Sterne’s Woods & Fen Volunteer Work Day - 1.24.21

Time: 9:00 AM

Location: 5617 Hillside Dr, Crystal Lake


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 Fen special.     This winter we will be cutting, piling, and burning brush on top of the abandoned track.  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 around the burn piles:

  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, a mask, 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.

Please bring a face mask, water bottle, and a pair of work gloves.  The park district will supply loppers & bow saws, and I will bring snacks to share.  Email Brice Alt, volunteer site steward, to receive updates:  Our next two work dates are:   Feb 28 and March 21.  



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, Crystal Lake South Elementary, Girl Scout Troop 888, Cub Scout Pack 156, and Boy Scout Troops 158 and 368.  We can accommodate community groups!  Just give us a heads-up of how many volunteers to expect.


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