What We Do

Preserving open space and the vital natural resources that impact the entire region is an important part of the work we do at Barrington Area Conservation Trust (BACT).

Through coWork Day Group Apr 2015-1nservation easements, heritage corridors, and community focused programs BACT works to protect our rural heritage and the environmental health of our entire region.

Did you know that the Barrington area lies in the Upper Fox River watershed?  This means that most of the rainwater that falls in our area flows into the Fox River.  From there, water flows west and south into the Illinois River, then into the Mississippi River and finally, into the Gulf of Mexico.   As you can see, what enters our water from our land impacts many.  Through water we are all connected.

BACT is acting to address the growing concern about our local and global water resources by offering support in your yard, in our community, and in the classroom.

The Conservation@Home, Conservation@Work, and Conservation@School programs bring education and tools to area residents, employees, and students to help apply conservation principles to their own landscapes.

Interested in joining our efforts?  Sign up for an upcoming work day, plan to attend an event, or make a financial donation.

Together we can continue the important work of protecting the open space heritage of our community and our region and positively impact the environment.

 

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Anytime you shop @AmazonSmile, Amazon will make a donation to Barrington Area Conservation Trust.
Click here to start shopping and support the mission of BACT to preserve the rare and exceptional open spaces in our community for curent and future generations

Oaktober Event and Annual Oak Contest

bur oak

To raise awareness for the Illinois state tree, Governor Bruce Rauner has designated October as Oaktober, Oak Awareness Month. Come celebrate with us on BACT owned Far Field Preserve, currently being restored to its original oak savanna heritage. We will plant oak trees and saplings, collect native seeds, roast marshmallows and listen to music on a beautiful fall day. There is fun for the whole family.

In addition, BACT is hosting our annual oak contest. The Great Oaks contest has three categories: tree size, classic beauty and personal story (a short narrative on why/how this particular tree has impacted your life). Nine winning oak trees will be named; first, second, and third place in each category. Category winners will be announced on October 8 at the BACT Oaktober Fest.

Please read on for contest rules and entry form.

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BACT Supports Tower Lakes in Green Initiatives.

Rain GardenBarrington Area Conservation Trust applauds the community of Tower Lakes in their efforts to be a truly green community.  BACT was present at Tower Lakes’ second annual Eco Day where they joined other conservation-minded organizations in support of Tower Lakes’ sustainable decision-making.
BACT Executive Director, Lisa Woolford, was the keynote speaker at this years’ event.  Woolford talked about the ways the Conservation Trust has supported Tower Lakes over the years. (Click here to view the presentation slides.)
In 2012, BACT contributed $200,000 to help purchase a 15.5 acre oak woodland located off Route 59 in Tower Lakes.  While the Village of Tower Lakes and Cuba Township co-own the property, BACT holds a conservation easement on the land that will protect it in its current natural state forever.
BACT founded the Tower Lake Drain Watershed Partnership in order to support efforts to improve water quality in this area.  Through its Conservation@Home program, BACT has visited dozens of homes in the Tower Lakes community assisting individual landowners with sustainable options for their own backyards.
BACT continues to support the Tower Lakes community, as well as the communities in the greater Barrington area, to preserve our community’s rare and exceptional open spaces for current and future generations.White pelicans

 

BACT participating in Fred Fest

Fred Fest photo by Bob Lee.

Fred Fest photo by Bob Lee.

BACT will join the fun as Fred Fest returns to the Fox River Forest Preserve in Port Barrington, Saturday, August 20, from 1–8 pm. The event features a diverse lineup of local bands, food and drinks for purchase, and family-friendly activities.

Fred Fest benefits the Preservation Foundation of the Lake County Forest Preserves, raising funds for the restoration of  of Grassy Lake Forest Preserve in Lake Barrington.  Efforts include restoring nearly 100 acres along the Fox River to its pre-settlement condition by removing invasive species and planting native species.

Join us for games and crafts.  Please note there is no rain date.

 

Summer Habitat Restoration Intern Program

In June, five Barrington High School students participated in the BACT intern program where they learned about habitat restoration at BACT owned Pederson Preserve and Far Field Preserve.  They also participated in stream monitoring at Pederson Preserve.

Each student was asked to complete a questionnaire prior to and after the week program to help the program coordinator, Susan Lenz, gauge program effectiveness.  At the end of each day, Susan asked the students to complete a “reflection log”, answering a few brief questions on what was learned that day.  Susan also challenged the students to prepare a short presentation for parents and BACT board and staff members to illustrate what they learned through their experiences.

The development of future stewards through the various presentations is evident by the video above, created by intern Sean Lucas.  Each student received a framed certificate to commemorate their participation.

Thank you to each student for contributing to BACT’s mission to preserve our community’s rare and exceptional open spaces for current and future generations.

