Northtown Garden Society

Chicago, Illinois

CUW Coyote
CUW Siting Frequencies
CUW - US map
NGS Jan 2021 Orr.jpg

Would it kill you to compost?




Our guest speaker, Michael Orr, is a native Chicagoan—grew up in Rogers Park and attended Whitney Young HS. Currently, Mike is Recycling Director for the City of Cambridge, home to Harvard and MIT. He oversees all waste diversion programs, with the goal of reducing trash 80% by 2050, with 2008 as a baseline. With a $1 million budget, he oversaw the expansion of curbside composting to 32,000 households in 2018. He has also implemented the City’s Zero Waste Master Plan, the plastic bag and polystyrene ordinances, and mattress recycling. Previously, Mike served as the sustainability coordinator for Lesley University. Mike is a Board member of a nonprofit, MassRecycle.   

Mike spoke about the Do's and Don'ts of home recyling and what happens to our recylclables after they leave our homes. To learn about Chicago's recycling rules, you can go to RecycleByCity.

Some recycling general rules are:

  • No p;astic bags or film should be recycled. If it's rigid plastic and a container, it can be recycled.
  • No shredded paper, napkins or paper towels should be reycled. They can be composted.
  • No styrofoam should be recycled
  • Leave small plastic caps on containers (like the caps on milk jugs) because they jam up the ecuipment.


Our trash goes to landfill so it's important to recycle that which you can.


If you want to see what happens at a recycling center, go to this YouTube video.



Camera corridors radiating out from the Zoo; 161 sites recording 23 mammal species

Number of sitings; squirrels are the largest followed by dogs then deer.

Coyotes in the city

Cities monitoring urban wildlife in North America

House Finch

American Goldfinch - male


Urban Wildlife

We were delighted to hear from Liza Lehrer, the Assistant Director of the Urban Wildlife Institute at the Lincoln Park Zoo.  In this role, Liza assists with strategic planning, coordinates partnerships, oversees wildlife management for the zoo’s Nature Boardwalk, and collaborates with the zoo’s Learning department on urban-wildlife related programming and mentoring. She manages and collects data for several of the institute’s field research projects, including the Biodiversity Monitoring and Bat Monitoring projects, and is the Chicago lead for the Urban Wildlife Information Network. Liza’s research interests include landscape, behavioral, and acoustical ecology, managing human-wildlife conflict, and design of wildlife-friendly cities. She is endlessly fascinated by the resiliency and behavioral flexibility of animals, especially those that live in cities.

All Chicagoans know about the coyotes who have taken up residence on the city as well as the scattering of deer mainly in cemeteries. The Wildlife Institute places cameras around the city and neighboring areas to study the types and number of mammals in the area most of whom are nocturnal. The researchers have learned just how adaptable these animals are and can work with developers to accommodate the needs of the wildlife. In addition to studying mammals, they have begun to study bats using echolocartion technology.

The Urban Wildlife Institute is a leader in the national effort to study urban wildlife. We Chicagoans should be very proud of our Lincoln Park Zoo and the work they do.

Daffodils: The Stars of the Spring garden


Our monthly programs are usually held on the 1st Thursday of the month at 7:00 PM in the Warren Park Field House, 6601 N. Western Ave. Chicago.


We usually feature a social get-together with refreshments followed by a guest speaker.


Eva Mannaberg and Sue Groshong


Speaker, Sue Groshong, is a University of Illinois Master Gardener and volunteer in Plant Information at the Chicago Botanic Garden.  She gardens at her home in Evanston and a weekend home in Wisconsin, and in both places daffodils take a starring role in spring.  Her talk explored the range of daffodils that you can grow and how they can best be integrated into your home landscape.



Birds of Illinois

Matt Igleski, who captivated us last year with his talk on the Great Lakes Piping Plovers who nested in Chicago, once again gave us a very informative talk on the birds in Illinois that we may find in our back yards. He discussed attracting them, feeding them (woodpeckers love dried mealy worms)  and gave tips on identifying them (look at the shape and color of the 

beak first).

Matt is an environmental educator by trade, so he is constantly teaching people and learning about the natural world. He came to birding by way of taking an ornithology course during his graduate studies in Michigan. The course nurtured Matt’s birding curiosity into a full-on avian obsession. After moving to Chicago in 2013, with his wife Vickie, their primary avocation has become birding all the spots that Chicago and Northwest Indiana has to offer. They’ve since traveled to other birding hotspots around the country, chasing rarities and exploring all the amazing, unique natural areas that the United States has to offer nature lovers. Matt truly enjoys helping people explore the natural world and showing them the birds that live there.

We wish to thank Matt for setting up this Zoom event.

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