Vo untee summer/fall 2012 a resource for McHenry County Conservation District volunteers If you find a wildlife baby, here's how to help! Spring and summer are seasons when many people encounter a baby wild animal along a trail or sometimes in their back yard. After the initial reaction of “Aww… how cute!” passes, they wonder what they should or shouldn’t do. When the parent isn't visible, most kind-hearted people feel compelled to rescue the baby, but this is usually not the best course of action. Here are a few helpful tips from the District’s Wildlife Resource Center. If you find a baby bird or mammal on the ground and can locate its nest, carefully place it back in the nest. Mythbuster: the fact that you have touched the baby and left your “human scent” on it will never scare a parent away. Many people don't realize that most baby songbirds, such as robins, cardinals and bluebirds remain in the nest only a few weeks before they fledge or hop out on their own. You can identify a fledgling by taking a close look at its tail feathers—they haven't completely grown in, so the bird will have either a very short tail or no tail at all. Fledglings can’t fly yet, but their parents continue to feed them on the ground. If you discover a fledgling, the best thing to do is leave it alone. Fawns are another animal that people often come across and want to rescue. It is natural for a mother deer to not stay by her young, because her presence might attract predators. While the doe is foraging, a fawn's protective strategy is to lie very still. It has no smell for a predator to detect and its spotted coat acts as camouflage. If you find a fawn lying curled up in the grass, don’t worry—it is behaving as a healthy fawn should. Enjoy the sight, but do not disturb! If you ever have a question about any wild animal you encounter, please call the Wildlife Resource Center at (815) 728-8307. Contact Denice Beck, Volunteer Coordinator • [email protected] • 815.338.6223 x229 Thank you! District News During 2011, volunteers contributed more than 15,000 hours of service. The economic value to the District exceeded $370,000! Remember to keep track of your 2012 hours and turn them in to Denice or your supervisor. Don't forget to include time spent on tasks associated with your volunteer duties, including reporting data, research, training classes, maintaining tools and equipment, advocacy for the District, and procuring supplies. Life changes? Of course! If your address, email or phone number has changed, please notify Denice so we will know how to contact you. If you have moved on and are no longer able to volunteer for the District, we can remove you from the mailing list if you let us know. Do you know someone with Star Quality? The efforts of individual volunteers and groups are recognized in each issue of Landscapes. Recently the work of bird monitor Dave Miller and site steward Greg Rajsky were highlighted. Do you know (or are you) a District volunteer whose work should be featured in an upcoming issue? Tell Denice about it! People Making a Difference Chicago Wilderness Habitat Project 2012 Grassroots Conservation Leadership Awards Kevin Horner Ed Collins, Manager of the Natural Resource Management Department, was recognized for his contribution in developing a culture of conservation through his commitment to ecology-based restoration and passion for the cultural and natural histories of McHenry County’s lands. Ed began as a volunteer on the HUM Prairie, developed restoration expertise at Pleasant Valley, and then played a leading role in making the District a model for science-based, results-focused restoration. Tom Simpson, Research Field Station Ecologist, has had a notable career of research, teaching and conservation at the District. He and Ed Collins led last year’s “Weekend of Restoration”—an extraordinary experience for a group of volunteers who learned about soil and hydrology, land use and remediation methods, and did much of the restoration work. What might have been an engineering project by staff and contractors was transformed into a volunteer experience deeply connected to the spirit of conservation. The adventure continues! Sept 21–23, 2012 Weekend of Restoration at Glacial Park New this year—free camping at Glacial Park is available for participants during the event. For more information or to register: contact Tom Simpson at [email protected] or (815) 678-4532, ext 8218 In Memory... Chuck Dubsky. The District lost a friend, advocate and volunteer on March 21, 2012. As an advocate for conservation and land management practices, Chuck's volunteer work touched on many aspects of the District's mission. He served as an Education volunteer, Trail of History costumed and non-costumed volunteer, Plants of Concern monitor, Seed Collection volunteer, Phenology Project monitor, Festival of the Sugar Maples tour guide and historical station interpreter, and member of the Citizens Advisory Committee. As the Site Steward at Grundstrom Woods, Chuck educated people of all ages about restoration and battled invasive species. He continued to add to his knowledge of land management practices by attaining E.R.C.P. Certification and becoming certified as a volunteer burn crew member and chainsaw operator. Chuck's enthusiasm, sense of humor and can-do attitude will be missed throughout the District. We extend our deepest sympathy to his family and wide circle of friends. 