Monty and Rose’s three fledged piping plover chicks had meaningful names unveiled on Saturday at Montrose Beach.


Monty and Rose’s three surviving piping plover chicks are considered fledged and they had names—Hazel, Esperanza and Nish—unveiled Saturday at Montrose Beach.

When the public effort began to name the three chicks, I came up with a few names but never I never submitted them. Good decision on my part, because the names selected are nearly perfect for 2020.

On Saturday, there was an unveiling of sorts of the names at Montrose Beach.

I think the process itself and the decision will be something looked at the future with interest not just by biologists and bird lovers, but by sociologists examining 2020 and 2020 will be examined by sociologists for many decades to come.

Here is an press release, from Judy Pollock of the Chicago Audubon Society, which details the procedure and reasons behind selecting the names:

Area Nature Organizations Reveal Piping Plover Chicks Names

Names Chosen by Community Members Reflect Chicago’s Diversity and Culture

Chicago, June 10, 2020 — The Illinois Ornithological Society (IOS), Chicago Ornithological Society (COS) and Chicago Audubon Society (CAS) are happy to announce that the three Piping Plover chicks hatched to Monty and Rose at Montrose Beach Dunes on June 18, 2020 are 23 days old today and are considered to have fledged by the Great Lakes Piping Plover Conservation Team. They have been named Hazel, Esperanza and Nish by a selection panel representing Chicago’s diverse communities.

This is the second year that Monty and Rose have nested at Montrose Beach Dunes and Chicago has now officially fledged five Great Lakes Piping Plover chicks in two years, contributing greatly to the future of this endangered species.

Each chick was banded this year, allowing us to track them individually as they migrate. Through an outreach to diverse communities, a naming contest was run, seeking suggestions that reflect Chicago’s culture, heritage and diversity. We received over 300 submissions and nearly 500 unique name ideas. The final selection was made with the help of a diverse panel. Credell Walls, member of the selection panel and a community outreach specialist with the Forest Preserves of Cook County commented at the conclusion of the selection process, “I am so happy we have identified a great way to elevate the history and spirit of Chicago by applying it to the Piping Plovers. May they fly and elevate us even more!”

About the names and their meaning

Hazel is the name given to Piping Plover X,V:O- (Blue Star, 001), with a Silver band on the upper left leg, a Purple band on the lower left leg, an Orange band with Blue Star on the upper right leg, and no band on the lower right leg.

Jeff Bilsky submitted this name in honor of Hazel M. Johnson, an environmental activist who lived in Altgeld Gardens, a Chicago Housing Authority development built for black military veterans on the Far South Side. Due to surrounding landfills and industrial facilities, it suffered the highest concentration of hazardous waste sites in the United States in the 1970s and beyond. Ms. Johnson spoke up against the environmental injustices and racism faced by her community and mobilized members to speak up, creating People for Community Recovery. She has been called the Mother of the environmental justice movement. She worked with a then young organizer named Barack Obama to remove asbestos from Altgeld Gardens, a fight they won in 1989. The work of Hazel Johnson and the People for Community Recovery influenced President Clinton to sign an Executive Order requiring the Environmental Protection Agency to incorporate environmental justice principles into their work to ensure that no groups of people may disproportionately suffer the consequences of pollution.

Esperanza is the name given to Piping Plover X,V:O- (Red Star, 002) with a Silver band on the upper left leg, a Purple band on the lower left leg, an Orange band with Red Star on the upper right leg, and no band on the lower right leg.

Esperanza, which means “hope” in Spanish, was submitted by Gustavo Ustariz as a reminder, that in a year and time so filled with pain, uncertainty and sorrow, there is still hope. “Siempre hay esperanza,” there’s always hope, said Gustavo, adding “for the past two years, the Montrose Piping Plover family has shown us that with perseverance we can move forward.” Laura Cruz, who also submitted this name, said that “hope is something that we see throughout every culture and it is diverse. No matter their race, sexuality or beliefs everyone has hope for something.” Sue Klemens, in her submission, explained her choice by saying “Esperanza reflects the Hispanic culture of Chicago, meaning “hope”, “expectation”, during this moment in time in Chicago. Something that is needed during the pandemic, and the LBGTQ and Black Lives Matter movement happening now. Hope for the future of the Plovers.”

Nish is the name given Piping Plover X,V:O- (Yellow Star, 003) with Silver band on the upper left leg, a Purple band on the lower left leg, an Orange band with a Yellow Star on the upper right leg, and no band on the lower right leg.

Amy Lardner, who submitted the name Nish, wanted to honor the Potowatomi heritage of our region. Nish was selected to highlight the direct relationship and contributions of The Council of the Three Fires (Potawatomi, Ojibwa, and Odawa) to what is now modern-day Chicago. Nish is a colloquial expression for Nishnabe’k (Potawatomi) and Anishinaabe (Ojibwa and Odawa).

“CAS, COS and IOS are deeply grateful for the efforts of the many who have made nesting, hatching and fledging of Piping Plovers at Montrose Beach Dunes possible in the past two years: the Dunes steward and volunteers, the Chicago Park District, the US Fish & Wildlife Service, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, the US Department of Agriculture, the Great Lakes Piping Plover Conservation Team, the Chicago Police Department, the Montrose Beach community of volley ball players and kayakers, and scores of volunteers who stood watch from sunrise to sunset for weeks on end to ensure the safety of the nest and the chicks. These Piping Plovers have united thousands of people across the Chicagoland area and become strong ambassadors for birds and their conservation,” said Tamima Itani, Vice President, IOS.

About the selection panel

The selection panel consisted of members of nature and environmental organizations in the Chicago area.

Daniela Cortez, Forest Preserves of Cook County Youth Outdoor Ambassador

Teishetta Daniel, Chicago Park District

Antonio Flores, Chicago Audubon Society

Lillian Holden, Openlands

Matt Igleski, Illinois Ornithological Society

Tamima Itani, Illinois Ornithological Society

Jennifer Johnson, Wild Indigo

Matylda Lally, Conservation Ambassador’s Board at the Lincoln Park Zoo

Judy Pollock, Chicago Audubon Society

Fawn Pochel, American Indian Center of Chicago

Katty Regalado, Sierra Club

Maritza Rocha, Forest Preserves of Cook County

Jeramie Strickland, Openlands

Credell Walls, Forest Preserves of Cook County

Edward Warden, Chicago Ornithological Society