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.


Environmental Trivia Night at Flesk Brewing

Calling all Eco Warriors! Come out for a cold brew and test your knowledge of all things nature related. You don’t have to be an environmental expert to participate. Flesk Brewing, Trivia Night, enviroment, nature, preservationJust bring yourself, your friends or your team and join us for our first Trivia Night at FLESK BREWING. Hope to see you there. $5.00 donation at the door. Only 21 and older please. CLICK HERE for more information.

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.

Register For Our Gravel Hill Prairie Hike and Lite Yoga

Join us from 10:00am – 12:00pm  for our Hike and Lite Yoga outing at the Gravel Hill Prairie.  Enjoy a crisp morning of hiking at the beautiful Gravel Hill Prairie followed by lite yoga instruction led our own Susan Lenz, Director of Community Engagement.  Remember to wear appropriate clothing and shoes and don’t forget your water bottle and a yoga mat! 

BACT members are free. Non-members are $20.00 per person.   The fee for a non-member paid by cash or check is $20.00 per person which can be dropped at our offices or mailed to:  Barrington Area Conservation Trust, 145 W. Main Street, Suite 201, Barrington, Illinois  60010.

If you choose to pay by Paypal below an extra $ .91 handling fee will be added at the time of processing.  Please call our offices at 847.387.3149 with any questions Monday – Thursday from 9:00am to 4:00pm or email Emily@bactrust.org.

Join Us For Our OakTober Family Fest

Join us for our 2nd annual FREE OakTober Family Fest at Far Field Nature Preserve in Barrington Hills located at Lake Cook and Old Sutton roads.  This is event is free and will include child friendly activities, tree planting, music, bonfires and S’mores.  Last year this event brought a large crowd of families, friends and supporters of the BACT and a great time was had by all.  Bring the whole family and remember to wear suitable shoes and to dress accordingly as we will have this event rain or shine!  If you have any questions please feel free to call our offices at 847.387.3149, visit our facebook page or check back here for any updates.

Far Field Nature Preserve

Sunday, October 8, 2017


Free and open to the public


Thank You For Supporting Our 2017 Concert For Conservation

Thank you to everyone who came out to support the BACT 2017 Concert For Conservation fundraiser!  It is early yet, but it looks like it was a record event for BACT and we can’t thank our  sponsors and the Barrington community, members and non-members, enough for all the support.

There were many firsts this year.

  • There were over 300 tickets sold.
  • We introduced the Countryside Toodle drive (more information below).
  • Many owners with their classic cars showed up and were displayed near the concert venue.
  • Flesk Brewing, Barrington’s new brewery, came out to serve samples of a special beer called The Conservationist which they brewed just for us.
  • and we had our largest group of BHS teenagers volunteer to help this year.

Thanks also goes too Pat McKillen and the Don Cagin Orchestra who got everyone up and dancing in between the rain drops.  Check back here for more updates on all of our sponsors, auction winners and raffle winners.



Concert For Conservation 2017 Event and Ticketing Information

BACT’s annual fundraising event, Concert for Conservation, is right around the corner.  Join us on Saturday, August 26, 2017 from 3:00 pm – 7:00 pm for this magical outdoor concert event at Under the Tall Oaks in Barrington HillsPack a delectable picnic and your favorite blanket & lawn chairs and relax in an atmosphere of live music and the outdoors with family and friends.

Musical entertainment will begin with Pat McKillen, local singer and songwriter and continue with a performance by the Don Cagen Orchestra.  We will also have children’s activities and unique Raffle and Auction opportunities.  Flesk Brewery which recently opened in the Ice House Mall will be offering samples of a beer made especially for our event.  A 1964 Series IIA Land Rover, child size Tesla Model S car and a Off Roading Experience to name a few.  For more information on these items and more click here for AUCTION ITEMS and click here for RAFFLE ITEMS.

All roads lead to our exciting concert venue, so this year we will be offering a free “Toodle Through The Countryside” map (see below) for those of you interested in taking a drive past all of our beautiful preserves on your way to our event.  More information on the Toodle can be found below. 

