Although a fence prohibits visitors from entering the sanctuary itself, a viewing platform and peripheral wood chipped path provide ample viewing opportunities for bird watching. Additionally, during the summer months, visitors can see purple martins flying around and bringing food to their young at the six adjacent purple martin houses. At dusk, look for bats entering the newly installed bat house near the viewing platform. A dedicated group of community volunteers helps maintain the ecological health of the site by regularly collecting and scattering native seed, removing invasive species, planting native species, and monitoring vegetation, birds, and insects.
It's also, if current plans hold, a victim of Chicago's Olympic bid. That's because current plans have about 12 world class tennis courts being built within a block of Jarvis. With construction, dirt, and dust, from the building of the courts the sanctuary is likely to no longer attract many of the birds that currently visit the sanctuary.
The Jarvis Sanctuary is only one of the green victims of the Olympics. The biggest victim will be Washington Park. Washington Park was originally the vision of famed landscape architect Fredrick Law Olmstead. Olmstead also designed New York's Central Park. Washington Park was first conceived by Olmstead more than a century ago. It's become a fixture of the city. It will also be destroyed if the Olympics come to Chicago. That's because current plans for the Olympics have the 80,000 person stadium to be used for opening and closing ceremonies being built in Washington Park. That construction will of course destroy the park.
Worse yet, both the tennis courts and the stadium are temporary venues. They will both be torn down once the Olympics are over. In other words, these two Chicago landmarks will be destroyed to accomodate stadiums that will only be around for two weeks.
The destruction of Chicago's landscape is yet another underreported story of the bid. Today's Sun Times had a story on the sanctuary. Of course, it was a small story that was surrounded by a story about how the Olympics will be most handicapped friendly Olympics ever. (that's in the print edition) The failure to critically look at disruption to the parks and greenery in the city is just one of several things that Chicago media has been nearly incompetent in reporting.
It's tragic. That's because this Olympics could be planned properly, but the public must be informed. The media in the city has been little more than a cheerleader. Currently, the Mayor has a media entourage following him to Copenhagen as he makes his final pitch. The coverage of the Olympics has been much closer to the sort of mouthpiece coverage of a totalitarian regime than of the free press we are supposed to have. As such, a historic park and a perfectly good sanctuary are set for destruction. If there was some media scrutiny, the planners might even have to take the destruction of such landmarks into consideration when making decisions.