Deer Grove – For The Last Time

I still hope to make one last work day with Friends of Deer Grove, but one thing for sure – today was the last time I scouted my spring area as a Weed Scout.

I took mom with me, so that she could also see the part of the forest preserve she usually does not see. I l spotted beautiful spring flowers.

And I performed my last act of service to the Forest Preseervee – pulled out a dozen of garlic mustard plants!

Also, I educated several passerbys about invasives and why we are fighting Garlic mustard, which I guess was also an act of service.

I will miss Deer Drove, and all the people with whom I volunteered there for seven years…

Lots Of Happy News

I just learned that the staff and clients of the Night Ministry are vaccinated as a part of phase 1B, and many of them have received their first dose already. The volunteer coordinator emailed us that we should expect the update soon. I hope that this means that we won’t have to wait till the end of March to resume in-person volunteering. I can’t wait to make “Mama’s soup” in the ODS:).

For the past week, I was jealously looking at my Europen friends’ Instagram posts with the first early spring flowers emerging, with the first patches of green grass and lots of sunshine.

It looks like finally, we see the end of winter here, in Illinois. It was 46F today and lots of sunshine.
On top of this happy news, the Lakefront space will be open soon, almost a year after it was closed. The playgrounds and indoor swimming are also starting to reopen.

Next week, I am planning to go to the rt Institute first time after the last closure in the fall, and also, I am going to do escorting for the first time in a while. That’s mostly because I do not tolerate the cold weather well enough to escort during the freezing temperature, not because of any restrictions.

Overall, it really feels like a new beginning:)

In Chicago

On Tuesday, I went to Chicago, mostly to deliver cookies for several people in the city. I was surprised and delighted to see that they put up a Christmas tree inside the Palatine train station.

There is way less people n the train that in was in October, but still more than in March and April.

Continue reading “In Chicago”

Suspended Volunteering

Today, I received an email from our volunteers’ coordinator at the ODS saying that all volunteering will be suspended till the end of March. Those were excruciating news. Although, when I was at the ODS last time, which was just nine days ago, I thought that the activities might be suspended for some time, but I honestly thought it would be till mid-December at the most.

Now the activities are shut down for almost five months. And now I am thinking about every minute of last Tuesday, how it was usual: you want to go? – I do not want, but I need to. And now I think that I should have stayed longer, although I know that thirty minutes extra won’t make up for the five months ahead. 

I waved and waved, and I was saying: I will be back! I am not sure when, but I will be back. And now, for so many of the youth, it will be –  never

Deer Grove Natural Area Volunteers

On Saturday, I was invited to a special gathering of the Deer Grove Forest Preserve Volunteers. We celebrated the twenty-five years of Deer Grove Volunteers. It would be a huge celebration at the times of peace, but because of the pandemic, it was a really small group.

I felt honored to be invited because most of the people present at this meeting were there from the start, or almost from the start, and I have been with DGNAV for only six and a half years.
There were lots of stories told, and a representative from the Cook County Forest Preserves told us how we are the best group of volunteers and how they are not telling us what to do because we are self-guided and only need to coordinate with FPCC.

And it was a beautiful day, just like this whole week, and it was 75F, and I do not even know what it was in the sun πŸ™‚

No Matter What Will Happen, Do Not Give Up!

Today, I went to the clinic escort; for several weeks, the shifts were filling fast, and I didn’t even have a chance to sign up. And later, I was traveling. Having that I do not tolerate the cold well, that shift could be my last opportunity for the year.

The shift was quiet; there were just a couple of antis out, and we wrapped up by 11-30. Before we left, our team leader gathered us together in a circle and said: Please remember that whatever happens, it is not the end of the world. Do not get discouraged, no matter what the outcome will be. We will find a way to help people, underground or up in the sky; I do not know. But we will find a way to do the right thing.

I think it was so well said that I want to pass these words along: we hope for the best, but whatever will happen, don’t get discouraged.

Harvesting The Prairie

I do not know who saw my Instagram post about the wildflowers (a copy of this one), or maybe my fellow forest preserve volunteers spread the word and reached out, but today, I spotted a Forest Preserve Police car :).

We spent Saturday morning collecting the seeds, .which are in abundance, and enjoying the end-of-summer prairie. There are still lots of flowers, blooming!

Grass seed collecting
Canadian rye
Continue reading “Harvesting The Prairie”

A Field Trip To The Art Institute

(It is a very long post, but I want to record my memories of that day)

On Thursday. we had the best-ever field trip to the Art Institute. The best in almost four years that I volunteer at the Open Door Shelter!

When I came to cook dinner the first time after “the start of everything,” we discussed what we can do outside the shelter, and I said that we could do the Art Institute and see the new Monet Exhibit. I also suggested a couple of other things, but this one was embraced immediately.

Remembering all out previous Art Institute outings, I was pleasantly surprised by the enthusiasm but held a pinch of skepticism. It happened before that when it is time to go, the youth forget, or just do not want to get out of the house, or whatever. I remember all delays in departure, losing people on the way there and back.

This time around, being late was not an option. I was not even sure how to secure our place in line for a Monet exhibit for the future date. A week after our conversation in the ODS, which was a week before our Art Institute outing, I went there during my lunch break, trying to see more of the exhibit and finding out what my options are for next Thursday.

Continue reading “A Field Trip To The Art Institute”