The Park District of Highland Park plans to celebrate invertebrates.
It hosts an open house at Heller Nature Center on October 20 (1:30-3:30 p.m.), showcasing a photography and art exhibit dubbed “Insect Pollinators”. The exhibit will be on display in Heller’s Prairie Room through October 31.
The works in the exhibit were drawn from the home garden of Round Lake Park residents Carla Schmakel and Bob Strempel. Their garden is an Illinois Audubon Society bird and butterfly sanctuary and is part of the Conservation at Home program of Conserve Lake County.
“The photography and art presented show samples from 24 years of sightings,” Park District of Highland Park Communications Director Liz Gogola says. “Insect communities include pollinators, predators, plant consumers, recyclers, eco-balancers and contributors to soil health. They also form the food chain base for spiders, small- to medium-sized mammals and scores of bird species.”
The exhibit is a tribute to the life of former Illinois Audubon Society Executive Director Marilyn Campbell, who was a bird and wildlife enthusiast and the editor of Illinois Audubon. She died in 2017.
Heller Nature Center Office Coordinator Sue Monsen knows Schmakel from her previous involvement with the nature center. Schmakel helped Monsen and her staff set up the exhibit in the Prairie Room.
“We always promote local artists in our Prairie Room here,” Monsen says, adding Schmakel has been a Heller Nature Center volunteer for years.
“I met with Carla, saw the artwork and was thrilled to be able to add it to our repertoire.”
The works on display depict scenes the human eye wouldn’t normally glimpse.
“What was captured with the camera and the drawings themselves are very close-up,” she says. “I encourage people to come out and see the exhibit.”