Vo untee If you find a wildlife baby,

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
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
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.
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 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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.