Transportation: The #151 and #147 CTA buses stop a block away on Sheridan Road, and the Jarvis stop on the CTA Red Line is a 9-minute walk. Public parking is on the street or the lot at the corner of Sherwin Ave. and Sheridan Rd.
Weather forecast: Clear skies and temps in the low 60’s.
Acoustic monitoring of amphibian, insect, and other animal populations plays a key role in assessing eco-system health. Acoustic monitoring is a non-invasive, non-lethal way to track trends in the lives of animals, especially those who are elusive. Our data helps detect population changes before extinction and invasion, as well as assess the effects of land and water quality management, including ecological restoration efforts.
Report, photos, and audio by Christopher Preissing
On Saturday, July 18 (World Listening Day 2015), Dan Godston led a soundwalk at Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore’s Miller Trail. In spite of predictions for extremely hot and humid temperatures, nine hearty listeners braved the heat on what turned out to be a beautiful warm and breezy day.
Starting at the Paul H. Douglas Center for Environmental Education, Dan introduced R. Murray Schafer and his seminal book, Soundscape: Our Sonic Environment and the Tuning of the World, and in keeping with this year’s H2O theme, Rachel Carson’s The Edge of the Sea, and Jerry Dennis’ The Living Great Lakes. National Park Service Ranger Steve Rodriguez hosted the event on behalf of the IDNL, and provided materials with which the soundwalkers created text and visual images based on passages from the books. We have been collaborating with IDNL on programs at the Douglas Center annually since 2010!
To introduce the soundwalk Dan described two types of engagement: the first consisting of active listening, the second including active engagement with the environment. On top of a small dune through which the trail passes, we stopped to make sound by hand with leaves, wood, and the sand at our feet. Following that acoustic interaction with the environment, we walked over the wood bridge that spans the marsh.
Audio recording of the soundwalk:
The “H2O” theme for World Listening Day 2015 drew attention to water as a metaphor and reality; essential for life and now becoming the greatest commodity of the 21st century. At the end of the bridge, Dan had left two containers for pond water and branches with which to make sound and feel the water. In both instances soundwalkers participated joyfully, and reported these interactions as an important component of the experience. “When we were making sounds it felt very childlike, which brought to mind a lot of what kids’ play is just making sound for the joy of making sound.”
Sound walkers described listening without the other senses as “a good way to keep your focus;” that “there’s competition between the senses” as well as “for what you want to listen to;” and that “it was sensory overload.” Some additional comments include: “Cottonwood trees can be very loud.” “It’s very squeaky when you walk.” “I never paid attention but different trees make different sounds. I wondered how the birds and the insects take cues from that and how it affects what they do.” There was also a brief discussion around how our ears and brains actively filter various sounds in the environment, whereas microphones hear everything.
World Listening Day 2015 will include the World Listening Day H2O virtual symposium on July 17-18, hosted on WaterWheel, an electronic publication, and hundreds of events taking place across the globe.
11am Saturday, July 18: Join members of the Midwest Society for Acoustic Ecology celebrating World Listening Day. Dan Godston, MSAE member and co-founder of the World Listening Project, leads a soundwalk starting at the Paul H. Douglas Center for Environmental Education. Tips on listening to the symphony of sounds of nature and humans will be shared. This year’s World Listening Day theme is “H2O.” Water is essential for all life. Without it our soundscapes and life disappear.
This day is open house at the Douglas Center. Following our soundwalk, local artist Marsha Browne will be leading a “Landscapes of Miller Woods” drawing project. You are invited to stay and participate.
The Paul H. Douglas Center for Environmental Education is located in the western portion of the national lakeshore at 100 North Lake Street, about one mile north of U.S. Highway 12. For more information on this or other programs at Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, call 219-395-1882 or check the park’s website at www.nps.gov/indu.
Save the June-Aug 2015 flyer to learn about this summer’s activities at the Douglas Center in the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore.
This series of live performances responds to and highlights Chicago’s proximity to water. The compositions and scores – involving multiple performers and solo performances – reflect, react to, or personify the sounds of water.
Invitation to Participate in the Water Music Series : A Field Recording Improvisation at Berger Park
September 30, 3-7pm
This musical series responds to and highlights Chicago’s location next to water. From compositions and scores involving multiple performers to solo performances, this series highlights music that reflects, reacts to, or personifies the sounds of water. Essential to existence yet abundant, water is both profoundly symbolic and an elemental material. The performances – sited near water – draw metaphorically and/or actually from the sounds of water.
Presented by 6018NORTH and curated by Tricia van Eck