Joint press release from Alliance for the Great Lakes ● Chicago Botanic Garden ● The Field Museum ● Openlands

(Glencoe, IL) May 10, 2016 – From Winnetka to Lake Bluff and beyond to Winthrop Harbor, the land does something different—something that you don’t expect from a state known for its flat prairies and farm fields. Along Illinois’ North Shore, close to 50 ravines add height, beauty, interest and rare habitat to the Lake Michigan coast. But these ravines are at risk, and four local organizations are teaming up to bring community members and elected officials together to accelerate efforts to protect and restore ravines.

The groups are hosting a day-long workshop, “Revitalizing Our Ravines,” to combine the expertise and experience of homeowners, restoration experts and city officials. The workshop will be held June 1, 2016 at the Chicago Botanic Garden.

“Our ravines are an integral part of our region’s character—part of what sets the North Shore apart. But our ravines are also in trouble,” said Linda Masters, Restoration Specialist at Openlands. “North Shore communities, nonprofit organizations and homeowners are coming together to protect our ravines now before it is too late.”

“There are actions we can take to protect our ravines, and this community workshop is a great way for us all to learn from each other.” said Ethan Brown, Resilience Coordinator at Alliance for the Great Lakes. “Experts and residents in communities along the North Shore are doing great work on their ravines. This workshop will help build on their successes and help us all learn from their stories.”

Workshop sessions will educate attendees on the challenges facing ravines, such as erosion, invasive species, and storm water. Additionally, case studies detailing how municipalities, residents and homeowners have successfully worked together to implement ravine restoration projects will be featured. The day will conclude with interactive sessions where community members will work alongside experts, municipal staff, and community leaders to identify local challenges and explore local solutions for revitalizing our ravines. An optional tour of nearby ravines and recent ravine restoration projects will start the day.

The event is open to the public, however pre-registration is requested by May 22. The cost to attend is $25, which includes free parking, all event sessions, refreshments and the evening cocktail reception. The event is from 12:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m., with the optional ravine tour departing at 8:45 a.m. from the Chicago Botanic Garden. More information about the workshop and tour, including registration information, is available at www.greatlakes.org/ravines.

“The workshop will be a great opportunity for everyone with a stake in the future of ravines, and our region, to learn from each other as we develop realistic solutions,” said Abigail Derby Lewis, Conservation Ecologist at The Field Museum. “When it comes to protecting our ravines and our Lake Michigan coast, we are all in this together.”

“Healthy ravines provide beautiful homes for native birch trees, migratory songbirds, wildflowers and year-round foliage,” said Greg Mueller, Chief Scientist at The Chicago Botanic Garden. “But many of our ravines are eroding. Without thoughtful action, our tree-covered slopes could become muddy ditches that undermine roads and bridges, damage sewer lines, erode property and increase pollution in Lake Michigan.”

Revitalizing Our Ravines is hosted by Alliance for the Great Lakes, the Chicago Botanic Garden, The Field Museum, and Openlands. Funding support for the workshop is provided by The Great Lakes Integrated Sciences and Assessment Center, The Boeing Company, and Buchanan Family Foundation. Sponsors include The Pizzo Group, Cardno, Daniel Creaney Company, Hey and Associates, Inc., Stantec, and V3 Companies.

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For more information contact:

Ethan Brown, Alliance for the Great Lakes, ebrown@greatlakes.org, (312) 548-7593 Gloria Ciaccio, Chicago Botanic Garden, gciaccio@chicagobotanic.org, (847) 835-6819 Jaclyn Johnston, The Field Museum, jjohnston@fieldmuseum.org, (312) 665-7107 Brandon Hayes, Openlands, (312) 863-6260

Download press release: At-risk ravine landscapes focus of June 1 community workshop