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updated: 6/7/2012 8:34 PM

Prairie Lakes Park Benefits from Community Expertise

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  • Andre Baker shows one of the turtles he found to fellow Concordia University student, Zachary Bauknecht, while working at Prairie Lakes Park.

      Andre Baker shows one of the turtles he found to fellow Concordia University student, Zachary Bauknecht, while working at Prairie Lakes Park.
    Dr. Rebecca Trueman

 
Lisa Haring

The Trueman family has lived on Thacker Street in Des Plaines since before Prairie Lakes Park was built in 1991.

Rebecca Trueman, an expert field biologist and Concordia University Chicago faculty member, has watched the development of Prairie Lakes Park and the popular Community Center over the past 20 years.

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A few months ago, she contacted Des Plaines Park District Superintendent of Parks and Planning, Paul Cathey, and offered her expertise to help restore the health of one of the small lakes adjacent to her home.

Over the past month, she and her students from Concordia worked over 200 hours to restore the aquatic ecosystem.

"In addition to removing silt build-up, the students measured lake nutrient concentrations and performed fish stock analysis," Dr. Trueman said. Landscape Maintenance Supervisor, Steve Krotz was in charge of overseeing the project for the Park District. "The work has been extraordinary," he said. "The lake has never looked better, and we look forward to working with Dr. Trueman and her students on the additional lakes in the park."

"The students have identified two species of turtles, five species of fish and numerous aquatic birds at this one lake." Trueman said. "This is an excellent opportunity to teach students about the dynamic plant-animal nutrient interactions and help prepare science students for their future."

Executive Director John Hecker agrees. "We always enjoy working with the community and truly appreciate the expert input Dr. Trueman has provided."

As part of their ongoing partnership, the Des Plaines Park District has agreed to host Concordia University Environmental Science undergraduate interns.

For more information about community involvement with the Des Plaines Park District, contact, John Hecker at (847) 391-5700.

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