TLC's Oak Keeper Project
The oak trees in McHenry County need your help! McHenry County's oak ecosystem has declined by 87% since 1837. If we don't do something today, there's a good chance we won't have oaks in our landscape for much longer.
There are many ways you can play a part in ensuring that oak trees will always be a part of our local landscape. One way is to become an Oak Keeper!
Each Spring, TLC offers a series of four workshops that are open to anyone with an interest in oaks and their preservation/proliferation. You will learn the basics of understanding a woodland's history as a way to guide restoration, how to identify woodland trees and shrubs - both native and non-native varieties, learn the proper techniques for restoring an oak woodland, and connect with a community of people who care about taking care of our local oak woods.
Whether you own an oak woods, want to volunteer to help restore oak woodlands, or just want to learn more about this important part of McHenry County's history and ecology, you will benefit from the Oak Keeper program.
- Site Assessment - Learn about the soils, trees, topography, and the potential your site holds.
- Tree & Shrub Identification - Learn to identify some of the most common native and non-native species found in a woodland.
- Explore a Healthy Woodland - While exploring the beauty of a 45-acre restored woodland, hear the story of a restoration ecologist's 15-year journey to save this site.
- Work-a-Woodland - Put your knowledge to use. Practice the skills of restoration with safety education, cutting, proper herbicide practices, and brush pile management. For those who have attended at least three classes, you will receive your Oak Keeper's certificate and t-shirt.
Anyone who completes at least three of the four workshops receives an Oak Keeper certificate, an Oak Keeper t-shirt, a 6-month membership to TLC and most importantly, the chance to be part of something big!
The workshops are on Saturday or Sunday mornings and are only 1 1/2 hours long to fit into your busy schedule. Each workshop will be at a different location, outdoors at the best classroom you could dream of ... an oak woodland!
Click here to read some of the stories from Oak Keepers over the years.
Become an Oak Keeper today and enjoy the following benefits:
- A six-month membership to TLC and a hat or t-shirt
- Invitation to informal Oak Keeper gatherings throughout the year
- Invitation to attend TLC restoration workdays and educational workshops
- Help nurture our county's next generation of native trees