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Natural Enquirer N e w s l e t t e r f o r S p r i n g Va l l e y S u p p o r t e r s a n d Vo l u n t e e r s

Vo l 1 0 • M a r c h / A p r i l 2 0 1 9

In this issue...

This issue of the Natural Enquirer is a bit of a sampler—a little of this and a little of that. It’s always good to ponder the change of seasons that is upon us, and this is provided via a fascinating look at how thin-skinned amphibians survive our winters. In addition, we get an in-depth look at the mechanics of sap production in trees, with an eye towards maples in particular—our tree-of-the-month during March. Lastly, we get a futuristic treatise on drone technology and how it may soon be impacting our lives, even affecting how we study the natural world. After this look into the future, we are able to look back at a life in service to nature education, a fond remembrance of Spring Valley volunteer Dell Meillor.

Inside A Different Kind of Thaw......................................2 In Case You Missed It...........................................3 Green Cleaning.....................................................3 Nature’s Bounty................................................ 4-5 My Memories of Dell Meiller................................5 What’s Happenin’.............................................. 6-9

A Drone by Any Other Name.............................10 Spring Valley General Information....................14 Volunteer News Contents Volunteer Information........................................11 Volunteer Calendar....................................... 12-13

Schaumburg Park District

Visit parkfun.com and take our Spring Valley Program Survey.


S p r i n g Va l l e y • N a t u r a l E n q u i r e r • M a r c h / A p r i l 2 0 1 9

A Different Kind of Thaw

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by Derek Gronlund

s I was crossing the bridge over Salt Creek one January afternoon, I glanced down and was surprised by what I saw. It was moving slowly in the current, turning lazy circles as it drifted beneath my feet and out of sight. “Was that a frog?” I thought to myself. Normally, seeing a frog floating in Salt Creek would not be that unusual, but this was January, and the creek was lined with ice and riddled with clumps of floating snow. I knew that frogs and other amphibians have adapted various ways to survive winter, but I hadn’t really thought much about it until seeing that little guy in the icy water. Now that the winter is coming to an end and spring is around the corner, I thought it was a good time to reflect on where frogs and toads have been all winter.

Ice Cover on Spring Valley’s Pond

In order to wait out the winter, amphibians in Illinois need to find the perfect place to hibernate. The formal names for these places are hibernacula, but they can also be referred to as burrows, hideouts, or homes. An ideal place is protected from severe weather and drying winds, and out of the way of hungry predators. Once a location is found, the amphibian burrows in, and lets the mercury drop. Aquatic frogs, such as bullfrogs, hibernate at the bottom of ponds and lakes, where Ice Crystals Cover a Wood Frog the water is chilly, but does not freeze solid. Beneath the surface, they can often be found sitting on top of the mud, hiding under logs, nestled in vegetation, and occasionally they may even be observed slowly swimming around. Some may burrow slightly into the silt, but if they venture too deep they risk suffocation. The main limiting factor for their survival is having adequate oxygen dissolved in the water, which they absorb through their skin. The cold water and lower levels of oxygen slow the frog’s metabolism to a crawl, so they require minimal food during the winter. Instead, they rely on energy stored in fat and body tissue to persist in the depths. Toads have a slightly different strategy for surviving the cold. As accomplished diggers, they burrow underground, seeking out a place below the frost to winter away. While toads prefer to dig in places with loose soil, they are not opposed to settling in under rotting logs or rocks, and have even been observed crawling into cracks in building foundations. Once a suitable site is found, the toad will use specialized hardened knobs on its back feet to burrow down, entering the tunnel tail-first as it is excavated. Once at an adequate depth (somewhere around 1-2 feet), the toad will curl up and go dormant, awaiting the warmer temperatures of spring. Terrestrial frogs, such as spring peepers, wood frogs, and chorus frogs, aren’t as adept at burrowing as the toads, so they are often unable to dig deep enough to avoid the frost. Fortunately, they have adapted another way of surviving freezing temperatures. In the autumn, as air and soil temperatures begin to drop, these species dig as far as they can under leaf litter or into the crevices of fallen logs, and enter a state of dormancy. If you happen to come across a hibernating terrestrial frog, it may be encased in ice, frozen solid, and appear dead. This is because a frog can practically freeze solid in extreme temperatures, and then become active again when temperatures are milder. In many animals, freezing damages organs and tissue, resulting in death. Frogs avoid this by producing high concentrations of the sugar glucose, which acts as an anti-freeze and cryoprotectant (a compound that protects cells from the effects of freezing temperatures). When temperatures drop low enough, ice crystals start to form under the frog’s skin as their bodies freeze. This triggers the frog’s liver to convert stored glycogen into glucose, which is then released into the body to protect vital organs and cells from rupturing and dehydrating. As an added bonus, when warm temperatures return in the spring, these excess sugars help kick-start the frog’s metabolism as it awakens from dormancy.

Tadpoles Swimming Under the Ice

So this spring, as the winter finally winds down, take a moment to think of the incredible adaptations so many of our local amphibians have made to survive our harsh winters. While we were in our cozy houses, the toads and frogs of Spring Valley were frozen in a state of dormancy just out of sight. In the coming days as the ground starts to warm and the snow thaws, these amazing creatures will undergo their own sort of “spring thaw.” Before long, the days will be filled with the calls and trills of chorus frogs and toads; a sure sign spring is finally here. 2


S p r i n g Va l l e y • N a t u r a l E n q u i r e r • M a r c h / A p r i l 2 0 1 9

In Case You Missed It by Derek Gronlund

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n January 20th, Illinois was treated to the first (and last!) total lunar eclipse of 2019. A lunar eclipse occurs when Earth’s shadow falls across the surface of the full moon. The coppery-red color the moon takes on is caused by sunlight being refracted as it shines through Earth’s atmosphere. Think of it as the sunset being projected onto the moon. The next total lunar eclipse won’t be until May 26th, 2021.

