Buy Parking  |  Shop  |  Join

Feed aggregator

Bird Walks

Birding Events at the Forest Preserves - Fri, 09/23/2016 - 9:00am

Join us for a morning stroll to look for resident and migrating birds. Beginners welcome! Limited binoculars available. Registration required at least two days prior.

The post Bird Walks appeared first on Forest Preserves of Cook County.

Perkins Woods Birding Trip

Birding Events at the Forest Preserves - Thu, 09/22/2016 - 7:30am

Join the Evanston North Shore Bird Club to look for warblers and other fall migrants. Street Parking. Meet at the corner of Ewing Ave and Grant St.  Please visit http://ensbc.org/trips.html for updates and contact information.

The post Perkins Woods Birding Trip appeared first on Forest Preserves of Cook County.

Expedition to Door County

Plant Science and Conservation - Wed, 09/21/2016 - 2:44pm

Last June, I headed up to Door County, Wisconsin, with Kay Havens, our director of plant science and conservation,  for a 31-day trip to undertake our annual fieldwork. “A month at the beach!” you say, thinking it such a treat! Well, yes and no.

Four undergraduate students in our REU program joined us to track literal life and death events in two plant populations on the dunes of Lake Michigan. The dunes can be more than 20 degrees Fahrenheit hotter than ambient temperatures, and we work in the interdunal swales, where no lovely breezes off the lake can reach us. It is often well over 95 degrees in the dunes, even if it’s a balmy 75 degrees in Sturgeon Bay. But, no matter—we are on a mission! On days with the hot sun both beating down and reflecting up from the sand, we observed, measured, and recorded the births, deaths, and reproductive successes of one of our favorite plants: the threatened pitcher’s thistle (Cirsium pitcheri). 

 Pitcher's thistle (Cirsium pitcheri)

Pitcher’s thistle (Cirsium pitcheri)

We find every seedling we can, and place a flag next to it to help us keep track of the ones we’ve counted. We don’t want to miss a single one. Each seedling is a measure of successful reproduction for this monocarpic perennial. Monocarps—plants that only flower once before they die, are completely dependent upon producing as many successful offspring as they can, all in the quest to ensure that they just replace themselves. When all plants successfully replace themselves, a population is stable.

Just to replace yourself is a monumental undertaking for a plant that flowers once and then dies. Especially for pitcher’s thistle. The dunes are a harsh environment for a tiny baby plant. Many of them die—exposed to the heat, and without enough water to sustain them. We estimate that fewer than one in ten seeds germinate and survive each year, and in some years, only a small percent of those survive the winter to become a juvenile plant the next year. That means that each flowering plant must produce many seeds to replace itself. The good news? Generally, if a seedling survives to the juvenile stage, it has a much increased chance of survival to make it to the next stage—a vegetative plant—and the vast majority of those go on to reproduce at some point.

 Kay Havens, ready to record data at Ship Canal Nature Preserve, owned by the Door County Land Trust.

Kay Havens is ready to record data at Ship Canal Nature Preserve, owned by the Door County Land Trust.

However, seed germination and seedling survivorship and growth depend upon two things: where you come from and where you live. To look at this, we took 100 seeds from each of our two study populations and grew them in “seed baskets” in our study garden at the Chicago Botanic Garden. We also grew the same number in seed baskets at their respective home sites. Regardless of population, they germinated and grew very readily in our study garden. But there were very stark differences at our study sites in Door County: seed germination was 39% at one site, but only 9% at the other.

 Pitcher’s thistle seedlings sprouted in one of our seed baskets at the Ship Canal Nature Preserve.

Pitcher’s thistle seedlings sprouted in one of our seed baskets at the Ship Canal Nature Preserve. The pair of yellow-green “leaves” opposite each other are actually cotyledons, or seed leaves, and are the first photosynthetic organs to emerge from the seed during germination.

 These are Pitcher's thistle seedlings that have grown very large under the favorable conditions of the test garden on the south side of the Plant Science Center.

These are pitcher’s thistle seedlings that have grown very large under the favorable conditions of the test garden on the south side of the Plant Science Center. In just one growing season, they have grown as large as plants three to four years old that grow under natural conditions.

Why the difference? Well, our first site is definitely more hospitable! Even we are happier to work here. It’s not nearly as hot, and the dune structure is more flat, so the breeze off the lake makes things more pleasant—for plants and people alike! And it appears to this observer’s eye that there’s more water available close to the surface here. This year, there are two large patches in the dune that have been perpetually damp. In contrast, our second population is literally high and dry, making life hard for the little pitcher’s thistle seedlings. How does this affect the prospects of these two populations overall? Stay tuned! We’ll let you know when we have finished our analysis of the long-term trends at these two very different sites.

