You may relate the smell of burning leaves to the changing seasons, but the reality is that burning leaves introduces a lot of pollutants into the air that can be toxic and irritating to respiratory passages. And because leaves are usually moist, they burn poorly and emit even higher levels of dangerous hydrocarbons. For these reasons, many neighborhoods do not allow burning leaves or have specific guidelines. (Check the county or your local township for specifics.)
A better option is to shred or mulch leaves with a lawn mower and leave them to fertilize the lawn. Fall is the best time to fertilize because ants and earthworms help incorporate the leaves into the soil. That decaying matter feeds the beneficial microorganisms that keep soil healthy. Collect some of the mulched leaves in the mower bag and use them as mulch around the garden and landscape to suppress weeds, conserve moisture and maintain soil temperature. Even better is to gather them with a rake and compost.
We will be setting up our winter book sale in the hallway outside the office in Woodstock from Monday, November 23 through Wednesday, November 25. Please email or call the office to let us know when you can help!
The sale starts on Black Friday – November 27 from 11am until 7pm (the lighting of the Woodstock Square is that same evening, as well as our Volunteer Appreciation & Members’ Open House from 5pm-7pm.)
Sale continues November 30 through December 12 during regular store or office hours.
If you can, try not to have them end up in trash bags or burn piles. Instead use them to help your garden grow. Composting is a great and easy way to use fallen leaves as organic fertilizer to create soil rich with minerals. So, where to start? You need to have nitrogenous ingredients like grass clippings as well as materials high in carbon, like your dry leaves.
Shredded leaves break down faster, so simply run over them with your lawn mower. Then throw all your leaves into your compost pile with grass clippings and mix well. Continue to mix, and cover the pile with a tarp through winter to seal the heat in and keep moisture out. Come spring it will be a dark brown color, and the original ingredients unrecognizable. At that point, you can dig that finished earthy smelling compost into your soil to help your garden grow. Thank you beautiful leaves.
Even easier – after shredding them with your lawnmower, spread them on your garden beds. Instant mulch, and they will compost themselves.
Need to burn or have your leaves collected? Contact your local township office or the county for all the dos and don’ts.
Friday, November 27th, 5:30-7pm
The Defenders will once again welcome members for hot drinks and treats during the Woodstock “Lighting of the Square” event. This is always a great family activity, with Woodstock Square stores open and the magic of the holiday season alive with all the trees and buildings aglow. (Santa is sure to make an appearance as well.)
All members are invited to stop in at The Defenders’ office between 5:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. and warm up as they wait for the lights to go on. The Green Spot store will be open from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. for early holiday shopping and gift ideas. Come in and browse!
This year we are once again including a special Volunteer Appreciation event during the open house. All those members who have volunteered during the year (bookstore, tabling events, office help, recycling, clean-up events, book or garage sale, County Fair table or ticket booth) are especially encouraged to stop in and collect a gift bag prepared as a thank you for all your service.
Beautiful holiday lights, visiting with Defenders’ friends, and drinks & treats await, so mark your calendars now for a festive evening.
Saturday, November 14th
9 – 11:30 a.m.
On Saturday, November 14, 2015, the public is invited to help protect the Sleepy Hollow Creek Watershed by removing invasive species from Wingate Prairie in Veteran Acres Park in Crystal Lake. This restoration workday will be jointly sponsored by the Environmental Defenders of McHenry County and the Silver and Sleepy Hollow Creeks Watershed Coalition. The goal for the day will be to improve the water quality in Sleepy Hollow Creek by helping to restore native species and increase plant diversity in the area by removing invasive species such as buckthorn and honeysuckle.
The event will begin at 9:00 a.m. and conclude at 11:30 a.m. Volunteers are asked to wear work clothes, gloves, and boots and to meet at the Crystal Lake Nature Center, 330 North Main Street in Crystal Lake. All necessary equipment as well as water and snacks will be provided. Come help us make a positive difference in our environment and enjoy some time outdoors!
November 7th – Come to this wonderful FREE event that will host over 70 local businesses and organizations which offer green products and services.
In addition to the vendors, there will be some wonderful interactive exhibits and displays for everyone to enjoy! There will be a special exhibit on electric cars, fly casting and snow shoeing demos, a model tiny house and more!
The event will go from 10-3 pm in the MCC Gym/Multi-Purpose Room at McHenry County College, as well as outside! Questions? Contact Kim Hankins or Tish Powell at (815) 479-7765.
Each fall as homeowners tackle the job of raking leaves, clearing gardens, and cleaning yard debris, a lot of noise and pollution is created. In fact, one gas-powered leaf blower can emit as much pollution as 80 cars!
Instead, choose hand-powered or electric tools over gas. Rakes are effective, and cheaper than using a leaf blower. Plus, you get a chance to burn some extra calories! If you need a power tool for a hard to reach spot (like your roof, or in between shrubbery), try an electric leaf blower rather than a gasoline-powered one. Electric leaf blowers are usually quieter, more energy-efficient, and get the job done just as well as their high-powered counterparts.