Our Blog

Guest Blog: Somewhere Outside of Saigon – Trauma, Violence & Prevention

“I was born in the 40’s, grew up in the 50’s and DIED in the 60’s.” These are the words of a Marine veteran who served in Vietnam from 1968 to 1969. The trauma he experienced and the moral injury he suffered have been his daily companions for almost 50 years.

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It’s A W.I.N.: Building a “Forest of Health” through Community Partnerships

It is no secret that the world’s pollinators are currently in trouble. From fruit bats to the rusty-patched bumblebee, many of our vital fuzzy friends have become endangered due to habitat loss and human development. At Brushwood Center, we believe that, through creative thinking and collaborative community efforts, people have the power to help

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Prairies and Power lines: At Ease Veterans Visit ComEd Buffalo Grove Site

ComEd’s Buffalo Grove Prairie doesn’t look like much from a distance. In fact, from most angles, it’s impossible to see from a distance.

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It’s A W.I.N.: Art and Wellness in Nature

Multiple studies have found that spending time recreating in nature not only improves physical fitness, but can also have numerous positive impacts on mental health and development.  In children, these impacts can include: decreased feelings of stress and aggression, increased…

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Brushwood Center Garden Overflows with Supporters at Smith Nature Symposium

Brushwood Center at Ryerson Woods held their 34th Annual Smith Nature Symposium on May 20, 2017.

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“Spring Beauty Arrives! But how?” By Leigh Stewart

Leigh Stewart, president of Brushwood Center’s volunteer garden club, the Brushwood WildBunch, researches how Spring Beauty found its way into Brushwood’s garden.

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From Discovery to Wellbeing: Brushwood Center in 2016

A Look Back at 2016 and a Window Forward for Brushwood Center The past twelve-months have been a time of reflection at Brushwood Center—and reflection is an easy feat here considering the beautiful natural setting we have in which to…

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Brushwood Center Updates: Trail Tales!

Brushwood Center encourages families and youth to connect to nature through literature and exercise!

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Film Festival in the Woods Features Chicago Filmmaker

With a mix of short, thought-provoking environmental films, light-hearted animations, and poignant documentaries, Brushwood Center at Ryerson Woods examines the costs and benefits of sharing space with nature at it’s 2015 Film Festival in the Woods

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Brushwood Center Announces Return of Shakespeare Outdoors July 23-26

Brushwood Center announces the return of Shakespeare Outdoors, July 23-26, 7pm, with the Bard’s As You Like It, performed by Citadel Theatre. This popular summertime event in Riverwoods, will be performed in Ryerson Woods, near Deerfield.  “Our mission is to…

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Ryerson Reads takes on Harrison’s “Gardens”

Our most recent session of the environmental literature discussion group, Ryerson Reads, was about Robert Pogue Harrison’s Gardens: An Essay on the Human Condition (2008). Harrison’s Gardens is not the sort of work we generally discuss. That is, it is…

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It’s woodcock dancing time

Stand near the entrance to Ryerson Woods at dusk in March, April and May and you might hear the unusual courtship and flight song of an unusual shorebird, the American woodcock. It’s called a shorebird because of and habit of…

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Artists explore the rare bobolink in exhibition to open March 8 at Brushwood Center

Artists Ginny Krueger and Ann Blaas present an intimate and varied look at a declining songbird, the bobolink, and its migratory patterns at their exhibition, “The Bobolink Proposition,” which opens March 8 at Brushwood Center, 21850 Riverwoods Road, Riverwoods. The opening reception, held from 1 to 3 p.m., is free and open to the public.