Green Cleaning

by Amanda Anderson

Each year when it’s time yet again to tidy up after a winter of salty boots and damp, snow covered coats many of us debate the best way to freshen up our homes in preparation of spring. One way to tackle spring cleaning is to look for green and environmentally friendly solutions. Green cleaning products are made with ingredients that are non-toxic and can often be made at home. These products don’t leave behind a chemical residue or release fumes, which is better for your family’s health especially if you have young children or grandchildren. Green cleaners also have a smaller environmental impact. Many conventional cleaners use chemicals that take a long time to break down and these chemical can build up over time if introduced into an ecosystem. These cleaners also need to be stored in disposable plastic containers and are shipped to stores in trucks that use gasoline. Using common household ingredients and reusing containers helps reduce the amount of gasoline used as well as reduces landfill waste. Lastly, green cleaning products can be easier on your wallet, as many homemade green cleaners are cheaper than brand named cleaners. Below are recipes for three easy to make, environmentally friendly cleaners.

Scented All-Purpose Cleaner • One part white vinegar • One part water • Lemon rind • Rosemary sprigs

Combine the above ingredients together, pour into a spray bottle, shake, and then let infuse for a week before using. Once done, you can use the solution to freshen up laundry, banish spots on carpeting, and much more. Plus, the fruit’s acid adds extra cleaning properties— perfect for stubborn stains.

Kitchen Cleaner and Deodorizer • 4 T. baking soda • 1 Qt. warm water

To clean kitchen counters, appliances, and the inside of your refrigerator, all you need is baking soda. “It makes a great deodorizer and can be used to shine stainless steel sinks and appliances,” says Carolyn Forte, director of the Good Housekeeping Institute Cleaning Lab. Just pour the above solution on a clean sponge and wipe.

Glass Cleaner

• 2 C. water • ½ C. white or cider vinegar • ¼ C. rubbing alcohol 70% concentration • 1 to 2 drops of orange essential oil for smell (optional) The next time you need to wash your windows and mirrors, combine these ingredients and pour them into a spray bottle. Spray the solution on a paper towel or soft cloth first, then onto the glass. Hint: Don’t clean windows on a hot, sunny day, because the solution will dry too quickly and leave lots of streaks. Adapted from Good Housekeeping Magazine January 2018

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S p r i n g Va l l e y • N a t u r a l E n q u i r e r • M a r c h / A p r i l 2 0 1 9

Nature’s Bounty

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by Matt McBrien

ach February, we are reminded that winter’s icy grip will, eventually, relinquish itself and warmer days are in the not so distant future. Once again, we approach the much anticipated sugaring season as we prepare supplies to collect and cook down the clear, sugary harvest from the faithful maple trees scattered throughout the property. Holes will be drilled and taps set for the silver collection pails that will hang on sturdy trunks waiting to intercept the watery sap hidden beneath the bark. The barrel stove will soon be chock full of seasoned wood that crackles as it is consumed while the large pan that sits atop the stove begins to boil down the bounty from the tree.

Sap Pail

Most of you probably know the process, having been involved in one way or another through the years; however, you might not know what leads up to the sap in the bucket. It doesn’t start with the drill and tap. It starts long before that, in the warm summer months of the prior year. During spring and summer, the leaves in the crown of the tree manufacture the food needed for the tree’s growth and survival through the process of photosynthesis. Leaves use sunlight to convert carbon dioxide and water from the roots into carbohydrates (sugar). The carbohydrates are what feeds or fuels the tree through the summer months. When fall approaches, excess sugars are converted to starches through a chemical process within the tree and stored throughout the limbs, trunk, and roots for later use.

Tree Rings

The trunk of a tree is composed of five layers of tissue: the outer bark, inner bark (phloem), cambium, sapwood (xylem) and heartwood. The outer bark provides protection for the inner layers of the tree and insulates them against the heat and cold. The inner bark (phloem) transports food from the leaves to the roots of the tree where it is used for growth or stored as starch for later use. The cambium is a thin layer of cells that produce new growth (in the form of phloem and xylem) in the trunk. The sapwood (xylem) acts as a pipeline, moving water from the roots to the leaves. The heartwood is the dead material that provides support and strength to the trunk and limbs. The root systems of a tree perform several functions: absorption of water and nutrients; anchoring and supporting the tree’s mass; and storing food and nutrients.

The sugars produced during the summer months are transported throughout the tree to support new growth, wound healing and flower and sees production. Surplus sugars are converted to starches and stored to be used the following spring for leaf production until photosynthesis can again begin to produce the sugars needed for the new growing season. These are relatively standard processes for all deciduous trees. Very few tree species, however, exhibit a spring sap run similar to that of the maple. Of the species that do, birch and walnut for example, spring sap flow is generated below ground within the roots as pressure forces sap upward into the trunk. In maple trees; however, the process is somewhat unique. Sap flow is generated within the xylem, rather than the roots, and is driven by the expansion and contraction of carbon dioxide gases trapped within the transport pipeline during the freeze thaw cycle. When temperatures drop below freezing at night, carbon dioxide present within the tree is absorbed into the wood fiber and sap is pulled upward from the roots, similar to water being drawn up through a straw. As temperatures warm during the day, carbon dioxide gas is released creating pressure within the pipeline of the xylem and forcing the sap upward or through wounds… or, in this case, tap holes in the trunk. 4


