Lake Katherine waterfall turns emerald green
By STEVE METSCH firstname.lastname@example.org March 15, 2013 7:48PM
Updated: April 18, 2013 6:43AM
Jodi Halleran couldn’t help but smile when she saw the green water cascading down the waterfall at the Lake Katherine Nature Center and Botanic Garden in Palos Heights.
Halleran, of Chicago’s Mount Greenwood community, was among about 100 who gathered Friday for the annual coloring of the waters.
“Isn’t it beautiful? This is my first time. My girlfriend comes every year. It’s so beautiful. And it’s a beautiful day, so we’re fortunate,” she said.
Halleran’s daughter, 5-year-old Shae, also enjoyed seeing the green water as it inched down the waterfall toward the lake.
“It’s green, It’s pretty,” Shae said.
“I’m glad we’re not higher,” her mother said, with a laugh. “My daughter would be in that water in a heartbeat. She has no fear.”
The waters are dyed green on or near St. Patrick’s’ Day every year, environmental educator Marian Sinkus said. The water was dyed twice Friday, each lasting about 90 minutes.
Operations manager Gareth Blakesley pours two gallons of environmentally safe dye into the pump that sends water from the lake up to the top of the waterfall.
Where is the pump located? Sorry. That would be like a leprechaun revealing the whereabouts of his pot of gold.
Also making her debut at the event Friday was Lee Getzloff, of Blue Island, with son Colin, 4, who wore a bright green T-shirt that resembled a fancy tuxedo.
“Look at that water, Colin. Wow. Isn’t that neat?” Getzloff said.
The dyed water took about 10 minutes to work its way down, slowly turning the waterfall into a shade that one boy described as “Kryptonite green,” Sinkus said.
A daily visitor to Lake Katherine, Jerry Steadman, 65, of Mount Greenwood, came prepared. He snapped photos and wore a towering green-and-white stovepipe hat he found at a Family Dollar store a few years ago.
“I love it. It’s great. Isn’t this beautiful? Isn’t it vibrant?” Steadman said.
He plans to “do a little celebrating, a little Guinness perhaps” on St. Patrick’s Day.
It’s no surprise that Steadman was at Lake Katherine on Friday. He likes to do all things Irish. He attended St. Patrick’s Day parades in Oak Forest, Tinley Park and Chicago’s 19th Ward March 9 and 10. He plans to attend the parade in downtown Chicago on Saturday.
“You only live one time. You may as well enjoy it. St. Patrick’s Day is meaningful to me because I’ve got a little Irish in me,” Steadman said, sounding like he was from Dublin.
At the top of the waterfall, Denise Leon, of Palos Heights, made sure her grandchildren Zac Gillett, 4, and Zoey Gillett, 2, had a great view.
“They loved it. They were flabbergasted,” she said of their reaction to the colored water.
She and the children know whom to blame.
“Leprechauns did this. We’ve been looking for them. They’re very mischievous,” Leon said.