Celebrating Arbor Day - Kickapoo
Creek Park gets new shrubs
Send a link to a friend
[April 28, 2017]
- Trees and shrubs are critical to our environment. They purify our
air, supply oxygen and support all forms of wildlife. And there are
all those other things mankind uses trees for - paper, cardboard,
fuel, wood products including furniture; it's a long list, you know
it, you knock on wood every day.
This is a story of a group of local volunteers, master naturalists,
who have taken their commitment to the environment to another level.
Of them, some might say - every day is like Earth Day or Arbor Day.
Master naturalists practice stewardship of natural areas and are
committed to educate others about nature. Members come from diverse
backgrounds, but all share a deep interest in nature.
Thursday, April 6th dawned bright and sunny, the start of a perfect
spring day, though a might chilly as temps were in the upper 20's
the night before. While not yet much above 30 degrees, 8 a.m. found
this group working with chipper spirits in a cold shed at Kickapoo
Creek Park, their hands dipping in and out of cold water.
Might not sound like fun to most people, but this was a special day.
They were heading into a final phase of a big project. New shrubs
for the park had arrived. The shrubs arrived packed in wet paper to
keep the roots hydrated.
The local group has been working on the KCP shrub project for the
past couple of years.
Last year and earlier this year the group labored clearing large
areas overgrown with invasive shrub species - Japanese Honeysuckle
and Russian Olive found throughout Kickapoo Creek Park.
The shrubs crowd out native species, reduce biodiversity and
nutritional values to wildlife. Recent studies suggest honeysuckle
harbors a type of tick.
Fifteen new shrub species were selected to counter negative issues,
some allow more lower ground growth, several support more
pollinators, others provide greater nutritional food values to birds
and wildlife and they supply other environmental benefits.
Plant choices and placements were decided according
to each location with consideration given to light, soil conditions,
moisture and other environmental factors, such as flooding or wind.
[to top of second column]
The group will continue to monitor and care for the
young shrubs until they get established. Jim Struebing said that
will be a couple to a few years of seeing what works, and then
replacing what doesn't. There may be some other species tried later.
You can see the full list shrubs planted this round
at the bottom of this article.
The work on Thursday entailed sorting the various species for where
they would be planted on Friday.
The new shrubberies are located in groups along the asphalt drive
and the periphery of the park.
The fully rooted starts were purchased from Alpha Nursery in
Michigan. Most varieties from the company are sold in bulk and
bundled in counts of 25.
Fifteen new varieties offer greater diversity that would invite
pollinators, and feed more birds and wildlife a healthier diet:
Red twig dogwood
White flowering dogwood
American wild plum
Master naturalists is a University of Illinois
Extension program. For more information on the program, see