2 Summer/fall 2012 Questions, ideas? Contact Denice Beck—Volunteer Coordinator Get Connected Seasonal Safety Reminders Site stewards and monitors: Before heading out, make sure your survey route or restoration area is safe. Check the weather forecast and call the Natural Resource office at (815) 678-4532 in early spring or late fall to find out if a prescribed burn is scheduled at your site. Volunteer Site Access Passes: If your stewardship or monitoring activities take place at a site that is closed to the public, be sure to leave a site access pass in your vehicle to alert District Police that you are on duty. All outdoor volunteers: Be aware of potential hazards—ticks, mosquitoes, stinging insects, poisonous plants, heat exhaustion, dehydration and excessive sun exposure. Bring drinking water and a cell phone. Light-colored long sleeve shirts and pants, sturdy shoes, hat, insect repellent and sunscreen are advised. All volunteers: If an accident occurs on volunteer duty, don't forget to obtain an accident report form from your supervisor. Turn the completed form in to your supervisor, District Police or Denice within 24 hours. 30-Second Site Safety Walk-Through: Take half a minute before beginning your volunteer task to survey the area for safety risks. S.W.E.E.P. Do not hesitate to report suspicious or unusual behavior to District Police at (815) 338-6223. If no answer, call (815) 338-2144. Seed Collection Volunteers Last year, volunteers collected 1,100 lbs. of native prairie plant seed, saving the District over $50,000! Later this summer, plant ecologist Laurie Ryan will send an email to all volunteers who participated last year announcing the beginning of seed collection season. If you'd like to help out in 2012, email [email protected] We look forward to seeing everyone back in the field! 7–8:30 p.m. Lost Valley Visitor Center in Glacial Park First Fridays Concert Series Enjoy an evening of live music on the deck of the Lost Valley Visitor Center. Bring a picnic or beverage (no glass containers, please!) to savor beneath the ancient oaks. See the summer Landscapes, pg. 19. Featuring: June 1 – Just Friends July 6 – Lee Murdock Aug. 3 – Will Krueger 3 rd Saturday Steward Training & Restoration at Glacial Park Open to the Public: 9 a.m.–12 p.m. District Ecologists and Restoration Technicians are leading training and fieldwork sessions the third Saturday of each month. Meet at Lost Valley Visitor Center at 9 a.m., then head out to the project. Note: no restoration in July or October. [email protected] 815.338.6223 x229 Summer/fall 2012 3 Education Education Department Volunteers Education Volunteers Q ua r t e r ly G at h e r ing s Wednesday, Aug. 15, 7–9 p.m. Lost Valley Visitor Center, Glacial Park Topic: “A Little Night Music” Don't be late—the usual agenda will be flip-flopped. We'll start the evening with an ice cream sundae bar and sign-up to volunteer at fall programs, then head outdoors for a dusk hike to listen to the symphony of insects, coyotes and other night critters perform. Winter Note date change! Thursday, Nov. 8, 7–9 p.m. Prairieview Education Center 2112 Behan Rd.,Crystal Lake Topic: “The Role of Music in Environmental Programming” Please call (815) 479-5779 to confirm your attendance. Call Denice if you cannot attend the gathering, but wish to volunteer. Lost Valley Ventures Lost Valley Visitor Center, Glacial Park Saturdays 2–3:30 p.m. Volunteers are needed to lead Saturday afternoon drop-in programs — a nature lesson, game and short hike for children and families. Topics change monthly, but lesson plans and props are prepared in advance by staff. To lead a program once a month or more often, call Education Program Coordinator Kim Compton, (815) 678-4532 x 8116. Estamos buscando voluntarios bilingües Are you fluent in Spanish and English? The Education Department is looking for volunteers to translate programs and special events to Spanish-speaking participants. Explorer Day: Summer Sightings Saturday, June 16, 12–4 p.m. Prairieview Education Center Fishing Fun For Families Saturday, June 30, 9–11 a.m. Brookdale, Paulsen Rd. Shelter Elizabeth Corey Tonight's focus is on music! Education Staff will share favorite recordings and model ways to integrate music into programs. Call in advance if you are interested in participating in a sing-along or jam session. Steven DeBerg Fall Help bring our natural world to life for eager learners of all ages at outdoor and indoor programs, school field trips and special events. You don't need to be an “education volunteer”— all registered volunteers with enthusiasm for environmental topics or a teaching background are invited to share their skills. If you regularly attend District programs, this is a special opportunity to work with the presenters and gain an in-depth knowledge of diverse topics. Join us at a Quarterly Gathering where volunteers sign-up to assist with programs and receive training in special topics. Call Denice to learn more. Call (815) 479-5779 to assist with one of the upcoming bilingual programs shown above, or offer to translate at future programs. Want to learn more about the “Leave No Child Inside” initiative? Check out www.chicagowilderness.org. 4 Summer/fall 2012 Questions, ideas? Contact Denice Beck—Volunteer Coordinator Special Events October 20 & 21 Volunteers Needed! 