S p r i n g Va l l e y • N a t u r a l E n q u i r e r • M a r c h / A p r i l 2 0 1 9

A pruning cut or broken branch is usually the first indicator that the annual sap flow has begun. The length of a sap run can last from a few hours to a few days. The strongest flows occur when the temperatures fall below freezing, allowing sap to be replenished within the xylem, then cycling above freezing once again. In tapped trees, daily sap yields can vary greatly from a few drops to 10-20 gallons during ideal conditions. Sugar content of the sap can vary between 1% to 8%, depending on environmental conditions during the previous growing season as well as variety of maple. The sugaring season typically begins in February and continues through mid to late March, with exact timing dependent on latitude and weather. Having grown up with the store-bought, maple-flavored highfructose corn syrup, I had no idea what I was missing until I came to Spring Valley. There really is no alternative to the small batches of smoky syrup cooked down over a wood burning stove. Try some for yourself, if you haven’t already done so, and take the taste test at our upcoming event. The celebration of nature’s bounty will take place at our annual Sugar Bush Fair on March 16th and 17th. Join us for a delicious pancake breakfast with authentic maple syrup to top it all off.

Boil Down

My Memories of Dell Meiller, Former Spring Valley Volunteer by Venus Gintowt (another volunteer)

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ell Meiller began her involvement with Spring Valley in the 1980s by teaching Prairie Woods Audubon’s Web of Life program to School District 15 intermediate grade students. She went into the schools to prepare students to visit the prairie at Spring Valley and the wetlands at Deer Grove Forest Preserve. Dell was in her 70s when she began volunteering at Spring Valley in the 1990s. She was very well qualified for both of these natural interpreter occupations because of her long career as science teacher and science coordinator of the Glencoe School District. When Dell and her husband Roy came to the Chicago area from Wisconsin in the 1950s, they both started their teaching careers. She returned several years ago to her native Wisconsin to be with her family in Baraboo, and continued to live a very active life until just recently when she passed away at the age of 101 years. Dell loved sharing natural history with children and adults. When she volunteered at Spring Valley’s Heritage Farm, she enjoyed making rural German-American history come alive for visitors, as she herself had been raised in the countryside. Dell loved trying new recipes both in the farm kitchen and in her own kitchen. Whenever she invited me to lunch at her home, she always treated me to an eye-appealing and appetite-satisfying meal.

Dell had many interests, several of which I was blessed to share with her, in addition to our volunteering at Spring Valley. She was extremely fond of cranes, in particular the sandhill crane, and would keep an eye on the skies in the fall and spring when they were migrating. She read books about them, took photos of them, and supported the International Crane Foundation in Baraboo. On one visit with her there a few years ago, we made sure that we got around to see each one of the 15 species of cranes in the world that are all cared for and exhibited at the Foundation. She collected art and craftwork on cranes and other birdlife. And she herself expertly needlepointed pillow covers and other decorative items illustrating wildlife. Dell was a lifelong learner of so many things, from the geology of Wisconsin to how to play a better game of pool! She had fun sharing so much with others. We, who knew her, have those special times to remember and will miss her greatly. 5


S p r i n g Va l l e y • N a t u r a l E n q u i r e r • M a r c h / A p r i l 2 0 1 9

Click on program/icon for information and to register online.*

*To create a new account, visit the registration desk at the CRC or download an internet registration form at parkfun.com under the registration tab. Programs will be cancelled three days in advance if minimum is not reached, so register early! Spring Valley offers an early bird discount on programs. Prices in the current brochure reflect that discount and will be in effect until one week before the date of the program. At that time, fees will increase 15%. Programs with insufficient registration will be cancelled at noon three days before the program. Please take advantage of this opportunity. It is our attempt to serve you better!

Growing Up Wild: Early Childhood Teacher’s Workshop | Saturday, March 9 • 9 a.m.- Noon Have fun with crafts, music, reading and math and receive an activity guide correlated to the NAEYC Early Childhood Standards and the Head Start Learning Outcomes.

PLT: Early Childhood Teacher Workshop | Saturday, Apr. 13 • 9 a.m.- Noon

Environmental Experiences for Early Childhood includes over 130 activities that engage children in outdoor play and exploration and is specifically designed for educators who work with children ages 3 to 6.

Early Childhood Educators’ Combo | Saturday, May 11 • 9 a.m.- 4 p.m.

Receive two nationally acclaimed curricula, Project Learning Tree Environmental Experiences for Early Childhood and Growing Up Wild.

Project Learning Tree | Saturday, May 25 • 9 a.m.- 3 p.m.

Project Learning Tree® is an award-winning environmental program designed for educators, parents and community leaders. Enjoy a fun filled day learning about and participating in many of the 96 interdisciplinary activities.

ADULT

Illinois Heirloom Gardening

Saturday, May 18 • Noon-2 p.m. Learn to grow organic herbs and vegetables in your own backyard without the use of pesticides or chemicals. Course: LLG008-001

Harper College & Spring Valley

Register through Harper College or call 847/925-6707. Class held at Spring Valley.

Monarch Butterfly Rearing Workshop

Creating with Concrete: Birdbaths

Saturday, April 6 • 2-4 p.m. Learn how to collect monarch eggs, build rearing cages and raise monarchs from eggs and release as adults. Course: LLG0004-001

Saturday, May 4 • 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Participants will get hands-on experience working with cement and making a rustic birdbath.

