Kat hands out paperwork, standing at table, with two children to either side

Kat Gerdts, administrative coordinator for Kane-DuPage County Soil & Water Conservation District, hands out Earth Day activities to 4-H volunteers Fabian Rivas, 7, of Elgin, (left) and Mrunmayi Mudgal, 8, of Dundee, during a tree planting to help mark Earth Day Saturday April 20 at Jelke Creek Bird Sanctuary in Dundee Township.

The Kane-DuPage County Soil & Water Conservation District planted oak trees for Earth Day, an extension of the AISWCD Forestry Committee project to plant oak savannas across the state.

The local project was done in cooperation with the Friends of Dundee Natural Areas. Kane-DuPage is also celebrating its Oak Anniversary – 80 years – perfect time to take part in the state-wide project.

Gary tamps down dirt, as group of people watch, in field with prairie grass starting to grow after winter controlled burn

Gary Swick, president of Friends of the Fox River, demonstrates how to plant a tree for the best chance of survival during the Earth Day planting at Jelke Creek Bird Sanctuary.

Olivia and Isa look to camera after planting oak seedling

Olivia Winters, a conservation planner with the Capacity Building Initiative, and Isa Borzeka, a resource assistant with the Kane-DuPage SWCD, plant a tree at Jelke Creek Bird Sanctuary.

Dale Shumaker, chairman of the AISWCD Forestry Committee, said in this third year of the oak project 43 Soil & Water Conservation Districts are participating (31 in year one, 38 in year two). After this year’s planting, 2,850 oak trees will have been planted in 65 savannas. The project is supported by the Forestry Development Council, University of Illinois Extension 4-H, The Nature Conservancy, Trees Forever, Illinois Department of Natural Resources, U.S. Forest Service, and others.

Other media from around the state:
Jackson County SWCD
Kendall County SWCD
Knox County SWCD (page 20)
LaSalle County SWCD
Perry County SWCD
Randolph County SWCD
Winnebago County SWCD

Be sure to send photos and information, especially online posts or press coverage, to Ashley Curran to report back to agencies who provided grants to the AISWCD Forestry Committee to enable the oak savanna initiative.

Thanks to Agroecology + Innovation Matters for sharing stories of the work of our SWCDs. 

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