Planning to start a new native plant garden this spring?
Water, food waste, and leaves ... don't throw them away, let's use them!
Tired of maintaining large sections of lawn grass and want to attract birds and butterflies?
Celebrate Earth Day
Learn how to grow tomatoes!
CLIP Program Details: Skills gained
Land management: Invasive removal, site preparation and restoration techniques will be reviewed for ongoing TLC restoration projects. Transline resistant communities, use of parasitic plants, grazing and cover crops will be studied at TLC and at some field trip locations (i.e. Nachusa grasslands).
Plant identification: CLIPterns will learn the difference between: native, non-native and exotic invasive plant species common to the Chicago/Northern Illinois region. Vegetative ID characters will be used to identify plants (to species) within the following families: Apiaceae, Araceae, Asclepiadaceae, Asteraceae, Brassicaceae, Caryophyllaceae, Gentianaceae, Fabaceae, Cyperaceae, Convallariaceae, Iridaceae, Liliaceae, Lamiacea, Juncaceae, Orchidaceae, Onagraceae, Orobanchaeceae, Poaceae, Polemoniaceae, Rosaceae, Ranunculaceae, Schrophulariacea, Violacea, among others. Common and latin names will be reviewed for each species.
GIS/GPS training: Geographic Information Systems are used in the field of conservation to track spatial data such as: rare and common plant populations, invasive species removal work, water features, historic plant communities, or just about anything you can put on a map! CLIP participants will be introduced to ARCMap (online and desktop version), Collector by ARCgis, Avenza Maps and Solocator; each of which are spatial data tools that help users navigate and collect data in the field.
Prescribed fire training: Historically, much of Illinois experienced wildfire on a regular basis. This kept woody brush at bay and allowed the prairie to thrive. Today we use prescribed fire to simulate wild fires on the land to gain desirable management outcomes (reduced brush and reduced invasive species along with readily available nutrients from leftover ash). CLIP participants will learn about prescribed fire as a tool for land management. Safety, equipment/tools, proper protective equipment, chain of command, weather, fuel types, site prep and mop up (among other information) will be discussed. Participation in an actual prescribed fire remains weather dependent.
Herbicide use: Chemical control of invasive plant species is a method often used to reduce or eliminate undesirable plant species from a natural area. CLIP participants will become familiar with various types of herbicide utilized in everyday restoration activites such as: round up, and garlon. Safe preparation, storage and usage of these chemicals will be reviewed. CLIP participants will learn how to utilze herbicide to combat vegetative and woody species using methods such as foliar spraying and cut stump treatments.
Rare plant monitoring: In partnership with the Chicago Botanic Garden TLC monitors Plants of Concern that are found growing on TLC land. Participants will become familiar with methods used to collect plants of concern data including: Species ID, population counts, management history, habitat quality, population location and data entry.
Wildlife/Stream surveys: Fresh water macro invertebrates, fish, mollusks and other insects can indicate the health and quality of a stream. In collaboration with TLC board members, CLIP participants will visit a TLC site to assess the quality of a stream by collecting species data along the length of a stream. Participants will gain stream specimen collection and identification skills.
Regenerative farming techniques: Regenerative farming works to put organic material back into the soil through the use of conservative soil farming techniques such as permaculture and no till agriculture. CLIPterns will visit and learn about TLC’s Apple Creek Regenerative Farm program and visit several local area farms to learn about how different farming techniques change the soil over time.
Land preservation techniques: Conservation easement, Wetland Reserve Easement, Land Donation, [email protected], Conservation Stewardship Program and Agricultural Land Easement are a few of the many types of land preservation strategies that we will review with CLIPterns.
Field safety: Proper protective equipment, the buddy system, communication, weather hazards, plant hazards, insect hazards and equipment safety/hazards will be reviewed at the beginning of the season with refreshers throughout the season.
Scientific research/Experimental design: Interns will read/discuss foundational papers in ecology and be trained to form: hypotheses, predictions and use sound ethics to design an experiment. Interested individuals may conduct a small research/project in any of the subject areas under the approval guidance of CLIP leaders.
Art in the natural world: Each CLIPtern will participate in TLC’s annual photo contest; a contest for amateur photographers in the McHenry area. Photos are displayed at TLC’s “Art of the Land” event that is held each November. Additionally, all participants will spend time in the field observing and drawing plants.
