It’s Bloomin’ Spring!

Table of Contents

Join us for a riverbank stewardship day Sunday, 4-23. We are wondering if someone would like to experience being site captain for Chicago River Day? Check out the flowers emerging on the bank. Introducing  and welcoming the new steward of the River Park / Legion Park Riverbank.  A request for participation and donations. And a new book recommendation section!

Riverbank Stewardship Day

Sunday, April  23, 2023, 12 noon, until 2:00, RBN will be taking care of business at the riverbank. We will be burning brush (it will be chilly, dress appropriately), building twig fences, transplanting native flowers, picking up litter, etc, etc. We will end with some food to share over the camp fire. Bring your stories and songs, your energy and ideas to share. 

We would like to invite everyone who can to join us to learn and work and build our community and restoration culture.  Come when you can, do what you are able. We also encourage and ask our community to support the work. We don’t receive any outside funding. Our community sustains us. You can donate cash, pay for plants, tools and supplies, or make a tax exempt donation through Friends of the Chicago River / Riverbank neighbors.

Spring has Sprung

The riverbank is springing to life, just compare the prairie a month ago and now:

Take time to watch out for the spring flowers blooming everywhere, including:

Anemone quinquefolia (wood anemone)

Zizia aurea (golden alexanders)

Ranunculus hisbidus nitidus (swamp buttercup)

Viola pubescens (downy yellow violet)

Asarum canadense (wild ginger)

New River Park Stewardship Group

It is so exciting and good to know that new stewardship groups are taking on the care of “new” natural areas. Below are links to invitations to participate in the restoration and management of the River and Legion Park Natural Areas. Like us, they have stewardship days, sharing of food and knowledge, and the making of new friends. Perhaps in the future we can organize to attend as a group to support their good work. Happy Earth Month All!

My name is Raed Mansour and I’m the new River Park Natural Area Community Steward. I live in Albany Park and have been volunteering at River and Ronan Parks so it’s a privilege to now serve as the lead volunteer steward for the natural areas here.

River Park Update As you may have already heard, the Ronan Park Stewards have moved on but I plan to work with everyone to cover both natural areas. There are some immediate needs in River Park since the Army Corps of Engineers completed the River Riparian Connectivity and Habitat Restoration project last year. In October 2022, we took advantage of an opportunity to begin planting and mulching right after the Army Corps project completed, with the amazing help of the Chicago Audubon Society, Openlands, River PAC, and volunteers like you. You can read about the planting day here. We’re still raising money through the Chicago Audubon Society for this year’s planting so feel free to share this link here with your family, friends and neighbors. Block Club also wrote a story about our efforts, Lincoln Square Neighbors Raising Money To Add Trees For Migratory Birds At River Park. I’ll provide more updates to some of the plans in future messages.

2023 Workday Schedule Attached is a flier for this year’s workday dates and please share with anyone else interested in volunteering. I will email everyone in advance before each scheduled workday. No experience is necessary. We’ll always go over the plan for the day. And we will always meet outside the River Park Fieldhouse. The workdays planned for this year are as follows:

  1. Saturday, May 13, Chicago River Day, 9a – 12p
    • Friends of the Chicago River sponsored cleanups at River Park East, River Park West, River Park on the Water, and Ronan Park spots are all filled to capacity, almost as fast as the event was made public, sorry.
    • FYI, Friends of the Chicago River created a cool free Natural Solutions Tool with The Trust for Public Land, check it out!
  2. Saturday, June 3, Chicago Parks Foundation Sponsored It’s Your Park Day, 10a – 12p
    • Link to sign up will be provided
  3. Wednesday, July 5, River PAC Sponsored Fireworks Cleanup, 9a- 12p
    • Link to sign up will be provided
  4. Saturday, August 19, Bird Walk, 8a – 10a 
    • Link to sign up will be provided
  5. Saturday, September 16, General Workday and Nature Walk, 9a – 12p
    • Link to sign up will be provided
  6. Saturday, October 28, Chicago Audubon Society Planting & Mulching Day, 10a – 12p
    • Link to sign up will be provided

Advice for Workdays Follow these tips to make your time more enjoyable:

  • All participants must sign a Chicago Park District liability waiver before beginning work. Copies of the forms will be available on site, but to save time, I attached them for you to print and sign in advance.
  • Wear closed-toe shoes, dress for the weather, and wear comfortable clothes that can get dirty.
  • A water bottle and hat are recommended.
  • Work gloves will be available to borrow, but feel free to bring your own.
  • Avoid wearing perfume as it may attract insects.
  • Bathrooms are sometimes open, but please plan accordingly in case they are not.
  • Take time to enjoy nature. No harm in taking a break.

I also created a Facebook Group for stewardship at River and Ronan Parks to share workdays, updates, and pics, recruit more volunteers, and build community interest on the importance of these natural areas. I’ll always ask permission to take a photo and post on Facebook. And feel free to share your work on your own social channels.
If you know of anyone interested in volunteering, share this message with them or send them my email address. You’re on this email because you either have volunteered in the past or expressed interest in volunteering. If you want to be removed from future mailings, please email me back to unsubscribe. No questions asked.

Thank you to everyone who has lended their time in the past and to those who are interested in building community and helping maintain, improve and restore the natural areas at River and Ronan and River Parks for everyone to enjoy. I look forward to working with you!

All the best, Raed

Raed Mansour

River Park Natural Area Community Steward Volunteer

Join our Facebook Group!

Book Recommendation

“The Death and Life of the Great Lakes” by Dan Egan. 

I often told my students that we seem able to recognize the Lake’s vastness, its wild energy, and raw beauty. But, what is happening under the surface is a mystery to most of us. Dan Egan’s book reveals much of that mystery. Some of it we may know, but this historical documentation of the “breaching” of the Great Lakes isolation by the building of the Erie  and Welland Canals, the subsequent introduction of scores (unknown hundreds) of invasive species as ships traversed the globe to Port Chicago, and the ramifications on lake ecology are made painfully real. New threats! Everyday. 

We live on the shores of a treasure. Let us learn how to protect it. 


Thanks to all and hope to see you by the river,

Riverbank Stewards