We look forward to seeing you at your scheduled field trip time and hope you are enjoying the winter!

Greetings!    Welcome to the McHenry County Conservation District’s Festival of the Sugar Maples! We are  looking forward to your visit to Coral Woods...
Author: Penelope Watts
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Greetings!    Welcome to the McHenry County Conservation District’s Festival of the Sugar Maples! We are  looking forward to your visit to Coral Woods. This information packet will assist you with the  trip planning and preparation. Included are some activities that you can do with your class  before and after your trip. Please distribute one information packet to each teacher coming  on the field trip.    If you need to cancel your field trip for any reason, call the Prairieview Education Center at  (815) 479‐5779 at least one hour before your scheduled program. Keep in mind that many  weather reports are based out of Chicago where wind chills may be more severe.  Although  the temperature may be very cold, the trees at Coral Woods do provide some wind protection.  We are unable to reschedule cancelled programs.     Allow for plenty of travel time to facilitate your arrival at Coral Woods as scheduled. We have  field trips scheduled back to back and programs cannot be lengthened or condensed due to  late arrival times. If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to call me at (815) 479‐5779.    We look forward to seeing you at your scheduled field trip time and hope you are enjoying the  winter!    Sincerely,  Andy Talley, Program Coordinator  [email protected]                    Prairieview Education Center . 2112 Behan Road . Crystal Lake IL 60014 . 815.479‐5779  www.mccdistrict.org  . [email protected] 

Preparing for your Festival of the Sugar Maples Field Trip Before You Visit  1. Do as many of the pre‐trip activities as possible to help the children become  familiar with the  information that will be presented during the field trip.  2. Prepare the children for the weather. Everyone coming to the program must dress warmly. This  field trip is held entirely outside, and both the children and adults need to be prepared for cold and  windy weather as well as wet and slippery trails. Warm coats, hats, mittens, socks and waterproof  boots are necessary.  3. Supply the children with nametags. Name tags help the field trip leaders in getting to know your  children.   4. We recommend a ratio of one adult to 10 students for your field trip. In addition to monitoring the  students’ behavior, adults are expected to participate in all aspects of the trip.   

When You Arrive  1. Your 75‐minute maple sugaring tour will begin at the parking lot of Coral Woods Conservation Area.  Your group will be met by a Conservation District staff member who will do a program orientation  with the entire group.  2. The entire group will proceed to the historical station where children will learn how maple sugar  was discovered by the Native Americans hundreds of years ago. Children will also see how the  pioneers produced maple sugar. The group will then break into three subgroups.   3. The three subgroups will take different trails and each group will:    Learn how to identify a maple tree by its leaves and branches    Discover how a maple tree makes its own food and what sap is    See a tree cookie and look at the different parts inside of a tree    Tap a practice tree    Collect and taste maple sap (if it’s not frozen!)    See modern labor‐saving developments in the maple sugaring industry  4. The entire group will meet back at the sugarhouse where the children will see the evaporator and  learn how it converts maple sap into syrup and they will get to taste pure Coral Woods maple syrup.   

After You Visit  1. Do the post‐trip activities appropriate for your class as a review.   2. Please return the evaluation to us with any comments or suggestions that you have about the  program. 

Suggested Pre and Post-Trip Activities for the Festival of the Sugar Maples Field Trip To ensure the most enjoyment and understanding of your class’ visit to the Coral Woods Maple  Sugaring program, try some pre‐trip and post‐trip activities! Note that there are separate post‐trip  activities for grades 2 & 3 and 4 & 5. Use whatever is appropriate for your class.   

Pre‐trip Activities  1. Photocopy and read the “Sugar Snow” chapter from Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls  Wilder with your class. (A master copy of the story was sent to the teacher who registered for the  trip.)  2. Do the fill‐in‐the‐blank worksheet, “A Sugar Maple Story.”  It gives the students an understanding of  what maple sap is and how it is produced. For younger grades, put the first letter of the fill‐in word  in the blank space before you duplicate the story. This will give them hints for the missing words.   

Post‐trip Activities  2nd & 3rd Grades:  1. Review key words learned on the field trip with “Maple Mix‐Up.” Answers are: opposite,  evaporator, sap, drill, spile, roots and mokuk.   2. Have fun creating a class story of how maple sugaring was discovered. The students tell the tale and  the teacher writes it down! Ask students to take turns retelling the story they learned on the field  trip OR give the students a story starter like, “In the deep woods of Illinois….”  then have them take  turns to create a new story as a class activity.        4th & 5th Grades:  1. Complete the “Tapping Your Brain Sap” vocabulary words.  2. Look at how trees fit into the forest ecosystem with “Forest Life Web.”  Discuss why trees are  important besides for maple syrup (give oxygen, provide shelter, provide food, etc.)  3. Have the students make up their own tale of how maple sugaring was discovered. Give them a  story  starter like, “On a cold night in February….” or “In the deep woods of Illinois…” or “As the  wind shook the branches of the maple trees, they seemed to be whispering a story to me….”  4.  Challenge their math skills with “Maple Mathematics”  and practice vocabulary at the same time.   