Career development/Professional networking: Resume building, interviewing skills, self-confidence and job negotiation will be reviewed with each CLIP participant. Each field trip will provide interns with one or more professional contacts along with connections for future summer job opportunities. Finally, career paths for academic, not for profit, for profit, state and federal jobs will be discussed. CLIP mentors will meet with each student to discuss their career aspirations and interests followed by guidance to achieve that goal.
CLIP PROGRAM DETAILS: Field Trips
CLIPterns will receive a professional contact from each field trip location and may apply for summer positions at these locations (in future years) to further develop their career.
Nachusa Grasslands (The Nature Conservancy)
- CLIP participants will learn Plant Identification techniques through seed collection and invasive species control activities.
- CLIP participants will get a tour of Nachusa’s Seed processing program and learn seed processing techniques (collection, drying, milling, storage, mixing, planting).
- CLIP participants will receive a site tour with explanation of varying management techniques utilized at Nachusa (i.e. Bison Grazing, Prescribed Fire, Over-seeding with forb dominant mixes, boom spraying, combine seed collection/processing, stewardship etc).
Indiana Dunes National Park (The National Park Service)
- CLIP participants will tour the Fire Program at INDU (i.e. fire cache, equipment, explanation of the role of fire at INDU, how to plan for prescribed fire etc.)
- CLIP participants will become familiar with vegetation monitoring protocols for the Fire Effects program ( such as several or more of following: point intercept method, DBH, Pole/Seedling/Over-story Tree ID, crown position of trees, snag ID, damage, percent cover, duff, species diversity quadrats and woody species categories with tallies)
Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie (United States Forest Service)
- CLIP participants will learn vegetation monitoring protocols for the Vegetation GIS Data System (VGS) developed by the University of Arizona.
- Students will aid in collecting plant species data, using quadrats on long term transects set up at Midewin (this may include data entry on tablet using VGS).
- CLIP participants will receive a site tour with an explanation of land management and restoration techniques utilized by Midewin.
- Students will visit the dolomite prairie, wetlands and go on a bison tour.
Glacial Park (McHenry County Conservation District)
- CLIP participants will lead an environmental education program (i.e. an educational hike, game and/or lesson).
- CLIP participants will receive a site tour and brief explanation of the history of MCCD and Glacial Park.
McHenry County College (MCC)
- CLIP participants will tour campus facilities relevant to the CLIP program, including but not limited to:
- On site farming facilities
- CLIP participants will visit local farms that employ conservative farming practices such as:
- Conservation Grazing
- Cover Cropping
- Regenerative Agriculture
- CLIP participants will view a demonstration of how to take soil samples and how to analyze key soil properties such as:
- Organic Matter
- Aggregate structure
Native plants can bring beauty and ecological health to even the smallest spaces in your yard
McHenry County’s oldest resident was struck down by the derecho wind on Aug. 10, 2020
In the 1970s, Alice McCluggage and her family moved from the city to a homestead in Harvard, IL.
The Land Conservancy of McHenry County (TLC) has preserved an 83.5-acre parcel, Crowley Oaks Preserve, in Harvard.
A listing of local sources for farm-fresh food.
One family’s story of preserving 40 acres of oaks in McHenry County.
This is the story of Alix Blair and her memories of growing up on her family’s land.
There are many ways to help oaks, whether at your own home or throughout McHenry County! Here are some ideas:
- Volunteer at a TLC restoration workday or Oak Rescue. Workdays are held on some weekdays and almost every weekend. Check the TLC calendar or follow us on Facebook so you know when the next workday is. No fancy clothes are tools are needed, just wear sturdy boots/shoes and clothing that can get burn holes. Snacks and tools are provided!
- Seed collecting. If you have native plants in your landscaping, collecting seed from them can be a fun and rewarding event! Spread them around on your property, or if you have limited space, you can donate them to TLC to use in our restoration projects! Learn more about seed collecting here!
- Acorn Roundup. Collecting acorns is a great way to get your kids, friends, neighbors or students outside and involved in a worthwhile project! Learn more here.
- Help plant oaks at our spring and fall Celebration & Memorial Oak plantings. Volunteers are always welcome! To get started, fill out our volunteer form here!
TLC interns collected seed in the summer of 2019.