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‘Chicken girl’ of Grayslake makes waves

Published: Friday, July 4, 2014 8:43 a.m. CDT

If you’ve ever gone to a meeting of a public body, you probably noticed how few average citizens attend.

But most of those who do are eligible for an AARP card. Those younger rarely attend, let alone make a difference.

That’s why the story of 15-year-old Natalie Sturm of Grayslake is striking. In speaking to the Village Board, she has become known as Grayslake’s “chicken girl,” who is pushing the village to allow backyard chickens, which officials are poised to do. She wants to build a coop at her house.

Sturm is an animal lover, owning both a dog and a turtle. Her interest in agriculture was sparked by her involvement with the Millburn Clovers 4-H Club.

This summer marks Sturm’s third year entering goats and chickens at the county fair, where she has earned many awards. Three days a week, she visits an Antioch farm where she helps raise the animals.

These days, we have plenty of subdivisions and strip malls in Grayslake and beyond. But in the not-so-distant past – 25 years ago – this was largely farmland.

While Sturm is not old enough to remember those days, she would like to at least bring back a small piece of Grayslake’s agricultural heritage.

In many other countries, young people often lead revolutions, including the Arab Spring a few years ago.

In the 1960s, there were the hippies, but in recent decades, young folks have taken a back seat in the United States. Their elders show more interest in government.

In Grayslake, Sturm spoke up and is now prepared to see results. It’s another example of a citizen in action; the only difference is how young she is.

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