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Peasley: Local Challenger players to play special game

Big news comes from Little League headquarters in Williamsport, Penn.

Illinois District 13 has been invited to play in a Challenger exhibition game Aug. 24 at national headquarters in Pennsylvania. District 13 has three active Challenger programs: Bartlett, Tri-Cities and Woodstock. Those three programs are being notified to select players and their buddies to represent District 13. District 13 will be able to send up to 15 players and 15 buddies.

The Challenger Division, established in 1989, is a separate program in Little League enabling boys and girls with developmental and physical challenges to enjoy the game of baseball. Rochelle Donahue is the Woodstock representative helping District 13 participate in the Challenger program on Aug. 24.

There will be three games played that day – international championship game, U.S. championship game and the Challenger exhibition game. The first hour of the Challenger game will be broadcast live on ESPN3.

• • •

The Land Conservancy’s annual meeting Jan. 27 highlighted efforts of citizens who care about our county’s landscape. Lisa Haderlein, executive director, presented awards to several county teachers and volunteers.

Clarence Arnold of Harvard, Al Wilson of Lake-in-the-Hills, and Mary Mariutto of Crystal Lake were recognized for their volunteer contributions to TLC. These volunteers exemplify the important role of volunteers in advancing the work of the organization, Haderlein said.

Arnold and Wilson were recognized for donating more than 40 hours each to restore Gateway Nature Park in Harvard during 2012. Almost 600 volunteer hours were donated to restore the oak woods at the park in 2012, a contribution equivalent to more than $10,000 in paid labor.

Mariutto was recognized for her dedication and leadership as a volunteer for TLC’s “Art of the Land” fundraiser. Mariutto organizes the display of artwork at the event. “Art of the Land” features the work of almost 50 artists and photographs from more than 40 amateur photographers.

Bill Donato, Woodstock High School science teacher, and Beth Theiss, Hannah Beardsley seventh-grade science teacher in Crystal Lake, were given “Living with Trees” awards to recognize their dedication to the county’s oak woodlands. These teachers help ensure that the trees are healthy and they will continue to be an important part of local landscapes 100 years from now.

Donato has led his environmental science students in the multi-year effort to clear non-native brush and create a hiking trail in the 30-acre Gerry Street Park in Woodstock.

Theiss has incorporated lessons about the local oak woodlands into the school’s seventh-grade science curriculum. Students collect acorns in autumn, learn how to raise trees from the acorns, and in the spring plant oak seedlings at a public park. In 2012, students planted 40 oaks at Three Oaks Recreation Area in Crystal Lake.

• Don Peasley has been editor, columnist and historian in McHenry County since 1947. He began his association with Shaw Publications in 1950. 815-338-1533.

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