Osterman Beach Stewardship Days

A volunteer participates in Osterman Beach Stewardship Days, planting native species along the coast of Lake Michigan in Chicago, Illinois - Event Photography by Michael Courier

A volunteer participates in Osterman Beach Stewardship Days, planting native species along the coast of Lake Michigan in Chicago, Illinois.

It may seem like a trivial issue, but native plants play an important and pivotal role within local ecosystems. They provide food and habitat for other native species, and they protect the health of the environment.

Renee Patten has been leading Osterman Beach Stewardship Days, in a joint effort with the Chicago Park District and the Edgewater Environmental Sustainability Project. Last spring, I joined her and 50 other volunteers as they planted 1,500 native species.

June Grass, for example, is well adapted for sandy soil. Its root system helps mitigate soil erosion and protects the health of Lake Michigan’s coastline.

Starting April 26th, there will be more stewardship days at Osterman Beach throughout the year. You’re welcome to join Renee or some of the many stewardship days across the city. You’ll be able to learn about native plants while protecting our ecosystem!

A volunteer participates in Osterman Beach Stewardship Days, planting native species along the coast of Lake Michigan in Chicago, Illinois - Event Photography by Michael Courier
Renee Patten works with local volunteers - Event Photography by Michael Courier

Renee Patten, center, works with local volunteers during an Osterman Beach Stewardship Day.

June Grass, before and after it was planted at Osterman Beach - Event Photography by Michael Courier

June Grass, before and after it was planted at Osterman Beach.

Understanding Invasive Species

Invasive species are often introduced to new environments through human interaction. This could be unintentional, through ballast water — or intentional, through the deliberate act of transportation.

When invasive species are introduced to a new region, they often overrun the native inhabitants, due to a lack of competition and disease.

In the Great Lakes Region, we suffer from many invasive species — like zebra mussels and sea lamprey. Non-native plants affect the ecosystem by impacting the food chain, making it harder for native species to find sustenance.

Volunteers participate in Osterman Beach Stewardship Days, planting native species along the coast of Lake Michigan in Chicago, Illinois - Event Photography by Michael Courier
Volunteers participate in Osterman Beach Stewardship Days, planting native species along the coast of Lake Michigan in Chicago, Illinois - Event Photography by Michael Courier

Volunteers plant native species at Osterman Beach in Chicago, Illinois.

Resources for Covid-19

While Covid-19 continues to impact daily life, I’ll continue posting images from previous events — highlighting local organizations, their missions, and the communities they serve.

If you’ve been financially impacted during this trying time, I’ve compiled a list of local and national resources that may be able to help ease your situation. As I discover new resources, I’ll continue to add them to the list.

Volunteers participate in Osterman Beach Stewardship Days, planting native species along the coast of Lake Michigan in Chicago, Illinois - Event Photography by Michael Courier
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