Citizens for Conservation acquires land for restoration
Citizens for Conservation, one of the oldest and most successful volunteer conservation groups in Illinois, recently announced that it has acquired two parcels of land that are significant additions toward achieving the group's 25-year strategic goal of linked ecosystems in the Barrington area.
One parcel was acquired from Arthur Rice III and Lynn Rice and is across Hart Road to the west of Citizens for Conservation's Craftsbury Preserve, which is currently being restored. Citizens for Conservation plans to consolidate the preserve with the new, 31-acre parcel, creating a single preserve divided by Hart Road.
The new preserve will be 53 acres and will be Citizens for Conservation's second-largest preserve after Flint Creek Savanna.
The other parcel of nearly five acres on West Oak Knoll Road in Barrington Hills was donated to Citizens for Conservation by the Joan Y. Mullins Trust. The land is near Citizens for Conservation's Grigsby Prairie Preserve and is adjacent to the open space of Barrington Hills Country Club.
Citizens for Conservation will be developing land management plans for the property in the future.
The acquisitions are important to Citizens for Conservation for a number of reasons, said Kevin Scheiwiller, Citizens for Conservation's restoration manager.
"The new Craftsbury tract of land offers rolling topography and wetland depressions left over as the last glaciers receded from this area," he said.
"It also contains the remainder of the main wetland from the original Craftsbury (East) donation. Even though all you can currently see from Hart Road are buckthorn and cattails, there are still small pockets of remnant, conservative species hanging on at this site. The removal of buckthorn will allow residents of the Barrington area to enjoy the 53 acres of rolling grasslands while furthering the ecological health of this site."
Scheiwiller added that the Mullins land donation is a "vital parcel of open land within the Flint Creek Watershed, helping to further the Barrington Greenway. The property lies in between Grigsby Prairie, Paganica Prairie, and the remnant prairie along the Metra tracks.
It will take quite a bit of effort to re-establish native vegetation on this preserve, but it is now protected as open space from future development."
"Citizens for Conservation is thrilled to add these properties and thanks the many people, donors and volunteers who have worked to help Citizens for Conservation acquire these parcels," said Kathleen Leitner, Citizens for Conservation board president.
With the new acquisitions, Citizens for Conservation now owns and manages more than 476 acres, and for the past 48 years has helped protect almost 3,500 acres in the Barrington area.
Citizens for Conservation is volunteer-based and has been a leading environmental steward in the Barrington area since its inception in 1971. Incorporated as a not-for-profit organization, Citizens for Conservation actively restores land with the help of volunteers, donors and strategic partners who want to maintain the beauty and biodiversity of the Barrington area for generations to come.
Citizens for Conservation also works within the community and the region to foster good environmental ethics and practices. Its efforts benefit native plants and animals and enhance ecosystems services such as groundwater protection, flood and erosion control, and carbon sequestration.
Restoration volunteers work year-round on Citizens for Conservation land to cut brush, restore native plants, and sow and collect native seed. They also work in many other areas that support Citizens for Conservation's mission, including education, native plant propagation, fundraising, wildlife and plant monitoring, office activities, and larger collaborative conservation efforts.
Citizens for Conservation also created and leads the Barrington Greenway Initiative, a long-term plan to expand and link fragmented natural habitats, increase biodiversity and advance ecosystems in the greater Barrington community from approximately Poplar Creek north to Roberts Road.
This partnership between Citizens for Conservation and other conservation groups and volunteers will link more than 14,000 acres of prairies, wetlands and forest preserves for conservation success and benefits to area residents.
For more information, visit www.citizensforconservation.org.
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