In Milwaukee With Anna & Family

I spent most of the last weekend with Anna & family in Milwaukee. There was no special occasion, not big plans – we just wanted to get together. 

Also, after a long wait and anticipation, I was finally able to take Amtrak to Milwaukee. It’s tons better than it used to be taking the Van Galder bus to Madison! The ride is about 1.5 hours and very comfortable, with WiFi and electric plugs by every seat 🙂

The thing I enjoyed most was the water quality monitoring. Anna is involved with the Milwaukee Riverkeeper project, and she asked me whether I would like to go with her and Nadia to do the measurements. 

It was so interesting! She has a whole case of scientific instruments and chemical reagents and the instruction book from the program. The monitoring includes measuring the water temperature, transparency, oxygen level, and more. 

I enjoyed this experience on many levels: 1) it is super cool that volunteers can participate in a real scientific project, 2) it is so important for the environment 3) I enjoyed doing something important together with Anna and Nadia 4) I was in a forest preserve, which I really miss!

I need to figure out how to get out to nature even when I am in the city!

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…

Deer Grove

There are many things which I will miss in Palatine, and one of them is Deer Grove Forest Preserve and my volunteering there. I am sure that I will be able to find some other nature restoration projects, but I will miss that particular one, both the place and the people.

Last weekend, I went to scout my area. It was it a very decent shape, I found not more than a dozen of garlic mustard plants overall:

and I also enjoyed all the spring ephemerals.

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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 🙂

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
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I Don’t Know What To Do With These People

On Saturday, I took Mom for a walk in the Deer Grove forest preserve. We were walking the beautiful path with flowers blooming on both sides from us, and as usual, I was telling her the names of the plants, and we both admired the gorgeous view..

And then I saw these two people. First, I saw a lady coming from the opposite direction with a huge bouquet of blue asters in her hands. I mean, it was not like you were passing by and could not resist an urge to pick one of these beauties. No, those were “commercial quantities.” I said: excuse me; you are not supposed to pick the wildflowers here. But she passed me as if I said nothing.

In a moment, a guy came the same way with an even bigger asters bunch. I stopped and said: Sir, do you are not supposed to pick the wildflowers here? And he is: OK. I am: Sir, I am a Forest Preserve volunteer, and we work hard here to restore the prairie, don’t do it anymore. And he is: OK, thank you! And he walks away. “Thank you”? Seriously?!

After I talked to my fellow volunteers, I found out that this is not an isolated incident, and that mine was a relatively “mild” one. Now I know that I can call the Forest Preserve Police, but… I just can’t get over it! You can’t even imagine how many flowers were destroyed!

Seven years ago, nothing but the white clover was around, and it took years of fighting invasive species, collecting seeds and sowing to make the prairie look like it looks today. It hurts to see such an attitude.

For those of you who already saw my Instagram post – yes, I my goal is to put it on all of my social media and on the NextDoor.

Family Time

My girls went back home today. We spent a wonderful five days together, going to places, doing things together, and talking non-stop. After they left, I told Boris that I either became too old or out of practice because I felt tired of all these non-stop activities. He replied that he thinks that I am just out of practice, and I asked whether he implies that I should do it more often. He laughed and said that probably yes.

Speaking about activities, we went to the Botanic Garden on Tuesday.

The signs say: Welcome back! We missed you!
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