Tallgrass Restoration, LLC
A Tallgrass LegacySpring News
April 2011 - Vol. 3 Iss. 2
Greetings!Tallgrass logo

SPRING HAS SPRUNG!!!  The snow has melted and the trees and plants are beginning to bud.  Mayapples are beginning to sprout leaves and Skunk Cabbage is blooming. All the dirt is being washed away by the rains and everything is beginning to look clean and fresh once again.  What a great time of the year spring is - it is one of our favorite seasons. 

We hope you enjoy reading our newsletters as much as we enjoy writing them.  As always, send any comments, suggestions or thoughts to: info@tallgrassrestoration.com
 
 - Your Friends at Tallgrass
  


P.S. We're always up to something interesting here at
Tallgrass. Friend Us! on Facebook to get regular updates.
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Earth Day 
 
SusanEarth Day is intended to inspire awareness and appreciation for the Earth's natural environment. It was founded by United States Senator Gaylord Nelson as an environmental teach-in first held on April 22, 1970.
 

Raised Garden Beds Bed

  

An easy way to start a garden is to create a raised garden bed. You don't have to pull weeds first, turn soil, or dig out a lot of rocks and other debris in a raised garden bed.
            

More...                      

 

Green Cleaning Tips


More than a dozen green cleaning tips to use around your home this spring. 

 

Golf Courses Going Green
 
A revolution is happening at golf courses across the country - they are going green! Recently, innovative golf course managers have been converting highly maintained out-of-play areas to native species.
 

Plant I.D. Quiz
 

ID QuizTake a minute to test your ability to recognize native plants.  The quiz is now "online" - try it as many times as you wish.  Good Luck!

 

More... 

Gardening and Household Tips
 
Spring outdoor clean-up and miscellaneous household tips.
 

Compliments to the Crew

 
bridge07

 

Two of Tallgrass' most important Business Principles are providing superior service to our clients and taking great pride in the professional quality of our work. We feel there is no better way to tout our success in these areas than to let our clients tell you themselves.

 

More... 

 

Bridging Science and Art 

 

DD

Doug DeWitt is one of those unique individuals whose work recognizes an inherent integration between science and art.

 

More...                  

Government Programs 
 
Conservation easements are wonderful tools to help protect and restore natural areas. They can provide a financial incentive for a landowner to protect and restore their land, but also give assurance that the land will remain that way.

More...
The Plant Corner
 
SmokeThis edition of The Plant Corner highlights the native species:
 - Prairie smoke

and the Invasive Species:
 - Multiflora rose

Tracy's Treats
Eggs 
Recipes! Check out Tracy's Treats for some great recipes. In this issue, take a look at what Tracy calls a pair of "Oldies but Goodies." 

 

More... 

Deadly Sinkers and Shot
 
Lead in the environment has become a major health concern for our birds and humans alike. Tons of lead has been deposited in the environment over generations through the lead shot used in hunting and lead sinkers in fishing.

Another Day at Tallgrass
 
What, a newsletter article that rhymes? Sure enough, please enjoy Rob's description of the start of a typical day working for Tallgrass Restoration.
 
Ask the Ecologist
 
Ask your friendly neighborhood Tallgrass Ecologist that eco-question you've always wanted to ask.
 
More... 
 
More Articles and Links 
 
 

Earth Day

 

Earth Day is intended to inspire awareness and appreciation for the Earth's natural environment. It was founded by United States Senator Gaylord Nelson as an environmental teach-in first held on April 22, 1970. Earth Day went international in 1990 and is celebrated in more than 175 countries every year. The date chosen for Earth Day, April 22nd, corresponds to spring in the Northern Hemisphere and autumn in the Southern Hemisphere. Many communities celebrate Earth Week with an entire week of activities focused on environmental issues. In 2009, the United Nations designated April 22 International Mother Earth Day.
 

On April 20th and 21st, Tallgrass participated in the following two Earth Day events: 

 

April 20, 2011

Sustainability Expo

Kankakee Community College, Kankakee, IL

www.kcc.edu

 

April 21, 2011

Earth Week

UW-Whitewater, Whitewater, WI

www.uww.edu

 


 

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Bridging Science and Art


Click below to read the article. You may need to use your browser's zoom feature to improve readability.
           Doug D.                             


bedsRaised Garden Beds

An easy way to start a garden is to create a raised garden bed. You don't have to pull weeds first, turn soil, or dig out a lot of rocks and other debris in a raised garden bed. All you do is choose the location, build the bed and fill it with dirt.

