Sierra Club-Lake County launches monthly meetings Sept. 13
The local Sierra Club group for Lake County, known as Woods & Wetlands, is launching regular monthly meetings on the outdoors and the environment, beginning on Sept. 13.
All meetings are free and open to the public.
The meetings will take place on the second Sunday evening of every month.
To begin, and for the foreseeable future, all the meetings will be on Zoom. When it is safe for people to gather, the meetings will transition to public spaces, perhaps at a different day and time.
"We're excited to resume regular public meetings," said Gloria Charland, the group's membership and engagement co-chair, who has spearheaded the project. "We have had irregular meetings of this nature in the past, and they were well-received. Now we are committing ourselves to a regular schedule with informative and interesting speakers."
The initial meeting will feature Andrew Rutter, wildlife ecologist for the Lake County Forest Preserves, who will speak on mammals living in and along Lake County's rivers, primarily the Des Plaines and the Fox.
Rutter oversees wildlife management and research programs on lands owned by the Lake County Forest Preserve District.
He also manages the mammalian portion of a long-term wildlife monitoring program as well as several other research projects devoted to monitoring and promoting wildlife diversity.
Rutter has had a lifelong passion for the outdoors and the environment. He holds a bachelor's degree in biology from Emporia State University and a master's degree in forestry, with a wildlife emphasis, from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale. He has worked as a professional wildlife ecologist for the Lake County Forest Preserve District since 2016.
"Semi-aquatic mammals such as muskrat, mink, river otter, and beaver serve a number of important ecological roles in freshwater aquatic systems, both as apex predators and ecosystem engineers," Rutter explained. "Collectively, they play a disproportionate role in ecosystems by creating habitat, structuring the environment, and functioning as keystone species. All four semi-aquatic mammals inhabit wetland and riparian habitats throughout Lake County."
To register for the Sept. 13 meeting, visit www.sierraclub.org/illinois/woods-wetlands/outings-events and scroll down to Sept. 13.
A link will be sent to registered people prior to the event.
Other subject-matter experts who will speak at future meetings include:
• Doug Ower and Diane Stark, co-chairs of the Woods and Wetlands political endorsement committee, will explain the group's endorsement process and review the candidates who have earned our endorsement in the Nov. 3 election. They will speak on Oct. 11.
• Curt Meine, a fellow at the Aldo Leopold Foundation, will speak on the land ethic fostered by Aldo Leopold, the author A Sand County Almanac and the father of wildlife ecology, on Nov. 8.
• Jeff Weiss, a naturalist who teaches at the College of Lake County, will speak on winter plant identification on Jan. 10.
• As a special Valentine's Day program, Nan Buckardt of the Lake County Forest Preserve District will speak love, courtship, and sex in the natural world, on Feb. 14.
• Nick Snyder, manager of the REI store in Vernon Hills, will speak on "camping for newbies" on May 9.
Speaker invitations for other dates are still pending, said Thomas Lee and Linda Tilton, who have been tasked with scheduling speakers.