Winer Trips!

Dear Friends, 

Lovely snow blankets the ground. Sunlight streams in through the south facing window, warming my back and legs, and coffee.The lengthening of daylight is becoming obvious now, one month past the Winter Solstice. And that should buoy our spirits. Dare we hope that Omicron is the last variant, and that Covid will fade into the past? Not yet, but hope is an eternal flame.

This week in ecology we continue tree study with the 1st Grades, and preps for upcoming Mighty Acorn trips. 

On Wednesday, January 26, 3rd Grade Room 217, will have its first taste of Sauganash, tracking animals, testing their own cold weather mettle, and removing the invasive Buckthorn from the Preserve. Parent volunteers meet at the fish tank at 9:00, we leave at 9:30, and return by 12:30 for lunch (in a warm place). Please join us, if you can.

On Thursday, January 27, 4th Grade Room 307, will visit Sauganash on its  first Winter trip (having missed out last year). I taught them about Buckthorn ID, a kind of intro into winter tree identification. If you have a fourth grader, ask them about it! Below is a photo of  my drawing of buckthorn, and the 6 ways to ID it in Winter. For all classes, we went over strategies for staying warm in winter, the science of heat transfer, insulation, the burning of sugar in our cells to keep us warm, the risk to extremities, and wood craft techniques for staying warm: don’t get your feet wet! That said, the class last week reported that the slough was covered with ice and walkable, skateable, and break danceable. The slough is a shallow wetland. The river on the other hand, is completely off limits in winter. Observe ONLY.

I am in conversation with the 8th grade teachers to bring their students to the garden, to do some work, roast potatoes and drink spiced cider. (They missed out during last Fall’s Harvest Day). I am wondering if anyone has a spare Weber grill to donate. Our last one succumbed to rust. Let me know. 

I also wonder if anyone has an extra flat sled to donate (or loan) to haul our tools over the snow to the worksite at Sauganash. Let me know, as well. Please remember that our field ecology calendar is updated and posted on the website

The Room 216 Sauganash trip canceled because of cold last week is tentatively rescheduled for Wednesday, February 16.

There are regular volunteer workdays at Sauganash. During winter, tasks include cutting and burning buckthorn, an awesome spectacle in the cold of winter with bright new snow. Below I have copied the invitation sent out by steward Jeff Skrentney (former Waters Dad) that explains the procedure for participating.

Stay well,

Mr. Leki

We Need Volunteers for Sunday’s Third LaBagh Restoration Workday of 2022. Please email Jeff if you can join us. This is the only email I will be sending out… Grove #3, 945am Sunday!

LaBagh Restoration Volunteers, I continue to be pressed for time and need anyone not on the list below who can join us for the workday Sunday, January 23rd, to email me with a confirmation that you will attend.  Right now my list for the day has 13 confirmed attendees:  

January 23:
Jeff Skrentny (xH, VWL, SS, BB), Linda Marton (H, VWL, SS, BB) & Dennis Marton (H, BB, Saw), Dave Katzman (H, SS, BB, SAW), Alan Sanders, Nate Bartlett & Jenna, Ellen Farar, Jim Hanson, JJ McLuckie, Janet Dawson, Deb Long Phillips, Becca Hallstedt (H22), Sharon Parmet, Megan Bernard (15 /13).
PLEASE, do not just show up Sunday.  Send me an email letting me know if you can attend, so I can build our workday crews.  BUT, please sign up.  We could easily use another 15-20+ volunteers to do trail work and remove buckthorn this Sunday, January 23rd.  

Our Sunday workday will run from 10am to 1pm, arrive 9:45am, and the weather Sunday looks pretty enticing!!!  Morning snowfall of 1-3 inches, followed by sun.  It will be a bit cold though.  

For our second workday of 2022, we had a GREAT turnout.  The January 16th LaBagh Workday Crew:  Maureen, Ben, Barbara, JJ, Becca, Pete, Molly, Joel, Cesar, Zac, Rob, John, Dennis, Debbie, Mike, David, Katie, Linda, Quinn, Ed, Allison, Kate, Patty, Ryan, Heidi, and not in photograph, burn boss Dave, and the photographer Jeff
****You are receiving this email because A) you have volunteered to help us at LaBagh, and thank you;  ORB) you are part of the core LaBagh restoration team, as defined by your commitment to our restoration efforts, and thank you;  OR C) you are one of our FPCC / NBRP / FOTFP leadership contacts, and thank you.****

As you all know, typically I send a day before the workday email to the crew, but this will serve as my ONLY email for our third workday of 2022, this Sunday, January 23rd.  Those listed above, plus anyone who emails me saying they can join the crew, will be working to continue removing buckthorn and do trail upgrade work.  Depending on who shows up, we need to herbicide A LOT of cut buckthorn, and we have seen to spread in the 1-3 inches of newly fallen snow we should have Sunday morning when we get to LaBagh.  DRESS IN LAYERS.  HAVE WARM BOOTS.  We will have a fire, and that means, as best you can, avoid synthetic material winter coats.  It is going to be a nice day, but a cold one Sunday.  Double up on those socks, wear those LJs, and have a good hat and warm gloves.  We will meet in the Grove #3 area, look for Dennis’ truck “Ella” and the “Volunteer” sign.  That is where we will meet.  Sign up at 945am, workday starts at 10am.  Break will take place at 1130am.  Questions, problems or worries, send Jeff a text message at 773.677.8852.  Though I will be busy tomorrow at Robert’s sectionals (see photo below), I will have time to respond to all messages.    

Please, Please, Please, sign up for these upcoming LaBagh workdays.  

We are also looking for volunteers for all of these winter / early spring workdays which are:February 5th, 13th & 26thMarch 5th, 13th & 26thApril 3rd, 16th & 24th

PLEASE JOIN US!  You can do so by replying to Jeff, listing the dates you can volunteer.  From those volunteer responses, we will build our crews for those dates listed above.  
We are only successful with our LaBagh restoration because of our volunteers.  Please consider helping us this weekend, next weekend or for a workday in the winter of 2022.  We just can’t do this without the help we get from our community volunteers.   ****************************************************************************************************AS ALWAYS, please remember, 

if you don’t already have a FPCC Volunteer Profile, we would REALLY like to encourage you to create a profile on the FPCC website at:
Additionally, if you are not aware, we have two groups on Facebook that you may find of interest.  Please join these groups for updates and photos from LaBagh, if you are interested:My Years Birding at LaBagh Woods – (Lower North Branch) Habitat Heroes –
Finally, we are always interested in having our volunteers learn more about doing restoration in the FPCC.  There are many classes that can greatly enhance your volunteer experience.  Here is a link to see what classes are currently available:,520
Our LaBagh team is always looking for volunteers to take the Invasive Species ID class, and we always need more volunteers who can be Brush Pile Burn bosses after taking that class and doing the appropriate observations.  We always need more folks to apply herbicide, and we will let everyone know when the sign up for the class for the one year license to use herbicide is available.   
Thank you ALL, for everything you all do for LaBagh Woods.  It is a small, but critically important urban FPCC holding, and we can’t do what needs to get done there, without the volunteer energy we get from each of you.  


Jeff Skrentny

Chicago Ornithological Society (COS) Board of Directorslead volunteer for the LaBagh restoration project

Order of the Buckthorn inductee 773.677.8852