Tallgrass Restoration
A Tallgrass Legacy Winter News
January 2010 - Vol. 2 Iss. 1
Greetings!Tallgrass logo
 
Happy New Year 2010!  We hope you enjoyed your holidays.  We look forward to a great year here at Tallgrass.  This is the start of our new series of interactive and informative newsletters.  We hope it becomes a useful resource for you. As always, we appreciate your comments. Please send them to info@tallgrassrestoration.com.  Enjoy reading our first newsletter of 2010.  Make it a great year!
 
- Your Friends at Tallgrass

Dyer Lake / Pasin Tree Farm 

CalAntonio Pasin came from a long line of woodworkers which fueled his appreciation and love for wooded areas.  Born in a small town outside of Venice, Italy, 16 year-old Antonio Pasin's family sold their mule to help pay for his trip to Chicago. More...   
                                   

The Sounds of Spring
 
Cardinal FlowerWhat is it that you always notice every year that signals the beginning of spring?  Some people think of spring when they hear Robins sing or see the graceful transformation from dreary dull colors into a gorgeous green. To me, it is the mating call of the ever so tiny Western Chorus Frog, our most abundant frog in the Chicago region. More... 
 
A How-To on Worm Composting
 
I wanted to share my composting experience and knowledge.  It is amazingly easy and self sustaining.  Give it a try. More... 
 
Book Review
 
Ishmael by Daniel Quinn. "Teacher seeks pupil, must have an earnest desire to save the world." This advertisement attracts the attention of an everyday gentleman which plunges him (and the book's reader) into a miraculous and suspenseful adventure. More... 
 
Tallgrass Links 
 
 
 
 
The Plant Corner
 
Cardinal FlowerThis plant corner highlights the native species - Great White Trillium and the Invasive Species - Reed Canary Grass. More... 
 
Plant I.D. Quiz
 
Cardinal FlowerTake a minute to test your ability to recognize native plants.  Once you think you have identified all five plants, you may peek at the answers toward the end of this newsletter.  Good Luck! More... 
 
Rain Barrels
 
Cardinal FlowerRain Barrels are available for sale and are easy to purchase through a number of different non-profit organizations. Instead of losing valuable water by run-off every time it rains, collect it! More... 
 
The Food Corner
 
Recipes! Tracy's Treats and Edible Wild Plants. More... 
 
More Articles 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Dyer Lake / Pasin Tree Farm

Antonio Pasin came from a long line of woodworkers which fueled his appreciation and love for wooded areas.  Born in a small town outside of Venice, Italy, 16 year-old Antonio Pasin's family sold their mule to help pay for his voyage to Chicago.  Though he was a skilled craftsman like his father and grandfather before him, he was unable to find work as a cabinet maker.  Eventually, he saved enough money to outfit a workshop and began fashioning wagons.   His company became known as the Liberty Coaster Company named after the Statue of Liberty.  In 1930, the company was renamed Radio Steel & Manufacturing and began producing the first steel wagon, the Radio Flyer. Today, the company thrives worldwide.
 
 
Dyer Lake Trees
Photo by Tallgrass Staff
 
In January, 1943 Antonio was able to finally surround himself with the trees he so loved, purchasing the Lago Vista Farm, Inc. from August Schwanz located on Dyer Lake Road in the Town of Wheatland.  It is comprised of agricultural land on the eastern half of the site and wooded terrain on the western half. Mr. Pasin was a committed conservationist and was able to return much of the site to its original beauty.  The property is surrounded by 170 acres of managed woodland, hiking trails, a 50 acre spring fed lake with 1600' of shoreline, a 40 acre wildlife refuge which hosts wood ducks every spring, and natural spring fed creek where Northern Pike spawn naturally.  The Managed Forest Law program in the Town of Wheatland had 1008 acres of woodland in 2000 and only 93 acres in 2006. Eighty of those acres are located on the Dyer Lake parcel.
 
Mario Pasin, Antonio's son, found in Peter Layton someone who shared his family's vision for restoration.  He felt that his family's legacy would be safe with Mr. Layton and Tallgrass Restoration at the helm.  In September, 2008 Peter Layton purchased the Dyer Lake site with thoughts of developing the property while maintaining and restoring as much of the natural habitat as possible.
 
