We will gather tomorrow from 9:00 until 11:00 or so to pull weeds, gather seeds, prune, repair retaining walls and continue the FQA for the riverbank. It is exciting work at the time of the Autumnal Equinox. We will gather afterwards to share food and stories and songs and enjoy the cool weather and the hint of cooler weather to come.
Waters School garden received an award from the Chicago Excellence in Gardening Contest, and one of the gifts was a Witch Hazel shrub from Possibility Place. We will be planting it in our shady areas along with Great St. Johnswort, Showy Goldenrod and Whorled Milkweed.
Dear Neighbors. This Sunday, we’ll gather at the riverbank for the usual work, gathering seeds, weeding to protect the rare precious native plants, maintaining the path, but also we will be biking to volunteer as part of a fantastic local event, The Sustainability Market. (see below for more details)
I met the founder of this event, Sherry Skalko, through work with the Green Council. She explained to me that the actual amount of material recycled was actually only her secondary goal in this project. She explained, if I remember correctly.., that the primary goal was for people to spend enough time learning about how to recycle that they become more motivated to create less waste, and for the waste that is created to be more recyclable and recycled. That sounds really good to me.
It looks like they could use some more volunteers, so please consider this as a possible fun thing to do with friends on Sunday. We’ll be volunteering to support the North Center Sustainability Market before and after our riverbank workday, as part of our commitment to be role models for our children. Sherry asked people to use the signup genius form if they can, because it’s helpful, but she also said to not let it be a barrier, that volunteers are welcome and the form is optional. Still, it only took me a minute of patience to sign up and I’m glad I did. It can feel hopeless to try to solve the problems of the world, but many of us in Riverbank Neighbors, years ago, took a personal pledge to be part of the solution to the problems the world faces in the climate emergency and other ways humanity struggles for safe, clean water, air, soil, and safety. So, one day at a time, we seek to do our best. If this sounds good to you, perhaps you’d like to join us Sunday.
9-11 Riverbank at Berteau (east side)
before and after: volunteering at the Sustainability Fair (details below)
please try to bike or walk to these events, if possible, for the earth’s sake.
no judgement on people who can’t because their car is broken, their bike is broken, their foot hurts, or other reasons. we won’t judge. we drive sometimes too, though we put some effort into planning not to. Advocating for safer street infrastructure that protects people walking and biking from cars is an essential element to that. Thanks to our Alderman for his leadership on this issue.
Today many Riverbank Neighbors are at Waters Garden, working together to maintain the garden there. Please visit WaterEcology.org to learn about the changes there. Over a thousand people have signed the petition to bring back Pete as steward of the garden and to finish negotiations for his job status. All the money was raised for ecology, but it’s been reallocated to other things. Last week, Pete and another Waters alumni and parent, testified to the CPS board asking for their advocacy saving Waters Ecology Program, which is a national model for excellence in environmental education. Waters has been visited by educators from around the country and the world. Here’s the link to view their testimony: A 55 page page packet of supporting documents was submitted along with this testimony. Pete Leki speaks to the CPS Board of Education (2min) then Meg Ford (2 min) https://youtu.be/Iw0kI_YxOuA?t=9349 All are invited to advocate to offer their support in whatever way they can. Now is the time to protect environmental leaders and stewards of the land who some with to diminish or ban. Many are afraid of losing their jobs or retaliation against their children, but please find a way.
Today, we are sharing that our longtime community member and friend, Ann Breen-Greco, will soon be moving away. Ann has been a core member of Riverbank Neighbors and has spent her life being a role model as an activist for justice, peace, women’s rights, and so many good causes. She showed the way, she is a mother and grandmother and true friend to many. I am personally deeply grateful for Ann, as a community leader, a mentor, and as a friend. I look forward to her future visits and thank her for being so strong, intelligent, visionary, and wise. We will miss you Ann. You are loved. Please keep in touch and visit us.
Ann asked us to share that she is holding an estate sale this morning, Saturday, 9/3/22 from 9AM to 3pm at her home, 4123 N. Maplewood (1/2 block south of Berteau near the river)
Tomorrow, Sunday, Sept 4, 2022 There’s a Riverbank morning 9-11. We’ll host a flower walk and start our plant inventory for the project described below. After, we’ll share lunch.
Wednesday, Riverbank Neighbors will have “Seeds and Weeds” from 5:30 to 7:15. which is a different kind of riverbank event, shorter, on weekdays. Jules
msg from Pete below:(written for Waters community, but sharing with RBN)
Hello Dear Friends, Twenty+ people showed up at the garden on Wednesday night to work, play and enjoy food and music. We repaired a broken bench, pulled wheelbarrows of bindweed, pruned the Ninebark (native shrub), raked the grass around the fire circle, removed the grape netting and harvested the last of the grapes in Journeys and Refuge Garden, and more. We made a small fire and cooked quesadillas, and Jeff, a school dad, serenaded us on guitar, while bats swooped overhead. All school families, friends and neighbors are welcomed. Tomorrow, Saturday September 3, from 9:00 until noon, we will meet again at the garden to do more garden tasks, including the beginning of our Floristic Quality Assessment! This scientific tool will allow us to qualitatively and quantitatively score our native plant community restoration. We will end up with an index number so that we can compare our garden with other restoration sites, and with itself, over time. Tomorrow we will begin identifying every native plant in the garden, creating a list, looking up the plant’s scientific name and Coefficient of Conservatism (C number). This number ranges from 0 -10, 0 being plants that, tho native, are weedy and aggressive, to 10, plants that will not tolerate disturbance of their very particular habitat and community. The list is then analyzed mathematically to come up with a score. We know, from decades of study and work, that our garden is fabulously rich, ecologically speaking. Beginning with our ancient oaks, whose roots have held on to the mycorrhizal fungal associations necessary for a healthy native plant community, to the effects of 25 years of prescribed burns, our garden hosts at least 120 native species. It is an ecological, historical, educational, cultural and community treasure, nurtured by generations of school families and friends. So, join us and learn and enjoy these wonderful waning days of summer. And for those of you who can’t get enough, we will be working on the Riverbank on Sunday, 9-11:00. Mr. Leki