You may have heard of Woodstock, thanks to a huge concert held in Woodstock, NY, way back in 1969; but that’s not the only Woodstock on the map. Northwest of Chicago lies Woodstock, Illinois, the location where the movie Groundhog Day was shot, and the home of Other World Computing. The county in which OWC resides was once populated with oak and hickory woodlands, which are central to the area’s ecosystem. Unfortunately, land use, development, aging trees, and other factors, have dramatically changed the landscape.
OWC Gives Back
In celebration of Earth Day OWC donated 20 young oak saplings, to be planted Saturday, May 16, at the Westwood Nature Area, in Woodstock, near Route 14 and South Street. This event supports McHenry County’s Project Quercus, designed to protect and regenerate the oak woods in the area. OWC isn’t just dropping off those babies either, many of the staff will be on hand to put them gently into Mother Earth. The sponsorship of Westwood Nature Area Volunteer Work Day, along with their oak tree donation represent two of the five initiatives OWC plans to support in 2009 as part of our long-term commitment to the environment. A press release launched today contains more details, plus we will post more blogs as we implement the services.
History of Oak Loss
While you may not appreciate the magnitude of the gesture, the Land Conservancy of McHenry County notes that “Oaks are one of the things that make McHenry County beautiful, but we are losing them at an alarming rate due to a combination of environmental stresses. Some of those stresses happen inadvertently when homeowners mow, fertilize, and grade their property in ways that harm the oaks’ delicate root systems.” (Source: Environmental Defenders of McHenry County.)
The problem in this area is rather critical, as a 2007 study of the past and present status of oak trees by the McHenry County Conservation District showed: “… that while about one-third of the county had oak-hickory woodlands in the 1830’s, today less than 5% of the landscape contains oak woods–an 87% loss.” There are over 400 varieties of oak in North America, but the Midwest oak savannas tend to include bur oak (Quercus macrocarpa), white oak (Q. alba), black oak (Q. velutina), and northern pin oak (Q. ellipsoidalis). The Savanna Oak Foundation, Inc. contains more information on the importance of the oak savannas in the midwestern ecosystem.
OWC doesn’t just reside in a town, it actively supports environmental efforts to make sure the community withstands the passing of time. It also fosters community within the company by promoting activities of interest to staff and their families.
4/24/09: Rearranged a couple of links.