty on a three year study to determine the types of native bees that visit
cultivated blueberries in Minnesota. The study also includes developing customized forage plantings for the native bees identified, and providing additional or enhancing existing nesting sites within the farms. Heather is an environmental educator and frequent presenter at conferences in the Midwest and Northeast. She writes for Houzz, a social media website, about pollinators, beneficial insects and native plants. Heather is currently working on another book which will be released in 2017, stay tuned!
Heather Holm on Selecting Native Trees and Shrubs that Support Birds and Pollinators
Learn about the habitat and food requirements of birds and pollinators, and what native trees and shrubs provide these resources. Holm will also discuss the types of native pollinators that visit our gardens and how we can foster all parts of their life cycles, including providing food, water and nesting habitat.
Please note that we will be unable to provide meals. We suggest having an early lunch and bring snacks. We will have coffee/tea and light refreshments available.
It is hosted by Triton College Sustainability Center
Here's your chance if you're in the Chicago area to view AND to see the filmmaker Catherine Zimmerman. One Earth Film Festival is next month, and we are sponsoring screenings of Hometown Habitat. Because of a generous grant from the Walter S. Mander Foundation, we are able to bring the filmmaker Catherine Zimmerman out to the Chicago area this year. Be sure to get see the film and her! Here is the list of screenings: http://www.oneearthfilmfest.org/films-az-1/hometown-habitat. There are multiple opportunities from Friday through Monday, March 3-March 6, 2017.
There are so many other important environmental films out there too: http://www.oneearthfilmfest.org/2017-films-az/
Small Meeting Room, Oak Park Main Library, 834 Lake Street, Oak park, IL, 60301 Map
28 years ago, Pat began restoring woodland plants to her front yard. Little did she know the adventure and education to which she was opening the door! Because her work included reintroducing various native wildflowers, grasses, shrubs and understory trees compatible with the native bur oaks, shagbark hickory, and wild black cherry trees, their yard now provides a buffet for dozens of birds, butterflies, and insects, as well as reptiles and mammals.
In this program, Pat will share with you how she transformed her ¾+ acre subdivision lot from a buckthorn filled old pasture and a very weedy old corn field into a recreated woodland/savannah. You will get to see steps she recommends in recreating a natural area, some of the invasive plants you may need to remove, native plants appropriate for shady places, and more.
Pat has been actively learning about native plants, participating in native areas restoration, and recreating native areas in her and her husbands residential yard since 1988. She has presented her native plant programs to garden clubs, library groups, book clubs, and at Garden Fest held at McHenry Co. College. In addition, Pat has been a volunteer for the Chicago Botanic Gardens Plants of Concern program, the McHenry Co. Conservation District (MCCD) Phenology Project, Seed Collecting Days ,and numerous restoration workdays with both MCCD and the Land Conservancy of McHenry County. Pat has also fulfilled the requirements and earned the Ecological Restoration Certificate from MCCD. She recently became Steward of Pioneer Fen Natural Area, for which she recruits volunteers, and plans, organizes, and carries out workdays for MCCD. To encourage more homeowners to use natives, Pat is an active member of the Wildflower Propagation and Preservation Committee including serving as a mentor the last 5 years helping residents get started with natives.
2nd Floor, Small Meeting Room, Oak Park Main Library
834 Lake Street, Oak Park, IL 60301
Hatch Elementary School, 1000 North Ridgeland Ave, Oak Park, IL Map
Come and learn about the important role school gardens can play in students' health and education. We will celebrate success and tour the amazing Hatch Patch. Presentation by our own Pam Todd about native plants, Monarchs, and more. For more information or to RSVP please e-mail [email protected]
Not many gardeners are aware of the many types of sedges that are available for use in landscaping. They can provide a great deal of beauty as well as ecological functionality in your landscapes. There's no need for--at best ecologically useless, at worst ecologically deadly--ground covers like English Ivy or Winter Creeper when you can use sedges that provide nearly the same aesthetic function but have many, many more environmental benefits.
Carol's presentation will provide images and descriptions of sedges that would be attractive choices for garden plans. It will also show the differences between sedges, grasses and rushes.
