Winter 2005
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Woods of Wisdom

December – January 2004 - 2005

"All ethics so far evolved rest upon a single premise: that the individual is a member of a community of interdependent parts. The land ethic simply enlarges the boundaries of the community to include soils, waters, plants and animals, or collectively, the land … a land ethic changes the role of Homo Sapiens from conqueror of the land – community to plain member and citizen of it … it implies respect for his fellow members, and so also respect for the community as such"

--- Aldo Leopold, "Sand County Almanac"




The board and staff at the Kankakee River Valley Forest Preserve would like to thank Tim Leary of Wind River Taxidermy for his beautiful donation of  mounted displays of native fox, waterfowl, fish and deer.  His wildlife art can be seen at the Forest Preserve Nature Center on Waldron Road in Aroma Park.  Tim Leary has been a hunting guide and taxidermist for over 45 years.  He can be reached at Wind River Taxidermy, 815-933-1510.




Declaration of Water

Pai Yee Siw Ni

As children of water, we raise our voices in solidarity to speak for all waters.

Water, the breath of all life, water the sustainer of all life, water the voice of our ancestors, water pristine and powerful.

Today we join hands, determined to honor, trust and follow the ancient wisdom of our ancestors whose teachings and messages continue to live through us.

The message is clear: Honor and respect water as a sacred and life-giving gift from the Creator of Life. Water, the first living spirit on Earth.

All living beings come from water, all is sustained by water, all will return to water to begin life anew.

We are of water, and the water is of us. When water is threatened, all living things are threatened.

What we do to water, We do to ourselves.

Adopted at the Hopi Hisot Navoti Gathering October 23, 2003 Second Mesa, Arizona



Winter Herbal Balms from your Kitchen

Here are some recipes to play with. Make sure you're not allergic to anything you use and pay attention to any precautions and don’t' stick your finger in the salve before it's cooled off unless you want to break the top hard layer and get hot goop all over your face.

Lip Balm
1 tsp beeswax
1 tsp cocoa butter
1 T oil (almond, olive or sesame--almond is really ideal, though)

3 drops vitamin e oil
5-10 drops essential oil, to personal taste

In separate containers, melt beeswax and cocoa butter; combine all ingredients in a double boiler, heating and stirring them until they
are well blended.

Remove from heat, pour into containers, then add essential oil and stir again. Let set and cover. Shelf life: 1 year.

6 or 8 ounces by volume steeped herbal oil
1/3 ounce vitamin e oil
1 1/2 ounces beeswax

Prepare the steeped oil by grinding or breaking up the dried plant, then blending with oil or mixing by hand. Use a 6:1 ratio of olive oil to dried plant, volume to weight ounce. Pour the oil into a glass jar, and steep in a warm in a warm location.

Melt beeswax in a separate container; combine all ingredients in a double boiler, heating and stirring until they are well blended.

For aromatherapy products and skin care products that are not petroleum based... check out:


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"The sun shines not on us, but in us. The rivers flow not past, but through us, thrilling, tingling, vibrating every fiber and cell of the substance of our bodies, making them glide and sing."

-- John Muir


Nature reduces kids' signs of attention disorder

BackYard Nature; from "Science News":

--- Ben Harder

Does spending more playtime amid greenery improve behavior in children with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder?

To find out, Frances Kuo and Andrea Faber Taylor of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign developed a questionnaire that probes how children with ADHD respond to dozens of extracurricular activities in settings including leafy backyards, indoor playrooms, and artificial outdoor environments, such as urban playgrounds. The investigators had parents of children with ADHD fill out an online questionnaire, resulting in 452 completed surveys.

Kuo and Faber Taylor report in the September American Journal of Public Health. that the results indicate that green environments generally improve a child's attentiveness and focus. That's true whether a child plays alone, with a single companion, or in a group, the researchers say. Solitary and one-on-one play each offer its own behavioral benefits.


In one analysis, the researchers excluded activities that could be done in only one setting, such as hiking and watching television. The results were similar to those of the study overall, suggesting that the setting, not just the activity, is important.

In a separate study, Kuo and Faber Taylor sent children with ADHD on a guided, 20-minute walk along a path dominated by either natural or urban features. After the walk, children who took the nature trail performed better on a test of attention than did their counterparts who strolled in an urban setting.




"In every adult there lurks a child – an eternal child, something that is always becoming, is never completed, and calls for unceasing care, attention, and education. That is the part of the human personality which wants to develop and become whole."

-- C. G. Jung


PBS Recommended Books:
Earth and the Environment

Fish Wish
By Bob Barner
Grade Level: PreK-2, 3-5
A young boy imagines what he would do if he were a clownfish. This picture book is a colorful introduction to life on coral reefs; a key at the end of the book identifies all the creatures pictured. The author provides interesting facts about the main characters and describes the biology of corals and reefs.

Forest Explorer: Life-Sized Field Guide
By Nic Bishop
Grade Level: PreK-2, 3-5
Bishop’s incredible photos reveal the diversity of animal life right at our feet. Seven two-page spreads show more than 130 life-size creatures and plants in natural settings. Each photo is actually a composite of 60 separate photos. He provides plenty of creature information and an identification key for backyard naturalists.