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January’s Ryerson Reads gave us a chance to delve deep into Abby Geni’s “The Last Animal”

by guest blogger, Benjamin Goluboff Our January meeting of Ryerson Reads, the environmental literature discussion group, was focused on Abby Geni’s The Last Animal (2013). Geni’s debut volume, this collection of short stories explores the troubled, sometimes contradictory relationships between humans…

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Listening for the song of the Chickadee at Ryerson Woods

On a cold winter day, if you listen closely while walking Ryerson Woods, you can hear the unmistakable call of the black-capped chickadee. “Chick-a-dee-dee-dee,” it calls, perhaps to connect with its brethren at a good feeding spot or alarm them…

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“Hear the Rhythm of the Birds” opens at Brushwood Gallery this weekend

Two important qualities unite very different artistic approaches in “Hear the Rhythm of the Birds,” the exciting new Brushwood exhibition of paintings and sculpture. Painter Kimberly Beck and sculptor Don Rambadt, are both passionate and knowledgeable about birds and they…

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Ryerson Reads celebrates 10 years

New season starts September 10 For 10 years, book lovers with an interest in ecology have enjoyed lively discourse at a unique book club held at Brushwood Center at Ryerson Woods. The 11th season starts this fall. Longtime participant Dick…

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Views from Brushwood Farm

VIEWS FROM BRUSHWOOD FARM The Photographs of Edward L. Ryerson and Edward Ranney, 1937 – 1974    OPENING:  Sunday, September 7 from 1:00 – 3:00 p.m. RUNS:  September 7 – October 30, 2014 Nationally renowned photographer Edward Ranney, known for his artistry…

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A Midsummer Night’s Dream

  Shakespeare comes to Brushwood Center: A performance in the woods with Citadel Theatre Shakespeare aficionados and neophytes alike can relax among the lush vegetation and sound of crickets at Ryerson Woods on August 1, 2 and 3 when Citadel…

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WHAT TO READ: Identifying Plants

We recently invited our friend and frequent nature seminar instructor Glenn Adelson, chair of the Environmental Studies Program at Lake Forest College, to share his favorite books for identifying plants in our region.  Here are four books he recommends you have…

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Avian Spirits

Group Art Exhibition Contemplates Bird Imagery as Metaphors for the Human Spirit  AVIAN SPIRITS OPENING:  Sunday, July 13 from 1:00 – 3:00 p.m. RUNS:  July 13 – August 31, 2014   To curate Brushwood Center’s latest art exhibition Avian Spirits,…

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Party on the Prairie

  PARTY ON THE PRAIRIE Saturday, June 21 6:30 – 8:00 p.m. Join us for a celebration of the Summer Solstice. Watch the sun set over beautiful Middlefork Savanna while mingling with like-minded nature lovers on the patio of a…

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Joel Oppenheimer to present new “The Birds of America” by John James Audubon at Ryerson Woods

Wednesday, June 18 7:30 – 8:30 p.m.          BOOK TALK The Birds of America: The Bien Chromolithographic Edition   When Joel Oppenheimer recognizes a bird, it’s not because he’s a birder, but rather because the renowned art…

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Folklore of the Forest Floor: Part 2

by Luke Buckardt After some rain and a few warm days, the forest floor began its push to beat the leaves.    Spring ephemerals must take advantage of the slim margin of time between when it is warm enough to flower…

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Moving Targets

  Art exhibition linking passenger pigeon and Jewish heritage comes to Ryerson Woods MOVING TARGETS OPENING: Sunday, May 4 from 1:00 – 3:00 p.m. RUNS: May 4 – July 3, 2014 Artists and friends Steffi Domike and Ann T. Rosenthal…

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Learn Spring Wildflowers

NATURE SEMINAR LEARN SPRING WILDFLOWERS . . . ALL THE MERRY MONTH OF MAY  Tuesdays, May 6-27, 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. Join Glenn Adelson, chair of the Environmental Studies Program at Lake Forest College, for this nature seminar that focuses on learning…

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Folklore of the Forest Floor: Part 1

by Luke Buckardt Although it may seem that winter will never let go of its tight grip, the forests and fields of Lake County are about to bloom with force.  Spring is here despite the dusting of snow and below…

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In honor of Earth Day, some thoughts on environmental literature by Ben Goluboff

  by Ben Goluboff Sophie Twichell was kind enough to invite me to submit a blog post for Brushwood Center, and to share, in anticipation of Earth Day, some thoughts on Environmental Literature. Even though this means tearing myself away…

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David Sibley Returns to Ryerson Woods!