Weekly Yoga at the Cabin

Backyard Bat Housing

Tuesday, March 19-May 28 • 6-7 p.m. Thursday, March 21-May 30 • 6-7 p.m. Thursday, March 21-May 30 • 7:30-8:30 p.m. Nurture your mind and body in this rustic setting and connect with nature.

Saturday, April 13 • 2-3:30 p.m. You will learn all about bats while building your own bat house to take home. Course: LLG0005-001

Garden Bench Workshop

A Beginner’s Intro to Yoga at the Cabin

Saturday, April 27 • 1-2:30 p.m. Create a hand-made Aldo Leopold wooden bench. All materials and tools are provided. Course: LFS0006-001

Tuesday, March 19-May 28 • 7:30-8:30 p.m. This yoga class is designed to introduce new students to yoga. All ages are welcome. 6


S p r i n g Va l l e y • N a t u r a l E n q u i r e r • M a r c h / A p r i l 2 0 1 9

ALL AGES

Sugar Bush Schaumburg Park District's

Breakfast with the Birds

Saturday, May 4 • 7-9 a.m. Enjoy an early morning walk to look for Spring Valley’s colorful migratory birds.

Fair

EARLY CHILDHOOD Bunny Tracks

Saturday, April 13 • 1-3 p.m. Come see what our bunny families are up to, read a story and explore Spring Valley!

NEW • Lil’ Nature Trekkers

Saturdays • 9:30-10:45 a.m. March 23 - Maple Trees April 13 - Rocks Join a naturalist for a nature-based story, craft and outdoor exploration.

NEW • Winter Wanderers

FREE ADMISSION!

Wednesdays • 3-5 p.m. March 20 - First Signs of Spring Take a walk through the winter woods, explore animal tracks and solve winter mysteries.

MAPLE SUGARING-Originally published by Currier & Ives

Saturday & Sunday, March 16 & 17

NEW • Nature Play Date

Thursdays • 11:45 a.m.-12:30 p.m. April 18 & May 2 Explore natural wonders through age-appropriate science and spend time at Bison’s Bluff.

9 a.m.-noon

Enjoy a pancake breakfast with real maple syrup, sausage, juice and coffee. See authentic demonstrations of maple syrup production, a pioneer sugar camp, children’s puppet show, hayride and sales of syrup and other goodies. Breakfast tickets will be available for purchase midFebruary. Click here for more information.

Home School Naturalist Group Programs Spring Valley Nature Center and Heritage Farm are the perfect places for hands-on, exploration based science programs.

Springtime Schaumburg Park District's

This spring the following topics are offered: • Wetland Defenders – Using scientific techniques, determine the water quality of Spring Valley’s wetlands. • Woodland Wildflowers – Learn the parts of a flower and explore the woods for spring flowers. • Spring Birds – Go over bird watching basics, learn common bird calls and examine real bird nests. • Available every spring – Farms and Food, Gardening, Nighttime Nature, Owls: Predators of the Night, Springtime Growth, Wetlands, Conservation in Action, and Woodlands.

$4 per person • $16 per family 3 yrs & under Free

on the

Farm

S­­­­­­­­­­­­­unday, April 14 • Noon-4 p.m. Spring brings new life and activity to the Heritage Farm.

For more information about programs and pricing, or to schedule a program, call 847/985-2100.

Things to see and do for all ages! Activities include cow milking, plowing and blacksmithing demonstrations. Click here for more information.

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S p r i n g Va l l e y • N a t u r a l E n q u i r e r • M a r c h / A p r i l 2 0 1 9

FAMILY

Heritage Farm Drop-in Programs

Winter Campfire in the Cabin

Friday, March 8 • 6:30-8 p.m. Enjoy a hike to the cabin, tell stories, sing songs, enjoy hot chocolate and practice pioneer skills!

Family Woodworking

Sunday, March 10 • 1-2:30 p.m. Construct and decorate a birdhouse to spruce up your yard.

Eggsapalooza

All about Animals Series

Saturday, April 13 • 10-11:30 a.m. Add Spring Valley to your family’s Easter traditions by joining us on our annual egg hunt!

Tuesdays, April 9-30 • 9-10 a.m. Cows, horses, and chickens, Oh My! Learn about the farm livestock through story time, a craft and, best of all, by meeting them! Each week focuses on a different animal. Pre-registration is not required. Class starts promptly at 10 a.m. Children must be accompanied by an adult.

Spring Bird Count

Saturday, May 4 • 7 a.m.-5 p.m. Help count birds during the Audubon Society’s spring bird count. This is an excellent opportunity to sharpen your bird identification skills.

Appropriate for children age 3-5 years • • • •

YOUTH

$3 per child

April 9........... Chicken Chat April 16.......... Piggly Wiggly April 23......... Wow Cows! April 30........ Horsing Around

Pioneer Pancakes

Saturday, March 9 • 1-3 p.m. Help make maple syrup the old-fashioned way. Then enjoy some maple syrup on pancakes.

Pot o’ Gold Hunt

Campfire and Wagon Ride

Saturday, March 9 • 10-11:30 a.m. Follow the leprechaun’s trail and hike through the prairie and woods to find the hidden treasure!

Prairie Pirates

Saturday, May 11 • 1:00-2:30 p.m. Put your naviatin’ skills to the test for a pirate scavenger hunt at Bison’s Bluff.

Enjoy an old German spring celebration with an evening of witchy merriment at Heritage Farm!

Space Day

Friday, May 3 • 7:30-9 p.m. Spend an evening at Spring Valley exploring the exciting and fascinating aspects of space.

