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RPC Book

In Our Own Backyard, the RPC’s 128 page illustrated book about living in harmony with our beautiful natural environment, was researched, written, photographed, and edited by volunteer residents of Riverwoods. It was printed and distributed without charge to all Riverwoods residents in late 2008 with the assistance of the Village Board of Trustees.

The book is intended as both an introduction to our woodland community, and as a convenient resource, complete with descriptions and illustrations of local wildlife and lists of library and Internet resources. If you would like to purchase a copy, Click Here. The book may also be available at the Chicago Botanic Garden shop.

To read excerpts of a few chapters, look through the Table of Contents at the top of this page and click on chapters that interest you.


Chapter 1

This Land is Your Land, This Land is My Land – An introduction

Chapter 2

In The Beginning – A brief natural and social history of our area

  • How the woods came to be and an explanation of various types of woodlands
  • The role of glaciers and the Des Plaines River
  • Early inhabitants and later settlers
  • Recent history and the observed ecological changes to our area

Chapter 3

What? Me Worry? The Value of Conservation – Changes to the complex ecosystems of the world frequently have far-reaching effects

  • Global warming, the medicinal value of endangered species, and changing water tables all make a difference in our lives
  • Woodland fragmentation, invasive animal and plant species, and ever-larger man-made structures and landscaping habits degrade the practical and aesthetic benefits of our woodland
  • The latest trend is to preserve and restore areas with native plantings
  • Do’s and Don’ts of woodland preservation
  • Natural restoration – possible almost everywhere – adds economic, social and aesthetic benefits to our personal lives

Chapter 4

Looking out the Window – The importance of native species to a healthy ecosystem and ways in which they can be established

  • Definition of “native” species and the benefits of reestablishing them
  • Steps to creating a native garden
  • Beware of planting “invasives”
  • Ground covers versus lawns – the pros and cons

Chapter 5

Milkweed, Paw Paw, Mint or Yarrow? – Choosing Which Plants to Grow – The more native plants you select, the easier and less expensive the upkeep and the better for ecological diversity

  • Grasses
  • Trees and shrubs
  • Woodland plants
  • Deer resistant strategies
  • Plants for attractive butterflies
  • Plants for attracting birds

Chapter 6

We Are In Their Backyard – Living in a woodland community means sharing the space with a wide variety of creatures – all here long before we were

  • General rules
  • Local mammals
  • Feathered friends
  • Insects
  • Reptiles & Amphibians

Chapter 7

Pass the Ibuprofen – The War Against Invasives – Some plants, animals, and insects are taking over and they must be managed in order for our woodlands to survive and thrive

  • General discussion of invasives
  • List and description of common invasive plants
  • List and description of invasive insects
  • Problematic animals

Chapter 8

Water, Water Everywhere … Not! – Whether from wells, Lake Michigan, or the Des Plaines River, water plays a critical role in the lives of Riverwoods residents, and its purity and abundance must be guarded

  • Where our water comes from – the ground water cycle
  • Well structure, maintenance, and water conditioning and safety
  • Protecting, using and conserving water resources
  • The Des Plaines River – recreation and protection

Chapter 9

Trees, Salt, Drainage & Mulch – Critical Management Issues– Maintaining a healthy woodland requires special consideration

  • Rules and recommendations for the care of trees in Riverwoods
  • Use of salt and alternative winter strategies
  • Flooding potential, storm water management, and wetland restrictions
  • Mulching materials and techniques

Chapter 10

Environmental Ordinances, Organizations and Preserves – To maintain, protect, and showcase the special ambiance of our area, the Village has provided rules and local volunteers have furthered the cause

  • Village rules pertaining to preservation
  • Local groups that promote environmental preservation
  • Riverwoods natures preserves

Chapter 11

A Hope and A Challenge – Be inspired to join the on-going effort to preserve our extraordinary natural heritage!

Chapter 12

Learn More – Sources to more information about our natural environment and native landscaping