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Welcome to February 2007 J.P.A.C Newsletter online

Produced by Jackson Park Advisory Council, Chicago, a recognized advisory council o the Chicago Park District.

Edited by Gary Ossewaarde

Sited in www.hydepark.org, the website of Hyde Park-Kenwood Community Conference. Administrator George Rumsey

Volume 14, Issue 2

In this issue:


January 8 2007 JPAC meeting minutes

Ross Petersen convened the meeting at 7:35 pm.
December Minutes were approved upon motion from Petersen with these corrections and clarifications:
1. JPAC supports the proposal for an archeological excavation on Wooded Island. Ms. Graff will return with specifics.
2. The Chicago Park District Natural Resources Department has created a new, in-house position of coordinator to oversee volunteer activities.

Nature committee and news

Petersen reported that beavers created a lodge and showed evidence of activity but have been inactive lately and may have left the park. The trapper hired by the park district recommended a wait-and-see approach, Petersen said.

Petersen explained need for appropriations of $500 for seed and stock purchase for plantings on Wooded Island and $150 for training and equipment for volunteers to apply fast degrading herbicide under park district direction. He said that a main use for the herbicide would be to combat garlic mustard and similar runaway invasives and that the need for appropriation is time sensitive in order to take advantage of the class at Garfield Conservatory.

Adam Schwerner, Director of Natural Resources at the park district endorsed the programs and said that without volunteer groups and judicious use of short life contact herbicides the natural area would be quickly overrun. District Forester Jerome Scott also said the need for funds and training is time sensitive and that volunteers are signed up.
Fran Vandervoort moved $150 appropriation for the herbicide program. Upon second by Dwight Powell the appropriation was approved.

Petersen moved establishment of a second monthly workday, 4th Saturday, for planting, while keeping the 2nd Saturday for combating invasives. Alonzo Williams, Director of Lakefront Operations, offered help. Upon second by Dwight Powell, JPAC approved establishment of the second workday, for planting.

Petersen noted that the February 12 holiday conflict, including unavailability of our guest from EPA on that day, necessitates move of the February meeting to Tuesday the 13th. The JPAC consented to the move and to holding elections at that meeting.

Natural area/Wooded Island discussion

Doug Anderson gave an extended history of Wooded Island and why it is important as an unparalleled Midwest bird paradise. He said that the Island has recently suffered severe loss of cover and habitat and consequently of birds and questioned policies of removal of all or most invasive plants.

During extensive discussion there differing assessments of the extensiveness of clearing, whether and how much birds have declined on the Island while remaining stable outside, and over policy for invasives including removal with herbicides. Nature committee chair Ross Petersen explained the workday objectives and methods and gave background, saying also that lots of non native plants are left and clearance was extensive in only one section. The program is intended to “help what should be there thrive.”

The two officers from Natural Resources supported going heavy on invasives, saying it was essential to prevent choke over and to restore a biodiverse, sustainable, bird friendly habitat. They added the park district has a new policy with plantings and contractors that will make sure that trees and brush survive. The district will issue, working with OpenLands, a statement on invasives policy and what volunteers will do. The district is working on new and replacement plantings.

Glenda Daniels of OpenLands called for a healthy mix of habitat, said the park district has good people to work with, and urged volunteers to stay with the program and Doug to continue the bird tours.

All parties said they agree with the planting template developed several years ago by consensus and intended for use again this spring and like balancing removals with plantings as with the second volunteer workday. Fran Vandervoort said, “Lets look ahead.” Caroline Herzenberg emphasized that the birding community needs input in what is planted. The park district said there will be more consultative meetings. Petersen also said there will be a walk through and discussion before any planting is done.
Sue Purrington of Alderman Hairston’s office said that there are enough expert and experienced people to work together and find innovative ideas. She also asked Doug not to give up on the Island.

Upon motion from Petersen seconded by Powell, JPAC appropriated $500 for purchase and growing of plant stock.

In other business, Petersen asked Gary Ossewaarde to look into getting tech help and advice for the website. Nancy Hays was reported recovering and hoping to come to the next meeting.

The meeting was adjourned at 9:10 pm. The next meeting will be a special day, Tuesday, February 13, 7:30 at the fieldhouse. Officers will be elected.

Respectfully submitted,

Gary M. Ossewaarde


February 13 meeting (Tuesday, special day)
Elections will be held. Slate nominated in December. (Nominees will be accepted from the floor. President- Nancy Hays, Vice President- Ross Petersen, Secretary- Gary Ossewaarde, Treasurer- Tibor Heisler, Board at large: Geneva Calloway, Vernita Jones, Louise McCurry.
Requirement to vote: attendance at 3 of the previous 12 meetings.

Guests at the February 13 meeting: Holiday Wirick, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Water Quality Division, Chicago Branch.
Growing Power may present details on the teaching garden proposal.

Extra volunteer work days in Jackson Park

Letter in Hyde Park Herald, January 17 2006
by Ross Petersen, JPAC vice president and nature committee chair:

To the Editor:
On Jan. 8, the Jackson Park Advisory Council agreed to appropriate $500 for the purchase of native species of plants, to be planted by park volunteers this spring. Also, beginning in April, an extra volunteer workday will be added on the fourth Saturday of each month in addition to ongoing workdays on second Saturdays. The second volunteer workday will be used for the planting of these new species.
JPAC volunteers can expect to spend three hours, from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m., on each workday. Volunteers will meet at the Darrow Bridge at 10 a.m., and will be encouraged to work until 1 p.m.
These actions will enable JPAC to continue its efforts to improve Wooded Island habitat.
For more information, call Ross Petersen, 486-0505.