TLC has preserved over 3,200 acres of land! We’ve preserved over 630 acres through our conservation areas that we own (shown in red), and over 2,160 acres through private conservation easements (shown in blue). Sites with public access, trails, and parking are shown in green. A conservation easement is a voluntary, permanent agreement between a landowner and a qualified organization, The Land Conservancy, allowing the owner to continue to use and enjoy the land and eventually sell it or pass it to his or her heirs, knowing that it will remain undeveloped.
Click on the map to learn more about each natural area TLC has protected!
Today, it is a challenge to find undiscovered natural areas tucked away behind the curtains of invasive brush and trees found along so many of our roadways. But these natural treasures do exist, and this is one such place. Named after the genus of silver-bordered Fritillary butterfly, Boloria Meadows has winding nature trails that lead through high quality prairie, sedge meadow and oak woodland ecosystems that abound with seasonal wildflower displays.
Little pockets of natural habitat nestled within our cities and towns provide great benefits to small creatures like birds, butterflies and frogs. Concannon Conservation Area is only two acres, but it is part of a ribbon of greenway that winds through Woodstock. A short, wood-chipped trail circles a vernal pool and offers a peaceful place to sit on a bench or go salamander hunting. A small sign marks the entrance to the trail.
When TLC acquired this site we discovered a true gem: the county’s largest White Oak, with oak limbs sprawling and reaching for the abundant sunlight. In the buckthorn-free woodland and wetland, birds such as the indigo bunting and swamp sparrow thrive.
Phyllis and Tony Hennen acquired this land in the early 1970s, planting thousands of native hardwood seedlings in land that once was farmland. They donated the land to the city of Woodstock as a public park, and TLC moved its offices to the farmhouse. Over decades, the land has transformed into a wild and natural place where trails lead you through a sea of wildflowers and groves of trees.
Irish Oaks Savanna is a vast 40-acre wetland and oak savanna complex that has been preserved outside of Harvard. In 2021 Irish Oaks was dedicated as an Illinois Nature Preserve. This site was listed by the Illinois Natural Area Inventory as the best remaining example of a dry-mesic oak savanna, and now it is being maintained and preserved forever! Giant white oaks and bur oaks dapple the landscape while prairie and shrub thickets fill in the spaces between the trees. Historic grazing and recent growth of invasive shrubs have degraded the native wildflowers and grasses, but our workdays will help the native plants that are hanging on like ferns, club mosses, and orchids! This site is clearly visible from the metra train track between Harvard and Woodstock.
Wolf Oak Woods is named after the Wolf Oak – a large, open-grown bur oak with limbs that spread out and, overcome with their own weight, swoop down to touch the ground and grow back up again. The Wolf Oak tree, clearly visible from a major highway in the county, has become a cultural icon and ecological relic. Beyond this tree, the preserve includes 30 more acres of ecologically intact wetland and oak woodland. Volunteers have been clearing this site at Wednesday morning workdays to free up more sunlight for the carpet of spring ephemerals and wildflowers, such as Dutchman’s Breeches and Shooting Star. A prairie has also been planted near the Wolf Oak to create beneficial habitat for our pollinators.
Prior to the purchase of this land, it was deemed the highest quality unprotected natural area in the county. Walking through this site you’ll pass by pockets of remnant wet prairie- areas that rarely have standing water but the soil is saturated and moist most of the year. The adjacent oak savannas and woodlands are transforming from a wall of buckthorn into native habitat for our birds, mammals and pollinators.
4622 Dean Street, (or PO Box 352), Woodstock, IL 60098 | (815) 337-9502 | Copyright © 2022 by The Land Conservancy of McHenry County. All rights reserved.
The Land Conservancy of McHenry County is a 501(c)(3) organization