Some people find the concept of sedges intimidating or associated with "sedge-heads" with their magnifying glasses (if you don't understand you will by the end of her talk), but Carol will make sedges completely approachable and newbie-friendly. Many of the references on sedges focus on the seed heads. Carols talk will present sedge information that describes the whole plant, including the often-interesting seed heads. You will also learn the difference between grasses, sedges, and rushes. In fact, by the end you just might be on your way to a "sedge-head."
Carol Rice has lived on her 5-acre property for thirty years. Initially, she and her husband were involved in restoring their oak woods, which were choked with buckthorn. As the woods started to improve, they started replacing areas of turf grass with prairie gardens, (around 2005). They have continued to add species of grasses, sedges, forbs and trees over the years.
Carol also has managed the Mentoring Program of the Wildflower Preservation and Propagation Committee since 2005, which has assisted about 160 homeowners establish native plant gardens. She has been an active member of the WPPC for 28 years, and is also a member of Wild Ones, Citizens for Conservation, and Chicago Living Corridors.
Featured image: Carex sprengelli (Long-beaked Sedge)
Name that Plant: An Interactive ID Game
Presented by Tim Lewis
Your game show host, Tim Lewis, will test your skill and broaden your knowledge of common and uncommon native plants with this engaging photographic review. Tim is an avid native gardener, photographer, and national president of Wild Ones. Using photos taken by himself and by other Wild Ones members, he will take you on an interactive tour to discover the names and notable characteristics of dozens of our most beloved and most important native plants and trees. This will be a fun and entertaining opportunity to hone your native plant ID skills and learn tips and tricks for cultivating them. A Q and A session will follow the photographic overview. This program is free and open to the public.
Tim Lewis is the immediate past president of Wild Ones, serving on the executive committee and has an advisor to the board and served as president for six years. He is also the administrator for the national Facebook page and Facebook discussion group. He served as a director on the national board and had served on the Rock River Valley chapter board in various capacities including president.
He and his wife live in Rockford and their home landscape is mostly native plants. Tim started growing wildflowers in 1991 and in 1996 started to seriously learn about natives and began converting their half acre lot to native plants. Their yard has been featured in numerous yard tours. Tim continues to add native plants to the yard. To help him with this endeavor he built a greenhouse from a kit where he grows a few hundred plants each year.
Parking Lot across from Euclid Methodist Church, 405 S Euclid Ave, Oak park, IL, 60302 Map
Pick up is June 24, 2017 from 10 am to 2 pm at Euclid Methodist Churchs parking lot, 405 S Euclid Ave, Oak Park, IL 60302.
Order plants here: WCWO Native Plant Sale Shop
We need help organizing plants and orders: Sign up Genius
Photo: Cassandra West
Science Needs You: Become a Citizen Scientist
Urban Ecologist Emily Minor (UIC AssociateProfessor) and Stephanie Walquist (Vice-president WCWO & participant in citizen science) will talk about citizen science, what it is, and why its important. They will discuss the different projects that are out there and how you can participate. The focus of this program is nature-based projects that you can do right outside your door. By participating, you can help not only science but also the things you care about. Along the way, you will learn so much about your immediate, local environment. Children can participate as well.
Emily will speak to the uses of citizen science and its growing importance to scientists. Stephanie can speak to what she has learned by participating in citizen science.
We will visit some web sites as a whole group so that participants can see how to set up an account. We will then assist attendees in setting up accounts and working through how to do a report on a phone or computer.
Please bring a laptop or tablet if you have access to one. Depending on availability, you can use a library computer to access the internet.
The goal is that after attending you are ready to begin observing and reporting on the animals and plants in the landscapes closest to you.
Harambee Gardens, 500 N Waller, Chicago, IL Map
I Can Fly will launch on Thurs, June 29th @7-10PM with an outdoor, public screening of the acclaimed film, Can You Dig This?, featuring gangster gardener Ron Finley and others who are rebuilding Los Angeles Compton community through urban agriculture. A short film about butterflies will also be featured -- and post-film dialogue and snacks (organic popcorn, smoothiesmade by blender bike) will be shared. For more information, visit Green Community Connections
Get FREE tickets here: I Can Fly Tickets
The program itself will be hosted primarily at Harambee Garden in the Austin community, and will commence on Wed, July 5th (a half-week), continuing the weeks of July 10, July 17, and July 24.
