Our Year In The Woods - Thank You
Special Greetings from the Steward,
As the frosty, silver-plated mornings cast a winter blanket over Fugate Woods, the trails settle into the quiet of the months ahead. Only the rhythmic work of the woodpeckers or the distinctive screams of the red-tail hawks compete with the wind in the bare tree tops to break the peaceful silence.
In reflection, it has been a year of discovery and persistent goodwill from the many volunteers and visitors to the woodlands and prairie spaces of the PLF parks.
The intense drought provided an expanded opportunity to enjoy the woods in June and July after the early flush of bloom, six weeks early this year. Observant hikers made new discoveries of Michigan Lily and Green Dragons, several pairs of stunning Wood Ducks, and just recently, the return of some river otters to the waters of the stream. August brought a marked drying of the streambed, offering up countless river mussels as a buffet for the raccoons. However disconcerting to observe, the sizable population indicates the positive health of the water habitat. A stream assessment is planned for the coming year.
Dedicated volunteers extended generous gifts of support throughout the year, maintaining the trails for the pleasure of the public, building and installing new benches along the trails, guiding nature walks, offering their talents in support of events, youth camps, scouting activities and classroom field trips. Fugate Woods and the associated parks will serve as a training site for the University of Illinois Master Naturalist/citizen scientist program beginning in the Fall of 2013. A diligent team of volunteers has worked countless hours and is nearing completion of a permanent bathroom facility adjacent to the main entrance to Fugate Woods off 1000 North Road. It will be a pleasure to make public acknowledgement of their contribution at completion next spring.
The beginning of sustainable burning efforts in Fugate Woods is anticipated dependent on weather conditions, as are efforts to re-plant the riparian areas along both creeks.
Thank you to each and every one who continues to support the gift of pleasure and education our community receives with each visit to ‘the woods’. I hope to see you on the trails, even when the snow flies. All the habitats can be their own special winter wonderland to explore.
P.S. Keep an eye on the website calendar here at www.fugatewoods.org for announcements of possible winter activities, plus an exciting opportunity on February 23 yet to be announced.