The Genie in the Bottle: 67 All New Digestible Commentaries on the Fascinating Chemistry of Everyday Life
By Joe Schwarcz
Grade Level: 6-8, 9-12
Is the water you drink safe? The author’s intention is to educate his reader’s about the science underlying many of today’s environmental fears. It appears that many of us are well intentioned but misinformed. This entertaining exploration of chemistry looks at health, food, sanitation, asbestos, methane, soap, and a lot more.

Geology Crafts for Kids: 50 Nifty Projects to Explore the Marvels of Planet Earth
By Alan Anderson, Gwen Diehn, Terry Krautwurst
Grade Level: 3-5, 6-8
Here are 50 great ideas for integrating science and fun! Students in grades 4-7 will enjoy creating projects focused around the following science topics: spectrum of geologic phenomena including plate tectonics, continental drift, minerals, volcanoes, earthquakes, rocks, crystals, mountain and valley formation, erosion, fossils and much more!


Green Boy
By Susan Cooper
Grade Level: 3-5, 6-8
Long Pond Cay, a Bahaman refuge for bonefish and osprey, is a favorite haunt for twelve-year-old Trey and his mute seven-year old brother Lou. Strange things begin to happen when a development group threatens to turn the cay into a resort. Trey and Lou are transported into a future drastically different from their own time, and Lou is welcomed as the mythic hero destined to change both the future and the present.

Henry Builds a Cabin
By D. B. Johnson
Grade Level: PreK-2, 3-5
Henry David Thoreau was one of our earliest naturalists and nature writers. In 1845, he built a ten by fifteen foot cabin near Walden Pond for $28.12. This picture book describes how he cut and hewed twelve trees; bought and used bricks, boards and shingles; and employed the help of friends like Emerson and Alcott. A final author’s note provides additional information about Thoreau’s cabin.

Hey Kids! You're Cooking Now! A Global Awareness Cooking Adventure
By Dianne Pratt
Grade Level: 3-5, 6-8
This colorfully illustrated hardback gives parents and children a connection in the kitchen, as they whip up treats like Bananarama Bread and Cha-Cha Chili and ponder recipe-related ecological factoids ("Don’t kill the yeast, it is a sensitive fungus.") Later sections include recipes for non-food items like homemade glue and tie-dyed socks, using environmentally responsible ingredients.

The Hidden Connections: Integrating the Biological, Cognitive, and Social Dimensions of Life into a Science of Sustainability
By Fritjof Capra
Grade Level: 9-12
Capra's central argument is that to sustain life in the future social institutions must adopt principles consistent with those of nature. He examines management of organizations, economic globalization, and biotechnology. He concludes by offering an alternative to economic globalization.

Humboldt's Cosmos: Alexander Von Humboldt and the Latin American Journey That Changed the Way We See the World
By Gerard Helferich
Grade Level: 6-8, 9-12

From 1799 to 1804, Humboldt and his companion, Aime Bonpland, traveled 6000 miles through Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Mexico, and Cuba. Humboldt brought back to Europe more than 60,000 plant specimens and many New World animals. Helferich followed Humboldt’s trail and tells of discoveries in anthropology, botany, geography, geology, geophysics, oceanography, physiology, and zoology.

I Took the Moon for a Walk
By Carolyn Curtis and Alison Jay
Grade Level: PreK-2
A boy takes the moon for a walk. Along the way, he and the moon observe the world around them. Curtis’s verse and Jay’s illustrations are engaging. The author has included a final science section on the moon and nocturnal creatures.

The Invention of Clouds: How an Amateur Meteorologist Forged the Language of the Skies
By Richard Hamblyn
Grade Level: 6-8, 9-12
Some of us look at clouds and see rain. Some see sheep. Meteorologists distinguish types of formations: cirrus, stratus, cumulus, and nimbus. These terms were first used by Luke Howard in a lecture he delivered in London in 1802. Howard’s precise terminology influenced not only science but also literature and art. This is an engaging story about an overlooked scientific pioneer.

Isaac's Storm: A Man, a Time, and the Deadliest Hurricane in History
By Erik Larson
Grade Level: 6-8, 3-5
Travel back to Galveston, Texas in 1900 to learn about the most devastating hurricane in American history. Larson's suspenseful tale focuses on Isaac Cline, the Weather Bureau's officer in Galveston, and the events of his day on September 8, 1900.

Journey to the Center of the Earth
By Nicholas Harris
Grade Level: 3-5
Ever imagine that exploring the earth could be just like cutting through a layer cake? In Harris's colorful book, elementary students will discover various layers of the earth, from its atmosphere all the way to its fiery core.

The Kids' Book of Clouds & Sky
By Frank Staub
Grade Level: 3-5
This collection of 46 questions about the sky and what you can see in it provides concise and readable answers and fun activities. The book is filled with photos and illustrations. It also includes a glossary.

