Spring really is here: time to mark your calendar

Transplanting wildflowers in May 2017

With the arrival of spring last week, we’re looking forward to a new season of growth. Here are some happenings at project sites along the North Shore Channel:

Saturday, April 7, 10:00 am-12:00 noon
Invasive clearing in Harbert Park—Before we put away our loppers and saws for the season, we’ll have one last buckthorn clearing at the south end of the park, near McDaniel and Lee. Several community groups will be joining us, including Quest4Earth and Boy Scout Troop 924.

Saturday, April 21, 9:00 am-11:00 am (time correction)
Earth Day—Celebrate at the Ecology Center, 2024 McCormick Blvd. Family-friendly activities include litter pick-up, on-site bike repair, and a donation bin for Cradles to Crayons. TreeKeeper Allison Sloan will lead a native tree walk, and we plan to have Channel Habitat volunteers available to talk about the project.

Saturday, April 28, 9:00 am-12:00 noon
City Nature Challenge—Drop by the Ecology Center to join this global citizen science event as the Chicago region competes with 60+ other urban regions worldwide to make the most observations of the greatest number of species over a 4-day period. Staff will be available to help participants download and use the iNaturalist app and guide them to wildlife hotspots nearby to take photos. This should be a good opportunity to take a close look at some of our recently planted shrubs and flowers—and maybe birds and insects visiting them.

Saturday, May 12, 9:00 am-3:30 pm
Chicago River Day—We’ll be partnering with Friends of the Chicago River in the morning to clean up, remove invasives, and plant at three of our sites: the Ladd Arboretum and Twiggs Park, and Harbert Park (and nearby Skokie Sculpture Park). In the afternoon, we will plant shrubs and trees near the Ecology Center.  Sign up through Friends of the Chicago River.

Chicago River Day, now in its 26th year, spans the Chicago River’s 156-mile system with activities at 68+ locations. Volunteer efforts have helped to clean up the river system so that today it’s “vibrant, accessible, and alive with people, 70 species of fish, countless species of birds, and many native animals including beavers, mink, and turtles,” according to Friends of the Chicago River. By improving bird and pollinator habitat along our stretch of the North Shore Channel, Evanstonians are an important part of this effort.

— Wendy Pollock