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Support our programming, events, and public gardens by joining West Cook Wild Ones. Click to go to Wild Ones Membership Page.

February 21, 2016:
The Unnoticed Splendor of Ants
Presented by Dr Sean Menke


Room 259, The Priory, 7200 W Division St., River Forest, IL

This presentation will introduce us to the wonders of ants.  We will learn their biology and their importance in our ecosystems and daily lives.  Dr Menke will also discuss the specific species we might encounter in the Chicago region.

Here is a little preview of what we will learn: Real Ant-Man

Dr Menke’s research integrates the study of ecology, behavior, and evolution of ants into the fields of biogeography, community ecology and invasion biology by using modeling and experimental techniques to link patterns of species occurrence with processes that determine species persistence, coexistence, and movement across spatial scales. HIs most recent research has focused on 1) The transition in life history traits of ants between natural and urban environments, 2) How urbanization and biological invasions effect geographic patterns of ant diversity, and 3) How climate and habitat restoration influence ant community structure.

Photo: An ant carries a Bloodroot seed to the nest.  Courtesy of Mike Dunn, Roadsend Naturalist. The link will take you to his article about how ants help to disperse seeds for a variety of plants. 

Free and open to the public.   Park on the east side of The Priory and enter through the door on the east.  Follow the hallway to the end, turn left, and follow that hallway.  Turn right up the stairs (or go straight to the elevator), and head up to the second floor. 

For the accessibility entrance, enter through the south doors.   There is an elevator, which goes to the second floor.  Exit the elevator and turn left for Room 259.  

Thinking About Spring, Plants, and Gardens?

Now's the time to start your planning for Spring planting.  It's a sure fire way to get your mind off our winter weather. We have some interesting articles on our website to get you started....

Native plants for part sun:

Native plants for shady areas:

Native plant resources:
When you are ready, we also have a webpage that has a list of resources for you--from online retailers to local landscapers that are native plant savvy.  Check it out here:

Our Native Plant Sale is scheduled for May 14. Updates coming soon.  
In the Fall of 2016, we will have a separate sale for native shrubs and trees.  


The Green Guides Network is being formed in response to the need to engage people in every neighborhood.  To learn more, join us at the Oak Park Main Library, 834 Lake St., small meeting room for a Green Guides meet-up on one of the following dates:

10 a.m. Thursday, Jan. 28
7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 2

We’ll share our ideas and get your ideas on how to move the needle on sustainability goals:

  • Reduce, reuse and recycle 50% of our waste
  • Conserve water and keep it clean
  • Support our eco-systems with native plants
  • Meet more of our food needs from local, sustainable growers (including ourselves!)
  • Transition to renewable and efficient energy
Small changes can make a big impact when we act together!

The Green Guides Network is part of the PlanItGreen sustainability initiative.  Organizers include Seven Generations Ahead, Green Community Connections, Interfaith Green Network and more.  RSVP below to let us know you’re coming or that you want to be kept in the loop. 

See you at the Kickoff Event for refreshments, idea-sharing and conversation!
RSVP Here!

Upcoming Events:

March 4-6: One Earth Film Fest returns!  The full list of films has been released.   West Cook Wild Ones and Oak Park Edible Garden Cooperative are sponsoring the film Inhabit, a film about permaculture.

March 20: Focus on Bats with Trailside Museum Naturalist Sara Rose. She will help us understand and appreciate these amazing and beneficial but often maligned flying mammals.  The discussion will center on local bat species, natural history, identification, and habitats.  

April 3: We are sponsoring a showing of Symphony of the Soil at the North Riverside Library at 1:30.  Seating is limited: first come, first seated.

Relevant Reading and Events:

February 19: Rick Darke (coauthored Living Landscapes with Doug Tallamy) is coming to the Chicago Botanic Garden to give a visual workshop which will explore ways to incorporate: Habitat, sustainability and eco-system enhancement into landscape designs. He will illustrate: Layers, Edges, Functions, Connections and Wildness. Look for a day with both inspiration and strategies for making truly living landscapes. Register here: Landscape Design Association

Why We Should Learn to Love All Insects (and Not Just the Ones Who Work for Us): We might demur when it comes to mosquitoes (though they have a role in ecosystems), but in general, an attitude that should probably be extended to just about all living things.  

Your Brain on Nature: A neuroscientist's attempt to quantify the effects of time in  nature on the brain.

Get to know the Chicago area better and more deeply through Mike Macdonald's new book: My Journey Into the Wilds of Chicago An absolutely stunning work of art. 
West Cook Wild Ones has formed a collaboration with Green Community Connections, Oak Park Area Edible Gardening Cooperative, Treekeepers, and Go Green OPRF. This collaboration is called the Living Landscapes Project, which is one of the five finalists for the Big Idea Competition.  Thank you to all of our members and supporters--it's because of you that we were able to complete a plan and submit it. A lot of work is still ahead of us. We stay inspired and hopeful because of you.  Stay tuned for details!  The Final Pitch is February 25, and tickets are available here:


Your Input/Volunteer Opportunities

If you are a West Cook Wild Ones member and would like to help out behind the scenes, we would love those who have time, energy, and commitment to help us reach our mission. You can enter information in the Volunteer Form (link below) or send us an e-mail.  

There is a lot that we can do as an organization, and we can accomplish even more with your help.  Let us know what you are interested in doing--we have lots of openings for helping out with gardens, community outreach, seed preparation and packaging.  Just click here: Volunteer Form.  Thanks!

We'd love to hear from you. E-mail us with any feedback at
Become a Member. Join West Cook Wild Ones

Want to help WildOnes?

WildOnes is a 501c(3) Not for profit organization..

Together we can make a difference by creating a wildlife corridor and providing habitat for the species that need our help.

Thanks for your time and for your support of Wild Ones. You are receiving this e-mail because you came to one of our meetings or signed up at a tabling event.

Sincerely, The West Cook Wild Ones Team

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