I invite all my friends and concerned strangers (though not for long, if you show up!) to participate in my first-ever Tree Rescue Day, on Saturday, November 16, from 10 AM to 12 PM, in Rogers Park, Chicago.
Trees - towering above us, living far beyond our small lives - shouldn't need our help, but they do. We humans, in our relentless quest for convenience and comfort, carelessly transfer species (plants, insects, animals, bacteria) around the world, disrupting the ecological balance established through millions of years of evolution.
Some of these "out of place" species go wild in their new habitats, killing off their nearest "competitors" and then causing a ripple effect throughout the ecosystem. These are known as invasive species.
Here in Chicago, buckthorn (originating in Europe) is an invasive, rapidly turning some forested areas into mono-cultures, killing off other trees, leaving no room for native grasses and flowers, causing bird, frog and other deaths. Just to give you a sense of it, in the photo below the dark trunks are buckthorn, surrounding and crowding out a much larger tree:
And in lots of places, there is not much besides buckthorn. Ugh.
So I got out every week and fight back against the buckthorn. I do this at the Northpark Nature Preserve (as part of their volunteer corps) and I also head down the street to Chicago "Park" 538, a strip of land along the Chicago Channel (part of the Chicago River North Branch system) between Devon and Touhy, just west of Kedzie. It is managed by the Chicago Park District, but CPD does not have the funds to clear out invasives here, so it's up to....us!
Over at Park 538, I seek out non-buckthorn saplings and smaller trees (there aren't many left) and then clear out the buckthorn around them, to give them access to sun and a fighting chance to grow into a mature tree.
Would you like to help me? I invite you to join me on November 16 at Park 538. You will not only help heal the earth just a little bit from the ravages of humans, but you will also get some great outdoors exercise. Don't worry about the "cold." After ten minutes of wrestling with buckthorn, you will shed your jacket. And you will have the great satisfaction of seeing the forest "open up":
I will provide all the tools, including the amazing Weed Wrench.
Just get in touch through firstname.lastname@example.org, and I will provide all the details, let you know what you need to bring, etc. Oh, and if you can't make it on November 16, but are interested in helping in the future, also get in touch - I go out every week, 2-3 times, so there will be no shortage of opportunity to help.
I promise that you will come out of this experience feeling, well, sore, yes, but also invigorated and much more positive about what each of us can do to solve some of the big problems in our world.
Join me...please! There is so much to do....