 

Raised garden beds are not only easy to build and maintain, but they also allow you to start growing seeds and starter plants early. You can start your gardening earlier in the year because a raised garden bed will become warmer earlier in the season.

You can purchase a pre-made raised garden bed or make your own. There are several kits available either online or at nurseries.
Bed
Some gardeners like to create garden beds just a foot or two tall, while others create tiered garden beds with multiple levels ranging from a foot or two to four or five feet. Your budget and design is up to you.

Where you place your garden bed will depend on the size of the garden, and how much sunlight the area gets. If you're planting a vegetable garden, you'll want to place the bed in a location which gets at least five to six hours of sunlight each day.

Once you have chosen the design and location, your garden bed is ready to be worked. Fill the bed with soil to at least one or two inches below the top of the frame.

You can plant small starter seedling plants, mature plants or sow seeds directly, whichever you prefer. Once your plants are in, surround them with some type of mulch - such as tree bark or dry grass clippings to prevent your plants from drying out.

Your raised garden bed is not only useful, but also an attractive addition to your yard.  


Government Programs 


Conservation easements are wonderful tools to help protect and restore natural areas.  They can provide a financial incentive for a landowner to protect and restore their land, but also give assurance that the land will remain that way.   A conservation easement is a legal agreement between a landowner and a nonprofit conservation group or governmental agency that limits the uses of the land forever to protect specific conservation values.  While the landowner retains ownership of the property, the easement "runs with the land," that is the restrictions are forever attached to the land and are binding on successive owners.

Conservation easements benefit not only the environment, but also the landowner.  The Internal Revenue Code allows for conservation easements to qualify as tax-deductible charitable gifts as long as they meet certain conservation criteria.  The value of the gift is the difference between the appraised value of the land without the conservation easement and the value of it with it.   This can amount to a substantial tax savings.  Placing a conservation easement on property also reduces the estate taxes on the property.  Finally, while conservation easements do place restrictions on the landowners' use of the land, landowners do have the flexibility to design conservation easements so that they can accommodate specific uses, such as homes or other structures on the property, and private uses which will not damage conservation values. 
 
Conservation easements can provide a win-win situation for both the environment and landowners. 

Call Tallgrass for more information about how we can help you maintain your Easement.

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green 

GREEN CLEANING TIPS:

 

1.       Use cotton and microfiber cloths;

2.       Use Environmentally friendly laundry detergent;

3.       Run your washer on the cold cycle;

4.       Clean heating vents and A/C filters with brush attachment;

5.       Hang laundry outside to dry; inside out to prevent fading;

6.       Remove indoor air pollutants with houseplants such as chrysanthemums, English ivy, spider plants, and Boston ferns naturally freshen the air;

 

 

GREEN CLEANING SOLUTIONS:

 

         Shine Floors:  1/2 cup vinegar and 1 gallon warm water.

         Clean Windows:  Clean with equal parts vinegar and warm water or 1 tablespoon lemon juice with 1 quart water.

         Clear Clogged Drains:   Pour 1/2 cup baking soda and 1/2 cup vinegar down a clogged drain. After a few minutes, follow with hot water. For prevention, pour boiling water down drains once a week.

         Oven Cleaner and Stove Top: Sprinkle with baking soda, then mist with water. Let soak, wipe clean; Sprinkle salt on oven spills. Let salt set overnight and wipe clean next day.

         Stainless Steel Cutlery:  Remove heat spots with undiluted vinegar or club soda.

         Burned casserole dishes:  Add an old dryer sheet and let soak overnight. Wash and rinse clean.

         Sweet-smelling microwaves:  Zap a bowl of water with 2 tablespoons of lemon juice for one minute. To get rid of food odors, put a few drops of vanilla extract in a bowl and microwave for 30 seconds. Let set overnight, and then wipe down.

         Garbage Cans:  To stop mold from growing, sprinkle 1/2 cup borax in the bottom of garbage cans.

         Faucets:  Buff with olive or vegetable oil using a dry rag. Rinse oil with club soda and wipe dry.

         Cutting Boards:  Disinfect with salt and lemon juice--no sponge required. Use a lemon half (sprinkled with salt) to scrub, then rinse.

         Toilet Bowls:  Disinfect and deodorize by sprinkling the sides with baking soda, let sit for a few minutes, than drizzle with vinegar. Scrub with a toilet brush and flush.

 

 

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The Plant Corner

 

In each newsletter, we will highlight one native plant species and one invasive plant species found in our region.   


