When volunteers recently rescued more than a dozen ancient oaks from the grips of invasive brush that had grown up around them over the past 20 to 30 years, they came across a massive white oak, estimated to be 400 years old. The 55-inch tree, which is set to become a part of the new Gateway Park in Harvard, is an impressive specimen that required some much needed attention.
To give the tree its best chance of survival, professional tree care company The Care of Trees through local volunteer and arborist Adam Klein, decided to adopt the tree. Klein and three other certified arborists are donating a full day of their time and equipment on Jan. 19, starting at 9:30 a.m., to give the tree proper care, including removing invasive brush and dead wood from the tree’s canopy.
Removing the white oak’s many dead limbs will decrease weight stress on the tree’s canopy and decrease the chance of strong winds negatively affecting the tree’s structure, making it safer for park visitors who will one day line up to marvel at one of the McHenry County’s oldest residents.
Gateway Park is a project of The Land Conservancy of McHenry County (TLC), the City of Harvard, Dunham Township and other community partners who are creating a 17-acre nature park at the entrance to the city. The park will provide opportunities for hiking and learning about the natural and cultural history of the Harvard area.
The property features three remnant oak groves that sit on the high ground above the floodplain of Rush Creek. The portion of Rush Creek that runs through the center of the site is one of the only parts of the creek that was never ditched. A recent survey of the creek found several fish species of statewide importance enjoying the many riffles and pools as well as a healthy diversity of aquatic insects.
TLC is accepting tax-deductible donations for the project, which is estimated to cost $190,000 to purchase the land, restore the oak groves and create a permanent endowment to take care of the property. Nearly 20% has been raised to date ($35,000). Volunteers are also needed to help clear brush from around the oaks – more than 200 volunteer hours were donated in December. Donations of cash or time can be made by contacting TLC at 815-337-9502, email@example.com or through the website www.conservemc.org.
TLC is the only nonprofit conservation organization working to preserve land and water throughout McHenry County. The organization has preserved nearly 2,000 acres of land by working with landowners and communities. TLC is funded by members, grants and fundraising events.
The Care of Trees is an employee-owned tree care company with headquarters in Wheeling, Ill.The company, founded in 1964, specializes in organic and environmentally sustainable tree care, and has offices throughout the Chicago region, as well as in New York, Philadelphia, Connecticut and Washington, D.C. The local office is in Ridgefield, Ill. Reach them at 815-477-4414. For more information, visit www.thecareoftrees.com.