Inspiration from speaker, Chad Pregracke

BACT hosted speaker,   Chad Pregracke, at the 2016 Annual Gathering on Tuesday, April 26 in the ballroom at Barrington’s White House.

Annual GatheringBoys&DaveChad was a perfect fit for the gathering, whose theme was water and the connectedness we all share through our waterways, as his story mirrors the journey BACT has begun with the high school students in our area.  Chad recognized the impact of the BACT Conservation@School program with Barrington High School as an integral way to educate the students on the health of our local streams and inspire students to become more aware and active in local conservation efforts.  As students are being introduced to the life teeming inside Flint Creek on the BHS campus, the effects of the creek on our local watershed, and sharing in clean-up efforts in and along the creek, an environmental ethic is being cultivated in these students.

Chad Pregracke, President and Founder of Living Lands & Waters (LL&W) and 2013 CNN Hero of the Year, led a room full of BACT guests on his personal journey full of challenges and adventures which started as a young adult living on a garbage filled Mississippi River to his current and ongoing efforts to clean this and other rivers’ trash.    Chad’s enthusiasm and perseverance was infectious as he recounted, through a captivating, genuine, and oftentimes humorous presentation, his experiences growing up on the banks of the Mississippi River and the formation of his non-profit river cleanup organization, LL&W.

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Volunteer Appreciation & Orientation Pizza Night

We have had a wonderful response to our Volunteer Kick-off meetings and are excited to offer another opportunity to join us and get a brief background of the organization along with ways you can join as a volunteer.

Join Barrington Area Conservation Trust for pizza on Tuesday, July 19 as we welcome new volunteers and thank our current volunteers, who have logged in over 1180 total volunteer hours!

Come alone or bring a friend and meet at the BACT office in Barrington’s White House, 145 W. Main Street, 2nd floor, from 7:00-8:30 p.m. Enter through the back door.

Please contact Emily at emily@bactrust.org by July 18th to RSVP or for more information.

We can not fulfill our mission to preserve our community’s rare and exceptional open spaces for current and future generations without the help of community members like you!

Students:  This is a great opportunity to earn volunteer hours.

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Summer Fun Opportunities

 

EarthDay2016groupBarrington Area Conservation Trust is looking for volunteers who would like to water new plants at Pederson Preserve, directly across from the high school, three times/week during the months of May, June and July.
Watering will take approximately one hour each time.  Days and times are flexible.  Students will receive credit for volunteer hours.
Volunteers are also needed to assist at the annual Concert for Conservation on Saturday, August 27, noon-9:00 PM.  Volunteers will assist in table set-up, welcoming & assisting guests, event clean-up, and various other tasks.  Student volunteers will receive credit for volunteer hours.  BACT t-shirts will be provided to wear during the event.
Please contact Emily at (847) 387-3149 or emily@bactrust.org for more information.

Earth Week Activities

BACT joined thousands of others worldwide to celebrate Earth Day on Friday April 22.

EarthDay2016group

Thank you to all of the volunteers who joined us at Pederson Preserve located  across from Barrington High School on Earth Day.

Over 30 volunteers met to plant 2000 echinacea seedlings and gather two garbage bins of debris from the road side.   The seedlings, grown by BHS horticulture classes in the school greenhouse this winter, were gently planted in pre-drilled holes and tenderly covered with compost and water.  These new seedlings will give way to a spectacular display of native flowers adding to the beauty of this preserve which has been undergoing restoration efforts since its purchase in 2011.

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BACT Horticulture students see spring on the horizon!

Spring is in the air in the horticulture classrooms.

Horticulture students1 Feb 2016This past week, as part of Barrington Area Conservation Trust’s Conservation@School program, Mr. Ardente and Mr. Kedzie’s Horticulture classes planted 9900 echinacea seeds (purple coneflowers) in the Barrington High School greenhouse.

These native plant seeds will be nurtured in the greenhouse until they are planted on Earth Day at BACT owned Pederson Preserve located across from BHS.

Save the date to join Earth Day festivities on April 22nd and help plant the seedlings.  We will meet at 2:45 in front of the BHS tennis courts and walk over to the planting site.  For more information on how you can participate, contact Susan Lenz, BACT Conservation@School Coordinator, at  susan@bactrust.org.

Native Plant Sale

Order trees & shrubs now through May 1 and order rain barrels as well!

Rain garden design & installation by Ringers Landscaping.

Landscaping with native trees, shrubs, and plants in strategic parts of your yard (in partnership with your turf grass) adds beauty as well as conservation benefits.

Order pick-up is scheduled for Friday, May 20 between noon and 3:00 p.m. in the parking lot at Barrington Village Hall.

To get started with a home consultation, click here or contact our Conservation@Home coordinator Beth Adler at (847) 387-3149.