Training for NEW Monarch Butterfly Volunteers

Friday, April 26 6-8 p.m. Parking at Spring Valley Nature Center 1111 E. Schaumburg Road, Schaumburg Fee: $7 a person. Children ages 3 yrs and younger are free

For information, call 847/985-2102 or visit parkfun.com.

Saturday, May 4 • 2-4 p.m.

NEW • Spring Day of Fun

Tuesday, April 2 • 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Friday, April 19 • 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Spend the day having some spring-themed fun exploring Spring Valley. Dress for the weather.

Butterfly stewards are needed to help raise monarch butterflies at Spring Valley’s Monarch Rearing Station and help teach visitors about monarchs during daily butterfly releases. Learn what’s involved in collecting monarch eggs and nurturing them through all four stages of development until they are released as adults. Monarchs will be released daily throughout the monarch season, approximately June through early October. Volunteers also will help tag the fall generation for citizen scientists to study if they are found in Mexico. Call the Nature Center at 847/985-2100 to register.

Spring Valley Spring Break Camp

Monday-Friday, March 25-29 • 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Spend spring break at Spring Valley. We’ll cook over an open fire, look for signs of animals, make crafts, play games and more. 8


S p r i n g Va l l e y • N a t u r a l E n q u i r e r • M a r c h / A p r i l 2 0 1 9

Nature Center Drop-in Programs

Weekend Horse-Drawn Wagon Rides at the Farm

NEW • EARTH WEEK

A week of FREE nature programs in honor of Earth Day (April 22). Registration is not required, just stop by the Nature Center for some Earth Week fun!

Beginning April 6, from noon to 3 p.m., relax and enjoy a horsedrawn wagon ride through Heritage Farm as staff relates information about the farm, animals and the history of Schaumburg’s farm families. Dress for the weather.

Monday, April 22: Buckthorn Busters • 4-6 p.m. Celebrate Earth Day by lending a hand to help maintain the health of Spring Valley by removing invasive Buckthorn from the property. All equipment will be provided. We’ll meet in front of the Nature Center by the flag pole.

• Saturdays and Sundays only. • Tickets are sold on a first come, first served basis the day of the ride and no earlier than 15 minutes before the start time. • Tickets are $4/person; children 3 and younger are free. • Wagon holds a maximum of 15 people. • Rides begin and end next to the Farm Visitor Center.

Tuesday, April 23: Afternoon Bird Hike • 4-5 p.m. Join a Spring Valley naturalist for a hike through the grounds to see all the birds that call Schaumburg their spring home. Meet in the Nature Center exhibit room.

Note: Wagon rides may be cancelled due to extreme weather (storms or heat) and/or animal health issues. Wagon rides will not be offered on Special Event days. Please call 847/985-2102 or visit parkfun.com for the most up-to-date information.

Wednesday, April 24: Diggin’ in the Kids’ Garden • 4-5 p.m. Dig around with us in the Kids’ Garden looking for life right below the surface of the soil. Meet in the Spring Valley Kids’ Garden located in the backyard of the Nature Center.

For information, call Heritage Farm at 847/985-2102.

Thursday, April 25: Evening Bat Hike • 7:30-9 p.m. Learn why bats are so beneficial, how you can help them and what species live right here in Schaumburg. Then hike Spring Valley to watch them flying in the night sky. Meet by the flag pole in front of the Nature Center. Friday, April 26: Plant an Oak Tree • 4-5 p.m. Discover how to grow an oak tree from an acorn seed; then plant some on Spring Valley’s property. Participants also will be able take an acorn with them to plant at home and watch it grow. Meet in the Nature Center exhibit room. Saturday, April 27: Meet the Turtles • 1-3 p.m. Drop in anytime to the Nature Center’s exhibit room during the two hours and acquaint yourself with Spring Valley’s resident turtles.

Native Plant Sale

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Sunday, April 28: Earth Day Party! • Noon-4 p.m. Join us for our annual Earth Day event. See page 14 for details.

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EARTH DAY PARTY

Sunday, April 28 • Noon-4 p.m. Spring Valley Nature Center Activities include:

• Live birds of prey

• Seed bomb launching

• Beekeeping demonstration

• Worm composter construction* • Kids crafts

Food and beverages available for purchase.

• Wildflower transplanting

*Small fee for these activities

• Schaumburg Township District Library Story Walk

Sunday, May 19 • 10 a.m.-2 p.m.

Highlights include:

• Birdhouse building*

This celebration of environmental stewardship features information on landscaping with native plants, composting, attracting birds, rain gardens, plant sale and more. Pre-order plants at SchaumburgGardenClub.org and SpringValleyNatureClub.org. Order forms may also be picked up at the Nature Center. Click here for more information.

Sponsored by Spring Valley Nature Club

For information, call 847/985-2100 or visit parkfun.com.