All Grades:  1. Make “Tree to Treat” posters that show the steps involved in making maple syrup.  2. Create the “Sugar Maple Forest Mural” following the instructions as listed.  3. Get the Conservation District’s “Trees” Naturalist in a Box for your classroom. It is a curriculum  development box loaded with hands‐on materials, activities, posters, books, games...and more! Call  Prairieview Education Center at (815) 479‐5779 for details on “Trees” or other Naturalist in a Box  titles including Astronomy, Bats, Birds, Creepy Crawlies, Geology, Mammals, Native Americans,  Plants, Prairies, and Wetlands. 

Maple Sugaring Resources       General Interest Maple Sugaring Books   The Maple Sugar Book, by Helen and Scott Nearing   Maple Sugar Time, by Royce Pitkin   Trees in Nature, Myth and Art, by J Ernest Pythian   A Drop in the Bucket, by Muriel Follett   Maple Sugaring in New Hampshire, Images of America Series, by Barbara Mills Lassonde   The Maple Sugaring Story; A Guide For Teaching and Learning the Maple Industry, by Betty A. 

Lockhart   Maple Sugaring in Vermont; A K‐12 Standards‐based Unit of Instruction, by Vermont Agriculture in  the Classroom. (Download for free at http://www.vermontagriculture.com/buylocal/documents/ full‐Maple‐Unit.pdf    Project Seasons,  by Shelburne Farms, 1995     

Children’s Books         

Sugaring Season, by Diane Burns  Sugarbush Spring, by Marsh Wilson Chall  Maple Harvest: The Story of Maple Sugaring, by Elizabeth Gemming  The Missing Maple Syrup Mystery, by Gail Gibbons  Sugaring Time, by Kathryn Lasky  The Sugaring Off Party, by Jonathan London  Sugaring Time, by Russel Soveig  A Maple Tree Begins, by Aldren Watson 

   

Magazine   “Sweet Maple”  by James M.Lawrence & Rux Martin, 1993, Vermont Life, Vermont 

 

The Sugar Snow   For days the sun shone and the weather was warm. There was no frost on the windows in the mornings. All  day the icicles fell one by one from the eaves with soft smashing and crackling sounds in the snow banks  beneath. The trees shook their wet, black branches, and chunks of snow fell down.    When Mary and Laura pressed their noses against the cold windowpane they could see the drip of water  from the eaves and the bare branches of the trees. The snow did not glitter; it looked soft and tired. Under  the trees it was pitted where the chunks of snow had fallen, and the banks beside the path were shrinking  and settling.    Then one day Laura saw a patch of bare ground in the yard. All day it grew bigger, and before night the whole  yard was bare mud. Only the icy path was left, and the snow banks along the path and the fence and beside  the woodpile.    “Can’t I go out to play, Ma?” Laura asked, and Ma said “’May,’ Laura.” “May I go out to play?” she asked.  “You may tomorrow,” Ma promised.    That night Laura woke up, shivering. The bed‐covers felt thin, and her nose was icy cold. Ma was tucking  another quilt over her. “Snuggle close to Mary,” Ma said, “and you’ll get warm.”    In the morning the house was warm from the stove, but when Laura looked out of the window she saw that  the ground was covered with soft, thick snow. All along the branches of the trees the snow was piled like  feathers, and it lay in mounds along the top of the rail fence, and stood up in great, white balls on top of the  gate‐posts.    Pa came in, shaking the soft snow from his shoulders and stamping it from his boots.    “It’s a sugar snow,” he said. Laura put her tongue quickly to a little bit of the white snow that lay in a fold of  his sleeve. It was nothing but wet on her tongue, like any snow. She was glad that nobody had seen her taste  it.    “Why is it a sugar snow, Pa?” she asked him, but he said he didn’t have time to explain now. He must hurry  away, he was going to Grandpa’s. Grandpa lived far away in the Big Woods, where the trees were closer  together and larger. Laura stood at the window and watched Pa, big and swift and strong, walking away over  the snow. His gun was on his shoulder, his hatchet and powder horn hung at his side, and his tall boots made  great tracks in the soft snow. Laura watched him till he was out of sight in the woods.    It was late before he came home that night. Ma had already lighted the lamp when he came in.  Under one  arm he carried a large package, and in the other hand was a big, covered, wooden bucket. “Here, Caroline,”  he said, handing the package and the bucket to Ma, and then he put the gun on its hooks over the door.    “If I’d met a bear,” he said, “I couldn’t have shot him without dropping my load.” Then he laughed. “And if  I’d dropped that bucket and bundle, I wouldn’t have had to shoot him. I could have stood and watched him 

