LaBagh Woods is still seen by many as a throw away 80 acres of urban flood plain and forest preserve. A place for teen drinking parties, for off-leash dogs to run and for off-road vehicles to tear up. A trashy neighborhood forest fragment, unimportant and lost in the urban jungle for the neighbors to use as they please.
But is it? Many are surprised to learn that it is actually home to:
- more than 40 breeding bird species
- another 150 migrating bird species
- more than a half dozen very rare plants
- a butterfly long thought gone in Cook County
- two unexpected dragonfly species
- some of the oldest and most stately oaks in all of the Cook County Forest Preserve system.
It is a special place worth restoring and preserving.
And it has a HELL of an interesting past! Indian wars and treaties, a wife knocking off her husband, and a woman whose work to preserve this forest became the foundation for the creation of the Forest Preserves of Cook County and the 70,000 acres it now holds in the public trust county-wide.
Yeah, LaBagh Woods!
Want to learn more? Join the Chicago Ornithological Society and Jeff Skrentny, with his passion for LaBagh on Thursday, March 9th at 6:30pm. He will present "LaBagh Woods: More than a Fragment, a Remnant of Hope."
Learn why this urban fragment matters - actually and metaphorically - beyond its 160 acre boundary. There will be plenty of time for questions, discussion and exploration of one of Chicago's most vital bird migration habitats. You will be thrilled you learned more about it and more thrilled that many people are working hard to restore it.
At the top of his career game as an IT headhunter and sales trainer in 2005, Jeff found his businesses profitable and successful - But he was bored. A friend suggested he read The Big Year. (Yes, that book they made into a movie.) Birds, lists, getting out in nature, being slightly obsessive-compulsive: what was not to like? He decided that on January 1st, 2006, he would be a birder.
He got a pair of Audubon binoculars and a Sibley's guidebook. While in Colorado on his first day as a birder - and not starting to bird until 11am (HA!) - Jeff and a friend identified 6 species in about 4 hours of birding. His first bird seen as a birder was a Bald Eagle.
Jeff has been an enthusiastic birder ever since. Now he is part of a team that that has set nearly 60 Illinois birding Big Day records and part of both teams that hold the coveted state record of seeing 191 species of bird in one day in Illinois - something he has now down twice.
Birding led Jeff down the slippery slope of being concerned about the habitat of the birds. Next thing he realized, he is doing restoration and conservation work at his local patch, LaBagh Woods.