Krakatoa: The Day the World Exploded: August 27, 1883
By Simon Winchester
Grade Level: 6-8, 9-12
The dust raised by Krakatoa’s destruction stayed in the atmosphere for years, causing unusual sunsets and colder than normal temperatures. Winchester examines the scientific and social impact of the event, from the immediate tsunami that killed 40,000 to anti-Western killings during the Banten Peasants Revolt five years later.

Life on Earth: The Story of Evolution
By Steve Jenkins
Grade Level: 3-5, 6-8
The evolution of life on earth over 3.8 billion years is presented in timeline form in this picture book. Jenkins has illustrated representative the diversity of life forms at critical periods. Jenkin's cut paper and mixed media art would make an inspiration for an interdisciplinary project.

Mapping the World
By Sylvia A. Johnson
Grade Level: 3-5, 6-8
This introduction to maps and cartography is for readers 9-12 and outlines the science of map-making from one of the oldest known examples, a Babylonian clay tablet from around 500 B.C., to Geographic Information systems (GIS) that make it possible for anyone with a computer to make a map. Anyone who likes to pore over maps and wonder will love this book.

The Map that Changed the World: William Smith and the Birth of Modern Geology
By Simon Winchester
Grade Level: 6-8, 9-12
In 1973, William Smith, a canal digger and engineer, noticed that the rock he was digging was layered and that each layer contained different fossils. In turn, Smith realized that by following the fossils he could trace the layers of rock across England. This he did for the next twenty years, finally producing in 1815 a huge hand-painted geological map of England. This is a compelling story of Smith's fortunes, from son of a blacksmith to father of modern geology to pauper and recluse to royal pensioner, had enough ups and downs to make a Dickens' novel.

Mountain Dance
By Thomas Locker
Grade Level: PreK-2, 3-5
As in his previous book Cloud Dance, Thomas Locker sets out in Mountain Dance to illustrate a natural phenomenon, the birth and death of mountains. The poetic main text relates the slow dance of creation and destruction. An appendix presents thumbnails of each painting and a more detailed explanation of the geologic forces of creation and erosion.

My Light
By Molly Bang
Grade Level: PreK-2
Bang’s dynamic illustrations and spare prose trace the transformation of our sun’s energy. The sun’s heat drives the water cycle and aids in producing hydroelectric power. Air currents allow the production of electricity with windmills. Photosynthesis fuels plant growth and food production. Kids learn about ancient forests and coal beds and solar cells. The book opens with the sun’s rays falling on Earth and ends with city light returning to the stars.

Nature Smart
By Gwen Diehn, Terry Krautwurst, Alan Anderson, Joe Rhatigan, and Heather Smith
Grade Level: PreK-2, 3-5
This super science classroom resource is a compilation of three previously published activity books. Sections provide things to do during all seasons and in all weather. There are projects for animals, plants, art, music, cooking, ecology, and a lot more.


                                                                                                                                                               Moraines of the Illinois Landscape




The Glacial Heritage of the Chicago Area

About 400 million years ago, a shallow sea, full of coral reefs, covered this area of Illinois; thus, all surface rocks in Illinois are sedimentary rocks. The most common rocks in Illinois are shale, limestone and dolomite.

About 15,000 years ago, a giant ice-sheet covered most of Illinois, Wisconsin, Michigan and all of Canada. This giant continental ice sheet acted as a bulldozer, leveling hills and digging up valleys and huge depressions that were subsequently filled with water. As the glacier retreated about 12.000 years ago, these became the Great Lakes.

Many other landscape features of the were formed by this glacial sheet. The rich loess soil which supports the agriculture of the region is formed in part from windblown till (unsorted sediment deposited directly by a glacier) carried from the glacial deposits.

Moraines are another characteristic feature of glaciated landscapes. A moraine is a layer or ridge of till, directly deposited by the glacier. The Tinley and Valparaiso Moraines encircle the former footprint of the ancient Lake Chicago, which had been 60’ higher than its present elevation as Lake Michigan. Many smaller moraines form low ridges in the greater Chicago area.                  .

Many river valleys in northern Illinois began in the outwash plains formed by the meltwaters of the retreating glacier. Much earlier, the Mississippi River had began to flow along the Reelfoot Rift zone, where continental plates were diverging. This ancient plate margin is believed to be the location of the New Madrid Fault.

The Kettle Moraine area in Wisconsin is named for the distinctive feature called a kettle hole, which is a depression created when blocks

of ice become lodged in glacial deposits and later melt.

A kame is a steep-sided hill composed of sand and gravel, originating when sediment

collected in openings in stagnant glacial ice. Due to the different soil material , a kame often has a slightly different plant community than the surrounding area. Cook County Forest Preserve has many woodland sites with kames; the trees and plants of the kame vary somewhat from those of the surrounding forest.

An esker is a sinuous ridge composed largely of sand and gravel deposited by a stream flowing in a tunnel beneath a glacier near its terminus.


"I hear and forget

I see and remember

I do and I understand"

----- Ancient Proverb

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last updated on December 9, 2011