eat what’s in them and lick his chops.” Ma unwrapped the package and there were two hard, brown cakes, each  as large as a milk pan. She uncovered the bucket, and it was full of dark brown syrup.    “Here, Laura and Mary,” Pa said, and gave them each a little round package out of his pocket. They took off the  paper wrappings, and each had a little, hard, brown cake, with beautifully crinkled edges. “Bite it,” said Pa, and  his blue eyes twinkled. Each bit off one little crinkle, and it was sweet. It crumbled in their mouths. It was better  even than their Christmas candy. “Maple sugar,” said Pa.    Supper was ready, and Laura and Mary laid the little maple sugar cakes beside their plates, while they ate the  maple syrup on their bread. After supper, Pa took them on his knees as he sat before the fire, and told them  about his day at Grandpa’s, and the sugar snow. “All winter,” Pa said, “Grandpa has been making wooden  buckets and little troughs. He made them of cedar and white ash, for those woods won’t give a bad taste to the  maple syrup. To make the troughs, he split out little sticks as long as my arm and as big as my two fingers. Near  one end, Grandpa cut the stick half through, and split one half off. This left him a flat stick, with a square piece  at one end.  Then with a bit he bored a hole lengthwise through the square part, and with his knife he whittled  the wood till it was only a thin shell around the round hole. The flat part of the stick he hollowed out with his  knife till it was a little trough.      “He made dozens of them, and he made ten new wooden buckets. He had them all ready when the first warm  weather came and the sap began to move in the trees. Then he went into the maple woods and with the bit he  bored a hole in each maple tree, and he hammered the round end of the little trough into the hole, and he set a  cedar bucket on the ground under the flat end.    “The sap, you know, is the blood of the tree. It comes up from the roots, when warm weather begins in the  spring, and it goes to the very tip of each branch and twig, to make the green leaves grow. Well, when the  maple sap came to the hole in the tree, it ran out of the tree, down the little trough and into the bucket.”    “Oh, didn’t it hurt the poor tree?” Laura asked. “No more than it hurts you when you prick your finger and it  bleeds,” said Pa. “Every day Grandpa puts on his boots and his warm coat and his fur cap and he goes out in the  snowy woods and gathers the sap. With a barrel on a sled, he drives from tree to tree and empties the sap from  the buckets into the barrel. Then he hauls it to a big iron kettle, which hangs by a chain from a cross‐timber  between two trees. He empties the sap into the iron kettle. There is a big bonfire under the kettle, and the sap  boils, and Grandpa watches it carefully. The fire must be hot enough to keep the sap boiling, but not hot enough  to make it boil over.    “Every few minutes the sap must be skimmed. Grandpa skims it with a big, long‐handled, wooden ladle that he  made of basswood.  When the sap gets too hot, Grandpa lifts ladlefuls of it high in the air and pours it back 

slowly. This cools the sap a little and keeps it from boiling too fast. When the sap has boiled down just  enough, he fills the buckets with the syrup. After that, he boils the sap until it grains when he cools it in  a saucer.    “The instant the sap is graining, Grandpa jumps to the fire and rakes it all out from beneath the kettle.  Then as fast as he can, he ladles the thick syrup into the milk pans that are standing ready.  In the pans 

