Speaking of Ecological Restoration...

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By Deb Quantock McCarey

Contributing reporter/Nature blogger

With a 24/7 media stream it's easy to switch from the nightly news to Netflix.

I do it all the time. 

But ignorance is not bliss.

What about the impact of climate change? How do we call a halt to the assault on nature that created the need for ecological restoration in the first place?  And, what can we as individuals and communities do to make a difference - in our public lands and our own backyards?

One way to begin sorting all that out is perhaps to head to First United Church of Oak Park sanctuary, 848 Lake St. on Tuesday November 10 at 7 PM to get the skinny on the promise, politics, issues, plus controversies behind ecological restoration from Irish journalist Paddy Woodworth, author of Our Once and Future Planet: Restoring the World in the Climate Change Century (University of Chicago Press, 2013).

Paddy says:  "This book is the product of 10 years research and writing about ecological restoration projects and stories worldwide; it offers a critical but hopeful assessment of restoration as a key conservation strategy, in the face of accelerating environmental degradation and climate change."

Organized by Green Community Connections, West Cook Wild Ones, DuPage Wild Ones, Seven Generations Ahead and the Oak Park Public Library -- they say Paddy will help us gain a better understanding of everything from the ecological restoration of the prairies in the Chicago region to the the restorative efforts in the South African bush, as well as how ultralight pilots are teaching whooping cranes how to migrate the length of a continent to the restoration of bogs in Ireland.

To set the stage here's a virtual walk through Chicago's Columbus Park, where a particularly good locale to spot migrating and native birds is along the small stream at the back of the island.  In early Fall, before the dip in temps, among other species, I had a close encounter with a gaggle of geese, saw several blue herons and sighted a red wing blackbird while the bees, butterflies and dragonflies were settling into their marsh and prairie habitat, especially active in the waning hours of the afternoon sun.

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