Volunteer Highlight – Eden Solberg

This week we took a moment to interview one of our Teens4Green and active volunteers, Eden Solberg. Eden is a senior at BHS. She has been involved with BACT for the past several years and is a founding member of the Teens4Green Youth Advisory Board. Here is an excerpt from our conversation with Eden.
Why did you become involved in the BACT? I was interested in nature and the environment. I liked that BACT had outdoor educational programs for teenagers.
What do you like most about volunteering for BACT? I really enjoy the Sunday workdays watching community members being active and out working in open spaces. I also love going to Teens4Green meetings because I find the education and outreach programs fun, and I can hang out with my friends while doing something good for nature.
What have you learned since you joined BACT?  I have learned a lot about invasive species and how to protect native plants.  I have also learned a lot about butterflies, how to protect them and about how oak trees are vulnerable.
What was you favorite project with Teens4Green?  Last year, the teens made butterfly donation jars.  We planned the project during one of our meetings, and then we designed them at another meeting.  We went in groups of two to the local businesses and asked if they could put them out for a week so that we could raise money for a table at the Barrington Farmer’s Market.  We used the table at the market as an informational table to raise awareness about monarch butterflies.  I really enjoyed talking with people at the market.
What future projects do you have coming up? I work with the Barrington Buddies at the high school. I am planning a picnic at Far Field Preserve in May for the group. I picked Far Field because I have really enjoyed seeing it change over the past few years. We have planted many oak trees, native plants and prairie flowers there, and it is wonderful to see everything bloom. I think the Buddies will enjoy walking around the field.
Do you have any recommendations for other students to get involved?  I recommend that any student who likes nature and wants to get outside go to the Sunday workdays.  Also, join the Teens4Green group.  The events are fun, and the staff members are really helpful and easy going.  They are always willing to answer questions and teach you more about the environment.  Follow the link to High School Programs to see what they have going on for teens.

Friendship Village Restoration Workday

Herb Demmel of
Friendship Village

Friendship Village is a leading Chicago-area retirement community located in Schaumburg, IL.  Through the tireless efforts of resident Herb Demmel, the land next to Friendship Village, known as Sarah’s Grove, is being restored to its original oak woodland habitat. Herb served as chairman of the Land Stewardship Committee for nine years at Friendship Village. He volunteers his time clearing Sarah’s Grove of weeds, non-native plants and trees. In May 2016, BACT presented Herb with a Conservation@Home certificate for his work on Sarah’s Grove. (Click here for more information on Herb Demmel and his work.)

Join BACT and help Herb with his restoration efforts. On April 8, 12:00-3:00, we will gather at Sarah’s Grove, 350 Schaumburg, IL, and clear brush and remove non-native plants. Wear outdoor clothing and bring water. BACT will provide the tools, fun and snacks. Download Friendship Villages volunteer waiver form to participate and mail it to BACT, 145 W. Main St., Barrington, IL  60010 or bring it with the day of the event.

For questions or more information, contact Emily at Emily@bactrust.org or call
(847) 387-3149.

Earth Week Celebration

Adult Volunteers Needed for Earth Day Celebration, Wednesday, April 18th

BACT is celebrating Earth Day with a community wide restoration workday at
Pederson Preserve on Wednesday, April 18 th , 10:00-5:00. Community businesses
and high school students will participate throughout the day planting native plants,
cutting down buckthorn and clearing brush. Pederson Preserve is located directly
across the street from Barrington High School.

We are looking for adult volunteers to supervise planting and assist BACT staff. If
you are available and enjoy working with kids and protecting our glorious
environment , please contact Emily at Emily@bactrust.org. We will supply the
water, treats and tools. All you need to bring is your love of mother nature. Two
volunteer shifts available, 12:00-2:30 and 2:30-5:00.

Don’t Miss Our Teens4Green Meeting Tomorrow

Teen4Green group

Student volunteers

Join us for our Teens4Green environmental student group tomorrow night, March 9 from 6:00 to 7:30pm and find out more about what we do and how you can participate in this student group.  You must be incoming 8th – 12th grade to join.  Susan Lenz our Director of Education and Engagement will be hosting the event at our office in the White House, Suite 201.  Call 847-387-3149 with any questions.