the syrup turns to cakes of hard, brown, maple sugar.”    “So, that’s why it’s a sugar snow, because Grandpa is making sugar?” Laura asked.    “No,” Pa said. “It’s called a sugar snow, because a snow this time of year means that men can make more  sugar. You see, this little cold spell and the snow will hold back the leafing of the trees, and that makes a longer  run of sap. When there’s a long run of sap, it means that Grandpa can make enough maple sugar to last all the  year, for common every day. When he takes his furs to town, he will not need to trade for much store sugar.  He will get only a little store sugar, to have on the table when company comes.”    “Grandpa must be glad there’s a sugar snow,” Laura said.    “Yes,” Pa said, “he’s very glad.  He’s going to sugar off again next Monday, and he says we must all come.” Pa’s  blue eyes twinkled, he had been saving the best for the last, and he said to Ma, “Hey, Caroline! There’ll be a  dance!” Ma smiled. She looked very happy, and she laid down her mending for a minute. “Oh, Charles!” she  said. Then she went on with her mending, but she kept on smiling. She said, “I’ll wear my delaine.”    Ma’s delaine dress was beautiful. It was a dark green, with a little pattern all over it that looked like ripe  strawberries. A dressmaker had made it, in the East, in the place where Ma came from when she married Pa  and moved out west to the Big Woods in Wisconsin. Ma had been very fashionable, before she married Pa, and  a dress‐maker had made her clothes. The delaine was kept wrapped in paper and laid away. Laura and Mary  had never seen Ma wear it, but she had shown it to them once. She had let them touch the beautiful dark red  buttons that buttoned the basque up the front, and she had shown them how neatly the whalebones were put  in the seams, inside, with hundreds of little criss‐cross stitches. It showed how important a dance was, if Ma  was going to wear the beautiful delaine dress. Laura and Mary were excited. They bounced up and down on  Pa’s knees, and asked questions about the dance until at last he said, “Now you girls run along to bed! You’ll  know all about the dance when you see it. I have to put a new string on my fiddle.”    There were sticky fingers and sweet mouths to be washed. Then there were prayers to be said.  By the time  Laura and Mary were snug in their trundle bed, Pa and the fiddle were both singing, while he kept time with his  foot on the floor:    “I’m Captain Jinks of the Horse Marines,  I feed my horse on corn and beans,  And I often go beyond my means,  For I’m Captain Jinks of the Horse Marines,  I’m captain in the army!” 

A Sugar Maple Story Use the word list below to finish the story….good luck!

Ahhhh…excuse me for _____________, but it has been a long winter and I slept like a log! I am an old  sugar maple tree. If you could count my growth rings, you would see that I am at least ____________  old. Don’t be surprised, most trees can live to be my age.    There are _____________ of different trees on our planet, and trees give people lots of things  that they use every day. Some of these things are: bananas, cinnamon, cocoa for _______________,  oranges, medicines, rubber for balloons and  ____________, and chicle for chewing gum. As a maple  tree, I can do something equally amazing. I make sap for maple syrup that people put on  _____________! I’ll tell you how I do this.    Since I am alive, I need nourishment to live and grow. I make my own food in the summertime by  using my _____________, the sun, and water. My food is called SAP because it is made up of  Sugar And Pure water. I store my sap in my ______________ during the winter while I am sleeping.  In the spring, I wake up and bring gushes of my sap from the ground to feed my new  ______________.    You have blood vessels that carry nourishment in you, and I have tubes that carry nourishment in me.  What makes me different from other trees is that my sap is a little sweet. Thousands of years ago, the  _____________________ learned how tasty my sap was and began making maple syrup. Over all of  those years, maple syrup making has been perfected. The people who live here now put a small  _________________ in my trunk, attach a spout, and a little of my sap collects in a bucket. They  gather the sap, ________________the pure water and are left with the tasty ___________________.    Last night was really cold and it is lovely and warm today. My sap is really going to be  _____________! Here come the people that I haven’t seen since last year and they are carrying  ___________________. They must know…it’s maple sugaring time! 

Word List    roots   

 

sugar   

 

flowing 

boil off 

yawning 

 

100 years   

erasers 

chocolate   

hole 

leaf buds 

 

pancakes 

buckets 

green leaves 

Native Americans 

 

 

thousands 

A Sugar Maple Story Use the word list below to finish the story….good luck!

Ahhhh…excuse me for  yawning, but it has been a long winter and I slept like a log! I am an old sugar  maple tree. If you could count my growth rings, you would see that I am at least  100 years  old. Don’t  be surprised, most trees can live to be my age.    There are  thousands of different trees on our planet, and trees give people lots of things  that they use every day. Some of these things are: bananas, cinnamon, cocoa for chocolate,  oranges, medicines, rubber for balloons and  erasers, and chicle for chewing gum. As a maple  tree, I can do something equally amazing. I make sap for maple syrup that people put on  pancakes!  I’ll tell you how I do this.    Since I am alive, I need nourishment to live and grow. I make my own food in the summertime by  using my green leaves, the sun, and water. My food is called SAP because it is made up of  Sugar And Pure water. I store my sap in my  roots during the winter while I am sleeping.  In the spring, I wake up and bring gushes of my sap from the ground to feed my new  leaf buds.    You have blood vessels that carry nourishment in you, and I have tubes that carry nourishment in me.  What makes me different from other trees is that my sap is a little sweet. Thousands of years ago, the   Native Americans  learned how tasty my sap was and began making maple syrup. Over all of those  years, maple syrup making has been perfected. The people who live here now put a small   hole in my trunk, attach a spout, and a little of my sap collects in a bucket. They gather the sap, boil  off  the pure water and are left with the tasty  sugar.    Last night was really cold and it is lovely and warm today. My sap is really going to be  flowing ! Here come the people that I haven’t seen since last year and they are carrying  buckets. They must know…it’s maple sugaring time! 