One plant, two places—offering a fascinating glimpse of a life of contrasts.

©2016 Chicago Botanic Garden and my.chicagobotanic.org

Expedition to Door County

Garden Blog - Wed, 09/21/2016 - 2:44pm

Last June, I headed up to Door County, Wisconsin, with Kay Havens, our director of plant science and conservation,  for a 31-day trip to undertake our annual fieldwork. “A month at the beach!” you say, thinking it such a treat! Well, yes and no.

Four undergraduate students in our REU program joined us to track literal life and death events in two plant populations on the dunes of Lake Michigan. The dunes can be more than 20 degrees Fahrenheit hotter than ambient temperatures, and we work in the interdunal swales, where no lovely breezes off the lake can reach us. It is often well over 95 degrees in the dunes, even if it’s a balmy 75 degrees in Sturgeon Bay. But, no matter—we are on a mission! On days with the hot sun both beating down and reflecting up from the sand, we observed, measured, and recorded the births, deaths, and reproductive successes of one of our favorite plants: the threatened pitcher’s thistle (Cirsium pitcheri). 

 Pitcher's thistle (Cirsium pitcheri)

Pitcher’s thistle (Cirsium pitcheri)

We find every seedling we can, and place a flag next to it to help us keep track of the ones we’ve counted. We don’t want to miss a single one. Each seedling is a measure of successful reproduction for this monocarpic perennial. Monocarps—plants that only flower once before they die, are completely dependent upon producing as many successful offspring as they can, all in the quest to ensure that they just replace themselves. When all plants successfully replace themselves, a population is stable.

Just to replace yourself is a monumental undertaking for a plant that flowers once and then dies. Especially for pitcher’s thistle. The dunes are a harsh environment for a tiny baby plant. Many of them die—exposed to the heat, and without enough water to sustain them. We estimate that fewer than one in ten seeds germinate and survive each year, and in some years, only a small percent of those survive the winter to become a juvenile plant the next year. That means that each flowering plant must produce many seeds to replace itself. The good news? Generally, if a seedling survives to the juvenile stage, it has a much increased chance of survival to make it to the next stage—a vegetative plant—and the vast majority of those go on to reproduce at some point.

 Kay Havens, ready to record data at Ship Canal Nature Preserve, owned by the Door County Land Trust.

Kay Havens is ready to record data at Ship Canal Nature Preserve, owned by the Door County Land Trust.

However, seed germination and seedling survivorship and growth depend upon two things: where you come from and where you live. To look at this, we took 100 seeds from each of our two study populations and grew them in “seed baskets” in our study garden at the Chicago Botanic Garden. We also grew the same number in seed baskets at their respective home sites. Regardless of population, they germinated and grew very readily in our study garden. But there were very stark differences at our study sites in Door County: seed germination was 39% at one site, but only 9% at the other.

 Pitcher’s thistle seedlings sprouted in one of our seed baskets at the Ship Canal Nature Preserve.

Pitcher’s thistle seedlings sprouted in one of our seed baskets at the Ship Canal Nature Preserve. The pair of yellow-green “leaves” opposite each other are actually cotyledons, or seed leaves, and are the first photosynthetic organs to emerge from the seed during germination.

 These are Pitcher's thistle seedlings that have grown very large under the favorable conditions of the test garden on the south side of the Plant Science Center.

These are pitcher’s thistle seedlings that have grown very large under the favorable conditions of the test garden on the south side of the Plant Science Center. In just one growing season, they have grown as large as plants three to four years old that grow under natural conditions.

Why the difference? Well, our first site is definitely more hospitable! Even we are happier to work here. It’s not nearly as hot, and the dune structure is more flat, so the breeze off the lake makes things more pleasant—for plants and people alike! And it appears to this observer’s eye that there’s more water available close to the surface here. This year, there are two large patches in the dune that have been perpetually damp. In contrast, our second population is literally high and dry, making life hard for the little pitcher’s thistle seedlings. How does this affect the prospects of these two populations overall? Stay tuned! We’ll let you know when we have finished our analysis of the long-term trends at these two very different sites.

One plant, two places—offering a fascinating glimpse of a life of contrasts.

©2016 Chicago Botanic Garden and my.chicagobotanic.org

Michael Szabo’s Site-Inspired Sculpture Coming to ACE

Garden Blog - Mon, 09/19/2016 - 11:19am

It always starts with the place. The garden, the park, the stairwell, the commuter train station—wherever the artwork will be sited, Michael Szabo starts out by spending time in it. Szabo, a maker of sculpture, waterworks, and tabletop vessels, is one of the artists who will be featured in the American Craft Exposition (ACE), held at the Chicago Botanic Garden this weekend, September 23 through 25.

