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Making a Difference: Grant Helps Oak Landowners

Published on
01 March 2022

What’s the one thing most oak property owners need to take care of their land? HELP. That’s where TLC comes in.

We’ve all heard about the plight of our oak woods: oaks were harvested to develop the county in the 1800s, and invasive brush encroachment now keeps new oaks from growing. We have barely 10 percent of our original oak woods left in McHenry County and 85 percent are on private property. The story is the same across northeastern Illinois. The Landscape Scale Restoration Grant is part of a larger initiative through the US Forest Service, and in our region is being used to help oak landowners restore and care for their woods.

Hidden Marsh Farm in Hebron is one of the recipients of the Landscap Scale Restoration Grant. Photo: Brad Schmitt

TLC is one of nine partners in this project being administered by the Chicago Region Trees Initiative through the Morton Arboretum. In McHenry County, the grant funding is being used to fund restoration work by a local contractor, Davey Resource Group. Depending on the property, this work includes invasive tree and brush removal, invasive resprout management, native plant seeding, and/or prescribed burning.

A view of the oak woods at Hidden Marsh that will be restored in 2022.

Five properties were chosen to participate in this program. All are private properties that are preserved with conservation easements or adjacent to a protected natural area. The landowners have demonstrated their commitment to caring for their oak woods and are required to match the grant dollars. This kind of support is crucial to continuing the vital and ongoing work of caring for our remaining oak woods here in McHenry County. Work will be done by fall 2022, so check back for updates!

Are you interested in getting more info on how to care for your oak woods? We’ve got options for you! Visit our YouTube Channel for instructional webinar recordings, or go to to learn more about our county-wide oak woods challenge. Enter your oak acreage to get a free six-month gift membership to TLC. We’ll even walk your woods with you and help you figure out a plan!


5000 Acre Challenge
Got Oaks? We can help!

TLC has issued a challenge to McHenry County: let’s get to 5000 acres of cared-for oak woodland! We’re currently at 4,250 acres and counting, so visit, enter your managed oak acreage, and get a free gift membership to TLC. While you’re there, enter your address to see if your property was covered in oaks in 1837, check out our guide to oak habitat restoration, or read the latest oak news. Want to schedule a site visit to learn more about how to care for your oaks? Email TLC’s Sarah Michehl [email protected] or call 815-337-9502 x 109 to set it up. No property is too small to make a difference!