WOODSTOCK – Earth Day is a great time to begin planting oaks in McHenry County. The soil is warming up, and the recent rains mean that the trees can begin growing right away.
The Land Conservancy of McHenry County, a local nonprofit conservation group, has three ways that residents can help restore the once-vast oak woods of McHenry County.
• Volunteer from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday at Yonder Prairie, 1206 Rose Farm Road, Woodstock, to help plant 50 oaks as a way to help enhance the remnant oak savannas found at this 43-acre TLC preserve. Park along Rose Farm and walk back to the planting area. Tools and refreshments will be provided. Dress for the weather, wear sturdy shoes and bring a shovel, if available.
• Individuals interested in planting oaks at their own homes can buy trees through TLC’s Spring Oak Sale. Several species and sizes are available from $20 to $65. A portion of income from the sale goes to support the community oak planting effort.
• Those wishing to create a living memorial in honor of someone or in celebration of a special event, such as the birth of a grandchild, may buy a Memorial Oak for $50 from TLC for planting at Hennen Conservation Area, 4622 Dean St., Woodstock, on May 11. Nearly 200 memorial trees have been planted as part of the continued reforestation of this property.
Oak woods and savannas once covered 40 percent of the county, but today are found on just 4 percent of the local landscape. The Land Conservancy of McHenry County’s Project Quercus has been working with local community groups, volunteers and municipalities since 2006 to restore and document the remaining oak woods and to plant more oaks throughout the county. All trees are grown from locally collected acorns and raised for the project at Glacier Oaks Nursery in Harvard.
Information about the oak sale and memorial oaks is available on TLC’s website, www.ConserveMC.org, or by calling 815-337-9502.