This weekend we worked in two of the four Illinois Nature Preserves in our region (the others are Cranberry Slough and Paw Paw Woods).These are sites that have been classified as "high quality natural areas and habitats of endangered and threatened species" in need of protection. The Illinois Nature Preserves Commission then promotes the preservation of these significant lands and provides leadership in their stewardship, management and protection.
Cap Sauers is the largest of the preserves we manage in the Palos region, large enough to have two stewards. The site we worked Saturday is part of the area managed by Margaret Tobin - Bob Arentz is our other steward at Cap Sauers and works a bit to the east and north. Our main target was honeysuckle, and we found and cut an abundance of it, burning two brush piles as we worked. A terrific effort and a good time! We were joined by first-time Palos volunteers Laura and Madison (and Laura was back the next day at Black Partridge).
Black Partridge Woods Sunday November 17
In contrast to Cap Sauers, Black Partridge and Paw Paw Woods are two of our smallest sites. John Marlin, one of the original members of Palos Restoration Project, has been our steward at Black Partridge for 27 years.
During that time he's overseen the removal of all significant patches of invasive brush on the north side of Bluff Road, in the nature preserve sector. So Sunday we crossed to the south side and cut honeysuckle, including some sizable ones. Countless targets here so there's no concern about running out of work in the foreseeable future.
Nature Walk With a Librarian, Swallow Cliff Thursday November 21
Last night's forecast made today look like a washout but the worst of the rain tracked south and east so we were greeted with little more than a mist by 10:00 a.m. We walked from the Swallow Cliff stairs to the south woods, then around the loop trail and back.
The colors of autumn, the earthy reds and browns, were stunning. With most of the leaves having dropped you see the contours of the land much better than during the growing season. The squirrels, busy foraging for food, were readily apparent. This was our last walk of 2019 with Palos Park Public Library; we'll start up again next April.