75 Volunteers Kick Off ConSERVE Chicago Initiative with Service in Thatcher Woods
Volunteers from across the Chicago area spent their National Public Lands Day with SCA for the launch of ConSERVE Chicago, a public service initiative devoted to mobilizing young people in support of Chicago’s public lands. In conjunction with the Forest Preserve of Cook County’s 100 Years, 100 Events Celebration, 76 volunteers gathered at Thatcher Woods in River Forest to clear invasive plants and help restore habitat in this floodplain forest.
One of the only remaining examples of quality floodplain forest left in the Northeastern Morainal Division of Illinois, Thatcher Woods is located just 10 miles west of downtown Chicago, and offers a 245-acre forest habitat straddling the Des Plains River.
Heading up the project were members of SCA’s Chicago Conservation Leadership Corps and staff from the Forest Preserve of Cook County. Participants also included volunteers from Proviso West High School’s SEED Club, Northwestern University, Rush University, Allstate Employees, Friends of the Forest Preserve interns, as well as many returning SCA alumni – including four members who worked at the same site this summer.
A group of friends joined SCA’s ConSERVE Chicago event to celebrate one of their birthdays with a day of service. “We normally celebrate our birthdays by volunteering as a group at a food pantry or soup kitchen, so this is our first time with an outdoor event,” said Diana Fulaza. “This experience was so much fun that we’ll look for other SCA opportunities. In fact, I’m now interested in signing up for an SCA crew or internship!”
SCA’s Chicago Urban Treehouse program, sponsored by BP America, made sure that even the youngest volunteers had nature activities suited to their age so they could also learn about the environment and conservation.
In total, volunteers removed 1500 square feet of invasives that were choking out the understory by blocking light from reaching the ground. As volunteer Ashley Wold proudly announced, “Now native plants will have a chance to thrive with more sunlight.”
Big thanks to the Forest Preserves of Cook County and all the partners who joined in this project. SCA will host four service events this year as part of the ConSERVE Chicago initiative. Stay tuned at www.thesca.org/events for news on the next event!
See more pics from SCA’s ConSERVE Chicago event.