McHenry County Conservation District  •  18410 US Highway 14 •  Woodstock, IL 60098  •  815-338-MCCD(6223)

  People and Nature Programs

 

Outdoor classroomWhat are the People and Nature Programs?

Open House: Tuesday, April 8
Lost Valley Visitor Center in Glacial Park

Drop-in 7–8:30 p.m., FREE
Special presentation at 7:15 p.m.: "What Rock is that? How rocks form and how you can identify the various rock types."

Here is your chance to have all of your questions answered –
PLUS… get a $15 credit toward your next workshop! Returning participants welcome. The People and Nature Program is designed to serve the homeowner, volunteer steward, nature educator, or lover of the outdoors.



People and Nature Programs are a series of workshops designed for people who enjoy living in, working with, and talking about nature. Natural areas are under constant threat from exotic weeds, pollution, and development. Learning about the problems, talking to others about them, and making our home and business landscapes more nature-friendly is the best way to protect and enjoy nature. Be part of the solution!

To learn more about the People and Nature Program, contact Tom Simpson, Research Field Station Ecologist at tsimpson@mccdistrict.org or call (815) 678-4532 x 8218. Most classes take place at Lost Valley Visitor Center in Glacial Park, Rt. 31 and Harts Rd. in Ringwood.


Solo classes or Certificates? Workshops can be taken by themselves in your area of interest or to earn an Ecological Restoration certificate. There are ten workshops required for a certificate; these required workshops are marked with an “R”.

 

NEW in 2014 — Register for the workshops directly with the Conservation District.

 

Forensic Ecology (R) CANCELLED

Saturday, March 8, 9:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m.
Cost: $40 R $45 NR Min/Max 10/20
Instructors: Ginevra Ryman, GIS Specialist; Gail Brown, Database Specialist
Glacial Park, Lost Valley Visitor Center, Savanna Room, Ringwood

This intensive, wide ranging seminar is designed to enable homeowners, agency staff, land managers, and others to discover a site’s past. Students will be introduced to many varied resources available for discovering a land’s hidden past including: public land survey notes, early plat books and maps, diaries, journals and early publications, sequential aerial photography, soils, census records, county history books and directories, newspapers, farm drainage information, cemetery records, Google Earth, ArcGIS Explorer, Ancestry.com and other online sources. Students will conduct a series of practical exercises that utilize McHenry County sites to track land use changes from 1837 to the present. Special emphasis will be placed on using digital resources.


Prescribed Fire in Ecological Restoration (R)

Saturday, March 22, 8:30 a.m.–4:00 p.m.
Cost: $40 R $45 NR Min/Max 10/20
Instructors: Jeff Murray, Restoration Ecologist; Adam Rex, Restoration Technician
Glacial Park, Lost Valley Visitor Center, Savanna Room, Ringwood

Prescribed burning refers to the use of fire as a management tool, in which managers control the timing and extent of fires to have the maximum ecological benefit at a minimum cost, and to do so while ensuring the safety of the fire crew and the public. Because most native ecosystems of the Midwest formed under the influence of recurrent fires, prescribed burning is the single most important management tool that the Conservation District uses in ecological restoration. This workshop will provide Chicago Wilderness Crew Member Burn Training certification. Part of the class will be outdoors so dress for the weather. Bring a lunch and something to drink.

 

Illinois Landscapes (R)

Saturday,May 3, 9:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m.
Cost: $40 R $45 NR Min/Max 10/20
Instructor: Tom Simpson, Research Field Station Ecologist
Glacial Park, Lost Valley Visitor Center, Savanna Room, Ringwood

What sort of world did the native plants and animals of McHenry County come from? Terms like “prairie” and “oak savanna” are often used, but what did these places actually look like, how did they function, and it what ways are they different from the woodlands and grasslands we commonly see today? If we wish to restore natural land, interpret its ecology, or use native plants around our homes and businesses, we need to find answers to these questions. This workshop will take a look at the strange and beautiful world that existed before European-American settlement and find its relevance today. Most of the class will be outdoors so dress for the weather. Bring a lunch and something to drink.

 

Plants of Forests and Woodlands (R)

Saturday, May 10, 9:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m.
Cost: $40 R $45 NR Min/Max 10/20
Instructor: Greg Rajsky, Director of Small Waters Education
Coral Woods Conservation Area, 7400 Somerset, Marengo

Woodlands and forests were less common than prairies and oak savannas in McHenry County prior to European contact, but they were rich in plant species that occurred nowhere else. Learning to identify these plants will help you restore these ecosystems and appreciate their beauty and diversity. This workshop will introduce you to many of the species of forests and woodlands. Class is held outdoors so dress for the weather. Bring a lunch and something to drink.

 

Wildlife Ecology: Living with Wildlife (R)

Saturday, May 17, 9:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m.
Cost: $40 R $45 NR Min/Max 10/20
Instructor: Brad Woodson, Restoration Ecologist; Cindi Jablonski, Wildlife Ecologist
Glacial Park, Lost Valley Visitor Center, Savanna Room, Ringwood

Encountering a white tailed deer along a trail, hearing a coyote howl at the end of the day, or seeing a wild turkey in the distance are among the many treats of a visit to Glacial Park. All of these species were rare or absent from the area not that long ago, yet today they thrive. Changes in game laws and cultural attitudes toward wildlife have helped the recovery of species like sandhill cranes and river otters, but the most important reason is the rebuilding of habitat where once it was absent. We will explore how ecological restoration has changed the wildlife of Glacial Park, how we manage wildlife populations today, and how similar practices may enhance wildlife on private lands. Part of the class will be outdoors so dress for the weather. Bring a lunch and something to drink.

 

2014 SUMMER & FALL SCHEDULE PREVIEW

Basic Botany—June
Getting to Know Your Land: Soil and Hydrology—June
Plants of Wetlands [R]—July
Plants of Prairies and Savannas [R]—August
Woody Plants & Ecological Restoration I [R]—August
Restoring Vegetation [R]—September
Weeds and What We Do About Them: Invasive Plant Management [R]—September
Geology and Soil [R]—September
Taking the Mystery Out of Using Native Plants in Your Garden—November
Woody Plants II: Tree and Shrub Identification in Winter—November

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