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2018 Accomplishments

January through October—Small Waters Education played a major role in the organizing, designing, growing plants for, installing, and maintaining a 1,500 square foot Native Pollinator Garden at  Westwood Elementary School in Woodstock, IL. This was a joint effort with Westwood faculty, maintenance dept. and administration,  McHenry County Schools Environmental Education Program and community volunteers. Funding was provided through a grant from the Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation. Students at Westwood school helped plant the garden, and are benefiting from an outdoor classroom where they can observe native plants and pollinators. 

We also continued the coordination of maintenance for the Native Pollinator Garden we helped create in 2017 at Johnsburg Elementary/Jr. High campus in Johnsburg, IL, and did a site assessment and design for a similar garden that will be installed at Harrison Elementary School in Wonder Lake, IL.

January 6 – A gathering of 22 friends of Small Waters Education celebrated the Perihelion with a Deep Ecology workshop entitled From Chaos to Creative Community.

February 10 – Judy Speer represented Small Waters Education as a delegate to the 2018 Conservation Congress at McHenry County Conservation District, contributing to solutions for critical conservation issues.

February 24—Small Waters directors reached out to the community by staffing an information table at the Native Landscaping Conference organized by the Wildflower Preservation and Propagation Committee at McHenry County College.

April 15Our fifth Annual Gathering was accompanied by a snow and ice storm, but intrepid supporters came for food, entertainment and socializing. Leslie Krebs and Scott Kuykendall received Everyday Superhero Awards.

May 17 – Jack and Judy Speer hosted the first meeting of the Lake-McHenry Permaculture Community, leading a tour of their permaculture gardens.

June 12—Judy Speer and Holly Stephenson presented the story of the Johnsburg School Pollinator Garden and led a tour of the garden for a meeting of the Friends of Hackmatack National Wildlife Refuge.

June 15 – Judy Speer presented a discussion on Plant Guilds for the Lake-McHenry Permaculture Community.

July 7—The Small Waters community celebrated the Aphelion with an afternoon workshop Finding Our Way. The evening program included a sacred fire ceremony and community drumming.

August 6—Jack and Judy Speer hosted the Youth Conservation Corps, in removing invasive brush from part of the Hackmatack National Wildlife Refuge.

August 12—Greg Rajsky, Denice Beck, Jack and Judy Speer participated in the Monarch Mania Fun Fair at Crystal Lake beach, leading a jigsaw puzzle activity to teach kids and adults about butterflies and host plants, sharing information about school pollinator gardens and how to attract pollinators to home landscapes.

August 11—Jack and Judy Speer led two workshops at the Illinois Renewable Energy Fair in Byron, IL: Adventures in Edible Native Landscaping and Plant a Garden—Save the Pollinators.

September 2 – Judy and Jack Speer led a group in a memorial planting of oak trees, savanna grasses and wildflowers at the Alden Sedge Meadow McHenry County Conservation District site.

September 13 – Judy and Jack Speer hosted a presentation and mushroom growing demonstration by Ingrid West of Misty Dawn Farm for the Lake-McHenry Permaculture Community.

September 29 – Judy and Jack Speer led a group of Young Professionals of the Environmental Defenders of McHenry County in foraging wild plants for food.

October 6 - Judy and Jack Speer led a group in a memorial planting of an oak tree, savanna grasses and wildflowers at the Alden Sedge Meadow McHenry County Conservation District site.

October 13—Jack and Judy Speer hosted a visit from the Permaculture class from College of Lake County, and members of the Lake-McHenry Permaculture Community, which included a lesson in designing for efficiency and planting in the native food forest.

November 10 – Jack Speer led a demonstration on building native bee nest sites for the Wild Ones Lake-to-Prairie Conference at the Round Lake Beach Cultural Center, and Denice Beck and Judy Speer staffed an information table.

November 15 – Jack and Judy Speer conducted a site assessment at the Olcott Prairie on the grounds of SEAL (School of Expressive Arts and Learning) in Woodstock, to brainstorm possibilities for better management and educational use.

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