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Help Make Labagh Woods An Avian Paradise At Bird-Themed Fundraiser Saturday

By Alex Nitkin | April 19, 2017 5:47am | Updated on April 19, 2017 12:07pm
 A hawk perches in the LaBagh Woods
A hawk perches in the LaBagh Woods
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Facebook/My Year Birding at LaBagh Woods

CHICAGO — An army of volunteers hoping to build the Labagh Woods into a stopover sanctuary for migrating birds will hold a fundraiser Saturday at Galway Arms, 2442 N. Clark St., with the lofty goal of raising $4,000 toward their project.

Naturalists and bird-watchers are hoping the biennial Birds & Beers fundraiser pulls in enough cash to help them clear the 160-acre Cook County Forest Preserve of invasive plants and replace them with an array of native shrubs designed to shelter and sustain frequent flyers, according to organizer Jeff Skrentny.

The event kicks off at 6:30 p.m. and features a performance from the electro-folk duo Congress of Starlings, which promises a lineup of "bird and environmental-themed songs."

Attendees will also be able to enter into a raffle or silent auction for the chance to win more than 50 prizes, including memberships to the Lincoln Park Zoo and Chicago Botanical Gardens; high-quality binoculars for avid birders; and tickets to Cubs, Bulls and Blackhawks games.

The volunteer foresters are touting a commitment from the Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation to donate $3 for every dollar raised, meaning that raising $4,000 on Saturday would leave them with more than enough to fill their $15,000 budget set for 2018.

The group plans to buy and cultivate seeds for 29 different shrub and tree species, then plant them and surround them with fences to protect from deer. Finishing the project would mean maintaining an important stopover point for the more than 190 bird species that migrate through the area, Skrentny said.

"After flying all the way down through continuous forest, [the Labagh Woods] is the last place where they can fatten up before they hit the city," he said. "Because after that, they have miles of nothing but a scary urban environment until they can get to the Des Plaines River or the lake."

Admission to the Birds & Beers fundraiser costs $20, and each raffle ticket will sell for $5, according to the event's Facebook page.