The weekly program schedule includes instruction and work days for planting edibles (led by Aniki Shani of Sugar Beet Schoolhouse) and native monarch gardens (led by Stephanie Walquist of Wild Ones West Cook). The planting component will be accompanied by educational support on sustainability (including zero waste), sustainable food systems, harvesting and healthy food preparation, the why of natives and pollinators, entrepreneurship, and leadership.
The program includes garden talks, a weekly speakers series (by leaders in the fields of urban agriculture, food systems, sustainability, civic engagement, and community regeneration), as well as 2 field trips to related aspirational Chicagoland projects.
Art opportunities have been scheduled into the program, as youth build garden signage with local artist Tia Jones Etu. A healthy meal is included on many camp days (some will be prepared right in the garden, using edibles from the youths beds), and the program will conclude with a zero waste block party, harvest, and garden walk on Sat, Sept 16th; program certificates and Green Ambassador leadership awards will be conferred to youth at this time.
Wildflower Gardens: Nature's Jewelbox
presented by Art Gara, founder of Art and Linda's Wildflowers
Since 1997, Art and Linda's Wildflower Gardens have been creating hundreds of wildflower gardens in a variety of conditions and locations all over Chicagoland. Their work ranges from garden beds for average homes with rich, healthy soil to degraded and debris-filled, compacted clay around newer construction. He and his landscaping company have restored dark, foreboding and garlic-mustard invaded woods back into a state of health and beauty. Sandy, rocky and barren spots have been transformed into sand prairies like those found at Illinois State Beach in Zion. Art knows how to match the right plant to the right situation.
His presentation will represent his wide-ranging mastery of native plants: rain gardens, prairie gardens, habitat gardens, woodland gardens, as well as hardscaping elements. Art will highlight the particular beauty of wildflower gardens. They are full of life and interest. Their colors change, as do the plants, providing a kaleidoscope of wonder through the seasons--even in winter--with the seed heads of grasses droopy from the weight of snow.
We are sure too to be charmed by Arts use of old-school physical slides and projector.
Whether you are new to native gardening or have long experience with natives, you are sure to learn something from Art.
Art Gara has been a leader in native plant gardening for 20 years, and is the owner of Art and Lindas Wildflowers. Art is one of the first landscape companies to use only native plants in its designs. A long-time supporter of various Wild Ones chapters, he has worked tirelessly to help others bring the beauty of the natural world to their own landscapes.
Our monthly programs are free and open to the public.
Landscaping with Native Small Trees and Shrubs
Presenter: Connor Shaw, Possibility Place
Trees and shrubs can get overlooked when we are thinking about gardening, but as we learned from Doug Tallamy and Rick Darke, they are extremely important for helping the environment and the many, many animals that depend upon them. Many of us don't always have enough space for a large tree like an Oak in our urban landscapes, but we could incorporate smaller trees and shrubs. Conor, who is an expert on native trees and shrubs, will discuss the many woody species that have potential for smaller landscapes. He will discuss height, width, flower, seed, positive insects, fall color and winter structure, as well as cultural practices for successful planting.
Connor Shaw and his wife Jo reside in Monee, Illinois at their place of business, Possibility Place Nursery. Established in 1978, the nursery has specialized in growing native plant material that is indigenous to the Chicago area.
With degrees in Forest and Wildland Hydrology, Connor acted as resource consultant on zone changes in the Chicagoland area. He determined what effect proposed developments would have on water, soils and vegetation in the report area.
Connor has taught classes on Arboriculture and Plant I.D. at Joliet Junior College and has taught seminars at the Morton Arboretum, and the Chicago Botanical Garden. Connor is invited to give many lectures each year at garden clubs, golf courses, association meetings, and arborist meetings.
Landscape Invaders: Ornamental Problem Plants and Native Alternatives
Presented by Clair Ryan, Midwest Invasive Plant Network Coordinator
How well do you know your invasive plants? Well take a look at how to identify several species from the ubiquitous (for any beginners) to some of the more recent and still not widely distributed invasive species. Well talk a little about how distribution status impacts control strategies and the likelihood of success. Finally, well take a look at several attractive and ecologically beneficial native plants that you can use in your own yards and/or suggest to your neighbors in place of invaders.
The presentation will include a demonstration of the Midwest Invasive Plant Networks Landscape Alternatives App. If you have a smartphone or tablet, it would be a great idea to download the app beforehand. It is free for iOS and Android (just google Landscape Alternatives in either app store). If you have it already downloaded, you do not need to be connected to the internet to use it and can follow along.
