We have been conducting prescribed burns of our native gardens on The riverbank for the past 20 years. They are awesome events, and a humbling experience to witness the intense power of fire on landscapes. Prairies, savannas, and oak woods are fire evolved ecosystems. Without fire, they would evolve into different ecosystems (in historic times, they would evolve into mixed forests including fire intolerant trees. In modern times they would devolve into weird mixes of invasive species and aggressive natives). We will be conducting controlled burns at Waters and at the Riverbank this spring. If you would like to learn more about the science, procedures, and safety techniques that are employed during a burn, you are invited to a Burn Workshop (via Zoom) on Wednesday, February 23 at 6:00. Attendance at this workshop is required if you would like to join our burn crew on the day of the actual burn. We are lucky to have a number of certified burn crew members and a wealth of experience in our community who will be joining the presentation. We have permits in hand from the Illinois EPA. We are ready to go. Join us! Here is the invitation: https://www.evite.com/event/020FDWYRCWGYXAK26EPMROKFW5SW3A/activity?utm_campaign=send_sharable_link&utm_source=evitelink&utm_medium=sharable_invite
Our Annual Burn Training will be virtual this year. Wednesday, Feb 23rd, 6pm. Please attend if you’d like to help be the support crew for the controlled burn of the native gardens at the Riverbank at Berteau and/or Waters Garden.
Many in our community have decades of experience and/or certification or professional experience in controlled burns. This training is aimed specifically at preparing our community to burn our sites, but may be of interest to anyone who manages native gardens or who wants to learn more. We invite you to join us. We’ll share some instructions along with video clips to show what to expect and how to participate safely in this exciting part of native garden management.
This meeting is hosted by Pete Leki, Ecology teacher at Waters, Sarah Anderson (Env Ed Program director at the Nature Museum, and Jules Peterson Green of Riverbank Neighbors. We hope that many other neighbors with experience will also join to share their expertise. If you have been burning with us for years, we’ll give you the opportunity to share some advice or stories. Newcomers will enjoy hearing from you and we hope you’ll join us.
Pete Leki is also the Ecology teacher at Waters, where the garden community have been stewarding and burning their community native gardens for over 20 years.
The Controlled Burn Support Crew Training will take place online on Wednesday, February 23, 2022, on Zoom. Please sign up here and we will send you a link in email. Please look for that email.
The land sleeps under a blanket of snow. Native seeds that we, and the other plants, have scattered are undergoing the alchemy of stratification, the setting of the switch for future growth brought on by sub-freezing temperatures. The snow on trees and dried stems is a spectacular treat in these isolated times. Before we know it, the snows will be gone, the remains of last years’ plants will dry, and we will, once again, prepare to conduct controlled burns on the river bank. We have now done this for more than 20 years! Burning is essential to the maintenance of native plant ecosystems: removing invasive species, darkening the ground, and dusting the soil with minerals bound up in the stems and duff. We will be having an on-line training for new and return volunteers who would like to participate. I myself find it very valuable to review the procedure and be reminded of the seriousness and heavy responsibility we accept when we do this burn. A number of veteran burn leaders will present, and we invite experienced neighbors to join us to add their experiences to this workshop.