Archive for the ‘Going green’ Category

Poison ivy leaves are easy to miss among those of other plants. This poison ivy vine, with groups of three leaflets, is climbing a tree trunk along with Virginia creeper. (Morton Arboretum)

In the sanctuary of your yard, danger may lurk in the form of poison ivy.

This woody vine, which can cause a nasty rash on contact with bare skin, is often found in home landscapes, said Julie Janoski, manager of the Plant Clinic at The Morton Arboretum in Lisle.

“It’s easy to miss among the other green leaves,” she said. Poison ivy (Toxicodendron radicans) can grow as a bush, a low seedling that is ankle- or knee-high, or a vine climbing a tree or a fence. Yards often are a good poison ivy habitat because, in nature, this native plant tends to flourish among the undergrowth at the edge of the woods in the eastern U.S. — an environment very similar to a typical suburban landscape.

The rash is an allergic reaction to an oil called urushiol that is present in every part of the plant. “That’s what causes the blisters and the itch,” Janoski said. Some people don’t get the allergic reaction, but for the majority who do, it’s a miserable experience that can linger for weeks.

Only contact with the oil — not contact with the rash — will cause a reaction, but it doesn’t take much.

You might want to read more here before venturing out in your property in shorts.

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Board Members of the Cook County Forest Preserves Conservation & Policy Council
Front row: Terry Guen, Laurel Ross, Peter Ellis. Back row: Commissioner Larry Suffredin, Wendy Paulson, Michael DeSantiago, Sylvia Jenkins, Mark Templeton, Emily Harris, Arnold Randal, Commissioner Stanely Moore. Not pictured: Rob Castaneda.

Nature has never been more important than it is right now. People are looking to it to reduce stress, stay healthy and find solace. Many in the Chicago region are flocking to our greatest natural asset, the Forest Preserves of Cook County. We applaud President Preckwinkle, General Superintendent Arnold Randall and his team for their commitment to keep the preserves open just when they are needed most and when many other public spaces are closed. At the same time, we are troubled by reports of illegal and unacceptable behavior by a very few — crowding, going off trail, picking wildflowers, trampling sensitive vegetation, letting dogs run rampant.

We are so glad people are discovering — or rediscovering — these extraordinary landscapes and the more than 350 miles of trails they include. The ability to be active and outside with family members is a blessing. But the privilege of free access to the Forest Preserves carries a responsibility, too, especially in this time of extreme and necessary social guidelines.

That means respecting the space of other visitors, obeying preserve rules and honoring the habitats of animals and plants for whom the preserves are home. It’s an opportune time to visit a less well known preserve — maybe a place you’ve never been before — or to visit at a less crowded time. Check FPDCC.com before you go.

We invite you not only to visit, but to join us in protecting and restoring the natural habitats of the preserves. (See, for example: https://fpdcc.com/volunteer/ or https://northbranchrestoration.org). Once we emerge from this challenging time and restrictions are lifted, consider joining thousands of volunteers who give their time, energy and expertise to help make nature in our preserves even more healthy, diverse and welcoming.

Board Members of the Cook County Forest Preserves Conservation & Policy Council

Wendy Paulson, Chairman

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Restoration efforts known as the Barrington Greenway Initiative in a 14,000-acre area covering portions of Cook, Lake and McHenry counties could get a boost through a pending agreement between seven agencies, including the Cook and Lake county forest preserve districts. The Cuba Marsh is among the preserves that would be expected to benefit from a new agreement meant to speed restoration and preservation efforts in areas covered by the Barrington Greenway Initiative. (Daily Herald File Photo, 2018)

You may have visited forest preserves in southwestern Lake County, northwestern Cook County or a conservation area in southeast McHenry County for a calming respite from the din of daily life.

Cuba Marsh, Spring Lake and Silver Creek in those respective geographic areas, for example, provide different experiences and getaway opportunities.

What you may not know is those and other protected areas in the region all are pieces of a much larger whole known as the Barrington Greenway Initiative.

Now seven agencies, including the Forest Preserve District of Cook County, Lake County Forest Preserve District and McHenry County Conservation District, are working on an agreement to speed up restoration of more than 14,000 acres of prairies, oak savannas, wetlands and woodlands that comprise the Greenway.

Read more here.

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With Palatine farmers market set to open Saturday, organizers ‘feel the pressure of doing this right’

Dan Pilguy, a Palatine Farmers Market organizer and owner of Arlington Crest Farms in the village, will be present for Saturday’s opening with a selection of organic vegetables, herbs and fruit. He expressed confidence the Palatine market has the necessary regulations in place to operate safely.

Organizers say Palatine’s long-running summer farmers market will serve as a test of sorts when it opens for the season Saturday under restrictions aimed at operating safely during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Facial coverings or masks, social distancing and a prohibition of food sampling will be among the measures taken at the outdoor market, which will run from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. in downtown Palatine’s Metra station parking lot.