Clair Ryan started her position as the Midwest Invasive Plant Network Coordinator in December of 2016. She is the first MIPN Coordinator since the organization relocated from Indiana to Illinois - we are currently hosted by The Morton Arboretum in DuPage County. Clairs background is in environmental science and policy. She is most familiar with wetland plants, and her favorite Illinois native flower is blue vervain (Verbena hastata).
Lurvey Garden Center, 2550 East Dempster Street, Des Plaines, IL, 60016 Map
Presentation by West Cook Wild Ones board member Stephanie Walquist will be given at Lurvey Garden Center
Please RSVP: 847-824-7411
Eco-friendly Fall Yard Clean-up Seminar
If youve been doing the trendiest type of gardeningwildlife habitat, pollinator gardens, butterfly gardensyou may have heard about different approaches to conventional garden clean-up, which destroys all of the overwintering beneficial insects and removes all of the organic matter from your garden. This presentation will pull together the life cycles of our most common and beneficial insects, birds, as well as a discussion of some soil biology.
We will discuss why we should alter our fall and spring clean-up practices, address misconceptions, hesitations, and strategies for eco-sensitive maintenance.
Stephanie Walquist wears many different wings for West Cook Wild Ones and has been butterfly gardening for 12+ years (well-received butterfly gardening presentation available). The many species of butterflies she has raised have been some of her greatest teachers.
Bees, Urbanization, and Habitat Loss
presented by Dr. Alan Molumby
Dr. Molumby will discuss bee biology and how our urban yards and gardens can help with bee (and other pollinator) conservation.
Dr. Molumby is a professor at UIC and Director of the James Woodworth Prairie. He has a PhD from University of Chicago in Evolution of Behavior in Wasps. He has been teaching at University of Illinois at Chicago since 1998 and is currently conducting research on urban bee guilds.
Oak Park Conservatory, 615 Garfield St, Oak Park, 60304 Map
In memorium: Art Gara, 74, owner of Art and Linda's Wildflowers
A passionate advocate for the use of native plants in the landscape, Art Gara was the creator of many beautiful gardens in Oak Park and River Forest. He died in his home on Friday, October 27, just a week after the death of his son, Herb Gara.
Art's love for the plants of the Chicago region and the wildlife they support drove the immense energy and creativity he brought to every garden he built. His enthusiasm had a way of infusing into the lives and minds of those whose gardens he cared for, and he was no small force in the growing awareness in the Chicago region of the crucial role native plants play in the conservation of water, the support of butterflies, bees, and birds, and in maintaining a healthy environment.
Art's was a big personality. His devotion to constant work, his quirky sense of humor, and his ever-present canine companion
were hallmarks of a style his many loyal customers recall with fondness. More than just a provider of a service to his customers, Art became a fixture in people's lives. One customer wrote that he always appreciated Art's "showing up out of the blue, pointing me in the right direction with our wild garden," and above all, "GREAT conversation." Another wrote, "Art created a piece of heaven on Earth through his wildflower gardens," and still another, "Art, you forever changed how I see the world."
Friends, associates, and customers will gather to celebrate Art's life on Sunday, November 5 at the Oak Park Conservatory, 1:30 PM to 4:30 PM.
Cheney Mansion, 220 N Euclid Ave, Oak Park, IL, 60302 Map
Butterfly Gardening: Creating Habitat Through the Seasons
Presented by Stephanie Walquist
Hosted by the Garden Club of Oak Park and River Forest
Butterflies add extra beauty and interest to the garden. Not only beautiful but incredibly fascinating and complex animals, there is more than meets the eye with them.
From this presentation, the general gardener will learn how to create habitat gardens for some of the area's butterflies who need year-round homes to complete their life cycles. Participants will learn the basic requirements and essential practices for butterfly gardens. Stephanie will also discuss the diversity of local butterfly species, some species-specific behaviors, and their life cycles.
Presented by Stephanie Walquist, who has been gardening for and observing butterflies for over 14 years. She has raised multiple species of butterflies which has given her a depth of understanding that goes beyond watching the adults in the garden. Her interest in butterflies naturally brought her into the world of native plants, which led her to co-founding the West Cook chapter of Wild Ones.
The Garden Club has a short meeting and lunch starting at 12 pm. The presentation begins at 1 pm.
For more information: GCOPRF website