Saturday, May 14, 2011

SETF Takes Taylor Elementary on a Toxics to Treasures Tour

SETF's Tom Shepherd and Rod Sellers of the Southeast Chicago Historical Society took the 7th grade students of Douglas Taylor Elementary on a Toxics to Treasures Tour of their own neighborhood.  Students learned about the brownfields and the sources of pollution as well as the green initiatives that exist on the southeast side.  ABC7 was there to capture it on video for their Live Green series. 

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Trees R Beautiful Awarded Mini Grant

Trees R Beautiful received a "mini-grant" from the  program sponsored by the Fuller Park Community Development and Openlands and that is funded by the USDA Forest Service.  The money will be used to purchase trees to plant throughout South Chicago, the Eastside and Hegewisch neighorhoods.  Trees can only be planted on public property or parkways.  The group has enthusiatically submitted their tree order and will be receiving them shortly.

If you would like to have a tree planted in your parkway or if you have questions about tree care, contact project manager Daniel Estrada at 773-375-5397.

Would you like to know more about Trees R Beautiful? Watch this short video produced by Zoe Jennings, a student from Northwestern.

10 Years: Trees In Chicago from Zoe Jennings on Vimeo.

First Eco-Tour of the Season

We had a great turn out for the first Eco-tour of the season.  They were all busy chatting and drinking coffee when the red trolley arrived.  Ruby, the trolley driver,  parked  on the side of the building and opened the doors in a welcoming gesture.  We rounded up everyone and had them board the wooden paneled trolley as quickly as possible as it wasn't going to be easy sticking to our 2 hour timeframe.  The trolley 's benches were a little tight, but what it lacked in comfort, it made up for in quaintness.  We waited five more minutes as one registered guest was  missing.  When he didn't show, Rod Sellers, our tour guide and local historian took his place at the front of the bus and  we headed out to our first destination - the O'Brien Lock and Dam.  Going down 130th,  we passed the Hegewisch Marsh, the expanded Ford Motor plant, LaFarge Cement and a number of other industries that dot the Calumet River. 

Because we were on a tight schedule, we quickly disembarked and gathered around as Rod explained the function of the locks and how the Calumet River was connected to the waterway system.

Time to get back on board and head for the site of the proposed CPD outdoor shooting range.

O'Brien Marsh seen through the window, was calm due to the time of the year and day.
Without being able to enter the site of the proposed gun range, it was impossible to see the nesting Blue Herons and Egrets. 
One can however, easily see the tall landfills in the background.

On our way to Harborside Golf Course, we passed the working end of  Lake Calumet.  Seen here is a freighter parked in one of the slips alongside the grain silos.

Who would believe this was once a landfill instead of the link style course it is today.  Harborside's  hilly terrain borders Lake Calumet, a lake that most Chicagoans aren't aware of.  While the golfers have access to the lake, the general public do not.

Two of our young tourists enjoying the tour and the weather.

The falls over which the water from the river is pumped so that it is aerated.
A view of the Ford Motor Company across the river from the SEPA station.

Indian Creek flowing out of Wolf Lake.

The proprietor of Club 81 Too tells us the history of his restaurant as we stand gathered in his backyard along Wolf Lake.

The ducks gathered around to listen too.

After a delicious lunch of fried chicken and fish, the tour ends with Board Member Tom Shepherd thanking everyone for coming out.

Score One for the Wildlife

On April 21, the MWRD Board voted 9-to-0 to request a wildlife study of the area surrounding, and including, the proposed site for the Chicago Police outdoor firing range.

SETF had opposed the construction of the firing range in an area identified in the Open Space Reserve Plan containing the O'Brien Marsh and Whitford Ponds, two wetlands listed on the National Wetlands Inventory, and home to nesting Egrets and Blue Herons.

We thank Commissioner Debra Shore who was instrumental in convincing the Board of Commissioners to reconsider the request for a survey brought forth by local activists before granting the lease.

Members Raise Funds for SETF

Jim and Julia, residents of the Southeast Side and two of SETF's biggest fans, have offered to fund raise for us by walking on behalf of the Task Force in the "Walk Wisconsin" marathon on June 4th.  The 13.1 mile course utiizes the beautiful trail system in and around Portage County's urban areas.  Upon complition, they will receive a commorative T-shirt and medallion.  If you would like to support their efforts, you can make a pledge of .50 or 1.00 per mile for the 13 miles.

Yes, I would like to pledge now.