New name for land preservation group reflects expanded focus

  • The organization formerly known as Liberty Prairie Conservancy has changed its name to Conserve Lake County. The shift reflects an expanded mission and geographic reach.

    The organization formerly known as Liberty Prairie Conservancy has changed its name to Conserve Lake County. The shift reflects an expanded mission and geographic reach. Courtesy of Conserve Lake County

 
 
Posted4/20/2012 5:45 PM

The logo of the newly renamed Conserve Lake County organization is not really a sun with cascading golden rays. But the double meaning is intended as a symbol of a multidimensional mission.

"We zoomed in on the petals of the coneflower. We turned them slightly and made them sun gold," explained Steve Barg, executive director of the nonprofit group that until recently had been known as Liberty Prairie Conservancy.

 

The new name and tag line (Healthy Land for a Better Life) was unanimously selected by the 16-member board and recently welcomed by 200 members during the annual meeting. It is intended to reflect a broader mission and geographic reach, Barg said.

"We did not want to go with another institutional name. We have a lot of those," he said. "We wanted the name to describe a call to action. We wanted a word that described our work and values."

Founded in 1995, the organization's original focus was the Liberty Prairie Reserve, a cooperative public/private land protection effort consisting of about 5,800 acres in central Lake County between Libertyville and Grayslake.

Beginning in 2005, the mission to preserve open space, serve as stewards of the land and provide conservation outreach began to expand outside that boundary.

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But the organization also began receiving requests for assistance in other areas from sustainable farming initiatives to natural landscaping of corporate campuses.

"We considered a name change at that time but since we were changing so many other things to tool up to become a land preservation organization, that was enough," Barg said.

In 2010, Liberty Prairie Conservancy assembled 17 conservation groups, including the Lake County Forest Preserve District, for a shared goal of preserving 20 percent of land in the county as open space.

The tally currently is about 17 percent, Barg said, leaving another 6,000 acres to secure. Preserving open space is a means to conserve the health of land and water, Barg said. That in turn increases the quality of life, be it more birds in parks, corporate areas and backyards or more families connecting to nature.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

But not all of it can be acquired and so other programs to encourage eco-friendly practices, like Conservation @ Home and the Lake County Sustainable Food Systems Project, have been initiated.

People who were not familiar with the organization did not understand from the old name what it was, what it did or where that was done, Barg said. So, a change was in order.

"It expresses that we want to engage a lot more people," he said. "You'll see us get involved in a lot more things, like Conservation @ Home and a local food initiative."

Visit www.conservelakecounty.org.

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