Morton Arboretum's Innovative Wetlands Restoration Program Stages Hands-On Restoration Day
Public Invited to Work on Crowley March Side-By-Side with Volunteers and Stewardship Partners Aug. 18, 2012
LISLE, IL (August 10, 2012) – As the nation, and locally Illinois and the Great Lakes region steadily loses marshes, swamps and bogs to development, a relatively young movement to restore lost wetlands and even create new ones has gained momentum and begun to make a small dent. On Saturday, Aug. 18, the public is invited to work alongside Morton Arboretum volunteers and wetland stewards in a hands-on restoration activity designed to engage and educate new and diverse audiences to this vital rebirthing of wetland ecosystems.
“This project helps us demonstrate how improving natural areas increases biodiversity, or the variety of organisms in a given region, and contributes to the health of the environment,” according to Kurt Dreisilker, Manager of Natural Resources for The Morton Arboretum. He adds that wetlands fulfill a number of vital functions for the ecosystem including: providing essential habitat for countless species of mammals, birds, fish and invertebrates, and reducing the severity of floods by slowing and storing flood waters.
Community involvement plays a paramount role in the project, Dreisilker said. During the Saturday morning "Crowley Marsh Wetland Experience Work Day,” visitors will be driven via tram to the East Side marsh where they can join the workers in the planting of 4,500 native wetland plants, or choose simply to observe.
“We’re hoping to increase the number of trained stewards to carry out and even supervise restoration activities, which will greatly improve the ability to conserve and protect natural areas,” he said. “The Crowley Marsh project will improve ground water supplies for the Arboretum’s wetlands and ultimately the environment. We're teaching adults and children about importance of wetlands and other natural areas."
During the event, The Conservation Foundation and SCARCE, local organizations committed to clean surface and ground water will help educate Arboretum visitors, focusing attention on the importance of wetland restoration, clean surface water, and how healthy, functioning wetlands are essential in this process.
This Saturday’s work day is one of a series designed to engage and educate volunteers for the Arboretum’s Woodland Stewardship Training Program to help with the removal of a quarter mile of clay tiles blocking natural drainage for the Crowley Marsh wetlands. It is made possible through a $6,075 grant from American Water, the nation’s largest publicly traded water and wastewater utility company, The Morton Arboretum kicked-off this innovative Du Page River wetlands restoration project earlier in July at Crowley Marsh, the site of the sustainability project.
Stakeholders in the project include the American Water Environmental Grant, and Huddleston McBride Drainage Co., of St. Charles, IL, which is providing contracting services to remove the drainage tiles.
Space is limited for the Aug. 18 event, which will include two hour-long sessions at 9:45 a.m. and 11: 45 a.m. Participants can register online or on the event hotline at 630-725-2066.
Reporters interested in “The Crowley Marsh Wetlands Experience” should contact Mary Beth Sammons at 847-757-3189.
About The Morton Arboretum
The Morton Arboretum is an internationally recognized outdoor tree museum on 1,700 acres. Plant collections, scientific research, and education programs support the mission to plant and conserve trees and other plants for a greener, healthier, and more beautiful world. Throughout natural landscapes are specialty gardens, 16 miles of trails, and nine miles of roads. Other offerings include tree-focused events, activities, and services for adults, children, professionals, and communities. The Arboretum welcomes 800,000 visitors annually and serves 34,000 member households. Located 25 miles west of Chicago in Lisle, Illinois, the Arboretum is open daily 7 a.m. until sunset. More information is available at www.mortonarb.org.
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