Inside, Out & About Explores Beaubien Woods

Beautiful and historic Beaubien Woods on the far South Side of Chicago is the feature story of the new episode of Friends’ podcast Inside, Out & About which is available now via Friends’ website.

A 279-acre part of the Forest Preserves of Cook County (FPCC), Beaubien Woods contains a myriad of ecosystems including woodlands, wetlands, prairie, pond and river including Flatfoot Lake. With access to the Little Calumet River, Beaubien Woods is also part of the Calumet region. Prior to the arrival of settlers in the Calumet region, multiple Native American tribes, predominantly the Illinois, Miami, and Potawatomi inhabited the area. Also before settlement, Beaubien Woods was a wet prairie and open savanna community.

In this episode Chris Anchor, senior wildlife biologist for the FPCC, discusses how osprey are increasing along the Chicago River system due to a FPCC program that has installed about 20 constructed osprey nesting platforms so far. Friends joined this osprey effort in 2015, installing five more at river-edge preserves including the Beaubien Woods Boat Launch in 2018. In 2020, an osprey pair successfully fledged two chicks there and in April 2021 returned to the nest site. Osprey will continue to return if they have successfully raised young. As of this month, it is unknown whether there are eggs in the nest. From Openlands, Aquatic Ecologist Laura Barghusen, and Education and Community Outreach Coordinator Lillian Holden, discuss The African American Heritage Water Trail which is one of the most recent contributions to the cultural history of the Calumet region. The water trail, which is within the Calumet Heritage Area, begins at Beaubien Woods and promotes the exploration of 29 significant African American sites along the Little Calumet River and inland between Beaubien and Robbins, Ill. Each episode of the podcast is hosted by Friends’ Executive Director Margaret Frisbie.

Inside, Out & About and the companion nature program on Friends’ website take people on a journey along the Chicago River system to deepen their connections with nature and increase their awareness of our natural areas. Each month throughout the year we will explore a new site. Previous episodes explore the Chicago Portage National Historic Site in Lyons, Kickapoo Woods in south suburban Riverdale, and Bubbly Creek.