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  Last year more people used the County's forest preserves than visited Yellowstone National Park.

Snapshot: Volunteers tackle the brush at Skokie Lagoons

Monday, September 14, 2015
Chicago Tribune
by Karie Angell Luc

aniel Kielson of Winnetka has a beef with buckthorn. So, once a month, an email blast recruits "Skokie Lagoonites," volunteers who converge at the corner of Tower Road and Forest Way Drive between Glencoe and Winnetka to tackle woody buckthorn and other invasives.

Saturday, Sept. 12, was no exception as volunteers staffed the regular second Saturday habitat restoration workday during a three-hour shift at the Forest Preserve District of Cook County's Skokie Lagoons.

"Autumn is here, the birds are chirping and we're bringing more light into the forest," said Kielson, president of the Winnetka-based BackYard Nature Center, which works to educate neighbors about their environment.

The buckthorn was placed in a brushfire managed by steward Dave Kosnik of Morton Grove. Other volunteers Sept. 12 were Bernie McKee of Winnetka, John Levine of Northbrook and Wade Thoma of Winnetka.

"I love nature and the chance to restore the habitat to what it once was," Levine said. "It's an amazing thing."

McKee retired 15 years ago from an insurance business career. On Sept. 12, he tackled a large buckthorn with a handsaw.

McKee won and the weed tree fell with guiding, gloved hands.

The BackYard Nature Center will celebrate the Forest Preserve District of Cook County's 100-year anniversary from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 26, at Erickson Woods Forest Preserve in Winnetka.

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