Word List    roots   

 

sugar   

 

flowing 

boil off 

yawning 

 

100 years   

erasers 

chocolate   

hole 

leaf buds 

 

pancakes 

buckets 

green leaves 

Native Americans 

 

 

thousands 

“Tapping Your Brain Sap” Vocabulary Words   Listed below are words related to making maple sugar or to maple trees. Next to each word, write  how it is related.     roots:    bark:    kettle:    sugar:    rocks:    sugar bush:    spile:    Native Americans:    syrup:    water:    sap:    sugar maple:    evaporator:    leaves:    bucket:    photosynthesis:    evaporation: 

Maple Mathematics  Mike and Susan will make maple syrup from the sugar maples in their grandparent’s yard. Their  parents gave each of them $10.00 to help them buy supplies and get started.  1. If they add both of their $10.00 together,  how much money will they begin with?    2. There were 6 sugar maple trees in the  backyard that could be tapped. Each tree  could only be tapped once. How many taps  did they make?    3. For each tap, they needed a spile. At the  nature center in town, they bought 1 spile  for each tap at $.50 a spile. What was the  total coast of the spiles?    4. How much money did they have left after  buying the spiles?    5. They also needed buckets to collect the  sap. For each tap they needed 1 bucket.  How many buckets did they need?    6. Buckets at the nature center cost $2.00 a  piece. How much money did they spend on  the buckets?    7. How much money did they have left after  buying the buckets?                8. Did Mike and Susan’s parents give them  enough money to buy all of the supplies  they needed? 

How much money? ____________________      Number of taps _______________________          Cost of spiles _________________________          How much money left? _________________      Number of buckets ____________________        Cost of buckets _______________________        How much money left? _________________      Did they have enough money? ___________ 

Answers to Maple Mathematics    1.  How much money = $20.00  2.  Number of taps  = 6  3.  Cost of spiles  = $3.00  4.  How much money left = $17.00  5.  Number of buckets = 6  6.  Cost of buckets = $12.00  7.  How much money left = $5.00  8.  Did they have enough money? yes 

Maple Mix-Up You saw all these things on your field trip to the Maple forest at Coral Woods. Can you remember  what they are called? Unscramble the letters to discover what the names for these things are. 

Maple trees have this   kind of branching  S O E P T P O I    _________________________                                                     

Where maple sap is boiled   into maple syrup  T O A R P V A R O E    _________________________ 

Warm days and cold nights  make this flow  P S A    _________________________ 

This is used to   tap a maple tree  R L I L D    _________________________ 

Trees drink water from the  ground through these   T O S O R    _________________________ 

This is also used to   tap a maple tree  L S E P I     _________________________ 

The Native Americans kept  maple sugar in this  K O M K U    _________________________ 

Post–Visit: Sugar Maple Woodland Murals       Objective:  To build an understanding of the sugar maple woodland as an ecosystem.    Method: Students create murals of a sugarbush during different seasons showing the sugar maple  woodland as a forest ecosystem with many interconnected living and non‐living components.    Materials:  Large roll of newsprint; markers or crayons.    Procedure:    1.  Ask students to brainstorm what they saw in the sugar maple woodland on their trip to Coral Woods  (sugar maples, other trees and plants, stumps, sap buckets, trails, people, sugar house etc.)  2.  Ask them to describe what the sugar maple woodland was like and what other parts of the forest they  think are a part of a healthy sugar maple ecosystem (wildlife species, snags, dead and downed trees,  saplings, rotting logs, insects, leaf litter etc.)  3.  Discuss how the sugar maple woodland would look different during the summer, fall, and winter.  4.  Divide the class into four groups and give each group a roll of news print.  5.  Have each group create a mural of sugar maple woodland during one of the seasons.   6.  Display the murals when they are complete.  7.  Compare the differences in the forests between the seasons and discuss how the parts of the sugar  maple woodland are interconnected.  8.  Discuss the importance of this habitat for all who live there, and for this region.    Adapted from Vermont Audubon 

