A Barrington-area family has donated 22 acres of their parents' former farmland to Citizens For Conservation for restoration into a marsh surrounded by meadows, prairies and savannas.
The donation by siblings Art Rice III, Carol Bowditch and Emily Douglas will honor the memory of their parents, Carol and Art Rice Jr. The donated land has been named Craftsbury Preserve, a reflection of the original 32-acre Craftsbury Farm from which it comes.
The farm site is at the southeast corner of Cuba and North Hart roads in Cuba Township, north of Northwest Highway. The donated land lies at the south end of the original farm site, surrounded by large-lot developments and bordered on the north by the current Walk On Farm.
Art Rice III said the restoration will likely take years, but he and his sisters know they've found the right organization to do it.
"It's going to take a lot of effort to restore it because it's all gone to buckthorn," Rice said Thursday. "CFC is a very generous and giving organization with phenomenal volunteers."
Rice's parents, who acquired the property in 1955, were longtime members and supporters of CFC, said Alberto Moriondo, the organization's land preservation chairman.
"We are very grateful to the Rice family for this extremely generous donation," he said in a statement announcing the gift. "Art and Carol Rice passed away in 2002 and 2010 respectively, but thanks to this donation, their legacy will continue for many years to come."
Art Rice III said in a statement that his family is convinced that through CFC's efforts, the land will evolve into a marsh surrounded by sedge meadows, prairies and savannas.
"Carol and Emily and I are very pleased to make this donation to CFC, an organization that is the recognized land steward in the Barrington area," he wrote. "It is a way for us to recognize our parents, who loved this land and would have wanted it protected in perpetuity."
The site contains about 12 acres of uplands with remnants of sedge meadows and grasses, as well as about 10 acres of wetlands that extend across Hart Road to the west.
The donation will give CFC an opportunity to protect wetlands that drain into an important recharge area and provide water storage and flood protection for neighboring areas.
In the last eight years, CFC has acquired more than 97 acres of open space in the Barrington area. The 42-year-old organization now owns 403 acres and has helped protect nearly 3,100 acres in the area.