Buckthorn or Bust Bonfire with LLBean

Removing buckthorn at Far Field Nature Preserve

Join us and LLBean for a Buckthorn or Bust Bonfire at Far Field Nature Preserve on Sunday, March 4th from 10:00am -12:00pm.  Help cut down buckthorn and clear brush.  Please wear sturdy shoes and clothing and bring your own water.  We will provide tools, snacks and bonfire.  All ages are welcome.  Participants will earn volunteer hours.  Hope to see you there!

For more information on buckthorn watch this great video from the Shedd Aquarium about why this invasive species is so detrimental to native plants, trees and the surrounding eco-system.

If you have not registered with us before or are under the age of 18, please fill out our liability and photo release form here.

Many Thanks To Our Buckthorn or Bust Volunteers

We had a great turn out on Sunday for our Buckthorn or Bust Bonfire with LLBean workday.  Thank you to over 35 volunteers who spent two hours helping us remove buckthorn from our Far Field Nature Preserve.  We could not have done it without you.  Now native plants and trees will be able to thrive and support pollinators and wildlife on this wonderful nature preserve.  Please join us for our upcoming workday at Far Field on March 18th and become part of this growing group of volunteers restoring this property to its original state.

Make Your Reservation or Purchase Annual Meeting Tickets Now!


Annual Meeting Invite 

Join us at our 2018 Annual Meeting.  Gerard Donnelly, President and CEO of Morton Arboretum will be our speaker for the evening.  He is a trained botanist and forest ecologist and is credited with the substantial growth of the Morton Arboretum and for protecting and improving the region’s urban canopy.

Members and Students are FREE, Non-members are $20.00 per person.  Members and students,  RSVP HERE or Non-Members purchase your tickets below.  This event will fill up fast so make your reservation or purchase your tickets now!


Non-member CASH or CHECK $20.00 per person.  Please make the check out to and mail to: Barrington Area Conservation Trust, 145 W. Main, #201, Barrington, IL 60010

Non-member CREDIT CARD OR PAYPAL $20.00 + $1.00 service fee = $21.00

Sponsored by: DAVEY Care of Trees & The Barn NurseryBarn Nursery Logo




Our Volunteers Rock!

SNOW DID NOT STOP US!  Did you know Martin Luther King Day was also a “National Day Of Service”?  In recognition of this day, we were joined by over 20 volunteers and restoration specialist, Dave Eubanks, for our restoration workday at our Far Field Nature Preserve.  We removed, cut and burned buckthorn and other invasive woody species from the site.

Volunteers were supplied with work gloves, loppers and goggles and we had several bonfires to keep folks warm.  These uber volunteers, cleared enough buckthorn and other invasive species to keep three large piles of debris burning for two hours.

National Day of Service Group of Volunteers

Volunteers help with buckthorn removal at Far Field Nature Preserve

With the help of our volunteers, this preserve is well on its way to returning to its natural state.  Previously, we have also had volunteers help with clearing the land, seeding with natives and planting of over 50 oak trees. The Far Field Nature Preserve is located at County Line (Lake Cook Road) and Old Sutton Roads in Barrington Hills.

For more information on buckthorn and the adverse impact it has on native plant species, read the Bluestem Ecological Services article below to find out why this invader must be removed in order to make the surrounding plants and trees thrive.

LET IT SNOW! Come And Join Us, Snowing Or Not, We Will Still Be Hosting The “National Day Of Service” Volunteer Opportunity At Far Field Nature Preserve

A LITTLE SNOW WON’T STOP US!  Remember to dress for the weather.  Did you know Martin Luther King Day is also a “National Day Of Service”?  Join us at our next restoration workday, Monday, January 15th from 12:00pm to 2:00pm at our Far Field Nature Preserve.  We will be removing and burning buckthorn and other invasive woody species from the site.

Cutting and burning buckthorn

Cutting and burning buckthorn at Far Field Nature Preserve

We will supply work gloves, loppers and goggles and there will be a bonfire to keep folks warm.  If you have your own equipment, please bring it along as we can always use extra.  The Far Field Nature Preserve is located at County Line (Lake Cook Road) and Old Sutton Roads in Barrington Hills.  The entrance to the site is off of Old Sutton Road.