While Mr. Layton and Tallgrass develop plans for restoration of the site, they have opened up the site for the use of non-profit groups.  Dyer Lake has been utilized by Mercy Home for Boys and Girls a number of times this past year. Located in Chicago, Mercy Home has been a refuge for abused and neglected children for over 123 years. In late summer a group of youth and staff from Mercy Home cleared 1/3rd of an acre at Dyer Lake from invasive buckthorn and other non-native plants. Chris Kaplan taught the youth about basic land management and treated them to a delicious lunch of Wisconsin bratwurst and cheese curds. "The opportunity for our children to work outside and to see an immediate impact on their environment is very therapeutic" said Joe Wronka of Mercy Home.
 
Dyer Kids
Photo by Tallgrass Staff
 
Co-workers from Mercy Home have also used the property for staff retreats and team building. "Getting out of Chicago is important for our staff to recharge and regroup and Dyer Lake provides the perfect setting" said Katie Keller, Director of Volunteer Resources at Mercy Home.
 
The property provides co-workers and children alike a place to connect with each other and nature. The large amount of land and array of activities available allow each group to specifically tailor their time for maximum impact. For more information about Mercy Home, please visit www.mercyhome.org.
  
In addition, Tallgrass staff members have used Dyer Lake for recreational purposes - canoeing, hiking and hunting and some have even caught their Thanksgiving dinner on the site.
Dyer Lake is 56 acres of surface water and is approximately 13 feet deep. Dyer Lake is known to be the only private lake between Milwaukee and Chicago.  While portions of the lake are not ideal for swimming and boating, the lake supports a healthy fish population.
 
The New Munster Wildlife Area is located near Dyer Lake.  It provides important pheasant and upland game habitat. It also encompasses the New Munster Bog Island designated in 1967 as one of the first natural areas in Wisconsin. The natural area is characterized by a sandy knoll of hardwoods surrounded by tamarack and a shrub-carr bog.  Another natural area is Seno Hills.  Seno Center is 131 acres of hills and valleys located in Wisconsin's Kettle Moraine area.  Environmental education and outreach focusing on conservation, land management, the environment and the area's cultural history are all taught by the Wisconsin Woodland Owners' Association Foundation, Inc. ("WWOA").  The WWOA acquired the land as a gift in 1995 from Dr. Elvira Seno.
 
The Boy Scouts Camp, Oh-Da-Ko-Ta, is located on the west side of Dyer Lake and forms a good quality wetland complex consisting of sedge meadow, shrub-carr, and deep and shallow marsh.
 
While plans for the site are not yet fully completed, much of it will remain in a natural state, preserving forever its distinctive beauty and ecological function for the surrounding area. 


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The Plant Corner

This plant corner highlights the native species - Great White Trillium and the Invasive Species - Reed Canary Grass.  

Native
The Great White Trillium, trillium grandiflorum 
 
White Trillium 
Photo by Tallgrass Staff

The great white trillium is also known as the wake robin, the snow trillium, or the large white trillium.  The great white trillium was adopted as the official wildflower of Ohio in 1986 and is found in each of Ohio's 88 counties.  It is currently listed as an endangered plant in the state of Maine and as "exploitably vulnerable" in the state of New York.  This is most likely from overconsumption by White-Tailed Deer.  The over population of deer has seriously damaged the population of Great White Trillium in our region as well. Thus it is illegal in many states and provinces to pick the Great White Trillium.  Native to the United States, Great White Trillium typically grows in temperate understories.

The great white trillium takes about 17 years to mature and can live over 70 years. The flower contains three white petals, elliptical shaped with pointed tips.  The flower is solitary and as it matures, the petals turn pink. The flower can produce a round, pale green berry approximately " wide.  Some trilliums have a flower which is bent downward, below the leaves.  The berry is odorless and dappled inside.   
    
The great white trillium is one of many plants whose seeds are spread by ants and mice. Great White Trillium seeds have a fleshy organ called an elaiosome that is a source of food for ants.  The ants will pick the seeds and take them into their nest where they will eat the elaiosome and discard, or plant the seed.

