Kielson connects with nature through center
Updated: March 15, 2013 12:12PM
Daniel C. Kielson, of Winnetka, looks at the protected wetlands just east of Glencoe Skokie Boulevard village limits, as if it were his own backyard.
“We’re standing right now on one of the wonders. This is the Skokie Lagoons,” said Kielson, proudly, as he spoke steps from nearly frozen waters off of Tower Road.
Communing with nature, in the vein of Ralph Waldo Emerson or Henry David Thoreau, the 35-year resident and president of the BackYard Nature Center connects with ponds and Mother Earth. The non-profit incorporated in 2007, connecting people of all ages with nature. He and his wife Marie-Eve have two daughters, Lisette, of Bloomington, Ill., and Claudine, of Los Angeles. Visit www.backyardnaturecenter.org.
Q. What is the mission of the BackYard Nature Center?
A. The activities that we engage in with children and adults are educational – stewardship, restoration work – and behind all this is an appreciation for an understanding of nature. Nature is such a benefit for children and adults too. Really, there’s so much research that’s coming out now in the last five years about the benefits of nature, the cognitive development, the physical development, the emotional development, it’s just wonderful. And therefore, that’s the thrust of our organization ... We’re a New Trier Township based group.
Q. The Skokie Lagoons wetlands aren’t a typical back yard?
A. In this case, this is our community’s backyard. We also have an aspect of our organization that encourages and gives out information about how to develop one’s own backyard, literally. One’s own resident’s backyard to make it a healthy place, if you want to attract birds and beautiful natural creatures. There’s a way of doing that. So there’s the literal backyard as well as the conceptual backyard.
Q. What is the situation with the invasive species Buckthorn?
A. Unfortunately, the buckthorn runs through this particular part of northeastern Illinois, and particularly in the Skokie Lagoons; the Purple Loosestrife too, but the Buckthorn is particularly invasive. It’s a tree that grows to about 25 feet. It’s the first tree to get its leaf in the springtime and it’s the last to lose its leaf in the fall. So what that means is, it blocks out the light for other things to grow. And so underneath the Buckthorn, you will find nothing growing, and that’s very unfortunate. So one of the restoration activities is cutting down the Buckthorn.
Q. Being outside, connected to your backyard. Are you having a good life?
A. I’m having a very good life. Right now, it’s very cold though. But it’s still wonderful. It’s gorgeous. Thank you. Yes, I do have a good life.