A Huntley couple, John and Margaret Tures, donated a 9.7-acre parcel to the Friends of McHenry County College Foundation for educational and outdoor laboratory use by the college’s Earth Sciences, Horticulture and Biology departments.
The land, consisting of grassland and wetland, is located in Chemung. MCC’s board of trustees approved the land donation on Sept. 27. The Tures purchased the property, adjacent to an 80-acre parcel of farmland that the couple rents out to a dairy farmer, eight years ago.
John Tures, a third-generation nursery owner, said giving the land to the College allows it to remain in its natural state while benefitting education. Some of the educational uses will include: native prairie restoration, ecological studies, and biology course field trips for creek water testing, aquatic plants, and insects and animals.
“We thought it would be a good classroom. It’s a lot of untouched land. We wanted someone to get more benefit out of it,” he said. “There is a lot of general ecology, and the creek is a good place to study aquatic life.”
The rectangular-shaped parcel, appraised at $30,000, is located off Island Road, 22 miles northwest of the Crystal Lake campus. The site includes vegetation-lined Mokeler Creek.
“We truly appreciate this generous donation of land, which allows the college to expand science and horticulture curriculums into an outdoor setting,” said Laura Brown, vice president for Institutional Advancement. “It is perfect for the sciences,” Brown said, noting that the land is conducive to field and outdoor laboratory work.
“Astronomy students can use the space for night sky viewing, and horticulture students will have the ability to conduct native prairie restoration,” Brown said. “Our faculty now has an added opportunity to bring outdoor discovery to students as part of their coursework.”
Biology instructor Mark Kuhlman agreed, saying the donation is beneficial to all.
“I am excited about it. It’s a great outdoor classroom,” Kuhlman said. “We will definitely use it as an outdoor field trip for our Environmental Field Biology classes. It is especially great for the students to see different kinds of ecosystems, and it is also a good meditative place.”
Brown said the college has no plans to build on the property, which will be used solely as an outdoor academic laboratory. The college plans to use the land immediately after ownership paperwork is completed within the coming month.