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Photo essay highlights the beauty of the South Shore Nature Sanctuary

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Opened in 2002, this lush refuge could be altered and partially displaced by the new Tiger Woods golf course

Eric Allix Rogers/Chicago Patterns

Only 15 years old, the South Shore Nature Sanctuary is facing its first real crisis. The planned $30 million Tiger Woods redesign of the Jackson Park Golf Course is being touted by the city as being a major new investment for the city’s south side which will help drive new development and draw more visitors to the South Shore and Woodlawn communities, but the plan could partially displace the 4.27-acre nature sanctuary.

Designed by Wolff Clements and Associates and built at the cost of $500,000, the South Shore Nature Sanctuary is an entirely manmade environment. However, the small ecosystem has been around long enough for its vegetation and tall grasses to mature and for birds and other small wildlife to find refuge in it.

Eric Allix Rogers/Chicago Patterns

There are also various features, such a winding boardwalk and stone fire pit, which are intended to draw people into the ecosystem. And it’s these fire circles and lush prairie that could be replaced by the 12th hole of the redesigned Jackson Park golf course. The dramatic skyline views that residents see from the nature sanctuary are exactly the reason for the intrusion by the golf course—to make for good television footage of golf tournaments with Chicago’s iconic skyline in the backdrop.

This small melting pot of the natural and manmade worlds is what makes this space so special for Chicago, South Shore resident, blogger, and photographer Eric Allix Rogers expresses in a photo essay for Chicago Patterns.

“There is no better vantage point to take in the rich colors of a sunset, or the shimmering fireworks whose staccato rhythms demarcate Chicago summers,” Rogers writes. “Plans to merge the historic golf courses in Jackson Park and the South Shore Cultural Center have put this sanctuary on borrowed time.”

However, Rogers and other South Shore residents are drawing attention to the effort to save the four-acre sanctuary for the community. Using photography, Rogers highlights the beauty of the ecosystem and the skyline views that are available to all residents.

“The South Shore Nature Sanctuary is a marvelous resource for the community and our environment,” Rogers concludes. “Why allow it to be taken away for the exclusive use of golfers?”