Picking great white trillium before they flower can seriously injure this plant. The three leaves below the flower are the plant's only ability to produce food stores and a picked Great White Trillium can take many years to recover. For this reason, in many areas, it is illegal to pick or transplant Great White Trilliums from public lands without a permit from the State.  

Invasive
Reed Canary Grass, phalaris arundinacea l.
 
Reed Canary Grass 
Photo by Tallgrass Staff

Reed canary grass is a very aggressive invasive species.  It dominates a number of wetlands in the Midwest and has also been seen spreading through forests and upland grasslands.  It was introduced in the U.S. in the mid 1800s as vegetative control for erosion.  Today, it is still planted throughout the country.

Reed canary grass is a cool season, long-lived perennial grass native to temperate regions in North America, Asia, and Europe. It is one of the first grasses to sprout in the spring; it can grow between 2 -6' tall.  Reed canary grass spreads by underground stems (rhizomes) and forms a solid sod just below the soil surface.  This makes it very difficult to control. 

A mixture of herbicide applications and prescription burning seem to be the best methods to control this species as well as promote competition by native plants.  

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The Sounds of Spring
by Matt Hokanson  

Green Frog 

Green frog, rana clamitans, photo by Mark Micek
 
 
What is it that you always notice every year that signals the beginning of spring?  Some people think of spring when they hear Robins sing or see the graceful transformation from dreary dull colors into a gorgeous green.  To me, the echo of toothed combs being plucked in the distance day and night is my indicator that spring has arrived.  It is the mating call of the ever so tiny Western Chorus Frog, our most abundant frog in the Chicago region.  For being just over an inch long, their call can carry for over a half a mile.
 
With its small size, yet boisterous voice and strong numbers, should we worry about the Chorus Frog?  Of course we should.  The plea for mercy from all frogs and toads around the world is as loud as the call from the Chorus Frog.  Frogs and toads everywhere are at a crisis.  Never have amphibians seen a large impact in their history until humans came along.  They have been on the planet for about 360 million years, arising 100 million years before the first mammal and 200 million years before the first bird. They are among life's great survivors, enduring a mass extinction that had wiped out the dinosaurs and whole swaths of mammals and birds.  And yet now a third of all amphibian species are threatened with extinction and nearly half are in decline.  They are the most threatened of all the vertebrate groups.  So what does this mean for the little Chorus Frog and the other frogs and toads of the Chicago Wilderness?  With the stresses of human influences on the natural world at their height, and the Chicago area being one of the most developed urban settings in the world, frogs and toads are at their breaking point. 
 
There is the Cricket Frog, as tiny as the Chorus Frog, but it can leap up to 6'- that's about 70 times their body length.  We have the enormous Bullfrog, who can reach a sizeable 6" and is like the Tiger shark of the frogs.  The Bull Frog will eat almost anything that will fit in their mouth - sometimes including birds and snakes.  The most elusive of all frogs is the Wood Frog. 
 
The frog that withstands the cold of the Arctic Circle has such an explosive breeding period that they may only sing one to three nights in spring, while most other species are active for weeks on end.  Though only thirteen species are known from this region each is as interesting as any from around the world, and all need attention. 
 
We need to act now.  Some are already rare due to geographical range or ecosystem requirements.  The local ecosystems are already in disrepair from fire suppression, predator imbalance, invasive species, hydrologic manipulation, farming, and overgrazing.  The best and probably only thing we can do is try to restore the landscape back to good health, and hope that the natural evolution of the frog may return to a sustainable state.  With habitat restoration only at its beginning stages, the effects upon frogs and toads can only just begin to be noticed. 
 
The only way to know the results is to monitor their populations.  A system for monitoring frogs and toads has been developed as a part of the Habitat Project.  It has been called the Calling Frog Survey.  Volunteers attend a workshop in late winter to learn monitoring protocols and how to identify each species by their mating call.  Each volunteer chooses or is designated a site or multiple sites to monitor.  Each site is visited at night three times throughout spring to accommodate the fact that different species call at different times.  Frogs and toads will only call when the weather is right and they like rain.  When monitoring, it must be a seasonally warm evening with little to no wind and a light rain is ideal.  Volunteers are always needed.  If you are interested in attending a workshop or joining a restoration group visit www.habitatproject.org.  
 

