Owl Prowl at Ryerson Woods

Image

Our next OWL PROWL is coming up this Friday, November 22 from 7:00 – 9:00 p.m. As the preserve closes as dusk, this is a special opportunity to visit Ryerson Woods at night and to meet some of its nocturnal residents. Our leader is Steve Bailey, an ornithologist with the Illinois Natural History Survey. Steve will fascinate you with a discussion of our resident owls, as well as those that visit in winter.  We always enjoy the specimens he brings, which can include feathers, owl pellets and skins.

If you are serious about learning more about owls, Steve recommends three books:

How to Spot an Owl by Patricia Taylor Sutton and Clay Sutton (1994)

How to Spot an Owl by Patricia Taylor Sutton and Clay Sutton (1994)
North American Owls: Biology and Natural History by Paul A. Johnsgard (1988)

North American Owls: Biology and Natural History by Paul A. Johnsgard (1988)
Owls of North America: A Photographic Guide by Heimo Mikkola (2012)

Owls of North America: A Photographic Guide by Heimo Mikkola (2012)

 

Hope you can join us on November 22 for a memorable experience in Ryerson Woods at night.  As a bonus, you may even see or hear flying squirrels.  If it turns out that date doesn’t work for you, no worries.  Our next Owl Prowl will take place on Friday, February 21, 2014 at 7:00 p.m.  You can find more information closer to the date at brushwoodcenter.org.

EVENT DETAILS: Friday, November 22, 7:00 – 9:00 p.m. 

Owl Prowl with Steve Bailey

Join Steve Bailey, ornithologist with the Illinois Natural History Survey, for a captivating night exploring the mystery of owls at Ryerson Woods. He will discuss owl behavior and identification, as well as the places these fascinating birds are most likely to be seen. He may even demonstrate his world-famous Barred Owl call. After the discussion, Steve will lead a walk in the woods to look and listen for these enigmatic birds. Please dress warmly, and bring along a flashlight and binoculars. Presented in partnership with the Chicago Botanic Garden.  Registration required. Meet at Brushwood Center (21850 N. Riverwoods Rd., Deerfield, IL).

COST:  $37 ($29 Brushwood Center or Chicago Botanic Garden members). 

To register, contact Chicago Botanic Garden at 847.835.8261 or chicagobotanic.org/school.

Drawn to Nature II

Image
Bull thistle illustration (Cirsium vulgare) by Derek Norman

Drawn to Nature II
by Dr. Gregory M. Mueller

Re-posted with author’s permission from the Chicago Botanic Garden website.

Recently, I helped kick off an exhibition of artwork focusing on wildflowers and other plants found in Midwestern woodlands and prairies. This amazing show, at Ryerson Woods in (Deerfield), Illinois, features works by members of the Reed-Turner Artists’ Circle, some of whom teach in the Joseph Regenstein, Jr. School of the Chicago Botanic Garden. This exhibition and activities related to it provide a terrific example of what a “citizen artist” program can accomplish, helping to protect our native plants and the benefits they provide humankind by documenting their beauty and engaging the public.

The Artists’ Circle works to further the interests of botanical art, conservation science, botany, and horticulture at the local level. To highlight the beauty and importance of plants in our lives, the Artists’ Circle promotes and exhibits members’ work in collaboration with local and regional institutions.

In my opening remarks, I spoke briefly about how all life depends on plants, which is one of the basic tenets of the Chicago Botanic Garden. Plants provide us with food, shelter, oxygen, and medicine; they also provide vital services such as climate regulation, air and water quality improvement, and flood control. Yet we are in the midst of a well-documented plant biodiversity crisis, and some experts estimate that up to one-third of the world’s plant species may become extinct within the next 50 years. Unfortunately, far too little is being done to address this crisis. In fact, much of society suffers from “plant blindness,”an inability to see or notice the plants in one’s own environment.

Members of the Artists’ Circle, thankfully, are acutely tuned in to the environment, viewing plants and their role in the world with a unique clarity of vision. Not only are they producing beautiful works of art, they are thinking about developing a “citizen artist” program, and some members have been brainstorming about this idea with me. This program would parallel and enhance the important work that citizen scientists are performing throughout the region and beyond, through Garden involvement in such programs as Project BudBurst and Plants of Concern.

The Drawn to Nature II exhibition, which runs through April 30, highlights the important contributions of botanical artists. It is impossible to be unimpressed by the beauty and complexity of plants when viewing the outstanding drawings and paintings here, created by members of the Artists’ Circle. The subtlety of the art prompts the viewer to see these objects of nature in a new light, eliciting a powerful, emotional response. By provoking such a visceral response, botanical art becomes an effective tool in fighting plant blindness.

Dr. Gregory M. Mueller serves as vice president of Science at the Chicago Botanic Garden. Before joining the Garden, Dr. Mueller worked for 23 years at The Field Museum as curator of mycology in the Department of Botany. He was chair of the Field Museum’s Department of Botany from 1996 to 2005. Dr. Mueller received his B.A. and M.S. from Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, and his Ph.D. from the University of Tennessee. He is also a member of the Friends of Ryerson Woods Advisory Board.