2012 Volunteer Meetings No experience necessary All meetings held at Lost Valley Visitor Center in Glacial Park Rt. 31 & Harts Rd., Ringwood Each fall, the District relies on more than 300 volunteers to stage its largest special event attracting over 10,000 visitors. No matter what type of volunteer work you usually do, we hope you'll contribute a few hours to help visitors explore our historical connections to the land. Got kids? Make it a family affair! Children age 8–14 are welcome to participate with an adult guardian volunteer. Orientation for New Volunteers & Introduction to Costuming Thursday, Aug. 9, 7–9 p.m. or Tuesday, Aug. 14, 7–9 p.m. New to the Trail of History? Attend an orientation August 9 or 14 to gain an overview of the event and learn about volunteer positions. During the second hour of this meeting, those choosing to participate in a costumed position receive instructions for sewing their own 19th Century historical attire from simple patterns. Not into sewing? Costumes may also be purchased. Costumed stations include candle making, log house living, cornhusk doll making, cooking, traditional children’s games, Métis Village, apprentice servants, operating a two-man saw, military tactics, and teaching in a one-room schoolhouse. Volunteers learn basic skills of frontier family life at a workshop or by buddying up with an experienced volunteer. Ryan Provenzano Costumes are not required for all positions! Event-support is essential to the smooth running of the Trail, and volunteers welcome the public, assist “behind the scenes”, offer basic first aid, teach glacial geology, and help with clean-up and crowd control. Non-costumed assistance is also needed on Friday, Oct. 19 at the School Day event, a special field trip for fifth grade classes. 7–8 p.m. Overview of Trail volunteering 8–9 p.m. Historical costuming instructions All New & Returning Trail Volunteers Sign-up Night Thursday, Aug. 23, 6:30–8 p.m. Select your favorite station, day, and shift. Need help deciding? Staff will assist you. Volunteers sign up to work at least one four-hour shift during the event. Schedules are set up at the Aug. 23 Sign-Up Night meeting. Anyone who can't make it to this meeting must call Denice before Sept. 7 to schedule their work shift. Confirmation packets and parking passes will be mailed to volunteers the first week of October. Ready to get started? Attend an orientation or contact Denice. Don't forget about Trail of History School Day—Friday, Oct. 19. To volunteer, call Leslie Krebs at (815) 479-4532. [email protected] 815.338.6223 x229 Can't attend? Call Denice prior to Sept. 7 to set up your schedule. Confirmation packets will be mailed the first week of October. Costume Check & Skills Training Thursday, Sept. 20, 6:30–8 p.m. Is your new costume ready? Drop in between 6:30–8 p.m. Skills Training is recommended for all volunteers working at cornhusk doll and candle making stations. 6:30–7:30 p.m. — Cornhusk doll training 7:30–8:00 p.m. — Candle making training Summer/fall 2012 5 Stewardship/Natural Resource Management Habitat Restoration Call the Site Steward listed below in advance for cancellations or special instructions. No experience needed! Individuals, small groups and families with children over age 6 can volunteer and learn about the environment. Drop in for a few hours or attend regularly to help volunteer site stewards remove invasive, non-native vegetation. Tools and training are provided. Dress for the weather and outdoor work. Wear sturdy footwear (no sandals). Drinking water, insect repellent, sunscreen, hat recommended. Bring garden gloves and safety glasses, if you own them. Alden Sedge Meadow, Alden: Dan Wilson (815) 236-9749 Alden Sedge Meadow South, Alden: Third Sunday of each month; 1–3:30 p.m. Judy and Jack Speer (815) 648-1372 or [email protected] Boger Bog, Bull Valley: Fourth Saturday of each month; 10 a.m.–1 p.m. Ders Anderson (815) 455-1537 Bystricky Prairie, Woodstock: Anne Basten (815) 338-6223 Coral Woods, Marengo: Kathleen Roberson (815) 245-4093 Cotton Creek Marsh, Island Lake: First and third Sunday of each month; 1–3 p.m. Mike Bouska (815) 759-0731 Fel-Pro RRR, Cary: Nancy Williamson (815) 459-0931 Fox Bluff, Cary: Connie and Paul Ridl (847) 854-5109 Glacial Park, Richmond: Site Steward training. Public is welcome. Not held in July and October; 9 a.m.