Natural Resources

Environmental Restoration Work Crews

The Environmental Defenders have begun organizing work crews for restoration work on our members’ properties.  Our goal is to provide the “muscles” needed to do the work that our members would like to carry out on their properties, but don’t have the time or ability to accomplish on their own. In turn, contributions made for this service will provide additional funding for the Defenders. 

Our first work session took place in early June and involved nine volunteers pulling garlic mustard for two hours.  Eighteen hours of labor were provided for a member, who in return gave a contribution to the Defenders.  Other types of restoration work that we can provide include the following:

  • invasive brush cutting, such as buckthorn, bush honeysuckle, autumn olive, etc.
  • control of invasive vines, such as oriental bittersweet and wild grapes
  • invasive weed control, such as garlic mustardreed canary grass, and Phragmites
  • opening up oak woodlands for oak regeneration
  • trash removal and general clean-up of property
  • seeding and planting

If you have need of any of these services or if you would like to be part of the work crew, please call the office 815-338-0393.


Natural Area Volunteers

Defenders members are stewards for many of the natural areas in McHenry County. If you would like to get involved, contact the office, and we will get you in touch with the steward.


Cary Junior High Prairie

Some volunteer stewards have built-in help – Every Wednesday afternoon in the spring and fall, the members of the Prairie Hill Ecology Club help Defenders’ Nancy and Randy Schietzelt cut brush, collect and distribute seeds, and keep the trails in good shape.


Veteran Acres and Wingate Prairie Nature Preserve

Longtime Defenders’ member Jim Wigman is the volunteer steward for Crystal Lake’s Veteran Acres and Wingate Prairie Nature Preserve, dedicated as a sanctuary for native plants and animals. Through the help of volunteers, this area is maintained in its natural condition so that present and future generations can see the Illinois landscape as it appeared in the past. Scheduled work days areevery Tuesday from 2-4 pm and the 1st and 3rd Saturdays of each month, from 9-11 am. Meet at the Nature Center. Groups can help by appointment.

Oaks of McHenry County

“Oaks are one of the things that make McHenry County beautiful, but we are losing them at an alarming rate due to a combination of environmental stresses. Some of those stresses happen inadvertently when homeowners mow, fertilize, and grade their property in ways that harm the oaks’ delicate root systems.

The Land Conservancy has created a brochure aimed at homeowners that is full of information about taking care of their oak trees. Download digital copy