03/2011

It wasn’t until 1976 that the Conservation District began protecting the remaining oak woodlands through a series of land acquisitions. The site opened to the public in 1988. By 1872 most of Coral Woods was divided into smaller 2–4 acre timber lots that provided fuel and building material for settlers. Fields were cleared for livestock grazing and hay production, which further fragmented the woodlands. In the 1920’s during prohibition, the remote “Wilcox” farm was disguised as a hog raising operation, although historic records refer to it as the hot spot for the manufacturing and distilling of alcohol where the spent mash was fed to over 180 hogs. As the area continued to attract more people, the Frink and Walker Stagecoach established a route along the former Indian trails. Today that same trail is roughly US Highway 20, although the stagecoach turned more to the south and west through present day Coral Woods. The intersection of US Highway 20 and Coral Road was known as Coral Crossing and was the location of the post office and stagecoach stop. The stagecoach ran from Chicago to Galena from 1830–1851 until the Galena and Chicago Union Railroad began passenger service. The first European settlers, Elijah and Mary Humphrey Dunham, arrived in 1836 and settled in Coral Township. When the Native Americans returned to their village that spring, they found that the bark from their homes was salvaged for the Euro-American “shanties”.  The woods were soon subdivided as other settlers arrived which included Ephraim Frink, Henry Osborn, Benjamin Hampden, William M. Jackson and Laugher Bache. In 1823, historic records indicate that the Stephen H. Long Expedition visited “Wakesa”, the last recorded Native American village that existed in the area of present day Coral Woods. The village was inhabited by 60 Menomones and a few intermarried Potawatomis, who had built four bark covered lodges.

815.338.6223  •  MCCDistrict.org 815.338.6223 • MCCDistrict.org

McHenry County Conservation District

Main Entrance GPS Coordinates: N42°12.852, W88°34.373, WGS84 7400 Somerset Marengo, Illinois

Coral Woods Conservation Area 20 ENTRANCE

23

Conservation Area

Coral Woods Preservation Dominated by a core of century old red and white oaks, the environmental significance of Coral Woods is the protection of these diminishing oak woodlands. Coral Woods represents one of only eight oak groves which remain in McHenry County that contains 100 acres or more of continuous oak woodland. This 775-acre conservation area also boasts the county’s largest sugar maple grove where trees have stood for 80-100 years.

Red trillium Mike Schultz

In autumn the brilliant colors of red, orange, and yellow leaves from oaks, hickories, and sugar maples make this a favorite fall hiking spot. In the spring, these woodlands are also noted for their spectacular show of spring wildflowers. Sharp-lobed hepatica, Jack-in-the-pulpit, wood anemone, spring beauty, toothwort, and bloodroot give way to wild geranium, blue phlox, and red trillium.

Throughout the year, the trees at Coral Woods are an attractive respite for numerous songbirds, owls and woodpeckers. Scarlet tanagers, indigo buntings, numerous warblers, flickers, bluebirds, meadowlarks, great horned owls and screech owls, as well as downy and hairy woodpeckers claim these woods as their home. Nesting boxes are also strategically placed along the edge where prairie and woodland meet to encourage the re-population of bluebirds.

Coral Woods

Chorus frogs, tiger salamanders, leopard frogs, and painted turtles can often be seen enjoying the springtime vernal ponds along the trail.

176

Recreation Hiking

Coral Woods offers three trail systems. The Sugar Maple Loop trail is a short .4 mile walk off the parking lot. During the fall this trail displays an array of vibrant red, yellow, and orange colored leaves.

History Special Programs Planting for Tomorrow

For a longer trek, the 1.2 mile Nature Loop trail is known for its woodland wildflowers during the spring months. The 1.2 mile hiking/ski trail is another favorite. Visitors can hike through maples, oaks, and a grassy sloping field. Wildlife is active in the these woods and visitors are sure to catch a glimpse of deer, numerous birds, and an occasional turtle enjoying the seclusion of an ephemeral pond.

Cross Country Skiing

In the winter months when 4 inches of snow is present, 1.5 miles of trails are open for cross country skiing. Trails are not groomed but they are on relatively flat terrain, ideal for beginning skiers.

Picnic Facilities  Picnic tables are located near the trail head for those who wish to enjoy a quiet picnic lunch surrounded by nature’s beauty. A picnic shelter with fireplace is located just off the Sugar Maple Loop trail and can accommodate up to 40 people. Reservations for the shelter can be made by calling the District’s main office. Bird watching  Bird watching is popular at Coral Woods during migrations, as well as during the summer when many birds nest in the branches of the mature white oaks. Watch for the white-breasted nuthatch, northern flicker, red-eyed vireo, scarlet tanager, American goldfinch, indigo bunting, blue jay, robin, downy woodpecker, great-crested flycatcher and cedar waxwing.

