Every once in a while you meet someone who has integrity, honor, and truly cares about his job and the people around him. Jay is that person.
After Darcy and I finished a senior session at Hoover Forest Preserve, we met Jay as he was doing his job caring for the environment. He is employed by the Kendall County Forest Preserve, and after talking with him, I have a new appreciation for all of those employees who work so hard to keep our preserves looking like they do.
The upkeep in a forest preserve can be overwhelming, and as a patron of the many preserves in my area, I often take it for granted. I do not see the behind the scenes work that goes into keeping the areas clean, and all the maintenance that is required to keep the buildings in good shape. None of us do. We also do not understand about the differences in plant life, and how specific plants can pose a threat.
Did you know that the honeysuckle is a very invasive species that is trying to take over Hoover Forest Preserve? Although beautiful, it poses a significant threat. Read what the University of Illinois Extension has to say about it.
“Bush honeysuckle out competes the native wild flowers and restricts the forest regeneration through restricting the survival of seedlings of the trees in the forested community. Because they are often the first to leaf out in the spring, they easily shade out the desirable native plants. This allows them to expand and crowd out other species increasing their competitive advantage. The reduction in plant populations has a negative effect on the animals in the ecosystem, as well. The reduction of native species reduces the number of native pollinators that are dependent on specific native plant species. Bush honeysuckle also reduced the number of native seed and berry producing plants required for the survival of wintering birds in Illinois. Though bush honeysuckle does produce berries, these berries are not a quality food source for bird species. They lack many of the required nutrients that the permanent bird residents need, particularly in the winter months.
“ Controlling bush honeysuckle is vital to the preservation of native ecosystems in Illinois. Bush honeysuckle currently poses one of the greatest threats to forest ecosystems in Illinois. Simply cutting bush honeysuckle down will not kill the plant (in fact, it may cause the plant to spread out).”
So, as you can see, there is much that goes into actually preserving a forest preserve that we do not understand. All we see is the beauty that is around us and we fail to thank those who are working endlessly behind the scene so we can enjoy it. But, we can help!
Did you know that there are volunteer opportunities available?
Read this, taken from the Kendall County Preserves Volunteer page-
“Volunteers can assist with the natural areas restoration projects underway at many of the preserves, at educational programs and events, and by helping to maintain the gardens at Hoover Forest Preserve”.