The Disappearance of Volunteering

This week was a week of thing falling apart. Ok, maybe not falling apart, but shutting down, with speed I could not imagine. It’s true that two weeks ago we lived in a different country and a different world.

We were ordered to work from home last Thursday night. The four of us still showed up in the office on Friday, for a variety of reasons, including one co-worker who was off on Thursday and didn’t check corporate emails:).

I wrote about the rapid museums and cultural venues closers, which followed. I was able to catch “the last of” most of them. And no matter how much my mind can understand the necessity of closers, my soul weeps.

As I’ve already mentioned, I went to escort last Saturday. It didn’t go great, and I promised to return when it is warmer. A woman with two boys stopped her car by the clinic and came out with a huge box of Girl Scout cookies – that’s for you guys! Each of us picked one:).

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Prairie Restoration

Friday’s Tribune article talks about prairie restoration in the prairie state. It touches upon many problems which I became aware of since I started volunteering for the forest preserve.

The Deer Grove Forest Preserve is also situated on the land, which was used for agriculture for many years. As a result, we also have many invasive species, which we (Friends of Deer Grove) are trying to get rid of. Our work in the forest preserve includes two major components: exterminating invasive species and re-growing the native plants. Somehow it feels like 80% of our work is “negative,” aimed towards destruction, and only 20% is rebuilding something good :).

Last Saturday, I had an opportunity to do some planting: the weather was great, and since I was already in glasses for two weeks, I’ve somehow adjusted to them (although I still can’t see what’s under my feet:)). Anyway, the weather was great, there was a great turnout of volunteers, including aspiring scouts with their dads, and I was able to join a small group of old-time volunteers, who did the sowing in the prairie and in the woods.
We had separate buckets with the seed mixtures for different areas, and I can only imagine how we looked like for the passers-by. In fact, I know it precisely, since half of the people who saw us would stop by and ask what in the world we are doing?!

Buckets with seeds
Our work area – did you know it’s the best to sow in the snow?!
The process
I think it was a squirrel

Last Forest Preserve Workday of 2019

Both November and December were extremely busy because of work, professional commitments, and health issues. As a result, I had to cut on many of my usual activities, including most of the volunteering. I limited it to the youth shelter, as this is an activity, which does not allow interruptions.
After Christmas, I felt like I started to have my life back, and one of the first things I did – I went to the Forest Preserve workday. It was the last workday of the year, and we had quite a crowd.
It was before the snow started, and the day was really warm and not wintery at all. We were cutting bushes and burning the wood.

I was happy to catch up with the folks I know and to chat with new people. One of the new volunteers was trying to pull out a small dead tree, whose roots were loose in the soil. He suggested I would try to cut the tree close to the roots, but I told him, he should be able to pull it out, He said – I tried, it does not go. And I told him: let me help! I was ready to pull it together, but just one person (me) was enough:). He wasโ€ฆ well, impressed :).

Everybody was encouraged to bring Christmas leftovers to share, and I brought some of my cookies, and they were a hit! I hope that by next Christmas, people will still remember that they can join me in the cookies decorating activity and also get some cookies for themselves.

Here are some pictures:

On the way to the work site
Waiting for the fire to die out
The last of my cookies ๐Ÿ™‚
Continue reading “Last Forest Preserve Workday of 2019”

A Workday In The Forest Preserve

Yesterday I was collecting seeds with the Friends of Deer Grove volunteers; that’s one of the happiest things you can do in the forest preserve. And there we’ve witnessed a little miracle: a butterfly just got out of her cocoon and getting ready to start her life.

Did you know that the butterflies can’t fly when they just got out? I didn’t know that! But it turned out that they need to get their wings dry and to pump their lungs to get ready for the first flight. So here she is, working her beautiful wings.

We thought it’s a Monarch, but when I’ve posted this video on Instagram, another volunteer has commented that this is a Viceroy butterfly! Maybe I will memorize them all eventually ๐Ÿ™‚

A bonus picture ๐Ÿ™‚