We All Should Vote Yes for the Forest Preserves of Cook County

For Cook County residents, here's an incredibly easy way to help fight climate change and support biodiversity. A slightly different version was published in the   Oak Park Wednesday Journal on October 18, 2022. At the beginning of the 20th century, a group of farsighted people had the novel idea to create the Cook County Forest Preserves system, the first of its kind in the country. It was a daunting task to plan, persuade people, and get laws through the legislature. Only then did the real work begin of purchasing and managing vast acreage, developing public programs, and conserving biodiversity while catering to humans. None of this was easy. Starting with an initial purchase of 500 acres in 1916, today the FPDCC comprises 70,000 acres of natural and recreational areas stretching from Lake-Cook Road south to Steger Road. Consequently, Cook County, home to over 5 million people, can also boast that it’s the most biodiverse county in the state.  In this time of global warming, en

Native Gardens through the Seasons: A Virtual Walk

In-person garden walks, as wonderful as they can be, only offer a "snapshot" of a garden on one day in a particular season, usually summer.  Missing are the daily and weekly changes that make up so much of a native plant garden's place-specific beauty.

The annual West Cook Wild Ones/Interfaith Green Network garden walk has traditionally been held in early August. When the pandemic forced cancellation, we decided to go virtual. This enabled three experienced native plant gardeners to show how our gardens grow and bloom over time, from the freshest spring ephemerals to the asters and goldenrods of early fall, and everything in between. I was thrilled to be on the same program as West Cook Wild Ones president Stephanie Walquist and board member Candace Blank.

This might be a perfect time to "visit" our gardens, while dreaming about spring and planning your own. You'll find it here.

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