Displaying items by tag: woodstock il
Sonja and Rich Brook have built a legacy on their farm in rural Harvard. People who frequent the Woodstock Farmers Market know the Brooks for their flavored popcorn, fresh vegetables and flowering plants. After many years of hard work, they were thinking of retiring from farming and wondered who would take over the operation since their children went down different paths. But now they’ve found the perfect farmers who appreciate all that the Brooks have accomplished.
Jennifer Kinney of Piscasaw Gardens grows and sells fresh cut flowers at the Woodstock Farmers Market. She and her husband Aaron purchased the Brooks’ farm in May, and cut flowers will continue to play a prominent role in the business. They are also growing 25 acres of fruits and vegetables and 15 acres of Mirai corn, as well as the popcorn production that Rich and Sonja started.
Jennifer pays tribute to her grandmother, Selma Davidson, who helped her begin to grow cut flowers, and to her mother Janet Davidson and her grandmother, Martha Blum, for instilling a love of all growing things. She also tagged along with her dad, Walter Davidson, a dairy farmer and field crop producer. Jennifer says, “My dad taught me that a farmer gets up and out to do the work no matter how wet, cold, windy or hot it is, and no matter how crappy one feels. My family is my first strong stream of farming heritage … We are so thankful for Rich and Sonja and we hope to honor their legacy on the farm.”
Jen’s advice to newer farmers who dream of owning their own place: “Number one is you need experience, but not too much. If you apply for an FSA loan they won’t give you one if you have more than nine years’ experience as a farmer. And number two is, take advantage of the federal loan program because it is a lower interest rate and allows you to spread the payments out over a longer period of time than a conventional loan.”
Piscasaw Gardens is at 9306 Lawrence Road, Harvard. Customers may purchase products at their storefront on the farm or at several farmers markets, including the one in Woodstock. Visit their website at www.piscasaw.com.
The Land Conservancy of McHenry County is pleased to announce that since the launch of the 5000 Acre Challenge in late January, private landowners and municipalities have increased the total to over 4,000 acres of oak woods cared for in McHenry County.
The 5,000 Acre Challenge is forging partnerships with private landowners, who now own 85 percent of the county’s remaining oaks, and seeking support from municipalities and the public. TLC believes meeting the 5,000 Acre Challenge is crucial to protect the environment and character of McHenry County.
Oaks and other trees help clean the air and water and reduce air temperature, helping to conserve energy. They reduce flooding and support our native wildlife. Native oaks evolved with native plants and wildlife to make unique ecosystems that are some of the most endangered in the world.
TLC is offering an Oak Keepers webinar on June 12 for those who would like to learn more about caring for oak trees. The webinar will include tips on how to investigate the history of your land, basic oak habitat plant identification, and equipment suggestions with related safety procedures. The class is free, and registration closes Monday, June 8. Participants can sign up at www.ConserveMC.org.
Visit 5000Acres.com to learn more about caring for oak trees and to include your oak acreage in the total.
As we look back on 2019, we thank Food:Land:Opportunity for their generous support of our work to promote local food farmers and regenerative farming in McHenry County.
The video below provides a snapshot of what was accomplished in the past year.
The Land Conservancy of McHenry County (TLC) has preserved an 83-acre property, Slough Creek Wetland Bank, located northwest of Woodstock on Jankowski Road.
The parcel lies within the Hackmatack National Wildlife Refuge and is adjacent to McHenry County Conservation District (MCCD) property along Slough Creek, the Nippersink Creek corridor, and one half mile from the Bystricky Prairie Illinois State Nature Preserve. The property adds 83 acres for a total of 1,500 contiguous acres of wildlife habitat.
Once a farm field, the property was restored to a wetland and wet prairie habitat for the purpose of selling wetland mitigation credits to mitigate development wetland impacts.
The wetland/wet-mesic prairie restoration has met all US Army Corps of Engineers, USEPA, & US Fish and Wildlife Service approvals for wetland restoration. In addition to the restored vegetation, the site serves as feeding/nesting/migration habitat for a number of declining, rare, or threatened/endangered Illinois bird species such as: Northern Harrier, Sedge Wren, Marsh Wren, Bobolink, and Sparrows (Field, Grasshopper, Henslow’s, Savannah, Song, Swamp, and Vesper).
The owners decided to work with TLC as the organization to complete the donation process due to the TLC’s long record of integrity and reputation for natural land management.
As part of the land donation, the donors are contributing to a long-term management fund held for the property and also covering the cost of one year of site management, which includes prescribed burns and eradicating invasive species at the site.
TLC plans to hold the property for two-to-three years and collect native seed there for use at other sites. Eventually, the property will be transferred to either MCCD or the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for formal addition to the Hackmatack National Wildlife Refuge.
Students from Landmark School in McHenry planted trees at the Remington Grove conservation easement in June 2019.
Earlier this fall a young red-tailed hawk was found at Wolf Oak Woods that had likely been clipped by a car. She had a concussion and other injuries. Staff from the MCCD Wildlife Rehabilitation Center picked her up and cared for her over the past couple of months, ensuring she was rehabilitated and ready for a safe return to the wild. On Dec. 4, 2019 she was released back to her home at Wolf Oak Woods! Thank you to the staff at the McHenry County Conservation District for rehabilitating her and returning her to her home! (Scroll to the bottom of the page to see the video!)
The hawk ready to take flight. (Photo courtesy of Randy Schietzelt)
The hawk on the day she was found injured. (Photo courtesy of Lauretta Wolf)