Please feel free to bring a friend(s) and remember to dress appropriately for the weather.  If you have not volunteered with us before, please take a few minutes to fill out our volunteer form here.

For more information on buckthorn and the adverse impact it has on native plant species, read the Bluestem Ecological Services article below to find out why this invader must be removed in order to make the surrounding plants and trees thrive.

Trees Matter: Help Eradicate Buckthorn

Guest Article:  Written by Jodi Legieza, Bluestem Ecological Services

View Bluestem’s Video Here!

Common buckthorn is native to Eurasia and was introduced to North America in the 1880’s as an ornamental plant.  Its abundant fruit is dispersed by birds, and it spreads rapidly, replacing native vegetation and lowering native species diversity.

Like many non-native shrubs, common buckthorn leafs out early in spring and retains its leaves late into fall, shading out spring wildflowers and tree seedlings with their canopies.  Buckthorn also alters ecosystem processes in complex ways.  It produces considerable amounts of organic matter, mainly in the form of leaves and woody debris.  The leaves of buckthorn have very high nitrogen (N) content and decompose faster than the leaves of the dominant trees in an Illinois woodland.  During this accelerated decomposition process, beneficial fungi living in the soil are killed in the process.  This fungi, called mycorrhizal fungi, actually help the good trees in our environment extract nutrients from the soil.  When the fungi dies so do our native trees, exposing even more soil for more buckthorn seeds to germinate and grow into buckthorn trees.  It’s a vicious cycle that needs to be broken!   

The above and below ground effects of buckthorn in natural field settings can be devastating.  Both effects are substantial, and researchers were surprised to find that buckthorn contaminated soils inhibit native plant growth as much, or more than, the space their canopies take over above ground  Conservation organizations like BACT are committed to eradicating buckthorn from our ecosystems.  Winter is the best time to cut down buckthorn (and treat their stumps with herbicide or smother the stumps so that the trees don’t grow back).

Visit www.Bluestemeco.com for consultation on buckthorn removal.   Bluestem Ecological Services is a sustainable company that builds, restores and maintains native ecosystems.








What Makes Buckthorn So Bad?


NATURAL POISON – Emodin, a poisonous chemical compound produced by the leaves, fruit, and bark of invasive buckthorn, peaks with the breeding activities of several early-breeding Midwestern amphibian species, according to Lincoln Park Zoo reintroduction biologist Allison Sacerdote-Velat, Ph.D., and Northern Illinois University professor of biological sciences Richard King. Emodin naturally poisons soil and water for developing frogs and salamanders, as well as many plants.

AGGRESSIVE TENDENCIES – The shallow root system of buckthorn outcompetes native plants for moisture and nutrients, while contributing to erosion and ecological imbalance. Its leafy crown deprives other plants of sunlight and serves as a host for rust fungus and soybean aphids that impact other plants, too!

HABITAT DESTRUCTION – Buckthorn does not provide safe nesting habitat or ample migratory food for warblers, gnatcatchers, or vireos. Unlike native nut or berry trees, shrubs, or vines, buckthorn clings to berries that most animals do not like to consume.

IT ISN’T PRETTY – Buckthorn lacks the beautiful spring blossoms, autumn colors of its native counterparts, and is an eyesore of tangles branches in winter as its messy berries splatter to the ground in preparation for spring.

WHAT CAN YOU DO ABOUT BUCKTHORN? You can help by removing buckthorn from your yard a little bit at a time:

  • Cut down buckthorn and herbicide the stumps with Triclopyr or Glyphosate OR pull out seedlings by hand
  • Install native plants, trees, and shrubs to provide a visual buffer while making your land more beautiful, sustainable, and healthy for wildlife
  • Continue to monitor for buckthorn seedlings and resprouts, using controlled burns (where permitted)

After removing thickets or buckthorn around oak trees, you can scatter native grass and wildflower seeds (instead of digging). Hilly sites require erosion fabric.