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Plant I.D. Quiz

Take a minute to test your ability to recognize native plants.  Once you think you have identified all five plants, you may peek at the answers toward the end of this newsletter.  Good Luck! All photos by Tallgrass staff.

Plant #1
Guess???
Hint:  You saw this plant bloom in late August through mid November. It enjoys partial shade. 

 


Plant #2
Guess???
Hint:  This plant can grow anywhere between 2-6 feet tall.  It is generally found in wet prairie habitats.   It blooms July through September. 

 

 
Plant #3
Guess???
Hint:  This plant enjoys growing within rock and limestone in moist areas with dappled sun light.  It blooms April through July.

The common name comes from the appearance of the flower looking to some people as circles of doves drinking around a fountain.   The knobbed spurs look like the talons of an eagle (Latin: aquila), which lends itself to the Botanical name of the plant.  



Plant #4
Guess???
Hint:  This plant is one of the first to bloom in the spring.  It is found in prairies and dry open woodlands.  



Plant #5
Guess???
Hint:  This is a large shrub with edible berries.  You are able to pick the berries late August thorough the beginning of September. 

The fruit was a staple for numerous Indian tribes across the North American continent, especially to tribes who lived on the plains and prairies.  These were routinely cooked before they were eaten or dried thoroughly.  Mature fruits are still collected today and used to make jellies, jams, pie-fillings, syrups, sauces and wines.
 

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A How-To on Worm Composting
by Noelle Hoeffner

I wanted to share my composting experience and knowledge.  It is amazingly easy and self sustaining.  Give it a try.     
     
The first thing to do is purchase your worms.  Red-wigglers, Eisenia fetida live above the soil and process large amounts of organic material.  These are the best to use.  Do not use earthworms in your garden, they tend to live underground and will not survive in a compost bin.  You could purchase red-wigglers from any bait shop or I personally use Dean Allen with Soil Exchange, Inc. (815) 483-6046. I received my worms in less than a week.       
     

Composter
 
I strongly recommend getting handy and using a handmade wooden bin.  This way you do not have to worry about moisture.  If you do not want to use wood, just make sure your plastic bin contains lots of holes.  The container should be about 10 inches deep.  Short and wide containers create better environments than the taller, narrow bins.  The bin should have a cover to create darkness and moisture for the best habitat for your worms.  Drill holes in the top and sides of your bin.     
     
Keep your bin balanced.  You may realize that you are housing insects other than worms in your compost bin.  This is perfectly fine.  If your bin is creating a stench this could be that there is not enough oxygen throughout the compost bin.   If it is too wet and the food is compacted, this will create an odor.  Stir the bin contents and add dry bedding to soak up some of the moisture.  Also, reduce the frequency of feeding.       
     
The bedding can consist of white paper, newspaper, cardboard, toilet and paper towel tubes, brown leaves, straw, and coconut husk (coir).  When you first begin, you should fill your container 1/3 or 2/3 full of bedding and may want to add a handful of sand or dirt along with egg shells.  My worms from Dean came with a bit of dirt so I just used that.  Egg shells help worms grind up their food because they don't have teeth.  They also help keep the bedding from becoming acidic.  If you can, adding egg shells every week is a good idea.       
     
Now add your worms.  Do not feed them the first couple of days; let them settle in.  In the beginning, add small amounts of bland food - lettuce, eggshells, and bananas work well.  Worms like to eat fruit and vegetable peels, coffee grounds, tea bags, cereals, bread, and green leaves.  Worms do not like meat, fish, cheese, baked beans, rice, pasta, potatoes, or grass.     
     
You can either keep your compost inside or outside.  As the metabolic rate of the microbes accelerates, the temperature within the bin will increase.  If left outside in the winter, the worms should not freeze.  However, do not place your compost outside in freezing temperatures when you are just starting.  Wait for the bin's environment to produce the proper amount of microbes first.  In order to maintain adequate temperatures to house the worms outside during the winter, it is important to remember to turn the bin.  You can also use a round bin, which could be an easy way to tumble the contents.    
 

