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Residents Join The Land Conservancy of McHenry County’s 5,000 Acre Challenge to Protect Oak Woods

Published on
13 March 2020

51 new acres of oak woods added since January

The Land Conservancy of McHenry County (TLC) has partnered with local landowners and donors to care for 51 new acres of oak woods since launching the 5,000 Acre Challenge in January. TLC is hosting a series of events beginning this month that will engage the public and advance the campaign to care for 5,000 acres of McHenry County’s imperiled oak woods.  

McHenry County now has 3,784 acres of oak woods being cared for by both private landowners and public entities. The 51 new acres include private land where owners have committed to maintain their oak woods and a 4.75 acre purchase that will expand TLC’s 36-acre Boloria Meadows Nature Preserve in Bull Valley. Boloria Meadows Nature Preserve represents one of the best and last remaining examples of an intact fen, sedge meadow and oak woodland in the state of Illinois. It was granted nature preserve status in 2005 because of its importance to the natural heritage of the people of the state of Illinois. The new addition to Boloria Meadows includes a canopy of 250-year-old oaks with a base of native plants as well as wetland areas that will undergo restoration work with support from the Illinois Nature Preserves Commission.

The 5,000 Acre Challenge is forging partnerships with private landowners, who now own 85% of the county’s remaining oaks, and seeking support from municipalities and the public. TLC believes meeting the 5,000 Acre Challenge is crucial to protect the environment and character of McHenry County. Events such as this month’s Oak Rescue, burn training and Spring Sustainability Sale are opportunities for the public to get involved in the 5,000 Acre Challenge.

TLC’s Spring Sustainability Sale March 1-May 4
For landowners who would like to plant oaks on their property, TLC is offering one-gallon oak trees for $18 and three-gallon oak trees for $30 during its Spring Sustainability sale. A variety of oaks are available, including bur oak, red oak, white oak and swamp white oak, as well as a variety of native plants, composters and rain barrels. 

Oak Rescue with City of McHenry – March 19 9:00 AM- Noon
This event is cancelled. We will post an update if it is rescheduled.

Members of the public are invited to participate in an Oak Rescue hosted by The City of McHenry and TLC on March 19 at Petersen Park, 4300 Petersen Park Rd. in McHenry. An oak rescue is an event in which a group of people work to clear the brush that surrounds an old oak tree, giving it room to grow and allowing its acorns to grow into oak trees. All are welcome to attend and no experience is necessary.

Learn to Burn Training in Woodstock – March 28
This event is cancelled. We will post an update if it is rescheduled.
Learn to Burn teaches landowners how to use fire to manage prairies, wetlands, and oak woodlands safely and naturally. The process of burning off prior years’ dead vegetation helps open areas up so that new plants and trees can grow. The class will be indoors and outdoors. Safety equipment will be provided and lunch is included in the class fee of $35 for TLC members and $50 for nonmembers. The program starts at the Woodstock Public Library and the outdoor portion takes place at Hennen Conservation Area in Woodstock.