Dedicated to preserving, restoring and managing this unique natural area, the Conservation District began a public outreach program to assist in the reforestation efforts of Coral Woods. Five acres were planted with over 750 oak and hickory trees through donations from the public. A second 10-acre parcel was identified and phase two of the reforestation efforts began in 2011. Each spring and fall, staff and donors work together to plant the donated 3’–5’ oak and hickory trees. Coral Woods was once a 3,000 acre woodland. As the area was settled the woods were fragmented and cleared. The Planting for Tomorrow Program will help ensure that the acres that remain will exist for generations to come.

Festival of the Sugar Maples

The Native Americans called it “Sisibaskwat” or time of the melting snow. It is a time in March when the weather see-saws Sap collection buckets from cold winter nights to warm spring days. The warmer weather causes a tree’s sap to flow up the trunk to feed new leaf buds. This is also the time for the annual Festival of the Sugar Maples. The Festival of the Sugar Maples is held over two weekends in late February and early March. The festival celebrates the cultural history of maple sugaring, teaches about the process of how sap is turned into maple syrup and demonstrates the improvements that have been made in maple sugar production. Over 40 trees are tapped for the event and free tours are given to local school groups and weekend visitors.

Chorus Frogs

03/2011

It wasn’t until 1976 that the Conservation District began protecting the remaining oak woodlands through a series of land acquisitions. The site opened to the public in 1988. By 1872 most of Coral Woods was divided into smaller 2–4 acre timber lots that provided fuel and building material for settlers. Fields were cleared for livestock grazing and hay production, which further fragmented the woodlands. In the 1920’s during prohibition, the remote “Wilcox” farm was disguised as a hog raising operation, although historic records refer to it as the hot spot for the manufacturing and distilling of alcohol where the spent mash was fed to over 180 hogs. As the area continued to attract more people, the Frink and Walker Stagecoach established a route along the former Indian trails. Today that same trail is roughly US Highway 20, although the stagecoach turned more to the south and west through present day Coral Woods. The intersection of US Highway 20 and Coral Road was known as Coral Crossing and was the location of the post office and stagecoach stop. The stagecoach ran from Chicago to Galena from 1830–1851 until the Galena and Chicago Union Railroad began passenger service. The first European settlers, Elijah and Mary Humphrey Dunham, arrived in 1836 and settled in Coral Township. When the Native Americans returned to their village that spring, they found that the bark from their homes was salvaged for the Euro-American “shanties”.  The woods were soon subdivided as other settlers arrived which included Ephraim Frink, Henry Osborn, Benjamin Hampden, William M. Jackson and Laugher Bache. In 1823, historic records indicate that the Stephen H. Long Expedition visited “Wakesa”, the last recorded Native American village that existed in the area of present day Coral Woods. The village was inhabited by 60 Menomones and a few intermarried Potawatomis, who had built four bark covered lodges.

815.338.6223  •  MCCDistrict.org

McHenry County Conservation District

815.338.6223 • MCCDistrict.org

Main Entrance GPS Coordinates: N42°12.852, W88°34.373, WGS84 7400 Somerset Marengo, Illinois

Coral Woods Conservation Area 20 ENTRANCE

23

Conservation Area Throughout the year, the trees at Coral Woods are an attractive respite for numerous songbirds, owls and woodpeckers. Scarlet tanagers, indigo buntings, numerous warblers, flickers, bluebirds, meadowlarks, great horned owls and screech owls, as well as downy and hairy woodpeckers claim these woods as their home. Nesting boxes are also strategically placed along the edge where prairie and woodland meet to encourage the re-population of bluebirds. Chorus frogs, tiger salamanders, leopard frogs, and painted turtles can often be seen enjoying the springtime vernal ponds along the trail.

Chorus Frogs

Coral Woods

Red trillium Mike Schultz

In autumn the brilliant colors of red, orange, and yellow leaves from oaks, hickories, and sugar maples make this a favorite fall hiking spot. In the spring, these woodlands are also noted for their spectacular show of spring wildflowers. Sharp-lobed hepatica, Jack-in-the-pulpit, wood anemone, spring beauty, toothwort, and bloodroot give way to wild geranium, blue phlox, and red trillium.

Recreation Hiking

Coral Woods offers three trail systems. The Sugar Maple Loop trail is a short .4 mile walk off the parking lot. During the fall this trail displays an array of vibrant red, yellow, and orange colored leaves. For a longer trek, the 1.2 mile Nature Loop trail is known for its woodland wildflowers during the spring months. The 1.2 mile hiking/ski trail is another favorite. Visitors can hike through maples, oaks, and a grassy sloping field. Wildlife is active in the these woods and visitors are sure to catch a glimpse of deer, numerous birds, and an occasional turtle enjoying the seclusion of an ephemeral pond.

