Help Plant Trees Sept. 30 at Dick Young Forest Preserve

Help Plant Trees Sept. 30 at Dick Young Forest Preserve

Help plant oak trees, collect seeds and brush-clear, as part of National Public Lands Day!

The Forest Preserve District of Kane County is calling for volunteers of all ages to help plant trees at Dick Young Forest Preserve as part of National Public Lands Day. This event is one of many that will take place across the country on Sept. 30.  National Public Lands Day is America’s largest single-day volunteer event for public lands.

Tree planting begins at 10 a.m. sharp, and will last until all oaks are planted (or 1 p.m. — whichever comes first). Please bring work gloves if you prefer. Holes are pre-dug. Volunteers will tamp down dirt, water and mulch. It’s easy!

There are also opportunities to help with brush cutting and seed harvesting. This is a great event for families, scouts, groups or individuals.

Groups of 10 or more, please contact our volunteer coordinator at 630-762-2741 or e-mail to register. Groups of less than 10 do not need to register in advance.

Dick Young Forest Preserve is located at 39W115 Main St., Batavia. Please use the Main Street entrance.

For more information, visit or Find us on social media @forestpreserve.

SOURCE: Forest Preserve District of Kane County news release

About Dick Young Forest Preserve

Dick Young Forest Preserve comprises some of Kane County’s finest wetlands, woodlands and prairie. Together, these create an ecological complex that supports a great diversity of animals and plants, including several threatened, rare and endangered species.

The geologic features of the site provide a window to the origins of the northern Illinois landscape. On the east side of the preserve is Nelson Lake Marsh, which lies in a depression created by the weight of glacial ice more than 10,000 years ago. A smaller prairie pothole, similarly formed, is evident near the north entrance to the preserve off Main Street. Moraines to the north and west of the marsh were created by the deposition of rocks, boulders and gravel from retreating glaciers.

Over time, several soil types formed in this vast and varied landscape. Soil and weather together influenced the development of wetland, woodland and prairie communities. A rich diversity of fauna evolved within these plant communities.

A century of agriculture and peat mining in the marsh diminished the habitat value of the area. Nelson Lake and its surrounding land were in danger of further decline when a small but dedicated group of individuals organized to preserve and restore the lake. This group, including the late naturalist Dick Young, spread the word among conservationists and the general public. With the support of this group, District teamed up with The Nature Conservancy in 1979 to purchase the core 178 acres of wetland and marsh. Restoration was soon underway, and volunteers organized trash pickup, conducted site monitoring, and removed invasive plants. To further protect the integrity of the natural area, the 154 acres within the Nelson Lake Marsh complex was dedicated as an Illinois Nature Preserve. Habitat restoration is an ongoing process here.

The District has added substantial acreage to the core of the preserve with funds made possible by several referendums and grants. This has provided unprecedented opportunities to restore the biological diversity of this area. Land management and restoration projects have brought back vegetation, absent for a century, nesting birds that have not bred here for decades, endangered species of reptiles and much more.

An Open Space Land Acquisition & Development (OSLAD) grant provided funding for improvements to the preserve including improved parking, two shelters, two restrooms, interpretive nodes and a wayfinding system. It also allowed for construction of bike, equestrian and walking trails throughout the preserve. Bicycling and equestrian use are limited to the western portion of the preserve.

Whether walking, cycling, or riding horseback, visitors may see wildlife as diverse as pelicans and mink. Flora from pondweed to oak trees will please plant enthusiasts.