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Conservation@Home

The Land Conservancy’s new program recognizes property owners who boast good conservation practices.

The Land Conservancy of McHenry County’s (TLC) new conservation program, Conservation@Home (C@H), helps local homeowners make simple changes to improve quality of life for the people and wildlife in our communities.

“At the center of the C@H program is landowners who practice good environmental stewardship and water conservation,” states Linda Burkart, TLC membership development specialist. “C@H is an education and recognition program for homeowners who support water and land conservation efforts. Whether creating a butterfly or rain garden with native plants, using organic fertilizers and pesticides or removing invasive vegetation – every step completed on a residential property moves that yard toward clean water, natural habitats and healthy landscapes for people and wildlife.”

Hallisy2 (2)

Take for instance Michael Hallisy’s property (above).  His home is located near the center of Woodstock and he has created a haven for pollinators like butterflies and birds. Hallisy planted native plants around his house and now there are native bees, insects and birds residing there. He installed a bench near the sidewalk for people to stop and sit awhile, gaze at the flowering native plants and watch and listen to the actions of the bees, flies and dragonflies zooming around the plants.

AprilWilliams

Another example is April M. Williams’s property located in a subdivision of Algonquin (above). April and her husband provide native plants and two hives under their apple trees for bees. The Williamses provide a diversity of native trees, shrubs, grasses and plants for the bees and other wildlife. “We enjoy watching birds, butterflies and other critters visiting our garden and make a point to encourage them,” April explained. “We welcome them with trees and shrubs for habitat, flowers for nectar and water sources.

“When I read the C@H application, I saw many of the items on the checklist are already part of our property, so I applied for our yard sign to highlight these features,” she added. “Most rewarding is visitors to our yard asking about rain barrels, native plants or controlling invasive plants, then hearing they installed similar features in their yards.”

Burroughs (1)

Then there are Tom and Gretchen Burroughs who reside on a country road just outside of Harvard (above). They started with 10 acres of farmland and have since planted 5 acres of hardwood tree seedlings. “We thought our land and the soil would be better served by taking it out of crops and planting trees instead,” Tom said. “Now the trees are tall and provide shade and food for wildlife.”

Recently, a mother turkey and her little chicks made their home in the Burroughs’ woods. “The property is so interesting to watch,” Tom explained. “There is a lot of wildlife and native flowers that come and go throughout the year.”

There are dozens of other landowners who’ve registered for the program – each with a unique story about making a home for nature right in their own backyard.

“As more landowners get involved and spread the word about the goals of C@H, the quality of life for humans and wildlife will increase throughout McHenry County,” Burkart said.

For more information – or to book a presentation about C@H to a group or organization – contact Sarah Michehl: smichehl@conservemc.org.

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