Co-sponsored by Spring Valley Nature Club and Schaumburg Community Garden Club 9


S p r i n g Va l l e y • N a t u r a l E n q u i r e r • M a r c h / A p r i l 2 0 1 9

A Drone by Any Other Name

U

by Walter Plinske

nmanned aircraft systems (UAS), also known as “drones” have taken on a negative image because of their use by certain black-hearted disruptors at airports to upset operations there. Added to this is their application by the military to blow enemy combatants and their equipment to bits with remote-controlled surgical deadliness. There is another side to them, however. With their onboard computer-controlled cameras and their ability to go where people and other machines cannot, drones will be able to assist those working in law enforcement and transportation, as well as farmers, environmentalists, and archeologists, among others. Their manufacture in this country comprises a new growth industry that can create tens of thousands of new jobs in the future! The time for drones has arrived because of the intersection of three technologies: computer control, optics, and propulsion. The development of light weight micro-computers was vital. The bulky mini-computers of the recent past would require a mid-sized airliner to house and power them. Miniaturized down to a few cubic inches from a few cubic feet and powered by light weight lithium batteries, these computers can assume total control of a drone’s flight. Likewise, the bulky cameras of the past required the likes of a U-2 spy plane to transport them. Today’s cameras can fit in the palm of your hand. Propulsion by internal combustion engines has been replaced by D.C. motors powered by the same batteries running the computer. Those batteries themselves would constitute a fourth emerging technology. And as time progresses, their storage capacity will improve from minutes to hours. Ever since 9/11, drones have become an essential tool for the U.S. armed forces. The Pentagon armed their surveillance drones and planes with missiles so that their operators, sometimes thousands of miles away, could destroy their targets with impunity. Aerospace firms like Lockheed and Northrop-Grumman soon churned out a plethora of smaller drones with increasingly smarter computers and keen sensors. Along with images, they could measure airborne chemicals, pathogens, and radioactive materials. At least 50 countries now have drones, including China, Israel, and Iran. Aviation firms are now designing drones ranging in size from robotic moths and hummingbirds to Boeing’s Phantom Eye, a hydrogen fueled monster with a 150 foot wingspan that can cruise at 65,000 feet for 4 days! Biologists use drones to study animals in hard-to-reach places. In nests high in the jungles of Sumatra and Borneo, orangutans are being studied without the menacing presence of their wouldbe benefactors. Drones have been used to catch poachers and illegal logging throughout the tropical world. The data that drones collect can vastly improve the accuracy of population counts. Drones have helped scientists collect data on volcanoes in Costa Rica, archeological sites in Russia and Peru, and flooding in North Dakota. In agriculture, they help farmers check and spray crops. Some see them as being used to keep track of pets, livestock, wildlife, even Alzheimer’s patients; anything or anyone equipped with radio-frequency I.D. tags that can be read remotely.

Drone

U-2 Spy Plane

Altair Mini

Drone

FedEx Drone

Going beyond being eyes in the sky, researchers are attaching arms to drones that can grab objects in midair like a falcon or legs that allow them to perch like an eagle. They are building planes that glide like condors by exploiting thermal updrafts, and developing solar-powered craft that never have to land to refuel. One group is even building drones that will flock together like birds, moving in unison without crashing into one another. Most drones are small and carry only cameras, but over the past several years a number of companies have been working towards viable passenger drones by addressing the various technical, safety, and regulatory problems. The German Volocopter, which is backed by Daimler, features a two-seat 18-rotor “air-taxi”. It can be operated by pilot or computer and is all electric. It can fly for 30 minutes with a range of 17 miles. The Ehang 184, made by a major Chinese drone maker, is a flying taxi that holds one person or 500 pounds of payload. It has a range of only 10 miles and is fully automated. If it is damaged, it’s designed to make a controlled descent to safe ground. Uber is working with NASA to make the Elevate, a “vertical take-off and landing” (VTOL) passenger drone. Airbus plans to have its electric passenger drone operational by 2023. It may be interesting to realize what effect this speeding-up of technology may have on the current contentious debate about border walls. If a drone can now transport 2 people and be remotely controlled, it could fly over a 20 foot wall and still be under radar detection. Smuggled goods or people would be safely delivered before the border patrol knew they were there. Before the concrete even cured, the wall would be obsolete. 10

Porsche Drone

Ehang 184 Drone


S p r i n g Va l l e y • N a t u r a l E n q u i r e r • M a r c h / A p r i l 2 0 1 9

Volunteer News

Dates to Remember

Volunteer Want Ads

If you are interested in helping with any of the following activities, please call Judy at 847/985-2100 or e-mail her at juvito@parkfun.com.

Sugar Bush Set-Up

Thursday, March 14 Can’t help at the Sugar Bush Fair, but still want to be part of it? Join us the before the event to help set-up. We have a variety of activities which need to be done. Come at 9:30 a.m. and stay for all or part of the day!

dinner provided by volunteers and staff. Come and help kick off the Farm’s upcoming volunteer season!

Schaumburg Park District Volunteer Recognition

Tuesday, April 9 Join the Park District at its annual volunteer recognition event at Chandlers. Keep an eye out for your invitation which will be arriving in the mail.

Springtime on the Farm Sugar Bush

Saturday/Sunday, March 16 & 17 Have you thought about volunteering for the fair, but haven’t talked to Judy yet? Please give her a call. Shift time is 8 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Remember – there’s a free pancake breakfast for all volunteers!

Sunday, April 14 Volunteers are needed to help our guests experience a busy spring on the Farm. Help prepare the fields and gardens for planting, do some spring cleaning 1880s style, or assist with children’s activities and food sales. The event runs from noon to 4 p.m.

• Thursday, March 14........9:30 a.m.-3 p.m. Sugar Bush Set-Up • Sat./Sun., March 16 & 17..... 9 a.m.-Noon Sugar Bush • Monday, March 18.............1:30-3:30 p.m. Handy Crafters Meeting • Thursday, March 22................6-7:30 p.m. Annual Farm Kick-off Meeting • Monday, April 8..................1:30-3:30 p.m. Handy Crafters Meeting • Tuesday, April 9........................... 5-7 p.m.. Volunteer Reception at Chandlers • Sunday, April 14................... Noon-4 p.m.. Springtime on the Farm • Wednesday, April 17................7-9 p.m. Monarch Refresher • Friday, April 26............................. 6-8 p.m. Walpurgis Night • Sunday, April 28................... Noon-4 p.m. Earth Day Party

Welcome New Volunteers… • Sander Chagoya • Anjoli Patel • Nirali Patel • Gary Rams • Barb Thomas (Welcome back!)

