Friends of Hackmatack NWR recently received a Stewardship Challenge Grant from the Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation (ICECF). In a March 2022 update, we were happy to report that the Challenge was successfully completed. We reached our fundraising target of $7000 and surpassed our 400 hours of stewardship goal.
With a portion of the money received from the challenge grant, we were able to partner with Small Waters Education to create a pollinator garden at Johnsburg high school.
Small Waters is a nonprofit organization providing education and opportunities promoting mutually beneficial relationships between humans and the rest of the world. They host programs and events at various locations in Northwest Illinois and Southern Wisconsin. Interest areas include permaculture/organic gardening, green and natural building, Restoration ecology, community building, & eco-spirituality modeling a sustainable life style.
In the spring, as classes were being conducted both in-person and virtually, Andy Reinhard’s 7th grade science class joined Judy and Jack Speer from Small Waters Education to help break down dead stalks and observe the life in the garden. The students were obviously excited to be outside, and had great fun finding snails, spiders, and even a tree frog!
The garden has now been entered on the map for Chicago Living Corridors and Homegrown National Park. The Speers are currently processing seed harvested from the garden that will be donated to the McHenry Township Road District for their roadside native plantings. And this winter, they will edit a video to add to the “Creating a School Pollinator Garden” video on their YouTube channel, with more “how to” tips.