North Pond Restoration Update: January 30, 2023

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by Doug Widener

Happy New Year! Since there are two days left in 2023’s first month, we still have time to wish you a bright year ahead. As we ramp into to 2023, we’re excited to put the finishing touches on North Pond’s restoration later this spring and summer. The most noticeable will come once the weather warms this spring:  plantings that will enhance the existing natural areas around the pond and add vital habitat to the hundreds of native species that call the North Pond Nature Sanctuary home. This work will include the addition of nearly 70 new trees, hundreds of native plant plugs and thousands of new native seeds.    

While winter weather has slowed work considerably, a few key items have been accomplished since the last blog, most noticeably the addition of many more orange and yellow flags on the temporary fencing in the pond. The fencing aimed at protecting the emergent plant plugs that were planted last summer and the additional flags are intended as visual cues to keep overwintering birds safe from the fencing and string.  Our thanks to several loyal North Pond birders for their diligence and help in identifying the need for further enhancements to the fencing and for keeping us informed of any issues. This is yet another example of the ongoing communication and responsiveness that is vital to the success of a project like North Pond’s restoration. Our goal is to balance the needs and goals of people, species and the natural system as a whole as we strive for a more robust, diverse and sustainable natural area for resident species and us humans who love them. As always, if you have observations, questions or concerns to share, please contact us at:    

One very visual item that remains and has taken longer than planned is the replacement of the big metal box at the Pond’s north end. Fabrication delays for a more appropriate and visually integrative screen and recently freezing temperatures have postponed its installation. Our hope is to get the box replaced in early February once temperatures moderate and snow dissipates. 

While nature and our bodies are still in the slow-moving slumber of winter, we’re already planning for a busy stewardship season around North Pond. The season will kick off on Earth Day, Saturday, April 22, when we will host our first North Pond stewardship day of the season and, in partnership with the Chicago Park District and the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, host a variety of programs and activities to celebrate North Pond’s restoration. We hope you will join us to give back to the pond and park that provide us so much. For more information or to register, stay tuned to February’s blog or email:   

On behalf of North Pond’s many residents and visitors who speak in voices different than our human ones, thank you for helping us help North Pond. With your partnership, we are committed to ensuring its health and vibrance for this generation and those to come! Even though the major work is wrapping up, the essential work of ongoing care and stewardship of this natural treasure is just beginning. We hope to see you in the Park this season! 

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