Heritage Farm Volunteer Kickoff Meeting

Thursday, March 22 If you volunteer in any capacity at the Heritage Farm or just want to find out about volunteer opportunities there, you are invited to attend this meeting held at the Nature Center Visitor Center from 6-7:30 p.m. Attendance by all volunteers involved with interpretation, livestock care, and kitchen gardening is strongly encouraged. Staff will fill you in on the plans for the Farm for 2019. Feel free to come early at 5 p.m. to socialize with your fellow volunteers while enjoying a potluck

Monarch Refresher Meeting

Wednesday, April 17 It’s time for a refresher course for last year’s monarch volunteers. Join us as we go over some changes to the program in preparation for the 2019 monarch season. We’ll meet in the Nature Center from 7-9 p.m.

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Happy Birthday to… March 1 2 3 4 8 11 12

John Curin Jay Johnson Cynthia Clark Kevin Kaitis Judy Velan Jenny Greco Amanda Szotek Roy Svenson

April

1 Daryle Drew Marianne Ommundson Ellie Vogel 8 Zach Gross 11 Duane Bolin 14 Patty Ochs Alice Vogel

13 Alan Kraus 15 Barb Kuhn 17 Alex Flint Barb Muehlhausen 23 Christine Curin 28 Bob Pautsch 30 Amy Vito 31 Cathy Blecker

19 Bill Bidlo 20 Jerome Dvoratchek Hope Rapp 24 Charlie Loh 26 Sophia Holmes 28 Rich Wysocki


S p r i n g Va l l e y • N a t u r a l E n q u i r e r • Vo l u n t e e r C a l e n d a r

Sunday

Monday

Tuesday

MARCH 2019 Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

1

Farm Closed Cabin Closed Bold indicates volunteer activities Italics indicates programs which may be taken as complimentary by volunteers See “What’s Happening” for program descriptions

3

4

5

•Weekly Yoga at Cabin 6pm •Weekly Yoga at Cabin 7:30pm

10

Daylight Savings Time Begins •Family Woodworking 1pm

11

12

6

7

Spring Valley Nature Club 6:30pm

13

•Weekly Yoga at Cabin 6pm •Weekly Yoga at Cabin 7:30pm

14

Sugar Bush Set-Up 9:30am

Schaumburg Community Garden Club 7pm

17

18

Sugar Bush Fair 9am

Handy Crafters Meeting 1:30pm

25 M-F

31

20

•Winter Wanderers 3pm

•Weekly Yoga at Cabin 6pm •Weekly Yoga at Cabin 7:30pm

St. Patrick’s Day

24

19

26

21

28

•Spring Valley Spring Break Camp 10am

•Weekly Yoga at Cabin 6pm •Weekly Yoga at Cabin 7:30pm

•Weekly Yoga at Cabin 6pm •Weekly Yoga at Cabin 7:30pm

12

2

•Smooth as Butter 10am •Sundown Supper in the Sugar Bush 4pm

9

•All Scouts Sugar Bush 9am •Pot O’ Gold Hunt 10am •Pioneer Pancakes 1pm

•Winter Campfire at the Cabin 6:30pm

15

16

Sugar Bush Fair 9am

Sierra Club 6:30pm

•Weekly Yoga at Cabin 6pm •Weekly Yoga at Cabin 7:30pm

27

8

Saturday

22

23

•Lil’ Nature Trekkers 9:30am

Farm Volunteer Kickoff Meeting 5:30pm

29

30


S p r i n g Va l l e y • N a t u r a l E n q u i r e r • Vo l u n t e e r C a l e n d a r

Sunday

Monday

1

Tuesday

2

•Spring Day of Fun 9am

•Weekly Yoga at Cabin 6pm •Weekly Yoga at Cabin 7:30pm

7

8

Handy Crafters Meeting 1:30pm

9

•All About Animals 9am

•Weekly Yoga at Cabin 6pm •Weekly Yoga at Cabin 7:30pm

14

Springtime on the Farm Noon

15

16

•All About Animals 9am

•Weekly Yoga at Cabin 6pm •Weekly Yoga at Cabin 7:30pm

21

22

•Buckthorn Busters 4pm

Easter

28

Earth Day Party Noon

Earth Day

29

23

•All About Animals 9am •Afternoon Bird Hike 4pm

APRIL 2019 Wednesday

3

Thursday

4

Spring Valley Nature Club 6:30pm

10

17

18

24

•Diggin’ in the Kids’ Garden 4pm

12

19

•Spring Day of Fun 9am

•Weekly Yoga at Cabin 6pm •Weekly Yoga at Cabin 7:30pm

25 •Weekly Yoga at Cabin 6pm •Weekly Yoga at Cabin 7:30pm •Evening Bat Hike 7:30pm

•Weekly Yoga at Cabin 6pm •Weekly Yoga at Cabin 7:30pm

6

•Monarch Butterfly Rearing 2pm

13

•Lil’ Nature Trekkers 9:30am •Eggsapalooza 10am •Bunny Tracks 1pm •Backyard Bat Housing 2pm