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Rain Barrels 
 
 
Rain Barrels are available for sale and are easy to purchase through a number of different non-profit organizations.  With the increase of pervious surfaces and less native vegetation, there are fewer areas for water to penetrate the ground.  Instead of losing valuable water by run-off every time it rains, collect it!  This water can be used in the summer for watering your plants and could also reduce your water consumption by nearly 40%.  Rainwater is relatively free of undesirable contaminants and is slightly acidic, helping plants access soil nutrients.  Collecting rainwater can also decrease flooding in your yard or basement. Rain barrels help reduce the amount of water flowing to the sewer treatment facility and are easy to use.  If you are using your rain barrel to water plants, connect a hose to the spigot.  In order to increase the flow of the water out of your spigot you will need to raise your rain barrel.  You can do this by purchasing cinder blocks or creating a grate for it to sit on.  The height of the rain barrel will determine how much pressure you will get. 
 
Places to purchase your rain barrel: 
 
$50 
 
$80 
 

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Book Review
by Erin Kocourek

Ishmael by Daniel Quinn Ishmael  

"Teacher seeks pupil, must have an earnest desire to save the world." This advertisement attracts the attention of an everyday gentleman which plunges him (and the book's reader) into a miraculous and suspenseful adventure. Saving the world however does not involve any of James Bond's impressive trinkets or Laura Craft's fancy maneuvers. In this case it requires partaking in deep discussions with a telepathic gorilla named Ishmael. Sound boring? Indeed, a book focused solely on the dialogue between a man and a gorilla may initially sound odd and unexciting. However, this is not a physical adventure but that of the intellect.
 
From the very beginning of this innovative novel you will find yourself reexamining your thoughts and opinions about mankind and the environment. Ishmael gives an alternate view of human history that you may have never considered, and emerges you in a "creation myth" unknowingly fashioned by humans over thousands of years through culture. He ultimately warns that modern day society is living in a way that ironically will end the creation myth (and creation itself) if our egocentric habits do not change.
 
Through Ishmael, Quinn unveils a worldwide tangled mess that humans inadvertently started at the agricultural revolution, teaches us how to save the Earth from ourselves, and leaves it up to us to finish the job. Daniel Quinn will hook you instantly, will challenge your mind, and will leave you craving for more. As greater concerns for the health of the environment and the Earth's future grow Ishmael is a perfect complement to those looking for a way to save the world, and is a wakeup call to those who have not yet realized that the world is in any danger. 

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The Food Corner
 
Tracy's Treats

by Tracy Runice 

 

The cold mornings of winter beg for warm breakfast favorites to lift your spirits and get you moving. Try my favorite waffles with fruit syrup, alongside a couple strips of country farm bacon and a hot cup of tea and you'll be warmed through on the chilliest of days.

 

WafflesWaffle

1 c whole wheat flour

tea salt

1 tbls baking powder

3 eggs, separated

1 c milk

stick butter, melted

1/8 c sugar

 

Combine flour, salt & baking powder.

In a separate bowl combine milk, melted butter and beaten egg yolks.

Add wet ingredients to dry all at once and fold until just combined. Be sure not to over mix, set aside.

Turn on waffle iron and while heating, whip egg yolks to a soft peak.

Add sugar and continue to whip to medium peak.

Fold meringue into batter until totally incorporated but without deflating the mixture.

Use batter immediately.

Makes 6-8 large light and fluffy waffles. 

Prep time: 10 minutes, Cook time: 5 minutes per waffle or as your waffle maker directs

 

Waffle Over These Alternatives

Pumpkin - add c pumpkin puree to the wet ingredients and c more wheat flour for a warm seasonal favorite

Buttermilk - substitute buttermilk and reduce baking powder to tbls

 

A Native Twist

Acorn Flour- A nutritious and flavorful meal can be made at home after gathering acorns from under your own oak trees. The process can be time consuming but can be a great way to get the kids involved when cabin fever is setting in. The result is the enjoyment and satisfaction you'll feel after preparing a true artesian delight.

