Keeping It Green at Oakton

Your source for the most current sustainability news from Oakton Community College

A Partnership in Preservation

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A recent Saturday morning began with birdsong, a cloudy sky, and a buzz of excitement at Oakton’s Des Plaines campus as a group of individuals gathered as part of an ecological field site visit organized by the Forest Preserves of Cook County.  Attendees included staff from the two organizations, stewards of regional restoration sites, and site volunteers who joined together in an effort to learn more about the partnership between the FPCC and Oakton Community College.

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For over 25 years, Oakton and the FPCC have been working closely with each other to understand, manage, and restore the natural areas within this 250 some acre plot along the Des Plaines River. It is near impossible to determine where Oakton land starts and Forest Preserve land begins, the only indicators being scattered stone markers along the borders. And that’s probably the way it should be. The lack of constructed barriers and fences allow the land to flow naturally from ecosystem to ecosystem, which include woodlands, prairies, and ephemeral ponds. FPCC purchased the land which is now Kloempken Prairie in the mid 40’s while Oakton’s land was purchased from the Catholic Church three decades later (though much of the area had been used for local agriculture as evidenced by the multiple drainage ditches).

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Restoration Work Days with Cook County Forest Preserve

The Forest Preserves of Cook County offer a number of opportunities to explore nature and to give back to the community.  Volunteer opportunities are offered year round for anyone age 12 and up. Get your friends and family involved, or go alone and make new friends once you are there.

Further details from Kevin Kuhn:

Cut/burn invasive brush, harvest native seed in season, and have fun!
• Tools, gloves, onsite training, supervision provided; dress for the weather
• Year round workdays available; scheduling flexibility may be needed
• Ages: 12 thru adult; chaperone ratio 1:10 required for student groups

Ready to sign up? Go to http://www.fpdcc.com/HRGroups and search for already scheduled workdays via our online calendar. Use dates and zip code to find sites near you. It is important to contact the volunteer site steward before signing up as a group. If you don’t find a workday that works for your group, please contact me and I will help you connect with one of our experienced site stewards to plan a successful workday.

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Openlands–Treekeeper Course Registration

Openlands is accepting applications for its Treekeeper courses.  This is a great opportunity to learn more about your local natural areas and be stewards in your own communities, while gaining great leadership skills and hands-on experience.

TreeKeepers course will be starting on March 10 at Kennicott Park in Chicago – register here

and March 18th at The Morton Arboretum  –register here

Overview

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Alternative Spring Break 2015, Forest Preserve District of Cook County

In Spring 2015, the Forest Preserves of Cook County will offer two Alternative Spring Break Volunteer Opportunities to college/university students. We are looking for your help to get the word out.

Alternative Spring Break Land Management Crew Volunteer – Spring 2015

Spend your spring break gaining valuable experience and learning skills in the oldest and largest Forest Preserve in the nation. The Forest Preserves of Cook County (FPCC) create an emerald jewel around the City of Chicago comprised of 69,000 acres of a variety of ecosystems. Learn about how the FPCC manages these valuable natural resources, the tools used to do the job and ways we are adapting to environmental changes in a highly urbanized environment. Typical work days include: invasive species removal, brush pile burning, tree care and removal, herbicide application, prescription burning and other general land management responsibilities. Click the direct link to learn more and to apply: Alternative Spring Break Land Management Crew Volunteer – 2015

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