Native
Prairie smoke, Geum triflorum
 
SmokePrairie smoke is a pretty and interesting little native perennial. It is widely distributed in Southern Canada and in the central and northern United States. Unfortunately Prairie smoke is being out-competed by naturalized invaders and aggressive natives, and eliminated by development so it is becoming increasingly rare.
Smoke2
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
The plant forms a mound of foliage which grows to 6"-10" tall. It is one of the earliest plants on the prairie to bloom - in late spring or early summer. The blooms appear on 12"-18" stems and are clusters of drooping reddish pink, maroon or purple flowers. As seen in the photo  showing the Prairie smoke in full bloom, the flowers never fully open. Not only are the flowers attractive when in bloom, but the fertilized flowers are followed by silvery-pink fluffy fruits that are beautiful and unusual. They form 3" plumes which resemble smoke wafting away from the plant, giving rise to the name "Prairie smoke".  The seed heads remain on the plant for many weeks until they become golden in color and very dry and are dispersed by the wind. They can be harvested and dried for use in flower arrangements.
  
Native Americans used this plant for medicinal purposes, including an infusion of the roots and crushed seed pods or pulverized roots as an eye wash, gargle for sore throat, and tonic for menstrual cramps and stomach complaints.

Prairie smoke can be grown from seed in the spring. It is excellent for hot, dry spots, and thrives in any well-drained soil. However, even though it does not require a lot of water, it is not entirely drought tolerant. Because of its small size and ability to withstand the dry and heat, it is particularly suited to borders, edges, and rock gardens. 
 
 
Invasive
Multiflora rose
 
M rose 
 
The introduction of the multiflora rose in the United States seemed like a really good idea at the time but has had extremely negative long term environmental consequences. It was introduced from Japan in the 1880s to curb soil erosion, to provide a "living fence" to control livestock and create snow barriers along highways, and to supply a source of food and cover for wildlife. While the multiflora rose admirably met all these needs, it also has grown so densely that it has become a spectacular nuisance.

The multiflora rose is a multi-stemmed, thorny, perennial shrub that grows up to 15 ft. tall. The stems are arching canes and have stiff, curved thorns. Small, white to pinkish, 5-petaled flowers occur abundantly in clusters on the plant in the spring. Due to its dense growing habits, the multiflora rose has become a serious problem because it forms impenetrable thickets in pastures, fields and forest edges. It restricts human, livestock, and wildlife movement and displaces native vegetation. Multiflora rose readily invades prairies, savannas, open woodlands, and forest edges.

Multiflora rose has naturalized in most of the northeastern and Midwestern United States. Although abundant throughout Illinois, multiflora rose is currently only a problem in the southernmost tier of counties in Wisconsin. Likely, its northern range is limited by an inability to tolerate winter temperatures below -28F.
  
Once multiflora rose has "taken root" in an area, it is extremely hard to dislodge. When multiflora rose is just beginning to invade, fire can limit its establishment. Although mowing can be effective, strong thorns have been known to puncture rubber tires, making mowing a challenge. All roots must be removed because new plants can grow from severed root fragments or previously dormant seeds. While chemical and biologic controls have had some success, the multiflora rose continues to be a "thorn" in the side of farmers, landowners and conservationists.
  

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golfGolf Courses Going Green

The increasing and worthwhile use of native plants on golf courses

  
 Golf 
  
A revolution is happening at golf courses across the country - they are going green!  Golf courses are a major land use in metropolitan areas and have long been criticized for being environmentally unfriendly.  Recently, innovative golf course managers have been converting highly maintained out-of-play areas to native species.  There are many benefits, both environmental and economic, to converting to native species, among them the following:

 

       Native plants are perennial thereby saving the cost of reseeding and replanting. 

       There are fewer insects or disease problems with natives so the use of pesticides is greatly reduced resulting in both a cost savings and an environmental benefit. 

       Since natives are more heat and drought resistant, the cost of watering and water consumption are greatly reduced. 

       Natives attract wildlife for food and forage, making the course a more environmentally friendly space.

       Since native plantings do not require frequent mowing, the heavy use of fossil fuel required by traditional golf courses is reduced.   

       Because native plants have extensive root systems, they can be very helpful in combating erosion problems. 

       Apart from any cost or environmental benefit, native plantings are extremely attractive and colorful.

       Native plantings around water holes can be designed to discourage nuisance species, such as geese, from visiting and living at the course.  

  

The most common complaints about the use of native plants have been that it takes a few years for the natives to become sufficiently established before they are attractive.  Next, some golfers have complained that they lose their balls in the high grasses.  However, each of these complaints are quickly overcome by the other benefits, such as creating a greener more sustainable course and the personal and public relations benefit of an environmentally friendly space.   

Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program for Golf Courses awards certifications to recognize golf courses that protect the environment, conserve natural resources, and provide wildlife habitats.  The extensive use of native plantings is an essential component of the certification process.  Olympia Fields Country Club in Illinois began participating in the Audubon Society Cooperative Sanctuary Program and in 1996 became the first golf course in Illinois to become fully certified.  Today, hundreds of golf courses across the country have joined the movement.  If you are interested in learning about the benefits of native plants on golf courses, please give us a call.

  

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foodTracy's Treats

 

Oldies but Goodies

 

DEVILED EGGS

 

Eggs

 

Who hasn't expected a tray full of these yum yum eggy treats to appear at Easter brunch, Mother's Day lunch or any spring feast?

 

12 eggs, hard boiled, cleaned and halved

2/3 cup Mayonnaise

1 tsp fresh parsley, minced

tsp celery seeds

tsp garlic powder

tsp salt

1/8 tsp pepper

Paprika and/or minced chives to garnish

 

Separate the cooked egg whites from the yolks.  Refrigerate the whites while combining the yolks with the rest of ingredients.  Mash together well with a fork, then dollop the filling into each egg half.  Sprinkle with paprika and/or chives.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.

 

 

BAKED FRENCH TOAST

 

Toast

 

Soaked overnight in custard....breakfast won't come quick enough!

 

1 lb challah or other egg bread, sliced thick

6 eggs

1/3 cup sugar or cinnamon sugar mixed

2 tsp vanilla, extract or paste

1 cup heavy cream

cup milk

2 tbls butter, diced

Powdered sugar to garnish

 

Arrange the bread slices in a lightly buttered baking dish.  Whisk eggs, vanilla, sugar, and optional cinnamon. Mix in cream and milk until all is combined. Pour egg mixture over bread to coat both sides. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease cookie sheet well with butter. Arrange soaked bread slices on pan after dripping excess egg mix off.  Bake 10 minutes or until golden brown.  Sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve with 100% pure maple syrup.

 

 

 

Tracy Runice
Chef's Bio: Tracy Runice received her culinary training and degree from the world renowned Kendall College in Chicago.

  
 

  

 

leadDeadly Sinkers and Shot

The dangers of lead use in hunting and fishing


Lead in the environment has become a major health concern for our birds and humans alike.  Tons of lead has been deposited in the environment over generations through the lead shot used in hunting and lead sinkers in fishing.  Lead is a toxic metal and will not break down over time, but will rather persist in its toxic state indefinitely. 

Lead makes its way into the animal and human population in a number of ways.  Waterfowl ingest fishing sinkers and jigs during feeding when they mistake them for food items or grit and when they eat lost fish bait with the line and weight still attached.  Upland foraging raptors ingest lead by feeding on dead or wounded upland prey with embedded lead shot or bullet fragments.  Humans ingest it in the same way - by consuming game animals that have lead shot or bullet fragments embedded in them.  Finally, birds and animals ingest lead when they eat earthworms and other soil invertebrates that lay in soil that is contaminated with lead. 

Lead poisoning has been documented in at least 25 species of water birds.  The Wisconsin DNR studied lead poisoning in wildlife and found that lead poisoning was the cause of death in the following cases:

          16% of Wisconsin bald eagles that died between 2000-2007

          25% of trumpeter swans between 1991-2007

          29% of loons beginning in 2006

Ingestion of a single lead sinker or lead-headed jig is sufficient to expose a loon or other bird to lethal doses of lead.  While lead is frequently lethal to wildlife, it has sub-lethal consequences as well, such as damage to the brain, nervous and reproductive system.  Signs of lead intoxication include behavioral changes, lethargy, anorexia, paralysis of the crop, esophagus, proventriculus, gizzard, legs or wings, vomiting, diarrhea, lack of coordination and muscle control, convulsions, anemia and emaciation. 

Humans are exposed to lead by consuming venison.  Lead bullet fragments were found in 8%-15% of venison.   These fragments are not easy to see, except by x-ray, and may be eaten without the consumer even knowing it.  Lead poisoning occurs when lead builds up in the body, often over a period of months or years. Even small amounts of lead can cause serious health problems because it interferes with a variety of body processes and is toxic to many organs and tissues.  Children under the age of 6 are especially vulnerable to lead poisoning since it interferes with the development of the nervous system, which can then cause learning and behavior disorders.  At very high levels, lead poisoning can be fatal.