 

The seeds of the oak tree contain bitter tannin which must be removed before eaten. To remove the tannin:

Soak acorns in warm water for 20 to 30 minutes, discarding any that float.

Drain water and remove shells with a nutcracker.

Finely chop the nutmeats.

Place the acorn meal in a strainer or piece of cheese cloth and run hot or boiling water through it until clear or until the nuts are free of bitterness.

Lightly roast the nutmeats in a low-heat oven (200 degrees F) for about 30 minutes to intensify the flavor.

Grind the roasted nutmeats with a coffee grinder or electric blender for a fine texture.

Use the wild flour in bread, biscuits, cakes, waffles, to thicken soups and stews or in cookies and pie crusts.

Hazelnuts also work well and don't have the bitter tannins.

 

 

{Your Favorite Fruit} Syrup

Try something other than the usual maple syrup to top your waffles!  May I suggest pomegranate, cranberry or blueberry?

 

4 c juice, strained

c sugar

1 tbls lemon juice, freshly squeezed

 

Combine ingredients in a sauce pan and cook over medium heat until the sugar is fully dissolved.

Reduce heat to medium-low and cook until liquid is reduced to 1 cups, approximately 50 minutes. It should be the consistency of syrup. Syrup

Remove from heat and allow to cool in the pan for about 30 minutes.

Transfer to a glass jar to finish cooling and to be stored refrigerated for up to 6 months.

Prep time: 5 minutes, Cook time: 1 hrs

 

A Native Twist

Elderberry - Elderberry trees produce a deep blue and flavorful berry rich in Vitamin A and C.

Chokecherry - Sometimes called Stone Fruit or Wild Cherry, has a unique flavor traditionally used by the indigenous people of North America. Be sure to remove the pits of these fruits as they are not edible!

 

 

Chef's Bio: Tracy Runice recently celebrated her 5th anniversary with Tallgrass Restoration. In her spare time she enjoys cooking and has received her culinary training and degree from the world renowned Kendall College in Chicago. When she's not supporting the efforts of native restoration, she's volunteering her time to educate inner-city underprivileged children about diet, nutrition and cooking at home.

 

 

Edible Wild Plant Recipes

by Matthew Smith

 

Winter is the time to relax with a hot mug of tea.  Celebrate native Illinois and Wisconsin plants by trying these herbal tea recipes:

 

White Pine Needle Tea:

 

Tea from White Pine (Pinus strobes) has been shown to pack more vitamin C and antioxidants than orange juice or green tea.  It's been traditionally used by Native Americans for a source of vitamins and can be made any time of the year.  Collect a handful of White Pine needles.  Any will do, but the needles on the terminal buds are youngest and will make the best tea.  Chop about 1 ounce of needles into 1 inch lengths.  Pour about 2 cups of boiling water over the needles (do not use aluminum pots or utensils, as the aluminum is reactive and will reduce the amount of vitamin C).  Steep the needles for at least 10 minutes or overnight to brew a stronger tea.  Strain the needles or steep in a tea-bag.  The tea will be reddish in color and has a surprisingly mild taste (it will not taste like eating a pine tree).  Add a little honey if desired.

 

Rose Hip Tea:

 

Rose Hip Tea is another traditional tea admired for its extremely high vitamin C and antioxidant content.  Berries can be collected fresh, or in winter, collected dry.  Rose hips can be collected from native roses in prairies (rosa sp.), but ornamental varieties can also be used.  Even better, use the hips collected from the invasive Multiflora Rose (rosa multiflora) and benefit by reducing an invasive species' seed bank and drinking a highly-nutritious tea (these berries are slightly smaller, but still make a good tea).  Collect berries and spread to dry for storage.  Use 5 - 10 berries for every 2 cups of water.  If using whole berries, boil berries in water for at least 10 minutes or up to 30 minutes (again, do not use aluminum pots or utensils), or until berries pop to allow water inside of the hips.  Otherwise, use crushed/ground rose hips and just pour boiling water over and steep for at least 10 minutes.  Even after boiling for tea, the fruits can be added to soups or vegetable dishes.  Rose hips also make an excellent jam/jelly.

