The Friends of Big Marsh are getting ready for Spring with the some great opportunities for ecological volunteerism! The first event will be a training session to learn to distinguish the calls of native frogs on March 5th, followed by our first monthly clean + green on March 9th. On March 16th we will host the first trail maintanence volunteer session of the year! See below for more information.
FoBM's campaign kickoff party was a success!
On Tuesday, January 29th, more than 100 supporters of Friends of Big Marsh braved single-digit temperatures and forecasts of snow to celebrate and learn about the future plans for Big Marsh park! Lagunitas served delicious beer while guests dined on rib tips from The Slab and vegan "chicken wings" form Ste Martaen. Dudadius provided ambient electronic music patching and prodding a series of synthesizers. We would strongly recommend people check him out at any of his upcoming concerts! The main event, thoguh ,was the unveilling of our "Leaving the Nest, Taking Flight" plans. Guests were able to discuss what they would most like to see from a Nature Play Space as well as from the build-out of "The Big Hill" and learn about the upcoming "Big Marsh Ambassadors" program and ideas for increased Cyclocross programming.
"Leaving the Nest, Taking Flight" is about accessing the entire park, taking in the ecology, learning about animals and plants which are native to the Calumet, and, yes, buiding out the features in the 40-acre bike park.
This Friday, November 23rd, Friends of Big Marsh will be hosting a trailbuilding volunteer day beginning at 8am in the South End of Big Marsh Park.
Organization Poised to Support the Next Phase of Big Marsh Development
Friends of Big Marsh is pleased to announce that Paul Fitzgerald has been named the organization’s first Executive Director. Paul brings organizational management expertise, a strong commitment to the South Side community and experience with bicycles as a tool of empowerment and sustainability.
Board member, Jamal Julien, describes Paul as having a “desire to get his hands dirty and be the change he seeks in the community” New executive leaderships will launch Friends of Big Marsh into the next phase of the park’s rapid development. The park and the first phase of the bike park opened in 2016 and additional mountain bike trails are under construction. The Ford Environmental Center will break ground this fall. Friends of Big Marsh is now poised to generate public support and donations to help the Chicago Park District build the “Big Hill” and other bike park, environmental, and recreation improvements. This commitment and investment will build Big Marsh into a treasured regional and community destination for eco-recreation, uniting both ecology and recreation.. Julien adds “I know not only will the children and families have fun, they will gain life skills, community values and culture”.
Paul describes his new responsibilities as “a dream come true.” He grew up in the Ashburn neighborhood delivering the South West News Herald by bicycle. After being a bicycle messenger and teaching bicycle mechanics to youth in North Lawndale and Humboldt Park with West Town Bikes, Paul began his time at Working Bikes. There Paul co-founded a sliding scale service department and became General Manager. Since 2012, Paul has served Working Bikes mission to make donated bicycles accessible as tools of empowerment, Paul holds a bachelor’s degree from UIC and was a 2017 Fellow of the University of Chicago’s Civic Leadership Academy.
Paul Fitzgerald can be contacted at Paul@bigmarsh.org.
Please be aware that due to construction at the entrance to the Bike Park, the trails at Big Marsh will be closed beginning on Wednesday April 11. The trails are schedule to be re-opened by Friday April 20. Please check back here for updated information
If you need additional info or have any questions please contact Chental Handy, Project Coordinater.
YES, BIG MARSH IS OPEN! (Please don't ruin it)
Big Marsh is a stunning place during the winter. Wet weather can mean that many of the features should not be used, so we ask you as Friends of Big Marsh to show leadership by observing the signage and not leave tracks in soft soil, encouraging others to use the park responsibly.
But Big Marsh is open dawn to dusk year round. If you find the gate closed during daylight hours, that is just a snafu with the security operations. You should feel free to park outside and hike or bike into the park. During winter, Big Marsh is a great place for hiking, fat tire bikes, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, and pure contemplation. Many of the designed features are at risk of damage if they’re used when the ground is wet or soft, but the park has plenty of other places for you to roam.
Please Donate to support our outreach and engagement by clicking here.
IT’S NEVER TOO COLD
Here’s a handy layering guide I like to use to keep me comfortable in the weather:
If the daytime high temperature is:
60 degrees or warmer: shorts and short sleeves are fine
50 degrees: add long pants and long sleeves (1 layer on arms & legs)
40 degrees: add light gloves and a hat, light jacket (1 layer on head and hands, extra for arms and torso)
30 degrees: use ski gloves and wool socks (extra layer on hands and feet)
20 degrees or colder: add extra tights or long johns, heavier coat and balaclava (extra layer for torso, arms and legs, and face) - the balaclava and ski gloves are the key!
USE WATERPROOFING AT YOUR DISCRETION ACCORDING TO CONDITIONS
Walking versus cycling is usually worth 10 degrees difference, because of wind chill. But there are joys at Big Marsh even on the coldest days if you dress right.
Come on out, and please Donate! to support our outreach efforts.
Jay Readey, Friends of Big Marsh
Friends of Big Marsh Donor Recognition Mixer!
Thank you for being a prior supporter of Big Marsh. We are seeking to build a community of people who care about Big Marsh and the opportunities it can offer our communities as cyclists, nature lovers, and outdoor recreation enthusiasts.
We hope meet some of you all at our upcoming Mixer. Until next time..!
What's Happening at Big Marsh...