BioBlitz Big Marsh

Hello Backyard Geographers!

      My name is Julie Watkins and I am the Geographic Society of Chicago’s 2019-2020 intern! Today I’d like to share with you our upcoming event, BioBlitz Big Marsh. For those that are unfamiliar, a BioBlitz is defined as “an intense period of biological surveying in an attempt to record all the living species within a designated area.”¹ This is the GSC’s second time doing a BioBlitz at Big Marsh with the intention of logging the area’s plants and animals via the free app, iNaturalist. This event is free and open to all! Please be sure to RSVP “Going” on the Facebook event. We look forward to seeing you on September 14th! Facebook event link: https://www.facebook.com/events/348660959357508/

 

Details

  • September 14th
  • 10am-1pm (Friends of Big Marsh celebration 2pm-6pm)
  • Big Marsh, 11599 South Stony Island Ave, Chicago, IL 60617

 

A Brief History of Big Marsh

      Big Marsh can be found in the Calumet Area Reserve on the Southeast side of Chicago. As Chicago’s 564th park, Big Marsh earned its designation as a park in 2016 after being used as an industrial site in the late 1800s.² Laden with nine steel mills, this industrial site turned the wild and beautiful marshland into a wasteland filled with slag.³ The Chicago Park District acquired all 278 acres of Big Marsh in 2011, and Friends of Big Marsh has been working with the Chicago Park District ever since to create a site of eco-recreation. 

      An eco-recreation site is a site dedicated to habitat restoration as well as leisure and recreation for neighboring communities. For example, Big Marsh’s successful bike park, modeled after Valmont Bike Park in Colorado, is built atop remaining slag from the steel mills.³  Other popular activities to engage in at Big Marsh are hiking, birdwatching, and fishing. Called a “mecca of biodiversity” by Lauren Umek, project manager at Chicago Park District’s Department of Cultural and Natural Resources,³ Big Marsh is a prime spot for a BioBlitz, and certainly sets the bar high for other eco-recreation sites.

      I hope you enjoyed this brief history of Big Marsh, and I look forward to sharing more events, blog posts, seminars, Travelogues, and the like with you all soon!

 

Julie

 

References

[1] “BioBlitz.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 7 July 2019, 

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BioBlitz.

[2] “Big Marsh Park (Park No. 564).” Chicago Park District, Chicago Park District, 2014, 

www.chicagoparkdistrict.com/parks-facilities/big-marsh-park-park-no-564.

[3] Schulman, Ben. “How Chicago Turned an Industrial Waste Site Into a Nature-Loving 

Cyclist’s Paradise.” CityLab, 27 July 2016, www.citylab.com/design/2016/07/how-chicago-turned-an-industrial-waste-site-into-a-nature-lovers-and-cyclists-paradise/492665/.

NEH Summer Seminar – Newberry Library

https://readingmaterialmaps.wordpress.com/

 

The Newberry Library’s Hermon Dunlap Smith Center for the History of Cartography has announced its 2018 NEH Summer Seminar for K-12 school teachers, Reading Material Maps in the Digital Age.

The four-week seminar, led by Dr. James Akerman (The Newberry Library) and Dr. Peter Nekola (Luther College), will focus on the practice of critically reading and teaching from original map documents, informed by the most recent cartographic scholarship. Material maps are still useful in our everyday life, but there is no question that teaching cartographic literacy is complicated by the advent of the digital age.  If material maps are in fact fading in popularity, what pedagogical purposes can these objects still serve in K-12 humanities teaching?  How can we learn from the material map’s physical presence, historical uses, and meanings? Grounded in the renowned map collections of the library, this exciting program will consist of seminar sessions, readings, workshops, field trips, and personal research.

Applications are encouraged from K-12 faculty in all disciplines. Successful applicants will receive a stipend of $3,300 to help defray travel and housing expenses. The deadline for applying is March 1, 2018.  For more information on the seminar, program faculty, stipend and housing information, and how to apply, please go to the Reading Material Maps website:  readingmaterialmaps.wordpress.com .

Additional inquiries may be directed to:

Kara Johnson
Program Assistant, Hermon Dunlap Smith Center for the History of Cartography
The Newberry Library
60 W Walton St
Chicago, IL 60610
(312) 255-3575
johnsonk@newberry.org

Depaul University’s Map of the Month January 2018 Confederate Street names in Dallas, TX

Check out DePaul University’s Department of Geography January Map of the Month! This month’s map, by Geography undergraduate senior Brooke Robinson, contributes to an on-going project by a Texas-based group working to ‘de-Confederate Dallas.’ Drawing on data provided by de-Confederate Dallas, Brooke constructed this map using Open StreetMap and Adobe Photoshop software.
Brooke has developed her cartographic skills during her undergraduate career at DePaul and she recently received an Undergraduate Excellence Award from the IL Geographic Information Systems Association, a local professional organization.

The Chicago ‘Y’

Photo Credit: Blogspot

by Emily Speelman

Do you recognize this symbol? If you look close enough, this image is all over the city. It can be found on government buildings, bridges, memorials, on city works equipment (like power boxes and sewer grates), and even in the GSC logo!

So what does it mean and why is it all over the city? This image represents one of the city’s most fundamental and iconic features: the Chicago River. More specifically, it shows Wolf Point, where the river’s three branches come together. Here, the river divides the city into the North, West, and South sides.

Source: Imgur

The ‘Y’ image was first created in 1892 for a contest run by the Chicago Tribune. In 1917, this symbol was designated as Chicago’s Municipal Device. This means that businesses, city departments, and citizens alike can use the image to symbolize the city of Chicago. While the ‘Y’ is universal, the user can change the colors to their liking. The ‘Y’  is one of the oldest signifiers of the city – even older than the Chicago flag!

Though the symbol was less frequently used at the end of the 20th century, the iconic ‘Y’ can be found all over the city represented in a variety of mediums and colors. Other places that feature the municipal device include: the Chicago Cultural Center, City Hall, Millennium Park, Harold Washington Library, and, perhaps the most famous, the marquee of the Chicago Theater!

Photo Credit: Blogspot

Where else have you spotted the Chicago ‘Y’?

Read more:
https://www.wbez.org/shows/wbez-news/chicagos-municipal-device-the-citys-symbol-lurking-in-plain-sight/fd9cf47b-904e-4654-ad06-ff7fc8727758

https://www.chipublib.org/chicago-facts/