On the heels of the release of his highly anticipated second edition of The Sibley Guide to Birds, David Sibley will speak and sign books from 7:00 to 8:00 p.m., April 9 at Ryerson Woods.  The book talk will take…

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Thaw

by Luke Buckardt Although it seems that we may never escape this winter’s grasp, spring is near.  This transition into a warmer season is driven by a lengthening day and more direct sunlight.  Every year, spring brings about a plethora…

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Facing Extinction

Like every school kid who grew up in Cincinnati, I learned the story of “Martha” at an early age. Martha was the last know passenger pigeon (Ectopistes migratorius). She died at the Cincinnati Zoo in 1914. The zoo’s memorial to…

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Flight of the Passenger Pigeon

Join us on February 20 for a book talk with naturalist and author Joel Greenberg.  In the early 19th century up to 40 percent of North America’s birds were passenger pigeons, traveling in flocks so massive as to block out the…

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Cold Combatants of Lake County

by Luke Buckardt This winter has been brutally cold.  With an average temperature of 19.4 degrees F, it is the fourth coldest on the record books here in the Chicago area.  Schools have been cancelled and people have been warned…

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A Blanket of Snow

It is December in northern Illinois, and that means the cold grip of winter is upon us.  With the change in temperature comes a certain change in precipitation.  Snow is here.  When Ryerson Woods conservation area is blanketed with a…

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Poetry & Nature

To make a prairie it takes a clover and one bee,  One clover, and a bee, And revery. The revery alone will do, If bees are few.   Emily Dickinson NEW NATURE SEMINAR: Poetry & Nature Interested in learning more about haikus? What…

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WHAT TO READ: Sharing Nature with Children

Brushwood Center at Ryerson Woods nurtures art, nature and discovery. One of our favorite ways to do this is through great books. As the holiday season approaches, many of us are seeking quality gifts for children. In this post, our…

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Owl Prowl at Ryerson Woods

Our next OWL PROWL is coming up this Friday, November 22 from 7:00 – 9:00 p.m. As the preserve closes as dusk, this is a special opportunity to visit Ryerson Woods at night and to meet some of its nocturnal residents.…

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Friends of Ryerson Woods is now Brushwood Center at Ryerson Woods

Friends of Ryerson Woods began as a small watchdog group in 1984 to ensure that the Lake County Forest Preserve kept the woods as Edward Ryerson envisioned when he donated the property to them. He said, “I bought the land…

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Join Us for the FREE Film Festival in the Woods

A blanket and picnic in the middle of the woods, under the moonlight with the summer sounds of nature all around sets the stage for the 2013 Film Festival in the Woods. This year’s festival kicks off at Ryerson Woods,…

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Ginkgo: The Tree That Time Forgot

by Sophie Twichell, executive director of Friends of Ryerson Woods When you think of Ginkgo, what comes to mind?  Do you have memories that involve Ginkgo?  Ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba) has been used in traditional medicine to treat blood disorders and to…

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Project Passenger Pigeon – From Billions to None

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…

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Magical Evening at Ryerson Woods

Ryerson Woods is a magical, natural wonderland in the spring – full of native flowers covering the forest bed, trees as far as the eye can see and a host of beautiful creatures living inside. This past Saturday at the…

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5 Tips for Planning Your Spring Garden

What are you planting in your garden this year? Whether you are growing herbs, flowers, vegetables or fruit, here are five tips to help you with your green thumb this spring. Timing is everything. Plug your zip code into Sprout…

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Drawn to Nature II

Drawn to Nature II by Dr. Gregory M. Mueller Re-posted with author’s permission from the Chicago Botanic Garden website. Recently, I helped kick off an exhibition of artwork focusing on wildflowers and other plants found in Midwestern woodlands and prairies.…

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Friends of Ryerson Woods Artist Tapped for Prince Charles Botanical Project

Friends of Ryerson Woods volunteer and art instructor Heeyoung Kim is one of eight artists selected worldwide, and the only artist from the United States, to record the flora of Transylvania in May 2013. She will travel to central Romania…

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Coyotes in the Neighborhood

Friends of Ryerson Woods hosted a panel discussion on “The Hidden World of Wolves and Coyotes” in November 2012.  Afterwards, our executive director, Sophie Twichell, was invited to write an article on misconceptions about coyotes for the Lake Bluff Open Lands Association’s newsletter.…

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The Hidden World of Wolves and Coyotes

Did you know that coyotes live in almost every green space of any size in the Chicago metropolitan area? Did you know that their cousins, the wolves, are also thriving across the state line in Wisconsin? Explore the hidden world…

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FREE EVENT: What Will Food Taste Like in the Future?

