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A Calumet Moment


ECCo Builds on Uncanny "Calumet Moments" to Build Serious Calumet Momentum

A shooting star surprises unsuspecting visitors to the Forest Preserve District of Cook County site at Powderhorn Prairie – perhaps it’s the background thrum of the nearby locomotive repair facility that catches them unawares.  A beaver-chewed cottonwood falls across the Indiana Toll Road exit ramp in Gary. An osprey preens itself near someone's abandoned living room carpet at Van Vlissingen Woods.  A prairie blooms on Forest Preserve ground just south of the Altgeld Gardens housing complex, nurtured by the stewardship of ECCo staff, Chicago public school and local college students, and volunteers.

ECCo brings moments like these to more than 4,000 children each year through its Calumet Environmental Education Program.  The newly released schedule for a 2012 “Calumet Outdoors” program brings them to an even wider audience.  This monthly series of expert-led hikes and paddling events spans the bi-state Calumet region, and takes in settings rife with urban/nature “Calumet moments” as well as special places of subtle and contemplative quiet. Many folks call these “Calumet moments” – uncanny testimonies to nature’s tenacity in the urban landscape that never fail to bring a smile of delight and wonder, nor to etch themselves forever in memory.

Another “Calumet moment” is now upon us.  This one brings a new round of energy to the project of stewarding the region’s great set of wetlands and wildlife in such a way that both people and nature benefit.  The moment gathers strength from the pulse of significant public announcements since last fall.

  • September 26, 2011: The National Parks Conservation Association (and its partner, ECCo), announce the release of a major study of the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore called “National Park, Regional Treasure”.
  • December 9, 2011: Governor Patrick Quinn and Mayor Rahm Emmanuel team up to announce the creation of the Millennium Reserve: Calumet Core.  
  •  January 31, 2012: Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr. announces a Special Resource Study by the National Park Service to investigate National Park status for the Pullman community.
  • February 10, 2012: Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy acknowledges that the presence of nesting bald eagles just next to the proposed site of a Police Firing Range may jeopardize that project.

ECCo is present as advisor, partner, and/or commentator on all of these initiatives.

ECCo’s goal?  To use this big institutional “moment” to make as many personal “Calumet moments” for people as possible. 

That’s called momentum.