Welcome to the April 2007 J.P.A.C. Newletter online

Produced by Jackson Park Advisory Council, Chicago, Illinois
Edited by Gary Ossewaarde, JPAC Secretary
Sited in www.hydepark.org, owned and produced by Hyde Park-Kenwood Community Conference,
Site Administrator George Rumsey. Queries: hpkcc@aol.com. Host: OnShore

Volume 14, Issue 4; April 2007

In this Issue:


Jackson Park Advisory Council minutes, March 12, 2007

Ross Petersen opened the meeting at 7:30 pm. The minutes of the previous meeting (January) were moved by Fran Vandervoort and approved.

The elections were announced. With no additional nominations, the slate as presented was moved by Esther Schechter and approved unanimously. The officers are: Nancy Hays, President; Ross Petersen, Vice President; Gary Ossewaarde, Secretary; Tibor Heisler, Treasurer; and Geneva Calloway, Vernita Jones, and Louise McCurry, At-Large.

Fieldhouse and park
Terry Jones, Instructor, reported on park kids and fieldhouse programs, which have been full. Park Kids had 44 after school for varied sports and dance programs. Among offerings are softball, volleyball, basketball, track and field, cheerleading. At $60 for 10 weeks it’s a great deal. The evening programs for Spring that run for 10 weeks include teen club, fitness center, African an Modern dance, piano, baseball, basketball, seasonal sports and softball. Registration opens April 16 online and April 21 in person. Prices range from free to $30, except Park Kids after school is $60. The park is promoting full, year round use of the fitness center and seeks to expand the programs for families. Parents are enthusiastic and involved. Pick up the pink schedule sheet at the field house. All are co-ed except dance and men’s bb and seasonal.

Black History Month Poetry Contest went very well; some JPAC members were judges. The park will have a Spring Break Camp April 2-6 and gym show May 25, 4-6 pm (public invited).

Jones reported that many repairs and maintenance were recently done in the park. There is large woodchip mulch pile in the lot at 63rd and Hayes; the public can take part of this.

Guest presentation: Growing Power
Erika Allen and Laurell Sims of Growing Power, introduced by Peggy Stewart, CPD director of Environmental Education Programs, presented on this urban agriculture program that already serves several cities, particularly Milwaukee and New Orleans, and Cabrini-Green in Chicago. The learning and community garden they propose for the current community garden space in the park will be their first program on Chicago’s South Side. This year the garden will be built and outreach done. Their ultimate goal is a program in which kids and adults learn garden creation and maintenance, sustainable living, and foods production and marketing—there will be employment opportunities including for youth. Community residents and groups will have growing plots, and quality commercial produce will be available to the community. Production is scientific and green- no chemicals. The goal is a sustainable community food system.

Guest: Natural Areas Manager Zhanna Yermakov
Ross Petersen introduced Zhanna Yermakov, recently hired as Natural Areas Manager. Her responsibility includes management of Wooded Island. She invited birding and natural areas interested persons to accompany her on a Saturday morning site visit. Ross Petersen, nature committee chair, will bring copies of the forest management plan template of plants. A date was not set during the meeting, but would likely happen on a Saturday in conjunction with a bird tour, late March or early April.

Yermakov said that some clearing and planting must be done this year to start restoring a balance and to remove obstructions and dangers from downed trees. She seeks input. She noted that any planting, especially of trees, has to be part of a larger, long-range plan. Further discussion was deferred to later in the meeting.

Guests: Holiday Wirick, U.S. EPA Region 5, and Justin DeWitt, Illinois Dept. Public Health Administrator for Beaches.
The U.S. Beach Act is the point of interface between Chicago and state and federal agencies. Chicago is currently in compliance with the Beach Act, the presenters said. This legislation requires that if a jurisdiction seeks eligibility for grants fund testing, surveys, etc. at beaches, then should the beach water reach a concentration of 235 cfu of indicator bacteria, that jurisdiction must take an action, which could be closure or public notification and signage.

Chicago formerly closed beaches after two days of readings of 235 or higher; it now gives notice after one day of such readings and closes the beach whenever 1,000 is exceeded. The federal standard, developed in the 1970s, has not changed—revised standards and protocols are being developed. Chicago tests much more frequently than most jurisdictions (the minimum is once a week). There is not agreement over what are the best tests or way and places to conduct them, they said—and agreed that many sources of illness are missed or not tested for. The guests said some trials such as in Lake County suggest that modeling is superior to testing. Also, the real goal is to have progress on safe beach waters and Great Lakes. As for a trend for more closures on the Great Lakes in the past decade, at least some reflects more testing, they said.

Questions were raised about adoption and public health implications of Chicago’s new standard. Director of Lakefront Operations Alonzo Williams reported that input was taken on the change and that Chicago will be applying for grants. Also, under a different grant, a thorough search will be made at two Chicago beach catchments for outfalls and point sources of pollution. Members asked that the park district choose oft-closed 63rd Street as one of the test beaches. According to Williams, the district also has an educational program to discourage actions that contribute to beach and water contamination and is rolling out the new waste containers. And changes were made to the shape of 63rd beach. Members noted that most of the storm and general runoff from park lawn panels on the south lakefront ends up untreated in the lake.