 

 

National Day of Service Work Day Reschedule

cold

 

Due to the low temperature and subsequent cancellation of our National Day of Service Work Day, we have set an alternate work day:

Sunday, January 24 from 10:00 a.m. to noon.

The location remains at Far Field Preserve located at Old Sutton and Lake-Cook Roads.  Click here for a map and parking information.   Please let us know if you will be able to attend the alternate day by sending us an email at bactrust1@gmail.com.

We hope to see you there!  For questions, please call our office at 847-387-3149.

Summer Internship Opportunity

IMG_0429As an opportunity to students entering tenth through twelfth grades, BACT is offering four internships that will help gain an understanding of and experience with habitat restoration and stream monitoring.  Through assisting with native plant installation and identification as well as invasive plant removal, Flint Creek stream monitoring, and stream data collection/reporting students will be able to participate in activities to broaden their understanding of ecology and environmental topics.

 

For more information and to apply, please click here.

Deadline to submit applications is April 23, 2016.

 

 

 

BACT Conservation@Home Receives Award

On the evening of December 2, Lake County Stormwater Management Commission honored BACT’s Conservation@Home program with their 2015 Education, Outreach, and Media Award.

Mike Warner, Beth Adler, Lisa Woolford, Steve Mountsier

Mike Warner, Beth Adler, Lisa Woolford, Steve Mountsier

The Conservation@Home program affects water quality in the Fox River Watershed by educating, assisting and recognizing landowners who strive to maintain their land using conservation practices that benefit wildlife, water quality, and the environment.

Michael D. Warner, Executive Director of Lake County Stormwater Management Commission commented that the “program’s success lies in providing landowners with feedback and guidance on ways to improve their properties to better manage stormwater runoff and provide healthy habitat”.  He also commended BACT for “reaching out and educating other groups on conservation values”.

 

Annual Member & Friends Gathering

Chad _on barge

Barrington Area Conservation Trust is excited to announce Chad Pregracke, 2013 CNN Hero of the Year Award recipient, as featured speaker at our 2016 Annual Gathering.

This years’ gathering will be held on Tuesday, April 26th from 7:00 p.m to 9:00 p.m. in the Barrington White House Ballroom.  Our gathering is free to members and students.  $15.00 for non-members. Light snacks will be served with a cash bar.(Interested in becoming a member?  Click here to learn more and join.)

Chad Pregracke is President and Founder of Living Lands & Waters (LL&W), the world’s only “industrial strength” not-for-profit river cleanup organization.  After spending his life growing up and working on the Mississippi River, Chad formed LL&W in 1998 at age 23.  He was appalled by the amount of garbage in the river and as a driven teenager started his own campaign to clean up the shores.  His determination has grown his quest into a national effort with a full staff and fleet of equipment cleaning rivers around the US.

Chad is a perfect fit for our event as his story mirrors the journey we are beginning to undertake with high school students in our area.  Through BACT’s Conservation@School program with Barrington High School students, we are inspiring future generations here in our own community.  As we introduce students to local impacts on Flint Creek, which runs through the high school campus as well as much of our community, we are helping to create an environmental ethic in young people and develop our next generation of environmental stewards.

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Elizabeth Bramsen named into the Illinois Conservation Foundation 2015 Outdoors Hall of Fame

On the eve of TBetsy ICF award2hursday, September 24th, Elizabeth (Betsy) Hamill Bramsen, along with two other Illinois residents, was  inducted into the 2015 Illinois Outdoors Hall of Fame at the Illinois Conservation Foundation Induction Ceremony and Fundraising Dinner.  Betsy also received the Chairman’s award from Wayne Rosenthal for her efforts on behalf of youth conservation education.

Betsy is a founding board member at Barrington Area Conservation Trust and has been instrumental in our work in and around the Barrington communities.  Betsy has helped develop the Barrington High School Conservation Leadership Project that is helping students develop meaningful connections to nature through classroom and field experiences.

 

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A New Home for BACT

Barrington Area Conservation Trust offices have moved to Barrington’s White House, the new community and cultural center in the heart of downtown Barrington.

Located in Suite 201 at 145 W. Main Street, BACT is neighbors with Let It Be Us and Barrington Children’s Charities.  The historic house boasts a lovely third floor ballroom that may be rented for events and special celebrations.  First floor parlors are also available to rent and several events have been planned for the public.   For more information click here or visit the Events page on the Barrington White House website.

 

 

BACT moves to Barrington’s White House

White HouseBarrington Area Conservation Trust’s offices have moved to the second floor of Barrington’s White House Community and Cultural Center.  We are excited to be a part of the ongoing history of this magnificent house.

Please join us for the White House Open House on Saturday, September 26 and Sunday, September 27 from 12:00 – 4:00 p.m. and view the efforts of so many who worked to restore the beauty and increase the functionality of this 1898 Barrington landmark.