Menu
Stories
Kim Forbeck

Kim Forbeck

Kim Forbeck is the Senior Land Steward at the Urban Ecology Center.

Tuesday, 05 December 2017 09:37

Improvements on the Oak Leaf Trail

The Oak Leaf Trail is my regular bike commute route from home to work and back. The morning commute is an especially quiet and beautiful experience from the morning a whitetail deer ran alongside me for 50 meters to watching the continuous show of wild geraniums in the spring through scarlet colored sumac in the fall. 

A former Chicago-Northwest Railway line, I sometimes imagine what it would have been like to witness those locomotives flying past. In the 1930s, the “400” trains that rumbled along this route were the fastest long-distance passenger trains in the world! The 400 train was named for the route distance of 400 miles between St. Paul, MN and Chicago, IL which it could cover in 400 minutes.

Monday, 30 June 2014 00:00

Baby Parks and Plantings

In the spring of each year, all sorts of adorable baby animals can be seen. This spring, I saw baby Great Horned Owls (called owlets), baby White-footed Mice (called pups, pinkies or kittens) and baby Brown Snakes (called snakelets or hatchlings). We don’t usually pay close attention to “baby” plants, but they’re showing up now too!

What an odd name… witch-hazel. What does it mean? Well, some folks think the leaves look similar to the hazelnut shrub’s leaves, hence the “hazel” portion of the name. But, why “witch”? There are several possibilities. The pliable branches of the witch-hazel have been used as divining rods to search for water, also called water witching. Or it could be for the Old English “wych” which means pliable, as in the English wych elm with its bendable branches. My favorite explanation is this: When witch-hazel seeds mature in the fall they explode out of the fruit in distances of up to 25 feet away! When people would walk through the woods in the fall, they would be startled by the sound of the recently exploded witch-hazel seeds hitting the ground or the leaves of nearby bushes, so they started calling those shrubs “witch hazels” (soucrce: Bedford Audubon Society).

Upcoming Events

Event Listings

Early Morning Bird Walks (Washington Park)

Washington Park

Wednesday, December 13th

8:00 AM - 10:00 AM

More Details...

ROOT - Washington Park - Cancelled

Washington Park

Wednesday, December 13th

9:00 AM - 11:00 AM

More Details...

Find event

Connect

Email Sign-Up

Which Emails would you like to receive?
 
 
 
 

Connect Now

facebook instagram twitter linkedin snapchat

Get Involved

Become a member today!

Copyright © 2016 The Urban Ecology Center. Website by Savvy Panda.