Wirick, DeWitt, Ellen Sargent of the park district, Alliance for the Great Lakes spokesperson Frances Canonizado, and members agreed on the importance of the new Great Lakes Collaboration among the states and provinces to address the pollution problems of the Great Lakes Basin. This would require states’ ratification and heavy federal funding.
Asked when and for whom the waters are safe, the guests said it depends on the state of the individual and suggested people be cautious about entering the water when the 235 standard is exceeded, or the days after a storm. Members were concerned that Chicago may have set the level for closure too high; the guests said it is a good starting point. A suggested source of more information is the Centers for Disease Control website-- go to Healthy Swimming.
Members proposed better signage, that flyers explaining the protocol and the dangers be handed out at the beach whenever 235 cfu is exceeded, and that outreach be done in the schools and field houses before summer and at summer camps, and to seniors and other vulnerable persons. Chicago Park District, with the 5th Ward Office, is working to implement most of these.

Frances Canonizado of the Alliance for the Great Lakes said:
· Everyone needs to get together for better education,
· There is a funding problem, starting at the federal level (noting that the Beach Act doesn’t fund remediation), and
· It is urgent that action be taken to fix the problems—we should start green actions such as plantings, which have been shown to be effective.

Nature Committee. Ross Petersen, Chair
Doug Anderson and Frances Vandervoort agreed to review a list of native plant material to be used under the $500 council appropriation in January for planting in Wooded Island. Final approval will rest with the park district.
April’s Volunteer Workdays will be April 14, 22, and 28. Workdays will normally be on 2nd and 4th Saturdays, with specials, such as the Earth Day special on Sunday, April 22. The latter will feature mulching and various projects in several areas of the park. Organizations have signed up to participate. Workdays will be under supervision of the Natural Areas Manager. Janis Taylor is the volunteer coordinator at the park district.

Doug Anderson, under an agenda revision, reported on changes in bird sightings this winter, which he reported as a drastic fall off. Members and park district personnel discussed a number of possible factors. Anderson said the test is, will we be back to 40 or so species stopping during the migration in June? Doug’s tours resume with a special on March 26.

Natural Areas Manager Yermakov and Ellen Sargent said the District is committed to a healthy, sustainable habitat and bird population. They envisioned that if stewardship is sustained, Wooded Island will reach its fullest potential as a bird oasis in a few years. The reality is that a few species that are not necessarily useful to birds tend to crowd out those that are, and so need to be trimmed back. Input and partnership are welcome. Petersen pointed out that a healthy wooded habitat has three healthy layers—ground, mid-story, and canopy.

Several members cautioned that birds need resources in the short run; removals and plantings should be done piecemeal and with care and sense. All agreed the park district must maintain what it plants.
The meeting was adjourned at 9:20 pm. Next meeting is on Monday, April 9, 7:30 pm.

Respectfully submitted,
Gary M. Ossewaarde



Doug Anderson will resume his Wooded Island bird walks- over 30 years! with a special March 26 (Paul Douglas’s birthday) at 8 am. Tours are on Wednesdays at 7 am and Saturdays at 8 am. Meet at the Clarence Darrow bridge south of Museum of Science and Industry and Columbia Basin. Parking is to the east- access from Lake Shore Drive at 5800.

JPAC Natural Areas Volunteer Workdays are now 2nd and 4th Saturdays 10 am-1 pm, starting April 14 and 28 through October. Tasks vary from planting (mainly 4th) to control of overgrowth and plant tending.
There will be a special Earth Day program Sunday, April 22 10 am doing varied tasks in various park areas. The crews gather at the Darrow Bridge.

Save the date: May 25 Gym Show 4-6 pm.

Jackson Park Spring Program—Sign up on line from April 16, at fieldhouse April 21.
Sessions run 4/2 to 6/10. All are co-rec except dance is female and Men’s bb, seasonal are male.

After School- Park Kids- M,T, W, Th, F, 3-6 pm. Ages 6-12, $60, instruction

Teen club- T, F, 6-9 pm Ages 13-17. Free, open

Fitness- Conditioning, (Must be reg. in Seasonal.) M, T, W, Th 2-3:30 pm. Ages 14-17.Free, instr.
Fitness Center- M, T, W, Th, F, 9:am-9:30 pm, Ages 18 & Over. $30, instr.
Fitness Center (proof of age)- M, T, W, F, 9 am-9:30 pm, Sa, Su 9 am-4:15 pm. Age 60+. Free
Fitness Center- same hours as prev. Ages 18 & Over. $3 per visit. Free, open

Performing Arts-African Dance- Must be in After School. W, 4-5:15. Ages 6-12, Fem. Free, instr
Modern Dance- “. M, 4-5 pm. Ages 6-12, Female. Free, instruction

Perf. Arts- Piano – (Instructor’s permission). T, Th, 10 am-5 pm, M 10 am-2 pm. Ages 6-12. $20,
Piano- “ W, Th, F 10 am-5 pm, M 10 am-2 pm. Ages 13-17. $20, instr
Piano- “ W, Th, F 10 am-5 pm, M 10 am02 pm. Ages 18 and Over. $25, instr

Baseball- (Instr. perm.). M, W 4-5:15 pm. Ages 6-12. Free, instruction

Basketball. Sa 12-4:30 pm. Ages 14-17. Free, instruction
Men’s Basketball- (instr. perm.) M, DT, DTh 7-9:30 pm. Ages 18 and Over. Male. Free, league

Seasonal sports- (high school ID) M, T, TW, Th, F 2-3:30 pm. Ages 13-17. $5, instruction
Seasonal (instr. perm.) T, Th 4-5 pm. Ages 8-12. $5, instr

Softball 16 in.- (instr. perm.). F 4-5:30 pm. Ages 6-12. Free, instr.

There will be a spring break camp April 2-6.