Our Chapter News

Notes from the GREATER DUPAGE Wild Ones chapter

If you haven?t heard about what the Greater DuPage chapter has been doing recently, it has been a lot. Since we don’t typically have a December activity to announce I thought you may enjoy hearing what we have all accomplished together in recent years.

We have been trying to make this chapter work more for you. This includes moving the indoor meetings around the county. We have held them in Glen Ellyn and Warrenville, besides Naperville. Don?t be surprised to see a Downers Grove meeting in late 2015 either.

We have tried to respect your time when enjoying the great and not yet great yards of our members. We do this by joining together yards that are close together, rather than far-flung. So we schedule one trip to two yards that are in the same or contiguous towns, a real two-fer.

We?ve also tried to match meetings together to provide consistent themes. For example this fall we scheduled a picture show of our favorite plants one meeting ahead of the seed exchange. This way you could shop for your seeds in the pictures.

The seed exchange itself provided ample selection itself, with 106 species of native plants represented. Having reviewed other seed exchanges, I believe this is the most abundant shared native seed harvest in the whole country! The excess seeds get donated to several prairies in our area, and this year to an Illinois farm also.

One year ago we came up with a new chapter website www.dupage.wildones.org . You can now send in comments, ask a question or RSVP to an event here. It is already the go to place for the complete list of plant sales, we fielded a bunch of questions/comments on these in the spring.

The new interactive website also helped when we did a most successful plant rescue this year. Two dozen cars hauled off the saved plants, many with hundreds of dollars of plants in their trunks. With a 50-year seed bank, the soil itself was valuable too.

Other activities we have recently done include:

  • Monarch presentations at local libraries, Warrenville and Carol Stream so far.
  • A field trip to and personal visit with the owners of Possibility Place Nursery
  • Beginner’s presentations, attended by 85-100 people each
  • Answered questions at tables at 10 events, fairs from Elmhurst to Joliet
  • Shown movies, in response to your film requests (Kankakee Sands in Jan.2015!)
  • Many interesting nature walks, yard tours, enlightening speakers and potlucks

Two years ago we hosted a free Doug Tallamy speech, by inviting several partner organizations. At the time we reproduced 300 DVD’s of a prior speech, and these have all been distributed, to inform many about the purpose of our mission and natives. We also produced some monarch butterfly T-shirts that were so popular that we ordered a second batch. Gladly, 385 people attended.

How do we accomplish so many things? It is with other members on the chapter board, now 16 strong, who have stepped up. I want to thank these people, and I urge you to talk with them. It is because of their effort that we have gone beyond keeping all these good things parochial only. As a chapter we have donated money to:

  1. Make the Journal magazine a beautiful color publication (yes we started that)
  2. Make grants to the SFE (Seeds for Education) programs
  3. Make grants to author Gerald Wilhelm and Catherine Zimmerman, a filmmaker
  4. Pay for the Wild Ones sign and installation at the WILD Center

And as a chapter we have helped start two new chapters, the West Cook Wild Ones (Oak Park) and the Will County Wild Ones. Started in 2013 and this year respectively they now have 99 members! We further supported them with other monetary donations, speakers, and logistical support.

And despite our chapter having given these new chapters 30 members from the peripheries of our own chapter, our Greater DuPage chapter has grown from 107 to 160 in the past three years. There are now over 500 Wild Ones households in Chicagoland!

I am pleased to have been your president over the last 3+ years. Please welcome Pat Clancy as your new president. You can expect many other great ideas to percolate up through this great chapter in 2015.

Please enjoy the Christmas and New Year?s holidays, and good luck to you and yours.

Sincerely,

Steve Windsor

outgoing president