Do you know about Project Passenger Pigeon (P3)? It is an international effort to mark the 100th anniversary of the passenger pigeon's extinction in 2014. Friends of Ryerson Woods is a P3 partner.
The passenger pigeon was once the most abundant bird in North America and likely the world, with a population that likely exceeded a billion as late as 1860. But because it was the cheapest terrestrial protein, it was subjected to unrelenting exploitation that drove it to near extinction by the first few years of the twentieth century when the last wild birds were shot. All that remained were a handful of individuals in captivity, the last of which (Martha) keeled over in her cage at the Cincinnati Zoo on September 1, 1914.
One program you won't want to miss is a book talk by natural history historian and author Joel Greenberg. Joel has written the first comprehensive book on the passenger pigeon in 50 years. It is being published by Bloomsbury USA and will be released early in 2014. We've secured Joel for an author event on Thursday, February 20, 2014 at 7pm. This event will be held at the Greenbelt Cultural Center and is being presented in partnership with Lake County Forest Preserves, Lake Forest College, Lake Forest Open Lands and the Wildlife Discovery Center. Copies of Joel's forthcoming book, Feathered River Across the Sky: The Passenger Pigeon’s Flight to Extinction, will be available for sale and signing.
The hardest part was manipulating chicken wire to form the lower half of the dress and covering it with natural materials, such as Spanish moss, green mountain moss and Black Lichen. Poor Julia was covered in cuts and scratches, as well as the materials and glue. It was a labor of love, though, because it ignited her creative spirit and she was able to focus her energy into a project close to her heart.
Guests were tickled to see the finished product and enjoyed taking pictures with “Bird Girl” throughout the night. Her hat, adorned in hand-painted eggs atop a gorgeous nest, balanced delicately on her head as she made her way through the party interacting with guests. She then rallied the crowd to raise their paddles for fundraising.
Thank you to all involved to help make this a memorable year!
This blog is written by the staff and partners of Brushwood Center at Ryerson Woods