Someone to Know: Natural Resources and Grounds Management Crews

When you think about our District crews tending to DuPage forest preserves and natural resources, you likely wouldn’t think they’d be busy outdoors over winter. But they are! Winter’s cold temperatures don’t make our crews shut up indoors. The bleak landscape — void of green vegetation — proves to be an ideal time for our members of the Resource Management & Development and Field Operations teams to target some of the trickiest invasive plant species in our preserves.

Natural Resource Coordinator Herman Jensen offers some insight about managing invasive and nonnative shrubs and trees during the off season.

What do you target and why?
Invasive brush is primarily introduced exotic species such as common buckthorn and honeysuckle. Controlling these species is not only part of the restoration process but also fulfills the Forest Preserve District’s mandate. Throughout the growing season the Natural Resources Management crew performs other parts of the restoration process, including collecting native plant seed for redistribution and controlling herbaceous exotic species.

Why is winter a good time to clear invasive brush?

Brush can be controlled anytime of the year but herbaceous species can only be controlled during the growing season. Cutting and hauling brush is physically demanding, and winter's cold temperatures are generally easier on crew members. Members also wear more clothes in winter, which protects them from cuts and scrapes from thorns or twigs and exposure to poisonous plants like poison ivy.

Where do you clear brush?
We focus on preserve areas known to contain high-quality native herbaceous plants that are dormant over winter and therefore not damaged by our activities. Winter weather conditions allow brush to be burned on site in a safe, controlled manner due to cold temperatures and snow cover. We’re often asked why we burn the brush rather than dispose of it by wood chippers or tub grinders. Some of it is. But these pieces of equipment are expensive, need to be maintained, difficult to maneuver off road and require the use of fossil fuels. Burning brush on site allows us to be better stewards of the environment by reducing our use of fossil fuels.

How do you know which area to target? Is it cyclical or scheduled?

Brush clearing is conducted in forest preserves containing high-quality native plant communities that are rated Class III or IV. Other factors include previous prescribed burn treatments and snow cover. We also choose secure locations that are surrounded by the lack of potential fuel sources, such as screened trails or mowed turf.

Will treatment of the cleared areas follow in the spring?
Yes. We’ll treat all stumps with the appropriate herbicide either shortly after being cut or in the spring after the snow cover is gone. 

Someone to Know: Dan Hebreard

District ranger loves sharing his passion for nature with visitors.

Someone to Know: Wayne Zaininger

As site manager for Danada Equestrian Center in Wheaton and St. James Farm in Warrenville, Zaininger's work is centered on horses and the people who care for them.

Someone to Know: District Ecologist Dan Thompson

District ecologist has the perfect job to feed his love of nature and wildlife.

Someone to Know: Fullersburg Woods Volunteer Joan Schultheis

Retired teacher taps her love of nature at Fullersburg Woods Nature Education Center.

Someone to Know: Wayne Hill

Wayne Hill gets to step back in time in his role as heritage interpreter at Kline Creek Farm, an 1890s living history farm in West Chicago.

Someone to Know: Mark Dyer

Mayslake Community Outreach Specialist Mark Dyer wears many hats while helping ensure the numerous nature and cultural programs run smoothly at the Oak Brook estate.

Someone to Know: Austin Kopp

Golf Services Supervisor Austin Kopp makes sure every trip to the District's three golf course is on par with customer's expectations.

Someone to Know: Leigh Korreck

Willowbrook naturalist Leigh Korreck loves being able to connect people to nature and help them learn how to live in harmony with native wildlife in DuPage County.

Someone to Know: Dennis Buck

How would you like stepping back into a different century every day at work? That's what Kline Creek Farm heritage interpreter Dennis Buck does each day.

Someone to Know: Kim Riehm

From taking calls to reserving a picnic shelter to answering questions about forest preserves, no two days are alike for Visitors Services staff assistant Kim Riehm. And she wouldn't have it any other way.

Someone to Know: Cindy Hedges

Cindy Hedges is all about connecting people to nature in her role as stewardship program coordinator. She also oversees the District's volunteer monitoring programs and the Native Plant Nursery at Blackwell Forest Preserve.

Someone to Know: Kendra Strubhart

As Mayslake's heritage interpreter, Kendra Strubhart is responsible for programming at the historic Oak Brook mansion.

Someone to Know: Mayslake Photo Instructor Chris Aquino

When he's not teaching cinema studies at Wheaton Warrenville South High School, he's helping folks hone their photography skills at Mayslake Peabody Estate.

Someone to Know: Mayslake Photo Instructor Fred Drury

Award-winning photographer Fred Drury brings his 50-plus years of photography expertise to you through his photography classes at Mayslake Peabody Estate.

Someone to Know: Mayslake Photo Instructor Hank Erdmann

Hank Erdmann specializes in nature photography, especially in the midwest. His primary areas of interest include midwestern prairies and hardwood forests.

Someone to Know: Mayslake Photo Instructor Will Clay

Will Clay's photography has been published in nine books and numerous natioanl publications, and now he brings his photographic expertise to you through his photography classes at Mayslake Peabody Estate.

Someone to Know: Eric Poggenburg

No two days are alike for ranger Eric Poggenburg, who enjoys connecting to nature even on his days off.

Someone to Know: Dr. Jennifer Nevis

Willowbrook staff veterinarian fuels her passion for animals and mentoring.

Someone to Know: Nikki Dahlin

District naturalist Nikki Dahlin's love of bugs may have started by accident, but it's been fueled by passion.

Someone to Know: David Sima

Senior ranger David Sima leads programs that teach skills for enjoying the great outdoors.

Someone to Know: Stephanie Touzalin

Wildlife enthusiast and artist Stephanie Touzalin is a naturalist at Willowbrook.

Someone to Know: Ron Skleney

Naturalist Ron Skleney loves birds and heads up our raptor program at Willowbrook Wildlife Center.

Someone to Know: Natural Resources and Grounds Management Crews

Our crews manage invasive and nonnative vegetation over the coldest months of the year.

Someone to Know: Chris Gingrich

Get to know Education Outreach Specialist Chris Gingrich.

Someone to Know: Marty Jandura

Ranger Marty Jandura is an avid fisherman and offers up some fishing tips.

Someone to Know

Get Adobe Reader
©2016 Forest Preserve District of DuPage County
EMPLOYMENT   |   BIDS AND PROPOSALS   |   LINKS   |   RULES AND REGULATIONS
CONTACT US   |   PRIVACY POLICY   |   TERMS OF USE   |   SITE MAP