DUNNING — Volunteers are needed Saturday morning to help clean up the Dunning-Read Conservation Area, an oasis of 23 acres of wetlands and woodlands slowly being restored to its natural state, organizers said.
Once volunteers finish getting rid of weeds and invasive species, picking up trash and preparing the area for winter, Eli's Cheesecake will provide a dessert buffet as a reward for their hard work, organizers said.
Volunteers should meet at 9 a.m. on the property at Irving Park Road and Oak Park Avenue and bring a snack and water to keep them going during approximately three hours of work, organizers said.
Open to the public from March to November, the site features a ¾-mile walking trail, a small rain garden and a plant nursery. The site is an ideal place to educate the public about the need for biodiversity, according to Friends of the Parks, which has been working since 2007 to restore the land to its original state.
Visitors to the passive park can see rare animals not often seen in the city, including prairie crayfish and garter snakes. Coyotes also frequent the grounds, and red-tailed hawks often search for prey there, according to Friends of the Parks.
The conservation area was once part of the grounds of the Chicago-Read Mental Health Center.
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