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, September 9
Lost Valley Visitor Center in Glacial Park

Drop-in 7–8:30 p.m., FREE
Special presentation at 7:15 p.m.

This introductory session explains how the workshops differ from one another, which might best suit your interests, or are required to earn an Ecological Restoration Certificate. This is your chance to have all of your questions answered – PLUS… get a $15 credit toward your next workshop! Returning participants are encouraged to attend.



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.

 

 

Woody Plants & Ecological Restoration I (R)

Saturday, August 16, 9:00 a.m. to 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

Trees and shrubs made up an important part of the vegetation of McHenry County prior to European contact, and many of our native plants and animals are dependent on forest, woodland, and savanna ecosystems. Since European settlement, exotic and invasive woody plants have been among the most troublesome weeds of natural areas, and removing them is an important part of restoration. For this reason, telling the difference between invasive species and native species is critical to success. Students will be introduced to many of the common woody species that are encountered in ecological restoration. Most of the class will be outdoors; dress for the weather and bring a sack lunch and something to drink.

 

Restoring Vegetation (R)

Saturday, September 6, 9:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m.
Cost: $40 R/ $45 NR   Min/Max 10/20
Instructor: Laurie Ryan, Plant Ecologist; Dustin Wire, Ecological Restorationist and Educator
Glacial Park, Lost Valley Visitor Center, Savanna Room, Ringwood

Ecological restoration often begins with landscapes that have lost much of their native flora and fauna, and for this reason reintroduction of natives is a necessary part of the restoration process. This workshop will include the selection of plant species appropriate for each ecosystem type, the relative benefits of seeding versus planting, site preparation methods, and seed collection and processing techniques. Most of the class will be outdoors; dress for the weather and bring a sack lunch and something to drink.

 

Weeds and What We Do About Them: Invasive Plant Management (R)

Saturday, September 13, 9:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m.
Cost: $40 R/ $45 NR    Min/Max 10/20
Instructor: John Peters, Restoration Ecologist
Glacial Park, Lost Valley Visitor Center, Savanna Room, Ringwood

Like landscapes all over the Midwest, Glacial Park is threatened by the invasion of exotic and invasive species whose populations endanger the heritage of plants and animals and ecosystems we inherited when European-American settlement began in the early 19th century. We will focus on the latest techniques that the Conservation District uses to manage invasive plants. Participants will learn how to use and maintain a chainsaw; how to safely and efficiently clear invasive trees; when, where and how to apply herbicides for best effect; plus the applicability of seppi mowers, rotary mowers, and other large-scale equipment. Most of the class will be outdoors; dress for the weather and bring a sack lunch and something to drink.

 

Geology and Soil: Glaciers, Mud, Gravel, Sand, Soil, and other stuff (R)

Saturday, September 27, 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

The prairies and oak savannas of Glacial Park are a beautiful covering on top of an ancient palace built by tropical seas, glaciers, wind, water, and eons of time. Students will examine this underworld both for its own beauty and interest and to understand how this knowledge can help us to be better stewards of our natural heritage. Most of the class will be outdoors; dress for the weather and bring a sack lunch and something to drink.

 

Taking the Mystery out of Using Native Plants in Your Garden

Saturday, November 8, 9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Cost: $40 R/ $45 NR   Min/Max 10/20
Instructor: Trish Beckjord, RLA, Sales Consultant & Market Development with Midwest Ground Covers
Glacial Park, Lost Valley Visitor Center, Savanna Room, Ringwood

Would you like to plant more native plants in your garden but feel like you don’t have a clue? Doesn’t a native plant garden just look wild and messy? Answer: No! Using native plants in your garden can be just as beautiful as other choices and bring greater ecological benefits. If you’re someone who wants to get your feet wet but hesitates at jumping into the pool, this workshop is the answer. What are the “right” native plants for you and best combinations? How do you figure out where to put what? What works with what you already have? Learn about a selection of native plants that are well-behaved in the home garden and take away design ideas for how to use native plants around your own home. We will have a planning session in the afternoon that will give you plenty of time to “ask the expert” about design ideas you may have for your own garden space. Bring a lunch and something to drink.

 

Woody Plants II: Tree and Shrub Identification in Winter

Saturday, November 22, 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

Most of the trees, shrubs, and woody vines growing in Northeastern Illinois can be identified as easily in winter as in summer, it just requires refocusing our eyes on different features. Identifying woody plants in the leaf-off condition is important because brush removal and other ecological restoration efforts continue through the winter months. Participants will learn to use simple keys for twig identification, and spend much of the day outdoor studying growth forms and bark characteristics—all important to the winter ID of trees and shrubs. Dress for the weather and bring a sack lunch and something to drink.


Get Acrobat
The free Adobe Acrobat Reader is required for all pdf files.

produced by
Visionary Webworks
eParkDistrict.com
McHenry County Conservation District Homepage Contact Us! McHenry County Conservation District Homepage