Forest Preserves of Cook County (FPCC) released new guidance under Illinois Phase 3 last week. The good news is that volunteers are allowed to resume restoration activities in our local preserves.
There are certainly limits, which we expected. Volunteer groups can't exceed than 10 people, including the steward/leader. We won't host any organized groups under Phase 3 or solicit new volunteers. The rationale is that having experienced volunteers limits the amount of face-to-face interaction needed to get the work started.
Workdays will be private, by invitation, so dates and locations won't be listed on the FPCC website, on this website, or in our weekly email. Volunteers interested in participating can contact me via this website's contact page or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org I will forward their names, contact info, and day preferences (weekday, Saturday, or Sunday) to our stewards.
Volunteers are encouraged to bring their own water and snacks, so we won't create a risk of virus transmission via shared food or beverages. Tools and gloves will be handled differently, to minimize risk. Workdays will initially be three hours, our standard, but may be adjusted.
There will still be no bathroom facilities open in the preserves. We were told a couple days ago that CDC pandemic guidelines call for bathrooms to be cleaned every two hours, which is not remotely possible in a setting like a forest preserve. If you're coming to volunteer please be aware of this.
Apparently we have a brood of cicadas on a 13 year cycle, or maybe they are calendar-challenged. At any rate, a week ago we started seeing them in out yard, and I now have numerous exit holes in my small vegetable garden. A couple of our visitors are pictured below.