We’ve had the great honor and pleasure these past few months of sharing some huge conservation “wins” of the past year or so.
If you’ve donated or supported us in any way, you are responsible for these success stories and we want to say a huge THANK YOU!
Milestone preservations like Belrose Farm, acquisitions to expand existing parks and protect our water resources like Baker Woods, empowering homeowners to combat climate change while bringing nature close, nourishing more than 650 families with healthy organic food and inspiring thousands of kids to connect with and care for the world around them cannot happen without that support. Because of you, we’ve had much to celebrate in this our 50th anniversary year. But there is much left to do!!
Right now, we’re working on six different preservation projects across three counties, projects that will each have different but essential impacts on our communities, and projects that will not be able to come to fruition without your support.
The 110-acre property known as Harper’s Farm sits on the Illinois River just a couple of blocks east from downtown Ottawa. Early in the 20th century, it was mined for coal, and still bears the scars of its industrial use. It’s also the recipient of frequent overflow floodwaters from the nearby Fox River. These floodwaters pick up pollutants as they flow through the residential area sitting between the Fox and Harper’s Farm, and the property’s location makes it an important barrier to keep these pollutants from reaching the Illinois River. Harper’s Farm has certainly felt the impact of the vibrant city bustling around it, but through preservation and restoration, it could become a true natural amenity and important stormwater management site for the Ottawa community. Your support means less flooding, a connected corridor of preserved property along the river, and a beautiful spot for the community to connect with nature and with each other. Thanks to some incredibly generous private donors and funders, we have raised what we need to purchase Harper’s Farm, but to reclaim this land for nature and to achieve all of these impacts, significant and costly restoration work is needed.
Also in LaSalle County is a 200+ acre property we are pursuing to preserve its myriad ecosystems, ravines, diverse plant and animal species and human and geological history and also to protect the nearby water resources of Indian Creek and the Fox River. It’s quite near the newly preserved Belrose Farm property we purchased this summer. While it is home to some of the most magnificent scenery and abundant natural resources in all of Illinois, LaSalle County does not have a forest preserve district. The driving force for conservation in this area is The Conservation Foundation, which means the driving force for conservation in this area is YOU. If we are able to add this property and the purchase and restoration of Harper’s Farm to our library of success stories, that will mean in the last few years we have preserved almost 1,000 acres of land and rivers in this region!
Moving east to southern Kendall and Grundy County, we’ve got our sights set on protecting a corridor of land along the Aux Sable Creek, one of the highest quality streams in the state, from Minooka all the way to Morris and the creek’s confluence with the Illinois River. We’ve just taken a step forward with the acquisition earlier this fall extending Baker Woods Forest Preserve, and are aggressively working towards the preservation of two additional properties along the creek. If we are able to see these projects through, not only will significant land and water resources be saved, but a family’s legacy will be memorialized, a few hundred acres of woodland and wetland habitat will be set aside, the rich farmland that feeds so many will endure, and existing public open spaces will be expanded for the health and enjoyment of all.
The same outcomes are possible further north in Kane County if we can accomplish two additional preservation efforts. We can’t get very specific about these two just yet, but suffice it to say that more than 200 acres of the rolling pastoral scenery and remnant woodlands and prairies Campton Township is known for will be saved!
Everything we are, and have, and need – It all comes back to the land. It’s our sanctuary, our therapist, our most powerful engineering tool, our source of sustenance, our gym, what our shelter is built upon, the place we go when we are in love or in pain, the solution to some (most?) of the gravest social, economic and environmental concerns facing humanity today.
It’s our past, our present and our future.
And we need your help to save as much of it locally as we can.
As we close out our 50th anniversary year, we ask you to send us into our next 50 years with hope and strength, poised to accomplish these projects and the many others that will surely arise with your year-end gift to the Strengthening Our Foundation campaign.