A Healthy Nature Handbook
6 x 9
6 x 9
The Chicago metropolitan area is home to far more protected nature than most people realize. Over half a million acres of protected land known as Chicago Wilderness are owned and managed by county forest preserve districts and other public and private sector partners. But there’s a critical factor of the Chicago Wilderness conservation effort that makes it unique: a pioneering grassroots volunteer community, thousands strong, has worked for decades alongside agency staff to restore these nearby natural areas, learning how to manage biodiversity in an altered and ever-changing urban context.
A Healthy Nature Handbook captures hard-earned ecological wisdom from this community in engaging and highly readable chapters, each including illustrated restoration sequences. Restoration leaders cover large-scale seeding approaches, native seed production, wetland and grassland bird habitat restoration, monitoring, and community building.
Contributions from local artists bring the region’s beauty to life with vibrant watercolors, oil paintings, and sketches. A Healthy Nature Handbook is packed with successful approaches to restoring nature and is a testament to both the Chicago region’s surprising natural wealth and the stewards that are committed to its lasting health.
Table of Contents
1 Restoration, Nachusa Style
with Jay Stacy, Bernie Buchholz, Cody Considine, Bill Kleiman, and Kaleb Baker
At the center of Nachusa Grassland's 34-year transformation are volunteers paying close attention to the land.
20 Toolshed: Meet the Parsnip Predator
22 Backyard Seed Factory
with Rob Sulski
Propagating the diminutive conservatives that too often get left out of restorations.
48 Reclaiming Sedge Meadow
with Tom Vanderpoel
Many a sedge meadow has slid back into a mess of reed canary grass. That was before the ten warriors.
63 Point of Craft: A Twist on Brushpile Building
66 Monitoring Fit For A Steward
with Karen Glennemeier
Is your restoration working? Inside some volunteer- scaled techniques to assess your effectiveness and adapt practices.
94 Monitor Birds, See Ecosystems In 3d
with Jenny Flexman
Better accounting for birds and other wildlife can give critical perspective on the ecological health of your site.
122 The Society Of Stewardship
with Stephen Packard, Linda Masters, and Eriko Kojima
Habitat restoration hinges on successful human communities. While it's not always easy, we're never alone.
143 Toolshed: The Scythe
144 Contributing Artists
by Carrie Suzanne Carlson
20 Prairie Reverie
45 Purple Prairie Clover
46 Just Begin
64 Oak Savanna & Black-eyed Susans
91 Rusty-patched Bumblebee & Coneflower
92 Dragonflies & Damselflies
119 Quercus macrocarpa
120 Henslow's Sparrow
146 Sandhill Cranes in Flight