June 18, 2011

Bill Jarvis Bird Sanctuary

One with Nature Along the Lake
main entrance to the sanctuary
photo - Max Herman TimeOut Chicago
photo - Geoff Williamson, Sierra Club Field Trip 
with more photos of that particular 2011 trip
unlabeled aerial view vs labeled view
Jarvis Bird Sanctuary and its mission
is located at the northern tip of Belmont Harbor
In the early 1920’s a patch of land just east and north of Belmont Yacht Harbor was still a marshy usable section of land.  A sanctuary for wildlife was created during the Lincoln Park (the park) extension of the early 20th century.
According to Wikipedia, Bill Jarvis Migratory Bird Sanctuary, formerly Lincoln Park Addison Migratory Bird Sanctuary. First landscaped and constructed with limited public access in the 1920’s, under the leadership of the Chicago Academy of Sciences, its spring is supplied with city water to mimic a natural lake marsh environment, with attendant forest and meadow environments. Most of its 7-acre (2.8 ha) area is entirely fenced around to preserve the habitat from human encroachment. Instead, a nature trail and a viewing platform are at its surrounding perimeter. During the 1940’s, its Park District caretakers lost funding and the site was padlocked. In 1968, the entire site was almost bulldozed for golf course development but its Lake View neighbors, including Bill Jarvis, led a successful campaign to save and restore it. Today it hosts more than 150 species of birds, including six species of herons, like the black crowned night heron; wood ducks; woodcock; hawks; yellow-billed cuckoos; hummingbirds; thrushes; vireos; 34 species of warblers; and 18 native species of sparrows. In addition, small mammals such as rabbit, opossum, raccoon, and occasionally fox and coyote make their home there. View it with this YouTube link.
Volunteers at work
Volunteers working the field in 2010
"With assistance from a lovely tree.
my hands were on two fallen branches
that were stuck in thick, swampy mud."
Kelly Weime photo as him as an adventurous volunteer
Read about the volunteer efforts in 2014 via DNAinfo
Bill Jarvis Migratory Bird Sanctuary steward 
photo - DNAinfo
Charlotte Newfeld poses inside the sanctuary's heated shelter. Volunteers work at the shelter two times a month every month of the year. The sanctuary dates to 1923, when the North Parks Commission set aside 5-1/2 acres of recent landfill. Due to that landfill Belmont Yacht Harbor was open to the public in 1913. After reading this post read more about the harbor in another post called Belmont Yacht Harbor Moments as well as the Chicago Tribune coverage of it in press photos and lastly when the harbor was used during the sailboat races to Mackinac Island.
Depiction - Oil by Timothy Rees
The official recognition of this patch of land was not mandated until 1968 when the Chicago Park District established jurisdiction. While the CPD established ownership the sanctuary upkeep was to be manage by ecological friendly citizens of the area under the stewardship of the Lake View Citizens Council - an umbrella organization of the neighborhood civic associations in this area.  
As of 2001 the sanctuary was expanded to include flora and fauna collection (the word 'flora' can include flowers, bushes, trees and other plants and fauna includes birds, insects, arthropods, reptiles, amphibians and mammals). An observation platform is located on the lakeside and outside the enclosed fencing. The area was named after an advert bird-watcher and sanctuary activist Bill Jarvis.
photo - Chicago Park District
Sierra Club @ Javis observation deck - 2011
In 2009 the patrons of the sanctuary 'crossed hairs' with the city of Chicago and the Chicago 2116 Olympic Committee.  The Committee was planning to install a massive tennis center next to the sanctuary.  After several heated debates between residents and the city officials it was finally decided that the center would be built. Luckily, the peacefulness of the sanctuary was secured by the failed attempt by the city's Olympic Committee for permission to have the Olympics located here that following year. 
The Maintenance - Fall
typical Fall prep for Winter
photo - their web site 
The Maintenance - Winter
Winter volunteer remove non-indigenous tree
photo - DNAinfo
The Maintenance - Spring
 photo - their website
 photo - their website
an installation of a bird house
Sierra Club Birding and Nature Walk 2012
@ this sanctuary
Solitary Sandpiper by KristinChicago on Flickr

Bring someone who can act as a guide for your group
Sierra Club @ Javis - photo 2011
According the the sanctuary's management if you plan to volunteer and help maintain the area "come prepared for clearing brush and planting seeds, and might just catch a glimpse of  birds like chickadees, juncos and coopers hawks. Binoculars and instruction in how to use them will be available during break times". Explore the photography of this sanctuary via Flickr  ... well worth it!
 There are other official sites like Javis in the city
a 'Carolina Wren' - DNAinfo
Read this article from DNAinfo about all the local location sightings when traveling south of the winter months.

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