Home / Uncategorized / Hypocrisy: Birders fear loss of habitat to Obama Center, Jackson Park golf course development
CHICAGO, IL - MAY 03: Former President Barack Obama points out features of the proposed Obama Presidential Center, which is scheduled to be built in nearby Jackson Park, during a gathering at the South Shore Cultural Center on May 3, 2017 in Chicago, Illinois. The Presidential Center design envisions three buildings, a museum, library and forum. Obama was accompanied at the event by his wife Michelle who was making her first trip back to Chicago since leaving the White House in January. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images) ORG XMIT: 700043244

Hypocrisy: Birders fear loss of habitat to Obama Center, Jackson Park golf course development

At a recent community forum to discuss plans for the ObamaPresidential Center, Karin Droegemueller stepped up to the microphone and introduced herself as an “angry birder.”

She is among a flock of birders who fear that the proposed $30 million Tiger Woods golf course and expanded driving range tied to the development of the Obama Center will ward off the millions of migratory birds that stop in Jackson Park, and displace the nearly 300 species that have helped make the park a favorite Chicago birding destination.

Droegemueller, a retired public school teacher, says it’s frustrating to watch the golf project “take a little piece of this and little piece of that” out of Jackson Park. “We’re going to turn it into Obamaland,” she said. “It started as a library, now it’s a center. … The fact is that they’re encroaching on everything.”

Many birders — including amateurs and eagle-eyed experts — appreciate the Obama Foundation’s promises to preserve green space. But not all open land is equal, they say. A manicured golf course or an outdoor amphitheater is not the same as natural habitat.

“Myself and many of my neighbors really enjoy Jackson Park for the natural aspect of it,” said Jennie Strable, a Hyde Park resident who helps lead the Wooded Island Bird Walk every Saturday morning in Jackson Park. “It’s a place of quiet repose to spend time in nature, and I really don’t want a jungle gym right next door to it.”

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