The planet and its biodiversity need more Friends.
Communities of care are coming together around the Earth.
In this example, a conservation community was honored by state, county, and local elected officials. In the process, much was revealed.
The newspaper headline invoked the sacred - referring to the feeling a person can get by being able to do this much good! Stewards feel honor as we work. But some elected officials also saw a helpful opportunity to celebrate something very American, in the best sense.
With food, work, and speeches, instead of recognizing a person or two, the elected officials wisely honored eighty-three individuals (see below) - cited with specifics of their accomplishments. Thousands more were honored indirectly, for decades of work to restore biodiversity to the 410-acre Somme preserves.
The Northbrook village President was there, along with many other local, county, and state officials. Presenting the award proclamation was Commissioner Scott Britton of the Forest Preserve District of Cook County.
John McCabe, the Forest Preserve director of resource management told Karie Angell Luc, Chicago Tribune/Pioneer Press reporter, "If it wasn't for these volunteers, some of these most critical sites would have been lost to us." The volunteers work collaboratively with Preserve staff on these challenges.
Biodiversity in the world today does not survive without care. Species populations fade miserably away, despite being on "protected" conservation lands. Indeed whole communities of plants, birds, pollinators and all need to be saved from extinction at many sites.
An oak woodland choked with buckthorn, old oaks dying, little biota at all, except the invasive buckthorn.
|The event started out in the woods We cut and burned invasive pole trees, while Chicago Tribune/Pioneer Press photographer Karie Angell Luc documented the day.|
|Being in the woods, we had adventures. Someone found a pile of blue-spotted salamanders under a log, too near the fire.|
|We moved them away, of course, allowing opportunities for education, awe, and ecology.|
|... where a feast was laid out, sociability ensued, and then the proclamation was presented.|
|Posing above are 18 volunteers, Commissioner Scott Britton (holding the proclamation) and Northbrook President Kathryn Ciesla (third to Scott's right).|
Friends of Northbrook Forest Preserves
The righteous List of People who take Special Initiative
We stewards are a team. We try to resist hierarchy among ourselves as much as practical. We collaborate, and many help at much more than what’s shown below. But this list attempts to indicate many of the principal contributions.
Certifications and authorizations come principally from the Cook County Forest Preserves. Trainings are by CCFP staff and stewards with specialized training from Chicago Botanic Garden - Plants of Concern Program, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Illinois Department of Agriculture (herbicide certification), Bird Conservation Network, Illinois Butterfly Monitoring Network of the Chicago Academy of Sciences and Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, Calling Frog Survey, and the Chicago Wilderness Alliance.
Chipilly Woods: John Cherry
Somme Prairie Nature Preserve: Laurel Ross and Lisa Musgrave
Somme Grove Prairie Nature Preserve: Stephen Packard and Eriko Kojima
Somme Woods: Linda Masters with zone stewards Christos Economou, Stephanie Place, Rebeccah Hartz, Eriko Kojima, Sai Ramakrishna, John Paterson, Jim Hensel, Matt Evans, Emma Leavens, Katie Kucera, Paul Swanson, Donna Wittert, Paula Kessler, Carole Ortiz, Diana Economou, Stone Hansard, Beata Fiszer
Certified chain sawyers: John McMartin, Joe Handwerker, Tom Bragiel, John Mahal, Lew Brashares, Estelle Ure, Sai Ramakrishna, Allen Giedraitis, Jonathan Sladek, Rett Donnely, Erin Faulkner
Brush Pile Burn Leader certification: Kathy Wassman, John McMartin, Paula Kessler and many others
Seed harvest, prep, and broadcast: Christos Economou, Rebeccah Hartz, Steph Place, Carole Ortiz, Donna Wittert, Paula Kessler, Amy Broussard, Diana Economou, Sai Ramakrishna, Matt Evans, Beata Fiszer, Jim Hensel, Fred Ciba, Linda Masters, John Paterson, Russ Sala
Herbicide license: John McMartin, Russ Sala, Paula Kessler, George Westlund, John Paterson, and many others
Workday leader certification: Linda Masters, Stephen Packard, Laurel Ross, Lisa Musgrave, Eriko Kojima, Sai Ramakrishna, Paul Swanson, Steph Place, Jim Hensel, Matt Evans, Katie Kucera, Estelle Ure, Christos Economou, Diana Economou
Safety task force: Ed Samson, Steph Place, Matt Evans, Sai Ramakrishna, John McMartin, Estelle Ure
Trails maintenance: Estelle Ure, Russ Sala, Tom Dallinger, John McMartin, Bob Miller, Joe Handwerker, John Mahal, Jim Hensel
Representatives to FPD Key Stewards meetings: Paul Swanson, Lisa Musgrave, Sai Ramakrishna, Eriko Kojima, Linda Masters
Plant Monitors: Lisa Musgrave, Laurel Ross, Stephen Packard, Emma Leavens, Sai Ramakrishna, John Cherry, Eriko Kojima
Individual Plant Species Stewards: Mike Zarski, Sheila Hollins, Lisa Musgrave, Emma Leavens, Eriko Kojima,
Bird Monitors: Danny Leggio, Stephen Packard, Melissa Foster, Chris Monaghan
Butterfly Monitors: Ryan Chew, Laurie Leibowitz
Calling Frog Monitors: Eriko Kojima, Rebeccah Hartz
Shrub and young oak stewardship: Sai Ramakrishna, Matt Evans, Steph Place, Eriko Kojima
Instagram task force: Josh Breer, Andrew Condrell, Kaitlin Cywinski, Sofie Richter
Tool maintenance task force: Ed Samson, Jim Hensel, Matt Evans, Linda Masters, Russ Sala, Bob Miller, Estelle Ure
New Year’s Bonfire Celebration team: Ed Samson, Jim Hensel, Steve Tattleman, Russ Sala, Linda Masters, Rebeccah Hartz, Marty Maneck (bagpipe), John Paterson (art), Eriko Kojima
Friends of the Chicago River’s Chicago River Day Somme Woods site captain: Jim Hensel
Treat Bakers at volunteer events: George Westlund, Jim Hensel, Carole Ortiz, Donna Wittert, Linda Masters, Kim Ciba
Friends of Northbrook Forest Preserves organizers and convenors: Stephanie Place, Jim Hensel, Pat Johns, Linda Masters, Mike Piskel, Rob Sulski, Donna Wittert, Carole Ortiz, Russ Sala, Ed Samson,
Eco-hike leaders: Rob Sulski, Steph Place, Stephen Packard, Donna Wittert
Recruiters: Jim Hensel, Rae Goodman-Lucker and family, Josh Breer, Andrew Condrell.
Media and communications: Steph Place, Jim Hensel, Steve Tattleman, Pat Johns, Eriko Kojima, Carole Ortiz, Donna Wittert
Our apologies to the many people who deserve more mention. But we hope this list gives you a flavor of how this community thrives.