Join us on January 21 for a Bonfire! Food! Sterne’s Woods & Fen Volunteer Work Day and Cookout

Mon January 15, 2018


We made great progress clearing invasives last year at Sterne's Fen.  Join us for the first work day of 2018 on Sunday, January 21 from 9-11 AM.  We've also reserved the Sterne's picnic shelter for a cookout from 11-12.  Come work up an appetite and join us for a hot meal!  This month we'll be working directly on the frozen fen, cutting and burning a dense stand of invasive buckthorn.  The park district will place steel sheets on concrete blocks to elevate the bonfire so it doesn't ignite the peaty soil of the fen. 


Don't wear anything nice!  There will be sparks falling that will burn holes in clothes, especially synthetics like polyester.  Cotton works well.  Dress in layers so you can adjust to the heat of the fire and the January weather.


We meet monthly at Sterne's picnic shelter, 5617 Hillside Drive.  Volunteers will have a chance to learn about restoration ecology and what makes Sterne’s Fen special.  Bring a waterbottle and a pair of work gloves.  The park district will supply the tools.  Email Brice Alt, volunteer site steward, to receive updates:  


Sterne’s Woods & Fen became an Illinois State Nature Preserve in 1994 to preserve and protect its unique ecology.  A fen is a rare type of wetland in which cold groundwater that is high in calcium and magnesium seeps to the surface.  The unique water chemistry supports plants that grow nowhere else.  Sterne’s Fen is home to at least 10 rare or endangered plant species.  The surrounding parkland acts as a buffer to the fen and includes prairie, oak savanna, and flatwood ecosystems.  Every one of those ecosystems can benefit from the efforts of volunteers.  Join us once a month and learn about them!


Much thanks to the groups who have volunteered with us at Sterne's: MUDD, the Silver and Sleepy Hollow Creeks Watershed Coalition, the Environmental Defenders of McHenry County, the BREAK, Jacobs High School Interact, and Girl Scout Troop 888.


By volunteering at a Sterne's workday you're helping with the ecologic restoration of an exceedingly rare type of habitat.  To learn more about restoration ecology, here's a quick video:

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