My first bird of the new year was a red-headed woodpecker. How about you?
Over the holidays, my wife and I self-quarantined back in Chicago. While there, I took a long walk at Thornton-Lansing Woods, a dedicated Illinois Nature Preserve owned by the Forest Preserve District of Cook County — home to a recovering population of red-headed woodpeckers. I arrived just as a restoration crew was finishing up. They’d spent the day clearing a lot of invasive trees and shrubs to restore the the savanna/prairie habitat. They left behind several smoldering brush piles.
Warming myself by the fading fire, I couldn’t help but think of the fire we’d recently experienced at RTPI. Fire destroys, certainly. But fire also purges and restores. The area undergoing restoration at Thornton-Lansing Woods currently looks scarred and charred. Come springtime, however, the open canopy woods and cleared prairie will be teeming with a lush carpet of wildflowers and the mating calls of many birds.
Following the post-fire cleanup at RTPI, our sanctuary of a building looks a little more like a construction zone at the moment. We have a lot of work to do. Rebuilding walls and ceilings. Replacing floors and insulation. Restocking lost equipment and merchandise. We also have a lot to do to complete our new strategic plan. Surveys and research. Number crunching and more number crunching. Discussion and debate. And yet more number crunching. In our free time, we’ll also be building our new, permanent website.
Come springtime, all the hard work is going to pay off. RTPI will emerge from literal ashes, reminding me of another another flame-red bird, the phoenix. RTPI will arise refreshed, rejuvenated and reimagined. A Happy New Year, indeed.
Arthur Pearson, your CEO