Sterne’s Woods & Fen Volunteer Work Day - 1.26.20

Time: 9:00 AM

Location: 5617 Hillside Dr, Crystal Lake


Spend some time outdoors and help make a great park even better.  Volunteer at Sterne’s Woods & Fen on Sunday, January 26th  from 9-11AM.   We will be cutting, piling, and burning brush beside the artificial pond.  Invasives like honeysuckle and buckthorn are crowding out the native fen species.  The brush also prevents the use of controlled burns on portions of the fen.  Here are some wardrobe tips when working with fire:

  1. Don't wear anything flammable.  Sparks will quickly melt holes in synthetic fabrics like nylon and polyester.  
  2. Do wear cotton or wool; they won't melt.  They will get singed, so don't wear anything nice.
  3. Long sleeves, pants, and a hat will help protect you from flying embers and radiant heat.
  4. You'll leave smelling like a campfire.  Enjoy a shower when you get home and put those clothes straight in the wash.


We meet once a month at Sterne's outdoor pavilion, 5617 Hillside Dr.  Volunteers have a chance to learn about restoration ecology and what makes Sterne’s special.  Bring a waterbottle and a pair of work gloves.  The park district will supply tools, and I will bring treats.  Email Brice Alt, volunteer site steward, to receive updates:  The next several volunteer dates are:  February 23, March 15, and April 26.



Sterne’s Woods & Fen became an Illinois State Nature Preserve in 1994 to preserve and protect its unique ecology.  A fen is a rare type of wetland in which cold groundwater that is high in calcium and magnesium seeps to the surface.  The unique water chemistry supports plants that grow nowhere else.  Sterne’s Fen is home to at least 10 rare or endangered plant species.  The surrounding parkland acts as a buffer to the fen and includes prairie, oak savanna, and flatwood ecosystems.  Every one of those ecosystems can benefit from the efforts of volunteers.  Join us once a month and learn about them!



Much thanks to the local groups who have volunteered with us at Sterne's:  the MUDD trail running club, the Silver and Sleepy Hollow Creeks Watershed Coalition, the Environmental Defenders of McHenry County, the BREAK, Jacobs High School Interact, Girl Scout Troop 888, Cub Scout Pack 156, and Boy Scout Troops 158 and 368.



Check out this new video about Sterne's Fen:

For an update on the recent restoration project at Sterne's Fen:

Who was Ted Sterne?  The Crystal Lake Historical Society article:



By volunteering at a Sterne's workday you're helping with the ecologic restoration of an exceedingly rare type of habitat. 

To learn more about restoration ecology, here's a quick video:

Sterne's Fen has a management plan:


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