Only vendors will be allowed to handle products before a sale, and anyone feeling ill should stay away, organizers say.

Palatine’s summer farmers market will run in Metra commuter parking lot B every Saturday through Oct. 31.

Read more here.

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Maybe it’s because you’re bored while stuck at home. Or worried about not having enough money to buy food. Or now shiver at the thought of buying produce other people have touched.

For whatever reason, seed companies are reporting record orders this spring: People want to grow their own vegetables.

To keep seeds of hope from becoming weeds of despair, here are tips for first-timers, from University of Illinois Extension horticulture educator Ken Johnson.

Read more here.

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The Council of Barrington Garden Clubs was founded in 1959 to serve as a coordinating body that works together to provide services to community issues and projects at the direction of member clubs.

Members of the Council of Barrington Garden Clubs include, from left, Sam Oliver, Mary Huggins, Joanne Larson, Jean Doyle, Anita Bierbaum, Nancy Ebner, Susan Slapke, Joan Davis, Marilyn Lageschulte and Ellen Young. (Courtesy of Susan Slapke)

The member clubs are: Country Home & Garden Club; Field and Flower Garden Club; Gardeners of the Shores Garden Club; Green Thumbs Garden Club; Little Garden Club of Barrington; and the South Barrington Garden Club. Each member club has its own character and focus.

The president of the Council of Barrington Garden Clubs is Judy Springer of Field and Flower Garden Club.

The six clubs work together to bring awareness to the community of special dates, such as Arbor Day, where members visit elementary schools in the area to inform fourth-graders the meaning of the day and hand out small trees for planting.

For National Garden Week, small plants are given to the public at the Barrington Area Public Library and Langendorf Park.

The council’s “Beautification Project” awards several businesses each year who exhibit outstanding garden and landscape displays in hopes it will bring business into the area. Members visit various businesses, taking photos and voting on specific categories.

The Council of Barrington Garden Clubs’ ongoing project is maintaining the Blue Star Marker Memorial on Dundee Road in Barrington Hills.

The marker honors residents of the area who enlisted to serve the Union Army during the Civil War. The marker was dedicated more than 80 years ago, honoring 91 persons that enlisted at the site.

For information about the Council of Barrington Garden Clubs, contact Susan at smslapke@comcast.net.

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Though we’re many months away from ripe tomatoes, now is the time to plan your garden.

The coronavirus really doesn’t give two figs for what you think. But Mother Nature doesn’t care what the coronavirus thinks either, so they’re even.

And now we’re into the first days of spring, just as many of us are beginning to believe we’ll go crazy from all the self-isolation ahead.

Happily, I’ve come up with a plant-based plan to keep you all quite sane:

A coronavirus garden.

We all should have a coronavirus garden and now’s the time to plan it out.

Why not?

Do you have something else better to do?

Many Americans have been hunkering down in their homes and begun talking to their dogs. Some expect a response.

And before I started with the garden, I was looking for a book.

Zeus the Wonder Dog lifted a paw to say he doesn’t know where I put that Hans Morgenthau book, “Scientific Man versus Power Politics.”

Read the March 20 John Kass column in the Chicago Tribune here.

These nurseries are open for business:

Good planting!

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Huntley School District 158 is expecting to flip the switch on a series of solar panels estimated to save the district $4.2 million in energy costs over the next 20 years by the end of March.

Last year, the district partnered with ForeFront Power, which agreed to design, permit, finance, install and maintain the solar energy project across all three of the district’s campuses. The renewable energy company had estimated that the installation of solar panels would offset 12.3 million pounds of carbon emissions in the first year.

Read more from the Northwest Herald here.

Editorial note: We applaud District 158’s forward thinking initiative and hope Barrington District 220 taxpayers take note before approving the March 17 referendum.

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Screen Shot 2018-06-18 at 7.28.02 PM Barrington Hills’ Sanfilippo estate is a popular venue for elegant, charitable fundraising parties, but Tuesday it was all about scientific research in the property’s spring-fed creek by Shedd Aquarium experts and a local nonprofit conservation group.

In collaboration with the Sanfilippo family, the Barrington Area Conservation Trust organized the monitoring of Spring Creek to sample fish populations to determine abundance, density and species composition. Conservation trust Executive Director Lisa Woolford said the organization is helping the family legally protect a “big stretch” of its land from development in perpetuity.

“So, part of what we do is we identify as many plant, insect and animal species as we can as part of the project,” Woolford said during a break from slogging through Spring Creek in waders. “And we put it into a nice, big, hefty report so we know exactly what it is we’re preserving.”

To read the full text of the Daily Herald feature, click here.

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The Village Website recently announced the following:

April 22nd is Village Wide Clean Up Day!

Grab your friends, neighbors, association members and club-mates to enjoy the Spring day cleaning up the Village roadsides.

For Earth Day we need help cleaning up our roadsides. Come pick up safety vest and garbage bags at Village Hall M-F 9am to 5pm call first so we can have everything ready 847.551.3000.


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