Calumet and the southeast side of Chicago is often stereotyped as a barren wasteland; a landscape stripped of its natural resources and left to rot away. This narrow-minded view often thwarts sustainable development and conservation in the region, which is unfortunate. A root cause of this problem is that Chicagoland residents often forget the illustrious past of the region.
The labor force of the Calumet built the steel which fueled all of our regional railroad developments, aided us greatly in World War II, and made Chicago one of the great American cities it is today. Moreover, the ecology of the region sits atop an eco-tone, which is an intersection of of various habitats from wetlands to forest to prairie.
As imperfect as the landscape may be, it is still a very important refugia for diverse wildlife on the edge, holding important bird nesting sites as well as rare plant assemblages. SETF believes the people of Chicago should look towards the southeast side's past with more pride, and also hopes that residents will now look toward the future with more optimism. Our natural and human resources still abound, if we find creative ways to tap into them.
1st photo by Rod Sellers
2nd photo by Jessica Canas