–12 p.m. Meet at the Lost Valley Visitor Center reception area. Led by District Natural Resource Ecologists and Restoration Techs (815) 678-4532 Harrison-Benwell, Wonder Lake: First Saturday of each month; 9:30 a.m.–1 p.m. Pat and Emily Heald (815) 575-1684 or [email protected] The Hollows, Cary: Call for dates; variable Sundays; 9 a.m.–12 p.m. Margie Szymanskyj (815) 479-0988 Lake in the Hills Fen, LITH: Variable Saturdays & Sundays; John Scott (847) 658-6241 Pioneer Fen/Dutch Creek, Johnsburg: Third Saturday of each month; 9 a.m.–12 p.m. Robert Roe (847) 668-8559 or [email protected] Check for updates at http://sites.google.com/site/dutchcreekvolunteers/ Pleasant Valley, Woodstock: Call for dates. 9 a.m.–12 p.m. Greg Rajsky, (815) 814-5055 or [email protected] Update—Phenology Project 2012 Thirty years after the initial volunteer plant phenology project in McHenry County, volunteers are repeating the efforts of the initial group to assess how the timing of plant life cycles have changed during this time period. This is the first of three planned field seasons (2012–2014) dedicated to collecting phenology data. Data collection started in February 2012 and will continue through the fall. To date, 42 volunteers have been trained to collect plant phenology data (leaf-out, bloom stages, seed ripeness data) for over 300 indicator plant species at 22 District sites. New volunteers are welcome to join any time! Contact plant ecologist Laurie Ryan at (815) 678-4532 or [email protected] 6 Summer/fall 2012 Stewardship Summer Meeting & Chainsaw Safety Training Saturday, July 21, 9 a.m.–12 p.m. Lost Valley Visitor Center, Glacial Park Note the time change—we'll begin at 9 a.m. with coffee and donuts, business discussion and chainsaw safety training for all stewardship volunteers (not just chainsaw operators!). There will be time to talk to the ecologists and technicians face to face, and then lunch together. Details to come on EarthTenders. RSVP to Denice. Questions, ideas? Contact Denice Beck—Volunteer Coordinator Recreation & Public Safety Forty-two Safety Watchers attended the annual outdoor scenario training meeting in May to practice situations they might encounter while touring the Prairie Trail. Prairie Trail Safety Watch In addition to their duties along the Prairie Trail, P.T.S.W. members also assist at District programs, such as Safe Kids Wear Lids, Pedal Paddle Through the Prairie and the Trail of History. P.T.S.W. is always looking for safety-minded volunteers to join its ranks. There's a 10-hour minimum touring commitment, plus required training at monthly meetings. If you're a team player who enjoys biking and assisting the public, contact Denice to join. Safety Watch Education & Environmental Program S.W.E.E.P. 2012 Orientation & Training Meetings McHenry County College June 20, 7–8 p.m. September 19, 7–8 p.m. Call Denice to register. Want to make sure that District sites are safe and enjoyable for all visitors? Do you regularly visit The Hollows in Cary or Rush Creek in Harvard? S.W.E.E.P. is a community watch program that encourages conservation site users and neighbors to keep watch over a site and call in any safety concerns and unusual or suspicious behavior. S.W.E.E.P. volunteers will visit their site regularly and act as an extra set of eyes and ears for the District Police Department. Similar to the Prairie Trail Safety Watch, S.W.E.E.P. volunteers receive training from the District Police Department in skills and techniques to gain a heightened sense of awareness of their surroundings and learn protocol for reporting observations. Adopt-A-Trail Volunteer Program Is there a special Conservation Area trail or section of the Prairie Trail that you frequently visit? Consider adopting your trail and keeping it litter-free. The time commitment is minimal—walk your trail at least once a month and pick up litter. Groups and families are welcome. [email protected] 815.338.6223 x229 Summer/fall 2012 7 18410 U.S. Highway 14 • Woodstock, IL 60098 815.338.6223 • MCCDistrict.org Vo untee SUMMER/FALL 2012 Bilingual volunteers needed to translate programs and special events— see page 4 Keep up to date with District events, notices and nature sightings — find us on and follow us on Facebook Twitter @ DiscoverMCCD. dates to remember … see inside for details June 20 S.W.E.E.P. Meeting July 11 P.T.S.W. Monthly Meeting July 21 Stewardship Summer Meeting Aug. 8 P.T.S.W. Monthly Meeting Aug. 9 Trail of History New Volunteer Orientation Aug. 14 Trail of History New Volunteer Orientation Aug. 15 Education Quarterly Gathering Aug. 23 Trail of History Sign-Up Night Sept. 12 P.T.S.W. Monthly Meeting Sept. 19 S.W.E.E.P. Meeting Sept. 20 Trail of History Costume Check & Skills Training (Candle Making & Cornhusk Dolls) Oct. 19 Trail of History School Day Event Oct. 20–21 Trail of History Nov. 8 Education Quarterly Gathering Printed on recycled paper with soy ink.
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