 

Starting in the 1970s, there have been efforts to phase out the use of lead shot.  It has been banned nationally for waterfowl hunting since 1991 and on federal wetlands and grasslands where waterfowl are raised.  Unfortunately, lead is still heavily used for hunting upland birds such as pheasant and grouse, and it is the most popular type of ammunition for deer hunting.  However, nontoxic ammunition is increasingly becoming available.  There are also many nontoxic alternatives to lead fishing sinkers and jigs.



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tipsGardening and Household Tips  
 

Spring outdoor clean-up

 

1.       GARDENS - Pull out dead, dying leaves and plants; clip everything down to the dirt.

2.       POTS - Clean pots and remove debris.  Check condition of the soil; after a season, the soil can be full of old root bases that depletes nutrients. 

3.       PRUNING - Prune roses now for May blooms; heavy pruning may be done on trees and shrubs except for spring flowering ones.  If there has been severe winter damage, don't prune until new growth begins to show; cuts should be on a slant.

4.       SEEDING - Start seeding indoors; sow the seeds in small containers, cover with clear plastic and set in a sunny window.  Uncover the containers every day in order to spritz the plants, if necessary.  Don't let the soil dry out.  Once you see growth, crack the plastic covering for a day to air.  The next day remove all plastic.  Keep the soil moist; once they get their first set of leaves, start fertilizing.

5.       BIRDHOUSES -

a.       Clean out (or purchase new ones)

b.       Mount to a tree or pole (freestanding is best so that you can use a predator guard)

c.       House should be placed at the edge of a tree with the hole facing out (for an open flight path)

d.       Mount at least 5 feet off the ground

e.       Remove perches (they can become a paw-hold for predators)

 

Spring household tips:

 

1.       FIREPLACES - Clean the flue.  Have a professional chimney sweep inspect to see if there are any obstructions and soot buildup so that your fireplace will be ready for next fall.

2.       FOUNDATIONS - Slope soil away from your foundation and exterior walls

3.       DRYERS - Remove dryer lint from the filter each time you use the machine; clean the duct annually.


 

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Another Day at Tallgrass  
Poem by seasonal worker Rob Adams 

 

Get up early out of bed
"Dunkin" on the way
Jump in the truck with Fred
Spears Woods we'll hit today
Barberry, thistle, mustard grass
Our targets to attack
Tri-blades, sprayers, and mixed gas
Take with, no turning back
Fred yells out "don't spill the blue"
We prep to treat the weeds
Off we trudge to spray the goo
Ten hours left indeed

  

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Compliments to the Crew  

 

Two of Tallgrass' most important Business Principles are providing superior service to our clients and taking great pride in the professional quality of our work. We feel there is no better way to tout our success in these areas than to let our clients tell you themselves.

 

"It really looks cleaned up in the areas you had the burn and help preserve prairie. The bridge, signs, new trails and clearing has really made the park beautiful and much more useful to the public - we have gotten so much positive feedback. Thanks for all you do to support our town!

 

Jeanne A.

Town of Linn, WI"

  


bridge07

 

 

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Click
HERE to take the Plant ID Quiz!
- PLEASE NOTE: Make sure the initial "Welcome" page fully loads before proceeding with the Quiz.
Click HERE for Ask the Ecologist!
Tallgrass Announcements

 

Tallgrass Anniversaries

 

February - Jay Yunker (4 years)
March - Doug DeWitt (8 years), John Shannon (2 years)

  

Recent and Upcoming Events:

  

April 20, 2011

Sustainability Expo

Kankakee Community College, Kankakee, IL

www.kcc.edu

 

April 21, 2011

Earth Week

UW-Whitewater, Whitewater, WI

www.uww.edu

 

April 28, 2011

Green Town

By the City of Elgin, IL

www.greentownconference.com

 

May 9, 2011

Terrestrial Invasive Plant Workshop for Volunteers

Hosted by Town & Country RC&D at Tallgrass Restoration Milton, WI

Email beth.gehred@tacrcd.com to register

 

 

 

 

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More About Tallgrass
Tallgrass Core Value #13 

13. Integrity and honesty are at the heart of our business. We expect our people to maintain high ethical standards in everything they do, both in their work for the firm and in their personal lives.
  
 

Tallgrass Contact Information

 

Illinois

 

Project Ecologists

 

Willie Bridgeman

willie.bridgeman@tallgrassrestoration.com

Doug DeWitt

doug.dewitt@tallgrassrestoration.com

Mark Micek

mark.micek@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, President

ron.adams@tallgrassrestoration.com

Tracy Runice - Customer Service, General Information, Bonding, Compliance or Insurance 

tracy.runice@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

 

 

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


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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.