 


 

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Winter Vacation Spots and Events
 

Illinois

Pere Marquette State Park

 

Pere Marquette is the largest state park in Illinois, offering visitors 8,000 acres of beautiful forested bluffs and some of the most expansive views of the region. Countless species of rare trees and unique plants can be found along the eight hiking trails in the park. A drive up the windy roads of the park affords visitors with spectacular views of the scenic byway and Illinois River Valley. Visitors love the recreational opportunities at the park, including: biking, hiking, fishing, canoeing, kayaking, boating and horseback riding.

 

13112 Visitor Center Ln.
Grafton, Illinois 62037
(618) 786-2331

Rock Cut State Park

Chiseled out of the state's far northern region is Rock Cut State Park in Winnebago County. Nearby are other "rocky" landmarks - the mighty Rock River and the place where wagons once forded it, Rockford. It's an area of rolling plains, interesting history and recreational variety.

Two lakes set off the park's 3,092 acres. Pierce Lake, with 162 acres, is a retreat for people wanting to fish, ice fish or ice skate. A second 50-acre Olson Lake is especially for swimmers. Rounding out the park's recreational options are camping, hiking, horseback trails and cross-country skiing. Whatever the season, you can be sure there's quite a bit of activity going on at Rock Cut State Park.

7318 Harlem Road
Loves Park, IL 61111

815.885.3311

Starved Rock State Park

 

Starved Rock State Park is best known for its fascinating rock formations, primarily St. Peter sandstone, laid down in a huge shallow inland sea more than 425 million years ago and later brought to the surface.

During early spring, when the end of winter thaw is occurring and rains are frequent, sparkling waterfalls are found at the heads of all 18 canyons, and vertical walls of moss-covered stone create a setting of natural geologic beauty uncommon in Illinois. Some of the longer-lasting waterfalls are found in French, LaSalle and St. Louis canyons.


P.O. Box 509
Utica, Illinois   61373
Phone: 815-667-4726
Reservations: 815-667-4726
Email:
starvedrock@dnrmail.state.il.us

Wisconsin

Tourism's website suggests the following slippery stops. In central Wisconsin, Powers Bluff County Park in Arpin (715) 421-8422 offers the longest tubing runs (1,200 ft.) in the state.

For those in the Northwoods, Christie Mountain (715) 868-7800 and Perkinstown Winter Sports Area (715) 785-7722 are great weekend family destinations.   

In west central Wisconsin, slide into Hudson's Badlands Sno-Park Recreation Inc. (715) 381-1541.

Snow lovers in northeastern Wisconsin can tackle the Triangle Sports Area (920) 448-3365. The Wisconsin Dells area boasts two great tubing hills.

Cascade Mountain in Portage (800) 992-2754 has more than 900 ft. of speed and snow, while Christmas Mountain Village in Wisconsin Dells (608) 254-3971 offers four snowtubing chutes

For tubers in southeastern Wisconsin, Sunburst Ski Area in Kewaskum (262) 626-8404 offers the second-longest run (1,000 ft.) and more snowtubing chutes (11) than anywhere else in the state.

Visit the Sierra Club - John Muir Chapter website, http://wisconsin.sierraclub.org/Events/outings.asp
for information on other winter outings. 
 

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Noelle's Energy-Saving Tips
 
These energy-saving tips are from ComEd; visit:
http://www.comed.com/sites/homesavings/Pages/heatingandcooling_bestpractices_furnace.aspx
   
  • Keep your thermostat between 68 and 70 degrees-every degree you can lower your temperature setting will save you an average of 3% on your heating bill.
  • Lower your thermostat at night and during unoccupied hours.
  • Clean vents and registers to optimize air flow.
  • Use your ceiling fan to move warm air from the ceiling into the living space.
  • Open your drapes during sunlight hours and close them at night.
  • If you have a fireplace, close your fireplace dampers and doors.
  • Close vents to rooms that are not in use. 

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Tallgrass Announcements
 
Employee of the Month
 
September - Jay Yunker
Jay is a reliable and dedicated employee. He is great at his job; works well with others and exemplifies a positive attitude every day.  Even when busy he is willing to sacrifice his time to help others whenever asked.

