Welcome to the March 2011 J.P.A.C. Newsletter online

JPAC/Jackson Park home. hydepark.org home. hydepark.org parks home.

Published by Jackson Park Advisory Council, a recognized advisory body to the Chicago Park District, Chicago Illinois

Editor Gary Ossewaarde. Hosted by hydepark.org, website of Hyde Park-Kenwood Community Conference (owner) by OnShore Communications.


Jackson Park Advisory Council meeting of February 14, 2011 Louise

McCurry opened the meeting at 7:30 p.m. Minutes of the January meeting were approved as presented.

Matthew Freer, Chicago Park District Senior Program Specialist in Nature and Cultural Programs, presented. Offerings in outdoor education for ascending ages include Toddlers, Tunes and Turtles; Urban Campers (ages 9-12, have camped at Osaka Garden); Day Camp Field Trips (ages 10-13), Family Overnighters, and field trips including for 2,500 in Jackson and several other parks.

Matthew’s illustrated talk showed ways to cope with a well-researched changed landscape for children, who are in many ways separated from direct experiences with nature and experiences that enhance fitness and wellness including emotional. Many misconceptions and excuses contribute to this, starting with a perception that the outdoors is especially dangerous. Materials prepared with Chicago Wilderness and available to parents describe some strategies to overcome such problems, under the rubrics “Leave No Child Inside,” “Passport to Nature,” and “Outdoor Bill of Rights-What Every Child Should Be Able to Do.” One resource is Richard Louv’s “Last Child in the Woods.”

Freer described specific ways trails grow learning abilities as well as fitness in children and adults, giving as a example improvements (including reduced crime through people presence) when neighbors of a Milwaukee park in a neighborhood like those around Jackson Park built a nature trail and center. Friends of the Chicago River “leave no trace” canoe training could be brought to the basin, fishing programs such as could be enhanced or brought in, and trail exercise station programs such as Inter-recreational Equipment Inc. (REI) could be set up in appropriate parts of a park. Mr. Freer was much thanked for his presentation. JPAC will call upon the resources of his department.

Introductions were made, showing, McCurry pointed out, that all have skills, experiences, and interests to bring to the park and to JPACs’ committees to make a difference. She said it is important to build relationships with the park supervisor and staff as they know who we need to talk to about the many aspects and issues of the park. New attendees included Jerry Levy, who has entered the process to become Wooded Island steward, and Carolyn? Morris, who works with a mentoring and anti-violence program for young women.

Park. William Tillis, Jackson Park Supervisor, talked about program, noting that spring with its sports programs brings in the most kids. Staff is visiting area schools. The essay contest program was two-thirds complete; he showed the trophies that JPAC funded. Andrea Frink revealed her “shopping list” for the fieldhouse. Fran Vandervoort moved, with second, that JPAC appropriate $200 for a microwave oven for the fieldhouse. Unanimously approved.

Jackson Park Nature Trail planning was described and discussed. Fran Vandervoort said components (some near term and some later) include way finding and descriptive signage, trail and habitat enhancement in Wooded Island, Bob-o-link and linking the two and means to maintain these, educational materials and programs, and a dedicated, interactive website. Explained and discussed were a prepared grant proposal to be soon submitted to a local organization, a “seed grant” proposal to Friends of the Parks, a generous Chicago Park District match, and potential other partnerships, all covering different or overlapping components. Motion was made by Michael Taqee and seconded by Norman Bell to approve the nature trail concept and the grant applications. Unanimously approved.

Ziff Sistrunk discussed formation of a sports committee that would coordinate the fields and bring into the discussion the needs and issues of the varied recreational facilities teams and user groups in Jackson Park (including golf and boating). He has photos, and would take more, of the various facilities. His observation was that much is falling apart.

Announcements included awards received by Gary Ossewaarde and Tim Black from Friends of the Parks (Ossewaarde showed his very nice plaque); annual dinner HP Historical Society which has a great interest in the park.

Walk throughs of the natural and related areas of the parks will be held by the Wooded Island Working Group as plans develop or concerns arise.

The council continues to explore conditions, best practices, and appropriate locations for dog parks—the committee was scheduled to meet February 21 at 7 pm at the fieldhouse.

The fundraising committee is developing a plan. Those interested should contact Judith Hill via Gary Ossewaarde.

Chicago Park District and Friends of the Parks hosts its annual resource Conference for park council members Saturday, March 19, 9-2 at South Shore Cultural Center. Register with stonem@fotp.org or dana.andrews@chicagoparkdistrict.com. (Included: illustrated talk on Jackson and Washington Parks by Fran Vandervoort).

Adjourned 8:50 p.m. Respectfully submitted, Gary M. Ossewaarde, Secretary