The just-published spring issue of Chicago Wilderness Magazine is devoted to an exploration of the Calumet region, the bottom of Lake Michigan. The Calumet region stretches from South Chicago all the way to Mt. Baldy, a migrating sand dune just west of Michigan City, Indiana.
It fascinates me that the same region where you can find 24 different species of orchids--compared to just four in Hawaii--is also the same region where 60 square miles are covered in slag from the days of steel. The Calumet River's Indiana Harbor still tests above the "probable effect threshold" for 28 different toxic chemicals and minerals. Yet at the same time, volunteers counted over 2250 different species in nearby Eggers Woods, Powderhorn Lake and Wolf Lake during the Calumet BioBlitz.
Southeast Chicago resident Joann Podkul leads the Calumet Stewardship Initiative, featured in the issue's "Tales of Restoration" section for training locals to become stewards of the conservation sites in the area.
It's great background reading, and even better if you're interested in coming to the Great Chicago Places & Spaces tour of South Chicago on May 16. For more information, click here.