•Weekly Yoga at Cabin 6pm •Weekly Yoga at Cabin 7:30pm

•Nature Play Date 11:45am

Monarch Re-training 7pm

5

•Weekly Yoga at Cabin 6pm •Weekly Yoga at Cabin 7:30pm

11

Schaumburg Community Garden Club 7pm

Saturday

Friday

30

20

Passover Begins

26

•Plant an Oak Tree 4pm

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•Garden Bench 1pm •Meet the Turtles 1pm

•Walpurgis Night 6pm

Farm Hours: Tuesday-Sun 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Cabin Closed

•All About Animals 9am

•Weekly Yoga at Cabin 6pm •Weekly Yoga at Cabin 7:30pm

•Weekly Yoga at Cabin 6pm •Weekly Yoga at Cabin 7:30pm

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Bold indicates volunteer activities Italics indicates programs which may be taken as complimentary by volunteers See “What’s Happening” for program descriptions


S p r i n g Va l l e y • N a t u r a l E n q u i r e r • M a r c h / A p r i l 2 0 1 9

SPRING VALLEY | Schaumburg Park District • 1111 East Schaumburg Road, Schaumburg, Illinois 60194 Spring Valley is a refuge of 135 acres of fields, forests, marshes and streams with over three miles of handicapped-accessible trails, a museum featuring natural history displays and information, a new nature playground and an 1880s living-history farm. Spring Valley is open to the general public. Admission is free.

Hours:

Schaumburg Road

Plum Grove Road

N

Volkening Heritage Farm

Grounds and Trails April 1 - Oct. 31.............. Daily................. 8 a.m.-8 p.m. Nov. 1 - March 31........... Daily................. 8 a.m.-5 p.m.

Vera Meineke Nature Center & Bison's Bluff Nature Playground

Nature Center/Museum Hours Year-round...................... Daily................. 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Bison’s Bluff Nature Playground April 1 - Oct. 31.............. Tue-Sun........... 9 a.m.-8 p.m. Mon.................. Noon -8 p.m. Nov. 1 - March 31........... Daily................. 9 a.m.-4 p.m. (weather permitting)

Merkle Cabin

Volkening Heritage Farm April 3 - Nov. 18.............. Daily................. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Mon.................. Museum buildings CLOSED Dec. 1 - March 31........... Open for Special Events & programs only

Spring Valley 135 acres

Unless otherwise noted, all programs are held rain or shine. Participants should dress appropriately for weather conditions.

Vera Meineke Nature Center 847/985-2100

Volkening Heritage Farm 847-985-2102

The earth-sheltered visitor center provides an introduction to Spring Valley’s 135 acres of restored prairies, woodlands and wetlands and three miles of trails. The center contains natural history exhibits that change seasonally, a demonstration Backyard for Wildlife, an observation tower, classrooms, an extensive library, gift sales area and restrooms.

Step back into the past for a look at Schaumburg as it was in the 1880s – a rural German farm community. Help with seasonal farm chores, participate in family activities and games of the 1880s, or simply visit the livestock and soak in the quiet. Authentically dressed interpreters will welcome and share activities with visitors throughout the site.

Environmental Outreach Program

Scout Badges

We’ll bring our outreach program to your site. Topics include forests, worms, spiders, mammals, owls, food chains, food webs, wetlands, and the water cycle. Students will participate in hands-on activities, songs, and games. Topics may be adapted to students in grades one through six, and are aligned with Illinois State Standards and NGSS.

We offer many opportunities for scouts. Our programs will help with your badge, pin or patch requirements. Call for more information or stop in for a brochure.

Spring Valley Firepit and Shelter Rentals

Make your next scout group, business or family gathering something special! Spring Valley offers the use of a picnic shelter and fire pit in a wooded setting near the Merkle Log Cabin. Use of the site includes firewood, trash/recycling receptacles and benches, as well as picnic tables. No alcohol or amplified music permitted. Restrooms are available at the Heritage Farm or Nature Center, a 5–10 minute walk. The adjacent Merkle Log Cabin contains a restroom and may be rented for additional fees.

Programs at Spring Valley

School, Scout and adult groups are encouraged to take advantage of Spring Valley’s Environmental Education Program. Programs change seasonally and are geared for specific age groups. Correlations to the state standards, connections with NGSS, and activity sheets are available on the SPD website, www.parkfun.com. Learn local history with a visit to the Heritage Farm. Elementary and high school students recreate farm life in the 1880s with Hands on History; second graders experience it through Heritage Quest. Children from the age of four through second grade will learn about food, farmers, and farm animals in Farms and Foods.

SPRING VALLEY MISSION STATEMENT:

Spring Valley’s mission is to educate area residents regarding the natural and cultural history of the Schaumburg area and how people have and continue to interact with and upon the landscape.

Hourly use fees: Residents:.............. $25

Civic groups:...............................$25

Non-residents:....... $40 Corporate/business groups:.......$55

SCHAUMBURG PARK DISTRICT BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS:

NATURAL ENQUIRER STAFF: Mary Rice.......... Editor

Mike Daniels Sharon DiMaria David Johnson George Longmeyer Bob Schmidt

Judy Vito............ Volunteer Coordinator Dave Brooks...... “In this Issue...” Scott Stompor.... Graphic Artist

SCHAUMBURG PARK DISTRICT WEBSITE: parkfun.com

E-MAIL:

springvalley@parkfun.com

MEMBER:

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR: Tony LaFrenere

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Profile for Schaumburg Park District

Natural Enquirier: March/April  

The Natural Enquirer is a newsletter for Spring Valley volunteers and supporters.

Natural Enquirier: March/April  

The Natural Enquirer is a newsletter for Spring Valley volunteers and supporters.