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
Dear Riverbank Neighbors! This is it for schedule stewardship days for the year! 11:00 until 1:00, Sunday, November 21, 2021.
Maybe we will have a few special activities: a fire to celebrate the Winter Solstice, a gathering to consider next year’s work, prescribed burn training, the lovely strains of a musician’s instrument sounding out over the waters, and other reasons to get together to celebrate our community and work.
For tomorrow we will gather at Berteau Ave until 11:15, then walk around to the Horner Park side to gather grass and legume seeds to spread on the east bank. Easy, relaxing, beautiful work. See you there. RBN
Fall is truly falling, with bluster and a chill, a sprinkle of rain, and dust of snow.
Many things are wrapping up, including the garden and the riverbank.
Several families came out to the riverbank stewardship day on Saturday, and I am still hoping that we can get the 8th graders out to do stewardship in the Garden and to eat roasted potatoes and drink spiced apple cider. If we can set a day this week, I hope we can get some help supervising and cooking and all. I am meeting with the first-grade teachers to start up weekly tree lessons. I am meeting with the 4th-grade classes to review the plants that live in each ecosystem at Sauganash.
On Wednesday, November 17, Report Card pick-up day, parents will be able to have a look at their child’s ecology journal, from 3-7th grade, while waiting for your teacher conference. During the week I will start responding to student journals. If anyone would like to help learn “journal response”, to read and write back to our students, please let me know. I have 240 Mighty Acorns journals to read. Coffee?? Cookies??
I am looking for a used Weber (or other) grill to use with classes coming out to the garden during this chilly season. I am also asking for everyone to keep an eye out for straw bales that we can retrieve to use as mulch next year.
Dear Riverbank Friends, Please join us this Saturday, November 13, from 10:00 – 1:00 at the Berteau Ave wood chip mountain. Our aim is to add “dressing” layers to as much of the path as possible to try to get us through the winter without muddy paths. This is relatively easy, low stress, work, and kids are encouraged to join their parents in the task. Thanks to those neighbors who have been plugging away at the pile for the past 2 weeks. We may also be doing some seed collecting from the other side of the river, mostly grass and legume seeds to spread on our side. And, as always weeding and general clean up. Join us on this chilly Fall Saturday. Dress warn. Bring a thermos of hot beverage, your favorite gloves, and work boots. We will provide the rest.
Dear Riverbank Neighbors, What a fine, fierce time! The edge of the season sharpens our senses and ‘tunes our tongues”. We have a Riverbank stewardship day coming up, Saturday, November 13, 2021, 10:00 until noon. In the meantime, our friend Jovi dropped off a pile of wood chips at the end of Berteau Street. I didn’t want to reject this offer. I thought it would be great to “dress” the paths before winter with an additional 2-3 inches of fresh chips would help make the paths more welcoming. So, I will leave a wheelbarrow and shovel near the pile so that anyone wanting a bit of exercise can shovel, haul and spread a few loads.
I also want to welcome back Brendon, former intern and Riverbank leader who has moved back to the neighborhood with his partner AnaLucia and their young child Tamia. Brendon has been putting in extra hours pruning and trimming and will be helping lead work days through the Fall. I wanted to share with you a little story of the season that I wrote. I’ve already shared it with the Waters School ecology volunteer list, but wanted to also provide it to our riverbank families, as an alternative to the often horrific bloody mayhem that is offered up in the broader culture during this mysterious, poignant time.
A reminder invitation to join us by the river tomorrow at noon to do some essential maintenance work on a glorious Fall Day. Meet at Berteau street and the river. Bring your favorite gloves and hand pruners, or, if not, we will provide. Hope to see you there, Pete
Dear RBN Friends, The Fall Equinox is here, marking another milestone in our celestial cycle. Equal parts night and day. The Sun rising directly east and setting directly west. The Lakefront is the best place to welcome the Sunrise, and Horner Park hill not a bad place to watch it set. Today it will be cloudy and windy, but above the clouds the movement of the Sun goes on. However you mark this day, know that you are linked to billions on earth who recognize it as a unifying moment.
I want to propose the following days for Stewardship along the River. Saturday Oct 2, 10-1:00 Sunday, Oct 17, 12:00 – 2:00 Saturday, November 13, 10 – 1:00 Meet down at Berteau Street and the river!
Be well, Pete
Below are previous messagesRiverbank Workday this morning, Sat, Aug 21st 8-10 at Berteau, the east side of the river.