September 7, 2018
Welcome McGraw's
New General Manager, Michelle Wrzeszcz
It gives me great pleasure to formally welcome Michelle Wrzeszcz as the new general manager of the Max McGraw Wildlife Foundation.  

Michelle, who started work Sept. 4, comes to the Foundation with an extensive background in hospitality and club management. This includes The Fortnightly in Chicago, Shoreacres in Lake Bluff and most recently, more than a decade at Barrington Hills Country Club. We are fortunate indeed to welcome Michelle as a part of the McGraw team.

I am sure that you will enjoy getting to know Michelle in the weeks and months ahead. When you are next at the Foundation, please take a moment to introduce yourselves and say hello. We look forward to the knowledge and expertise Michelle will bring to McGraw to enhance the Pond Cottage and overall McGraw experience for our members and guests.  

-Charles S. Potter Jr., President and CEO
To Save Monarch Butterflies, Plant Milkweed
By Margaret Renkl/The New York Times
Photo by Peter Miller/flickr
A monarch butterfly’s chrysalis is one of the most beautiful things in nature. Bright emerald green and flecked with gold, it is an exquisite jewel that contains within it an even more exquisite promise.

The day before a monarch emerges, its chrysalis turns dark, almost black, but if you hold a light up to it, you can see the shape of vivid orange wings inside. The wings are lined with black veins like stained-glass windows in a cathedral. They are still tightly folded, but they hold, in miniature, the shape of an adult butterfly’s wings. At this stage, it’s possible to tell the butterfly’s gender even before it emerges from the chrysalis, just by looking at the thickness of those black veins framing the folded wings.

As a species, the Eastern monarch — an iconic butterfly that migrates 3,000 miles every year — is in serious trouble. A changing climate is part of the problem, imperiling the monarch’s Mexican wintering grounds and spawning extreme weather events that can destroy millions of migrating butterflies. And pesticide drift can poison caterpillars even when they aren’t the targeted pest.

Why 2 Countries Want to Kill 100,000 Beavers
By Ben Goldfarb/The Washington Post
Photo by Brett/flickr
An ill-conceived scheme unleashed nature’s architects on a landscape that had never known their teeth — and forever rearranged ecosystems at the bottom of the world.

The bizarre experiment was launched in 1946, when Argentina  relocated 20 Canadian beavers  to Tierra del Fuego, the windswept archipelago at South America’s tip, to “enrich” local wildlife and foster a fur trade. The pelt industry never took off, but the beavers, unchecked by North American predators like wolves and bears, flourished.

They swam glacier-scoured fjords between islands, dispersing throughout both the Argentine and Chilean sides of Tierra del Fuego. Some decades after their arrival, a beaver clambered from an icy strait and established a beachhead on the Patagonian mainland. These days, their population numbers about 200,000.

What’s the Best App for the Field? Your Brain
By Valerie Blaine/Outdoor Illinois
Photo by Denali National Park/flickr
It was a cold winter night. Every ten minutes, I bundled up and ran outside to look at the sky. After a while, my son emerged from his bedroom, lifted one ear of his headphones and asked, “Why do you keep going outside?”

“There’s an awesome lunar eclipse!” I exclaimed. “Come watch it with me!” He shrugged, saying, “You know, Mom, you can just watch it on YouTube tomorrow.”

Ah, the Internet, where you can see amazing things on a screen without the hassle of experiencing them! You can peer into an eagle’s nest without scaling a cliff. You can venture into a virtual jungle without getting a malaria shot. You can hold a little device in your hand and have the galaxy at your fingertips.
While a multitude of good comes from this technology, there can be too much of a good thing

Listen: McCain’s Conservation Legacy
Photo by Gage Skidmore/flickr
The recent services for U.S. Senator John McCain were full of tributes to his courage and integrity, and his willingness to stand up for what he believed was right, regardless of the consequences. 

Less widely reported was the senator’s deep commitment to protecting our national parks at a time when seemingly no one else in Washington cared.

McGraw President and CEO Charles S. Potter Jr. devoted his recent “Great Outdoors” radio show on WGN-AM to this part of McCain’s legacy.

Services Set for William Chittenden,
Longtime Member
A memorial service for longtime McGraw member William A. Chittenden II will be held at 3 p.m. Friday, September 14 at St. Peter’s United Church of Christ, 125 W. Church St. in Elmhurst.

Mr. Chittenden, a Marine Corps veteran and retired engineer, passed away at age 90 on August 24. He was one of McGraw’s longest-tenured members, having joined the Foundation in 1969. He will be greatly missed by his family as well as the many friends he made over the course of nearly 50 years at McGraw.

“My father was a true sportsman, in the best sense of the word,” said his son, Bill, also a McGraw member. 

“Like many, he was concerned we may be losing what he called the ‘sportsman heritage.’ In addition to the many great memories of times spent with family and friends in the field, I think he loved McGraw because of its mission to ensure the future of that ‘sportsman heritage’ through active conservation and youth programs.”

“Here he lies where he longed to be;

“Home is the sailor, home from sea,

“And the hunter home from the hill .”

-    Robert Louis Stevenson
To read past McGraw Reports click here.