Through the contributions of many volunteers, the programs TLC is able to offer and the impact it has had on the landscape has grown dramatically. Volunteers certainly make a difference!
If you enjoy working on the land, the fresh air, pitching in, and meeting other people with an interest in conservation, then check out one of these workdays! Just one work day makes a dramatic and visible difference on one of our sites; imagine the impact volunteers have over the years.
Visit our calendar of events to see upcoming workdays, or click on the Bold Headers below for more information as well as descriptions and pictures of previous projects.
Click here to complete a brief Volunteer Profile to help us get to know you better!
Habitat Restoration Workdays
Volunteer Workdays take place most Saturdays, Sundays, and Wednesdays. No experience is necessary, and tools and refreshments are provided. Volunteers should dress in long pants and sturdy shoes. Activities will focus on eradicating invasive species from natural areas. All year long we cut brush such as buckthorn, honeysuckle, and small willows with both chainsaws and hand loppers. Volunteers can either cut or help build and burn brush piles. In spring we pull garlic mustard by hand. In the fall, we hold events to gather seed and acorns.
Help us reforest McHenry County! TLC has been working with municipalities, schools, churches, students, and volunteers to promote the next generation of oaks. Oaks need full sunlight and are very slow growing. McHenry County used to have an abundance of oaks, but very few baby oaks are germinating and surviving to adulthood. Planting and caring for them gives a much needed head start. Oak plantings take place in the spring and the fall, and involve digging holes, planting, mulching, setting up protective cages, and watering. Let us know if you would like to help!
This project is focused on gathering information about local oaks. Volunteers conduct surveys of oak size and health on private lands. They can either learn some of the basics about tree identification, working with landowners, and data collection from our training program, or can be paired with an experienced mentor.
Do you have an oak tree in your front yard, or do you know of one somewhere? You can collect the acorns after they mature and fall from the trees, and drop them off at TLC! Glacier Oaks Nursery then grows them, and these are the trees TLC uses for the oak plantings! There are instructions on how to sort and label the acorns on the Acorn Roundup webpage.
Do you enjoy planning events? Or maybe just attending exciting events? TLC's fall fundraiser--Art of the Land--involves planning and coordinating from February until the 2-day event in September. The result brings together talented artists, photographers, sponsors, performers and members for a spectacular event to raise funds that help TLC fulfill our mission. Volunteers are instrumental to the success of every event.
Native Shrub Growing Workdays
TLC grows native shrubs from seeds gathered here in McHenry County by TLC and volunteers. We use the facilities at Glacier Oaks Nursery in Harvard. Activities include seed cleaning, germination, repotting, and propagating cuttings. The goal is to have shrubs ready to be planted at natural areas in McHenry County each spring! Let us know if you can help!
Seed Collecting Workdays
We occasionally need volunteers during business hours to help with mailings or prepare for events. If you have some free time during the day and would like to help with a project, let us know!