Meet Josh Schonwald , a Chicago-based journalist and author of The Taste of Tomorrow: Dispatches from the Future of Food and listen to his book discussion on how people, trends and technologies are transforming the world of food. Chicago Tribune…

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1491 and Passenger Pigeons

In late August, FRW executive director Sophie Twichell hiked in the gorgeous Gensburg-Markham Prairie in Markham, Illinois with author and historian Joel Greenberg.  In honor of FRW’s programming theme, LESSONS FROM THE PRAIRIE, they discussed future programming ideas for Friends of…

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WHAT TO READ by Tom Montgomery Fate

Friends of Ryerson Woods seeks to contribute to the development of an environmentally literate citizenry that has the skills, knowledge and inclinations to make well-informed choices that consider future generations. We believe environmental education extends beyond science to embrace human interaction with…

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Genius Loci: Learning from Nature’s Muse

The art and design exhibition Genius Loci: Learning from Nature’s Muse opened Sunday, July 8 at Brushwood, the historic home at Ryerson Woods.  We had a great turn-out: over 130 people viewed works by 12 artists, designers, and architects. Each…

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WHAT TO READ by Marion Cartwright

As we are about to launch our 2012 programming wrapped around the theme Lessons from the Prairie, we’ve decided to offer a new aspect to our blog.  Several times a year, we will invite individuals from the conservation community to share…

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Guest Post: Emilian Geczi on Richard Louv

In anticipation of best-selling author Richard Louv’s upcoming talk for FRW, we invited our good friend and esteemed colleague Emilian Geczi to submit a guest post on our blog about the significance of Louv’s writings to him and his work. …

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April is National Poetry Month

“A poem begins with a lump in the throat.”  Robert Frost Were you aware that April is National Poetry Month, a month-long celebration designed to increase the visibility of poetry and poets in our culture?  As an organization that celebrates…

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Wolves + Moose in NYT

We invited our friend, Benjamin Goluboff, to submit a guest post to our blog about a recommended read.  We love his mind and we think you will too!  Ben has led our Ryerson Reads book discussion series for eight seasons and is a professor of…

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American Chestnut

A post by Sophie Twichell, FRW’s executive director: Tonight our RYERSON READS book group will discuss Susan Freinkel’s American Chestnut: The Life, Death, and Rebirth of a Perfect Tree. I am looking forward to the group’s discussion of this book,…

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Guest Post: Nature in the Classics

After his wonderful presentation at our most recent Nature in the Classics concert with the Music Institute of Chicago Academy, we asked Jim Setapan if he would share a few more words about the relationship between nature and the great classical canon.…

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SAVE OVER 50% ONE DAY ONLY!

Get a year-long individual membership to Friends of Ryerson Woods for just $15 (usually $35). It’s our Leap Day Special for all of our friends! Membership perks include discounts, invitations to special events and more! (Not valid for previously purchased…

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Listen to Dale Bowman’s “Outside”

Listen to Dale Bowman’s “Outside”

Take a listen to Chicago Sun-Times columnist Dale Bowman share his passion for the natural world in his podcast “Outside” (via iTunes). This week Bowman interviewed Friends of Ryerson Woods Advisory Board member Doug Stotz, Ph.D., and senior conservation ecologist for the Field Museum.  He gives context to the eruption of snowy owls this winter, then discusses other topics, from Northerly Island to Dixon Waterfowl Refuge. Take a listen!

 

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Art Opening: Photographs by Colleen Plumb

Sunday, March 4, 2012 1:00 – 3 :00 p.m. FREE ADMISSION Don’t miss the Chicago area opening of Animals Are Outside Today, an exhibition of photographs by Colleen Plumb. In this solo show, Plumb examines relationships between humans and animals, studying…

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