Cross Country Skiing

In the winter months when 4 inches of snow is present, 1.5 miles of trails are open for cross country skiing. Trails are not groomed but they are on relatively flat terrain, ideal for beginning skiers.

Picnic Facilities  Picnic tables are located near the trail

head for those who wish to enjoy a quiet picnic lunch surrounded by nature’s beauty. A picnic shelter with fireplace is located just off the Sugar Maple Loop trail and can accommodate up to 40 people. Reservations for the shelter can be made by calling the District’s main office.

Bird watching  Bird watching is popular at Coral Woods during migrations, as well as during the summer when many birds nest in the branches of the mature white oaks. Watch for the white-breasted nuthatch, northern flicker, red-eyed vireo, scarlet tanager, American goldfinch, indigo bunting, blue jay, robin, downy woodpecker, great-crested flycatcher and cedar waxwing.

History

Coral Woods Dominated by a core of century old red and white oaks, the environmental significance of Coral Woods is the protection of these diminishing oak woodlands. Coral Woods represents one of only eight oak groves which remain in McHenry County that contains 100 acres or more of continuous oak woodland. This 775-acre conservation area also boasts the county’s largest sugar maple grove where trees have stood for 80-100 years.

176

Preservation

Special Programs Planting for Tomorrow

Dedicated to preserving, restoring and managing this unique natural area, the Conservation District began a public outreach program to assist in the reforestation efforts of Coral Woods. Five acres were planted with over 750 oak and hickory trees through donations from the public. A second 10-acre parcel was identified and phase two of the reforestation efforts began in 2011. Each spring and fall, staff and donors work together to plant the donated 3’–5’ oak and hickory trees. Coral Woods was once a 3,000 acre woodland. As the area was settled the woods were fragmented and cleared. The Planting for Tomorrow Program will help ensure that the acres that remain will exist for generations to come.

Festival of the Sugar Maples

The Native Americans called it “Sisibaskwat” or time of the melting snow. It is a time in March when the weather see-saws Sap collection buckets from cold winter nights to warm spring days. The warmer weather causes a tree’s sap to flow up the trunk to feed new leaf buds. This is also the time for the annual Festival of the Sugar Maples. The Festival of the Sugar Maples is held over two weekends in late February and early March. The festival celebrates the cultural history of maple sugaring, teaches about the process of how sap is turned into maple syrup and demonstrates the improvements that have been made in maple sugar production. Over 40 trees are tapped for the event and free tours are given to local school groups and weekend visitors.

Coral Woods Conservation Area TEXTURES KEY

U. S.

Forests/Woods

Hw

y2

0

Grasses and Forbs Sedge Meadow Water

W. Union Rd.

Hiking/ Ski Trail 1.2 Miles

Dunham Rd.

Nature Loop 1.2 Miles

Maintenence Road

SYMBOLS KEY Sugar Maple Loop 0.4 Miles

Cross Country Skiing Drinking Water Hiking Nature Trail Information

E. Coral Rd.

Paved Trail Planting for Tomorrow Area

Hw

Restrooms

0

r.

Shelter

y2

rset D

Picnic Area

S. U.

Some

Maple St.

Parking

ENTRANCE

S. Coral Rd.

W. Coral Rd.

Natural Communities Glacial Moraine 

When the glaciers retreated, they left behind piles of debris made up of crushed rock and sand, ranging in size from silt to large boulders, that created characteristic landforms.

Maple Woodland  The heavy canopy of maple

trees within a woodland community provide little light to the understory. The result is a lack of shrubs. However numerous wildflowers and herbs provide ground cover that brightens the woodland floor in early spring before the leafed canopy returns. Groves of maples are typically found on flat or rolling terrain where there is a variety of moist soils that contain high levels of organic matter. Traditionally, maple trees are valued for use as timber for fuel, furniture, flooring and cabinetmaking. However, maple trees are also known for their source of maple sugar. This important sweetener was first prepared by Native Americans and then become a staple used by colonists. It remained important until 1875 when maple forest stands were depleted and cane sugar gained precedence due to its lower manufacturing cost and higher saccharine content.

Oak Woodland 

Bur, white, black, red and scarlet oak species are all found in oak woodlands. Characteristically, oak woodlands are more shaded than savannas and trees grow straighter as they compete for light. Trees on the steeper, more rugged topography may appear to be higher in density per acre because they were harder for settlers to get to and thus, survived logging and clearing.

Savanna 

Savannas are open wooded areas where trees are widely scattered. Savannas are transitional communities between woodlands and grasslands and provide an array of food and shelter for numerous species of wildlife.

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