In 2013, the Barrington Area Conservation Trust (BACT) helped improve the ecological health of more than 200 acres of local land through its Conservation@Home program, according to a press release.
Reaching out to local landowners through presentations at municipalities as well as garden clubs and homeowners associations, BACT has conducted visits with more than 120 private landowners in the past few years.
BACT’s Conservation@Home program offers one-hour consultations with a naturalist for private landowners in the Barrington communities to incorporate native plants, trees, and shrubs into existing landscapes, improve habitat for wildlife, protect the water quality of streams and ponds, and more economically maintain properties both large and small without the use of chemicals.
"Conservation@Home is part of a regional initiative promoted by the Chicago Coalition of Land Trusts to encourage sustainable landscaping," said BACT land preservation director Lisa Woolford, who began working with this program in 2011. "We want to help landowners make educated decisions about lawn and garden care that contribute to a healthy environment."
Woolford, along with Conservation@Home coordinator Beth Adler and naturalist April Anderson, conducted the visits, which recognized thirteen area landowners with Conservation@Home certification.
To receive Conservation@Home certification, a landowner must be working to replace invasive species with natives, manage stormwater with respect to local lakes and streams, and utilize sustainable landscaping practices to benefit wildlife.
"It’s so inspiring to see people taking positive steps to improve our environment," said Adler, reflecting on landscapes once overrun with invasive species like buckthorn. "The Conservation@Home program educates people about how to make their yards eco-friendly with native flowers, trees, and shrubs that provide habitat for wildlife."
"Conservation@Home is important because approximately 80 percent of the land in the BACOG region is privately owned," said Anderson. "Preserving the integrity of the nature in each yard—large and small—we can create sustainable communities that can benefit generations to come. Diminishing bird and butterfly populations can be rejuvenated as native oaks and wildflowers repopulate their historic homes. The ecological prospects for the Barrington communities are exciting."
In 2014, the BACT plans to visit more than 100 homes in the Barrington communities with funding for the effort provided by a grant from the Lake County Stormwater Commission.
In addition, the BACT offers Conservation@Work for area businesses and Conservation@School for public and private schools. To learn more about Conservation@Home, as well as BACT’s new Conservation@Work and Conservation@School programs, call (847) 387-3149 or e-mail email@example.com.The Barrington Area Conservation Trust has protected more than 500 acres in the Barrington area over the last decade with the generous support of more than 300 members. It uses conservation easements, Heritage Corridor easements, and land acquisitions and donations to preserve open land and the area’s scenic roads. For more information on BACT, visit www.bactrust.org.
Submitted by the Barrington Area Conservation Trust