Make Your Reservation or Purchase Annual Meeting Tickets Now!

For all Member & Non-member information about our February 13th Annual Meeting click on Upcoming Events (look left).  Members and Students are FREE, Non-members are $20.00 per person.  This event will fill up fast so make your reservation or purchase your tickets now!

Gerard Donnelly, President and CEO of Morton Arboretum will be our speaker for the evening.  He is a trained botanist and forest ecologist and is credited with the substantial growth of the Morton Arboretum and for protecting and improving the region’s urban canopy.

 

Our Volunteers Rock!

SNOW DID NOT STOP US!  Did you know Martin Luther King Day was also a “National Day Of Service”?  In recognition of this day, we were joined by over 20 volunteers and restoration specialist, Dave Eubanks, for our restoration workday at our Far Field Nature Preserve.  We removed, cut and burned buckthorn and other invasive woody species from the site.

Volunteers were supplied work gloves, loppers and goggles and we had several bonfires to keep folks warm.  These uber volunteers, cleared enough buckthorn and other invasive species to keep three large piles of debris burning for two hours.

National Day of Service Group of Volunteers

Volunteers help with buckthorn removal at Far Field Nature Preserve

With the help of our volunteers, this preserve is well on its way to returning to it’s natural state.  Previously, we have also had volunteers help with clearing the land, seeding with natives and planting of over 50 oak trees. The Far Field Nature Preserve is located at County Line (Lake Cook Road) and Old Sutton Roads in Barrington Hills.

For more information on buckthorn and the adverse impact it has on native plant species, read the Bluestem Ecological Services article below to find out why this invader must be removed in order to make the surrounding plants and trees thrive.

Trees Matter: Help Eradicate Buckthorn

Guest Article:  Written by Jodi Legieza, Bluestem Ecological Services

View Bluestem’s Video Here!

Common buckthorn is native to Eurasia and was introduced to North America in the 1880’s as an ornamental plant.  Its abundant fruit is dispersed by birds, and it spreads rapidly, replacing native vegetation and lowering native species diversity.

Like many non-native shrubs, common buckthorn leafs out early in spring and retains its leaves late into fall, shading out spring wildflowers and tree seedlings with their canopies.  Buckthorn also alters ecosystem processes in complex ways.  It produces considerable amounts of organic matter, mainly in the form of leaves and woody debris.  The leaves of buckthorn have very high nitrogen (N) content and decompose faster than the leaves of the dominant trees in an Illinois woodland.  During this accelerated decomposition process, beneficial fungi living in the soil are killed in the process.  This fungi, called mycorrhizal fungi, actually help the good trees in our environment extract nutrients from the soil.  When the fungi dies so do our native trees, exposing even more soil for more buckthorn seeds to germinate and grow into buckthorn trees.  It’s a vicious cycle that needs to be broken!   

The above and below ground effects of buckthorn in natural field settings can be devastating.  Both effects are substantial, and researchers were surprised to find that buckthorn contaminated soils inhibit native plant growth as much, or more than, the space their canopies take over above ground  Conservation organizations like BACT are committed to eradicating buckthorn from our ecosystems.  Winter is the best time to cut down buckthorn (and treat their stumps with herbicide or smother the stumps so that the trees don’t grow back).

Visit www.Bluestemeco.com for consultation on buckthorn removal.   Bluestem Ecological Services is a sustainable company that builds, restores and maintains native ecosystems.