Elburn's Harley Woods is focus of restoration efforts, grant

  • The Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation has approved a Community Stewardship Challenge Grant for up to $27,000 to focus on woodland restoration at Harley Woods, a 46-acre site in Elburn, off Route 38.

    The Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation has approved a Community Stewardship Challenge Grant for up to $27,000 to focus on woodland restoration at Harley Woods, a 46-acre site in Elburn, off Route 38. Jeff Knox | Staff Photographer

Posted3/26/2020 6:00 AM

You might say the Campton Township Open Space Foundation has its marching orders. It has to raise $7,000 to go toward a stewardship project for the Harley Woods natural area.

The foundation has to do this in order to fulfill its obligation to secure its first grant from the Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation. Two weeks ago, the clean energy group informed Campton it had approved a Community Stewardship Challenge Grant for up to $27,000 to focus on woodland restoration at Harley Woods, a 46-acre site at 41W500 S. Bowgren Circle in Elburn, off Route 38.


That means volunteers have to remove invasive species and plant native vegetation.

We all drive by our local open land and forest preserves and feel lucky to live in an area in which these acres are still taken care of by knowledgeable community members and volunteers.

The grant money is based on cash donations and volunteer labor, meaning the state foundation will match $3 for every dollar Campton's foundation can deliver toward the project.

Because this is the first grant request the Campton foundation has submitted, it's a bit of an unknown whether township residents will rally around the volunteer work or the need to raise funds -- especially with so much on hold now because of coronavirus.

"We'll find out," said Joe Garbarski of the foundation. "Most of the work will be coordinated by Josh Nelson from Campton Township, and he has a growing list of volunteers for projects and initiatives."

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Unless the current coronavirus pandemic is still with us in a few months, the Campton Township Open Space Foundation will host a pig roast from 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday, June 27 at Anderson's Evergreen Farm, 4N928, Brown Road, to raise money.

Cost will be $50 per person, $85 for couples and $100 per family.

You may also notice volunteers trying to raise money from local businesses and individuals. Those who want to contribute to the grant can send checks to the Campton Township Open Space Foundation and write Clean Energy Grant in the memo line. Those can be sent to the foundation at 902 S. Randall Road, Suite C, No. 340, St. Charles, IL 60174.

Those interested in volunteering for the project at Harley Woods can contact Nelson at (630) 549-7947. If Campton can log 400 hours of volunteer work, it would result in another $4,000 to be used for restoration projects.

Dance shoes shelved:

It's been a sad couple of weeks with stores, restaurants and other businesses closing at a rapid clip during a stay-at-home order to try to stay ahead of the coronavirus.


But with "social distancing" becoming the norm, can you imagine what that's done to dance studios? Even before the state's guidelines, most studios were closed or serving the last few private-lesson customers.

"Tough is an understatement," said Jamie Vargo, owner of Vargo's Dance in downtown Geneva. "Obviously, all dance studios have canceled their group classes and events to try to keep people healthy and safe."

Vargo said her studio averages about 20 to 30 private lessons a day, and she watched that dwindle down to about 10 a week just before the state edict.

It doesn't work to try to convert dance lessons to online and video learning. The key part of dancing is learning how it is supposed to feel to connect to a partner, and for the male to lead through hand and arm pressure.

"We become closest to our wedding couples," Vargo said. "It's an emotional, special time, and we end up becoming family with some."

But most of the studio's couples have had to cancel upcoming weddings and try to get money back and reschedule.

"I've been getting tearful calls every day," Vargo added. "We are doing everything we can to get them through this time."

On the plus side, she said, it does give the couples more time to learn their routines once the pandemic resides.

For now, Vargo and her landlord were hoping to paint the studio and give it some renovations. That's important to her, even at this time.

"I do know that, once this is all over, I plan to have the best dance party this town has ever seen," Vargo declared.

It's free delivery:

Our hats are definitely off to Geneva High School junior Madi Campbell and her friends.

They weren't going to spend all of their time sitting at home during the coronavirus crisis. She and her friends started a free delivery service called GenevaDelivery to bring groceries and other products to persons with a higher risk of contracting the virus, targeting those 60 and older.

They can't deliver alcohol, marijuana, cigarettes or prescription drugs.

All they ask is that residents fill out an online order form and pay for that order upon delivery when shown the store receipt. On her Facebook posting, Campbell said they would be washing their hands before and after every delivery.

She also indicated she hoped to expand the service beyond Geneva and into St. Charles and Batavia, though the website indicates the service is available in all three towns.

Those interested can get to the online form at genevadelivery.com.

Only in Kane County:

After sharing the note that the 211 information hotline helps single women and victims of domestic violence with information about various resources, a reader sent an email to say she tried calling the line and it didn't work.

Turns out, because of combining content in some Daily Herald editions during the coronavirus pandemic, my column is now seen by some readers in DuPage County.

DuPage County does not have the 211 call line as of yet. It has been in service in Kane County since November of 2018.

Kindness and haircuts:

What was likely my final public appearance more than a week ago before the state's stay-at-home directive, I did sneak in a haircut. Otherwise, I'd have a ponytail before long, and there's enough distress occurring for everyone now without adding that to it.

In the process, it reminded me you never know when you might run into a random act of kindness.

With Kim Pippin, my hairstylist of the past 25 years, deciding it was best for her to stop giving haircuts because of some underlying health concerns that would make her family more vulnerable to coronavirus, colleague Cheri Beebe at Design Line in Geneva pitched in to take her last appointments.

But she was going to keep the payments in an envelope for Kim and not accept any pay for herself. Of course, that type of kind action calls for some recognition. I paid them both and was happy to do it.

When selling peanuts:

With organizers of the rebuilt Heart of the Fox celebration in St. Charles making the tough decision to cancel the summer event, they also realize it delivers a significant blow to funding for the River Corridor Foundation and St. Charles Kiwanis Foundation.

In a note to the media, chairpersons John Rabchuk and Laurel Moad encouraged people to donate to the organizations, buy memorial bricks along the Bob Leonard Walkway and also "buy some additional bags of peanuts and dozens of roses from Kiwanis" when members are eventually out selling those items to raise funds.


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