Buy your ACE three-day pass today to see the show all weekend long. 
10 a.m. – 6 p.m. Friday & Saturday
10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Sunday
$13 member/$15 nonmember

At this juried exposition and sale of fine crafts, visitors can see and buy one-of-a-kind works in metal, ceramics, fiber, jewelry, glass, leather, and other media. The show, which features some of the top crafts artists in the country, will help support pharmacogenomics at NorthShore University HealthSystem.

Attending the show is a chance not just to see and buy art, but to talk to the artists about their creative process. Szabo’s begins with the site.

“I’ll come and look at a space, and it’s the space that really inspires the concept and the work, as well as the goals of the project,” he said from his studio in San Francisco.

 Michael Szabo begins work on a piece in his San Francisco studio.

Michael Szabo begins work on a piece in his San Francisco studio.

He considers the landscape, the architecture, the feeling. He thinks about the spot’s history, its place in people’s daily lives, its meaning to a community. Then he puts his hands to work.

He builds a small model, experimenting with various materials and exploring how they move and behave. Ideas begin to take shape.

“The way the material acts is the starting point for defining the form,” he said. “I’m not trying to force anything to do anything it doesn’t naturally want to do.”

Take water. Szabo has learned by experience that you can’t force water to do anything.

“I’ve come up with a lot of my concepts about water by observing it, seeing how it falls, and trying to build the piece kind of around that,” he said. “I’ll design the sculpture around the water rather than the other way around. Water does what it wants.”

But metal?

“Metal is a very forgiving and versatile material,” he said. “You get some beautiful curves out of it.”

As he builds the model, the exploration and creativity flow.

 For larger, sited works, Michael Szabo visits the site to make sure the piece will integrate into its surroundings when complete.

For larger, sited works, Michael Szabo visits the site to make sure the piece will integrate into its surroundings when complete.

“It’s almost like I’m using this solitary, really exploratory process of building a small structure by myself and seeing what the material wants to do, creating these curves based on the material, gravity, stress, and pressure,” he said.

Then Szabo and his assistants turn his model into a full-size artwork. They fabricate support structures and shining curves of steel, assemble them in the studio and make the model into large-scale art—a wall of rugged metal panels covered by sheets of falling water, a sculpture formed of intertwining tendrils of steel, another that arcs and curves like a huge, silvery snake.

 Studio staff assist in welding a larger piece.

Studio staff assist in welding a larger piece.

 Equipoise by Michael Szabo, Bronze, 14' x 11' x 9', 2015, Tysons Corner, VA

“Equipoise” by Michael Szabo, Bronze, 14′ x 11′ x 9′, 2015, Tysons Corner, Virginia

But his work isn’t all large-scale; he has never stopped making the small, sleek, steel vessels that marked his first explorations into making art with metal. He’ll be bringing some of his elegant tabletop sculptures to ACE, along with larger pieces and water features. And while visitors to the show will get to talk with outstanding artists about their work, the artists will also be able to talk to the public. It’s an interaction Szabo appreciates.

 "Alight" by Michael Szabo, Bronze & Stone, 36" x 14" x 12", 2014

“Alight” by Michael Szabo, Bronze & Stone, 36″ x 14″ x 12″, 2014

“It’s a really great opportunity to show what I can do and talk to people about what I do,” he said. “I really like getting the feedback and reactions of people to my work. It helps me understand how it’s engaging people.”

He is deeply involved in his current project, a commission from the town of Wylie, Texas, to create sculptures marking the start and finish of a walking path. He plans to evoke both the site’s past as a Texas blackland prairie and its future as part of the bustling Dallas metroplex. He’ll be glad to talk to you about it.

©2016 Chicago Botanic Garden and my.chicagobotanic.org

Worms eat my garbage / by Mary Appelhof ; with illustrations by Mary Frances Fenton.

New Book Arrivals - Mon, 09/19/2016 - 9:05am
Worms eat my garbage / by Mary Appelhof ; with illustrations by Mary Frances Fenton.
Author: Appelhof, Mary, author.
Call Number: SF597.E3A67 2016

Seed to supper : growing and cooking great food no matter where you live / John Tullock.

New Book Arrivals - Mon, 09/19/2016 - 9:05am
Seed to supper : growing and cooking great food no matter where you live / John Tullock.
Author: Tullock, John H., 1951- author.
Call Number: TX801.T85 2016

The natural heritage of Illinois : essays on its lands, waters, flora, and fauna / John E. Schwegman.