October - Sergio Figueroa
Sergio shows great leadership in the field through hard work and dedication to his team. "There may not be an 'I' in 'Team' but we're all grateful there's a Sergio in Tallgrass Restoration."

November - Jim Papa
Jim is willing to pitch in whatever time or effort is needed to get the job done. Even after a long day in the field under the worst conditions, Jim is willing to offer a hand to help a teammate finish their task so they can both get on the road home for the evening.
 
Tallgrass Anniversaries
 
November: Jim Papa - two years.
 
December: Tracy Runice - five years. 
 
January: Mark Micek - 10 years.
 
 

Answers to the Plant I.D. QUIZ:

1) New England Aster, Novae-angliae  2)  Blue Vervain , Verbena hastate 3) Wild Columbine, Aquilegia Canadensis  4) Prairie Smoke, Geum triflorum 5) Chokecherry,  Prunus virginiana L. 

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Conferences and Workshops
Visit Tallgrass at the Following: 
 
IPRA Soaring to New Heights Conference 

Hilton, Chicago 

January 28th - 30th 2009

Each year more than 4,500 of Illinois' park and recreation professionals, elected and appointed officials/commissioners, and students make this conference the event to attend.

http://www.ilparksconference.com/

 

 

Invasive Plant Management Workshop

Chicago Botanical Garden

Regenstein Center, Alsdorf3 Auditorium

Thursday February 11, 2010

8:00 AM - 3:30 PM

 

 

Garden Expo

821 University Ave. Madison, WI 

February 12 - 14th, 2009

http://www.wpt.org/gardenexpo/ 

 

 

15th Annual Wisconsin Wetlands Association Conference

February 11 - 12th

Plaza Hotel and Suites

Eau Claire, Wisconsin

http://www.wisconsinwetlands.org/2010conference.htm

 

 

University of Illinois Extension, Grundy County Environmental Fair

March 13th, 2009

10:00 am - 3:00 pm

Minooka South HS
Rt 6
Minooka, Illinois 60447

http://web.extension.uiuc.edu/state/calendar_event.cfm?EventID=45588

 

  

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More About Tallgrass

Tallgrass Core Values #3, 4 

3. Our goal is to provide superior service to our clients. Profitability is critical to achieving superior service, building our business, and attracting and keeping our best people.


4. We take great pride in the professional quality of our work. We have an uncompromising determination to achieve excellence in everything we undertake. Though we may be involved in a wide variety of activity, we would, if it came to a choice, rather be best than the biggest.



Tallgrass Contact Information
 
Illinois
  Project Ecologists
    Doug DeWitt          
doug.dewitt@tallgrassrestoration.com
    Mark Micek            mark.micek@tallgrassrestoration.com
    Tim Moritz             tim.moritz@tallgrassrestoration.com 
    Troy Showerman   troy.showerman@tallgrassrestoration.com

 

Wisconsin
   Project Ecologists
     Chris Kaplan   
chris.kaplan@tallgrassrestoration.com
     Jordan Rowe    jordan.rowe@tallgrassrestoration.com

 

Illinois and Wisconsin
 Ron Adams, V.P. General Manager         
ron.adams@tallgrassrestoration.com 
 Noelle Hoeffner, Marketing Coordinator    noelle.hoeffner@tallgrassrestoration.com

 

Illinois Office                                   Wisconsin Office
2221 Hammond Drive                       3129 E. County Road N
Schaumburg, IL 60173-3813              Milton, WI 53563
Phone: (847) 925-9830                     Phone: (608) 531-1768
Fax: (847) 925-9840                         Fax: (608) 551-2227

 

Visit our website at www.tallgrassrestoration.com.
 

Tallgrass Restoration is a subsidiary of Tallgrass Group, a company that integrates land and water stewardship focusing on native landscapes and other ecological solutions including landscape design, conservation development, and wetland banking initiatives. 
 

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Thanks for reading the winter issue of A Tallgrass Legacy. Look for our spring issue in April!
 
Sincerely,
 
Your Friends at Tallgrass Restoration