The Riverside Landscape Advisory Commission has unveiled a set of three colorful 20-by-28-inch posters highlighting the native flora and fauna of the village, but you can’t just go out and buy one – you have to earn them.
The posters, designed by Riverside graphic designer Gail McKernin using photographs supplied by about a dozen local amateur shutterbugs, were funded by a grant received last year from ComEd and the Illinois conservation nonprofit Open Lands. They are being used as part of the commission’s mission to educate residents about the Riverside’s natural splendor.
“We wanted to make sure everything pictured could be seen in Riverside, was photographed by someone in Riverside and showed a diversity of things,” said Cathy Maloney, chairwoman of the Landscape Advisory Commission. “Everything is either a native plant or tree, and while the birds are migratory, they pop into Riverside every spring and fall.”
It took a good five months to take the poster project from concept to completion, said Maloney. Photographs for the poster started being taken last fall, but because the commission wanted to make sure all of the seasons were represented, photographers were also asked to delve into their archives.
The limited edition set includes 100 of each poster, which focus individually on trees, wildflowers and birds.
In addition to encouraging people to explore Riverside’s natural areas where the plants pictured might be found, the also highlight Riverside’s designation as an Important Bird Area by the Audubon Society, as an arboretum by Arbnet and its importance in the history of landscape design with its connection to Frederick Law Olmsted.
“We wanted to highlight what’s in our own backyard,” Maloney said.
The photos used for the posters were taken by Bethany Smolarek, Jill Mateo, Ben Sells, Mike Collins, Cathy Maloney, John Farneda, Lauren Risley, Julie Schaff, Cindy Kellogg and David Rubin.
The Landscape Advisory Commission plans to give the posters away as prizes to those who participate in activities the commission will roll out over time.
The first such activity, its Summer iNaturalist Challenge, asks citizen-scientists to hike the village, take photos of flora and fauna and then use the smartphone app iNaturalist to upload the photos.
Those who make the most observations or the most interesting ones, just may be in line for a poster. The contest will run through June, said Maloney, but others will follow.
Information on those will be posted to the Landscape Advisory Commission’s page on the village’s website.