On Saturday, October 1, students and faculty from Pritzker College Prep, located in the Hermosa neighborhood, journeyed to Hackmatack National Wildlife Refuge for a workday.
Twenty students joined Openlands, McHenry County Conservation District, and Sierra Club Illinois in conducting conservation work at two sites owned by Openlands in the Wildlife Refuge, the Twin Creeks and Perricone properties. The work included planting bur oak seedlings and collecting seeds from yellow coneflower, purple coneflower, and wild bergamot.
The workday was a part of Sierra Club Illinois’ “Chicago Inspiring Connections Outdoors” program, which works to provide wilderness experiences for people who otherwise might not have them.
The students planted eight bur oak seedlings, a fire-tolerant tree that does best in open prairies, at the Twin Creeks site. Glacier Oaks Nursery, a local tree nursery located in Harvard, IL, provided the tree seedlings through a generous donation.
The students also did their seed collecting at the Twin Creeks site. Once they finished collecting seeds, they brought them to the Perricone site to spread. Openlands is working with the McHenry County Conservation District to restore the Perricone site, and this native seed planting supports that work.
The workday was a part of a longer weekend for the Pritzker students, who went to several sites within the refuge to camp and engage in stewardship work.
The students enjoyed their work with Openlands so much that they took it upon themselves to name the trees they planted. They also expressed a desire to come back and see the trees and prairie plants that will grow because of them.
Openlands is excited to work with partners like the Sierra Club to host more Hackmatack workdays in the future.