  • COMMON BUCKTHORN (Rhamnus cathartica) is a tree found in disturbed woodlands and wastelands which has finely-toothed oval leaves, alternate branches, and round, black berries clustered around its stems through mid-winter. The end of the branch has a small, thin thorn.
  • GLOSSY BUCKTHORN (Rhamnus frangula) is a wetland tree with smooth, shiny, oval leaves, and round black berries clustered around its stems in late fall. A bud is at the end of each glossy buckthorn branch.


Our Next Project: Overseeding of 5.6 Acres At Pederson Preserve

 The Barrington Area Conservation Trust will be working with students from Barrington High School and local scout troops on a large-scale seeding project at Pederson Nature Preserve, Lake Cook and Hart Roads in Barrington, on November 19 from 10:00 a.m. – noon. The public is invited to help disperse 47.6 pounds of pollinator seed mix at the 5.6 acre parcel of land, which is adjacent to Flint Creek and across from Barrington High School.  Wear appropriate clothing and shoes and remember to bring your own water. 
Funding for the project is provided in part from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation, and the Barrington Junior Women’s Club, as well as donor designated gifts.  Click here for the volunteer release form.

Summer Is Here And Eagle Scout Projects Are Underway

We have several Boy Scouts working on their Eagle Scout projects this summer.  They are doing this under the direction of our uber volunteer Anne Hay. Anne first
became involved in scouting when her boys belonged to the Queens Scouts in England. She helped out again when her boys joined Boy Scouts here in the States.  She is currently supervising 3 scouts with 3 different projects working on their Eagle Scout badge.
Jack Rose– Working at Pederson Preserve moving native plants to make a potential bike parking area.
Nick Foster – Working at Barcley Woods clearing buckthorn to extend a walking trail.
Chris Chien– Working on installing a fire pit and building benches at Far Field for use at BACT events.
 Many thanks to Anne and the scouts for all their hard work!
For more information on our Eagle Scout programs, to volunteer or to donate, please contact Emily at emily@bactrust.org or visit our website at www.bactrust.org.

The Time of Year for Giving Is Here!

what we do


As we approach the holiday season, it’s that time of year to consider again all the ways in which we give to the organizations we love and support.

Your annual donation to BACT is so vital to the work we do, and we hope you will continue to keep us in your giving plans for 2016. You should be receiving a mailing from us in the next couple of weeks that will help you make your donation. But if you don’t want to wait for the mail, simply DONATE NOW!

Shop with AmazonSmile

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

Don’t miss this important movie screening!

Movie Screening

Hometown Habitat, Stories of Bringing Nature Home

November 5, 2016
7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.

Cabela’s, S. Barrington

“Finally, a film that examines the critical role that native plants play in our landscapes. Hometown Habitat, featuring Douglas Tallamy, explores our land ethic and how we need to make radical changes in our plant selections to increase biodiversity, heal the earth, and find harmony with nature. This documentary should be included in every school curriculum.”
—Heather Holm, author of Pollinators of Native Plants

Hometown Habitat
is a 90-minute environmental education documentary film showing how and why native plants are critical to the survival and vitality of local ecosystems. Entomologist Doug Tallamy, whose research, books and lectures on the benefits of native plants in landscaping, provides the narrative thread throughout the film. The message: Each individual has the power to conserve resources, restore habitat for wildlife and bring beauty to their patch of earth.

This movie fosters the mission of The Meadow Project to educate and raise awareness about sustainable, native, healthy, easy and affordable land care practices that support wildlife and human life.

We hope to see you there. Bring a friend!

Need Native Plants for Fall?

native-plant-sale-bannerBACT is partnering with FPDCC for a Native Plant Sale on September 24 at Camp Reinberg in Palatine

The native plant sale will be held as part of the Forest Preserve District of Cook County’s “Party for the Preserves” event celebrating Public Lands Day.  We will have a wonderful selection of  forbs and grasses from Taylor Creek Restoration Nursery. In addition to the plant sale, this all-day event features various sessions, including birding, brush-cutting, and a showing of the movie “Hometown Habitat.” Click here for a full schedule of the day’s events.

The plant sale is at Camp Reinberg, 1801 N Quentin Rd., Palatine (MAP) from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.  (Pre-ordered plants may be picked up during this time.)

Questions? Call Beth Adler at 847.387.3149. 

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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