This Sunday, Oct 9th from 9-11 AM, riverbank invitation to rejoice in the beauty of this heaven-on-earth nature that we steward. Join us.
We meet at Berteau at 9 and then progress along the riverbank north. Seed gathering, trimming weeds, fence fixing, and more. This is a lovely opportunity to spend some time learning how to take care of our ancient ecosystem. This is as close to learning to be an elf as it gets.
please consider listening this podcast. (below) It’s fantastically important. and interesting.
(play episode: Justice for all on spotify or whereever you listen…)
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
Dear River Bank Friends, The days have been mild. The rain, tho not enough, has been gentle. We still have lots to do, pruning and weeding, and fixing trails and walls. Please join us tomorrow for stewardship, 9-11:00. (Saturday Aug 27th) Look for us between Berteau and Hutchinson. Afterwards we can share some lunch if you are able. Hope to see you, Pete
Dear Riverbank Neighbors, Join us tomorrow morning for a stewardship workday: weeding, pruning and repairing. We can do a wildflower walk to test our flower ID skills, and Pete can bring you up-to-date on the Waters School Crisis. Please visit watersecology.org and sign the petition and leave a comment. We are hoping to reach 1,000 signatures by Tuesday’s LSC meeting. Meet at the River and Berteau Ave. 9:00 – 11:00 Many thanks, Pete
If you appreciate what Pete brings to the community, if you love the riverbank, love Waters Garden, appreciate the ecology program K-8 at Waters for decades, bringing generations of Waters students to the Riverbank, the forest, the lake, and the garden, if you appreciate the Environmental Justice activism we do, please lend a hand and send him a message of support that can be posted publicly, as well as signing the petition on the website. (we’re not asking donations right now)
Please check here WatersEcology.org to get updates, read other peoples letters of support, and read the other newspaper articles and newsletters by Pete.
back to Riverbank Neighbors…
We’ve scheduled three scheduled upcoming August Riverbank mornings.
Dear community, This is a true call for support, for solidarity with Riverbank Neighbors and Waters Garden, because the ability of the community to protect Waters Garden from destruction, the ability for Pete Leki to continue to take the next generation of students to the lake, the forest, the river, the garden, and to learn to be intelligent and strong forces for a healthy future for themselves on this planet, all of this work is under true threat, true peril.
Chicago Public Schools have destroyed parts of the garden time and again. The community has had to rise up over and over, to protect the garden, stealing our family and work time.
The Waters Ecology and Riverbank Neighbors community are intertwined and have shared common communities, common organizers, shared shovels and work ethics. We both are advocates for justice, environmental and social justice. We are activists, advocating for clean water (the river/lake), clean air (solidarity/hunger strike with General Iron protestors), clean land (in so many ways), and for protection and support for those of us in need, disempowered by the forces that be.
There isn’t time to fully explain the present peril. Envision the best of the riverbank and waters community and then envision our last steward gone, replaced by a low-paid part time contractor employed and controlled by CPS. If you want to take action, here are some ideas:
Pete Leki invites you to the garden this morning 10-12. Please email him if you can come early or on time and help set up. PeteLekisan@gmail.com
Write a letter of support. Or at least, quickly email that you are looking for ways to come together.
Make a note to read the news coming your way from Pete in coming days.
It’s exhausting to fight these battles. But, if we shy away, what is good will be left unprotected. I ask Riverbank Neighbors far and wide, and long out of touch, please write to Pete. Let him know you are there. This isn’t just about him and what he does, it’s about what he enables the community to do at the Riverbank and in the places where he is one of the last stewards standing.
Dear Neighbors, I’m putting Election day on our google calendar.
I’m inviting you all to do the same. Actually, as some of you know, we’ve got quite a few people in the neighborhood who’ve spent most of their lives volunteering for campaigns, so they would advise us to reflect on our commitment to having a good result in the next election .. how much does it matter? Would you like to join a group that is working together to make a difference? There are many good organizations to join, working for causes you believe in, of course.
People who work on campaigns and advocacy spend time in weeks and months before elections, making phone calls, going door to door, and working on elections. Maybe some of you would like to share your experiences. I’d like to find a way to share your stories. Please let me know. Jules