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.