New Book Arrivals - Mon, 09/19/2016 - 9:05am
The natural heritage of Illinois : essays on its lands, waters, flora, and fauna / John E. Schwegman.
Author: Schwegman, John E., author.
Call Number: QH105.I3S39 2016

A history of kitchen gardening / Susan Campbell.

New Book Arrivals - Mon, 09/19/2016 - 9:05am
A history of kitchen gardening / Susan Campbell.
Author: Campbell, Susan, 1931- author.
Call Number: SB322.C366 2016

Edible numbers / Jennifer Vogel Bass.

New Book Arrivals - Mon, 09/19/2016 - 9:05am
Edible numbers / Jennifer Vogel Bass.
Author: Bass, Jennifer Vogel, author.
Call Number: QA113.B37 2015

Edible colors / Jennifer Vogel Bass.

New Book Arrivals - Mon, 09/19/2016 - 9:05am
Edible colors / Jennifer Vogel Bass.
Author: Bass, Jennifer Vogel, author.
Call Number: QC495.5.B37 2014

The book of palms = Das Buch der Palmen = Le livre des palmiers / Carl Friedrich Philipp von Martius ; text by H. Walter Lack.

New Book Arrivals - Mon, 09/19/2016 - 9:05am
The book of palms = Das Buch der Palmen = Le livre des palmiers / Carl Friedrich Philipp von Martius ; text by H. Walter Lack.
Author: Martius, Karl Friedrich Philipp von, 1794-1868, author.
Call Number: QK495.P17M378 2016

The algae of Illinois / by Lewis Hanford Tiffany and Max Edwin Britton.

New Book Arrivals - Mon, 09/19/2016 - 9:05am
The algae of Illinois / by Lewis Hanford Tiffany and Max Edwin Britton.
Author: Tiffany, L. H. (Lewis Hanford), 1894-
Call Number: QK571.T56 1971

Spring flora of Missouri / Julian A. Steyermark.

New Book Arrivals - Mon, 09/19/2016 - 9:05am
Spring flora of Missouri / Julian A. Steyermark.
Author: Steyermark, Julian A. (Julian Alfred), 1909-1988.
Call Number: QK170.S79 1964

Oak pests : a guide to major insects, diseases, air pollution and chemical injury / by J.D. Solomon [and others].

New Book Arrivals - Mon, 09/19/2016 - 9:05am
Oak pests : a guide to major insects, diseases, air pollution and chemical injury / by J.D. Solomon [and others].
Call Number: SB608.O115O25 1980

Les broméliacées : approche panoramique d'une grande famille "américaine" / Albert Roguenant, Marcel Lecoufle, Aline Raynal-Roques.

New Book Arrivals - Mon, 09/19/2016 - 9:05am
Les broméliacées : approche panoramique d'une grande famille "américaine" / Albert Roguenant, Marcel Lecoufle, Aline Raynal-Roques.
Author: Roguenant, Albert, author.
Call Number: QK495.B76R65 2016

Street farm : growing food, jobs, and hope on the urban frontier / Michael Ableman.

New Book Arrivals - Mon, 09/19/2016 - 9:05am
Street farm : growing food, jobs, and hope on the urban frontier / Michael Ableman.
Author: Ableman, Michael, author.
Call Number: S451.5.B65A25 2016

Raised bed revolution : build it, fill it, plant it ... garden anywhere / Tara Nolan.

New Book Arrivals - Mon, 09/19/2016 - 9:05am
Raised bed revolution : build it, fill it, plant it ... garden anywhere / Tara Nolan.
Author: Nolan, Tara, 1977- author.
Call Number: SB423.7.N65 2016

Meadows at Great Dixter and beyond / Christopher Lloyd with a new introduction by Fergus Garrett ; photographs by Jonathan Buckley and Carol Casselden.

New Book Arrivals - Mon, 09/19/2016 - 9:05am
Meadows at Great Dixter and beyond / Christopher Lloyd with a new introduction by Fergus Garrett ; photographs by Jonathan Buckley and Carol Casselden.
Author: Lloyd, Christopher, 1921-2006, author.
Call Number: QK938.M4L56 2016

The vegetation of Georgia (South Caucasus) / George Nakhutsrishvili.

New Book Arrivals - Mon, 09/19/2016 - 9:05am
The vegetation of Georgia (South Caucasus) / George Nakhutsrishvili.
Author: Nakhut︠s︡rishvili, G. Sh. (Georgiĭ Shalvovich)
Call Number: QK377.N35 2013

Pages

Subscribe to Chicago Botanic Garden aggregator