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Dunning Read Conservation Area Gets Ready For Spring, Thanks To Volunteers

 More than 90 volunteers gathered at the nature oasis as part of an Earth Day celebration.
Dunning-Read Conservation Area Clean Up
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DUNNING — Members of a group helping to restore the Dunning-Read Conservation Area — an oasis of 23 acres of wetlands and woodlands nestled along Chicago's western border — recently gave the area a spring cleaning.

More than 90 members of the Friends of Dunning Read group and volunteers gathered at the nature oasis as part of an Earth Day celebration.

More than acre of the oasis was cleared of an invasive weed known as Teasel and a "significant portion" of the Dunning Creek was dredged, said Jason Quaglia, one of the founders of the group.

Open to the public from March to November, the conservation area 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 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.

For more information, email Quaglia at jasonquaglia@dunningreadconservationarea.com.

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