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.

 

 

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.

 

 

Registration for winter programs (December, January, and February) begins:

 

November 10 for McHenry County residents

November 20 for non-residents

 

Woody Plants II: Tree and Shrub Identification in Winter

Saturday, December 6 (Revised date), 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.


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