Our last week started with rain, but that didn’t stop us from having a fun day jam-packed with activities. Morning was full of creativity – we got to see how the pressed plants we collected throughout the summer turned out, and arranged them in frames that we could take home and enjoy. After our masterpieces were completed, we picked up our pens and authored letters to the CLIPterns of 2022. After sharing our infinite wisdom, we continued writing, with a story for TLC’s newsletter (so keep your eyes peeled for the next issue!). The rest of the day was full of learning. We got a public land survey talk from Lisa, where we learned why Illinois’ land is laid out in such an organized patchwork of properties. Then we touched up our resumes, working together to peer review and edit them, and of course, to add in the crown jewel of our work experiences – CLIP. We finished the day by hearing from a panel of women in STEM fields, Sofia, Abby and Keely, who gave us career and life advice that will be incredibly valuable down the road.
Tuesday: by Claire Gregory
Tuesday was the hottest of our most recent heat wave, so what better topic to cover than prescribed fire?! Luckily, most of the day was spent indoors with Megan learning about prescribed burn techniques and the reasoning behind them. The only outdoor portion of the day was made tolerable when we practiced using a water pack by spraying each other with nice cool water. After doing a small practice burn on a dead patch of weeds behind Hennen in the heat and humidity, we were all ready to go back inside and finish the lesson.
Wednesday: by Evelyn Bustos
Wednesday morning was filled with curiosity. As rising scientists we observed plants underneath the microscopes. I never knew plants carried such extensive detail. We also decided to look at a cicada under magnification. We spent the afternoon monitoring “Mad Max” land (a nickname for an easement that TLC has), with Arden as our crew leader. The end of the day was spent in Wonder Lake collecting sedge seed. Needless to say, it was a great day.
Observing plants under a microscope
Thursday: by Kristi Robinson
After a long summer of hard work, we set off Thursday morning bright and early for a much-needed bike ride. Starting off at Petersen Park in McHenry, we headed north. With a few stops at Glacial Park, a Hackmatack site, and a few other scenic places, Evelyn and I continued toward the Wisconsin border while the rest of the group turned back. We briefly stopped at the Hebron trail intersection to admire the prairie, then finally reached the IL/WI border! We headed back to Illinois, where we were welcomed at Dave Zeiger’s (TLC’s oak conservation outreach specialist) house with lunch. Afterward, we were treated with a tour of the Petersen Family Farm, a visit to the pollinator garden, and an ice cream stop, to top it all off.
Friday: by Sofia Oropeza
After weeks of weed pulling, herbicide spraying, and educational excursions, we have finally reached our last day, and as a last hurrah, we decided to have a bittersweet ending to our adventures. Today we are having our family and friends, as well as the many people we have met throughout the summer, over at Hennen. Now our families can see TLC headquarters and meet the wonderful people that filled these past 11 weeks and with great sadness, we can say our goodbyes.
The CLIP graduation at Hennen, with families attending
Congratulations to the CLIP graduates – Class of 2021!