Tickets for the concert are $85 per person 18 yrs. and older.  Children 17 and under are welcome at no charge.


Concert for Conservation Ticket

Countryside Toodle Rally

We had many participants in our 1st Countryside Toodle Rally!  New and Classic cars were welcome to participate prior to our 2017 Concert for Conservation which we held on August 26th.  It was a free event and open to the public.

This was a leisurely Toodle Drive through the Barrington countryside that took our participants past the BACT properties we protect.  The final destination was the Concert For Conservation in Barrington Hills.  The start of the Toodle was at The White House in Barrington, 145 W. Main Street where our office is located and finished at the concert venue.


Join Us! Walk With BACT In The 4th of July Parade

Don’t just watch the parade this year, be a parade participant with BACT and our Teens4Green student group.  We are looking for anyone passionate about nature and conservation to join us on the parade route.  Bring your family and friends and meet us at the high school.  Here are the details.

  • Meet us at the high school in the green section of the high school parking lot.
  • No parking at the high school so please park in a commuter lot and walk over to the school.
  • We will supply you with a BACT tee shirt for the parade.
  • Please bring a bag of candy to throw.  ONLY NON-MELTING CANDY PLEASE.
  • Bring your own water bottle.
  • Contact Sue Lenz at 847-542-4758 for questions or if you cannot find the group.

Hope to see you there!

We Welcome Our 2017 Summer Interns

Our first group of 2017 interns began their work today!  Susan Lenz our Director of Community Engagement is planning and supervising this program this year.

She had the interns begin their day by planting milkweed and will have them participating in stream monitoring later in the week.  Please check back here and on our Facebook page, Instagram and Twitter this week for updates on the progress these students are making.

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.

Join Us For A Discussion Of The Book “Animal Wise”

Looking for a good book to read?  Do you love animals?  Are you interested in how your pet’s mind works, what they think of us and how they feel?  Then please join us for our first BACT Book Discussion of the book  Animal Wise, by Virginia Morell.  This review will be led by the Barrington Area Library staff and will be held at the Barrington White House on June 14, 2017, 7:00pm-8:30pm.  Animal Wise explores the latest research on how animals feel, communicate and think and invites the reader to learn about a huge variety of animals, including ants, elephants and wolves as well as dolphins and dogs.  Check out a copy of this book at the Barrington Library and come ready for a riveting discussion.  This is a free event and open to the public.  Registration is required.  Please contact Emily at 847.387.3149 or Emily@bactrust.org.

Outdoor Meditation With Anita Maher Is Sold Out!

THIS EVENT HAS SOLD OUT!  We are planning another meditation event this Fall of 2017 so like and follow our Facebook page for information on all of our events or check back here for further updates!

Join us Sunday morning, May 28th from 10:00am-12:00pm to experience an outdoor meditation session in a beautiful wooded setting.  Anita Maher, Meditation and Yoga Specialist will be leading this event at a wooded preserve that is rarely open to the public and is a little piece of paradise in Barrington Hills.  All levels are welcome.  Please bring water and a mat.

Spots are limited.  Reservations are required.  

Members – Free | Non-members $15.00.   Contact Emily at emily@bactrust.org or call our office at 847-387-3149 to reserve your spot.


Join Us For An Outdoor Meditation Session With Anita Maher

white oakJoin us Sunday morning, May 28th from 10:00am-12:00pm to experience an outdoor meditation session in a beautiful wooded setting.  Anita Maher, Meditation and Yoga Specialist will be leading this event at a wooded preserve that is rarely open to the public and is a little piece of paradise in Barrington Hills.  All levels are welcome.  Please bring water and a mat.

Spots are limited.  Reservations are required.  

Members – Free | Non-members $15.00.   Contact Emily at emily@bactrust.org or call our office at 847-387-3149 to reserve your spot.


Non-member ticket price per person


BHS Student Essay: The Effects of Meditation, Mindfulness and Nature

By:  Audrey Li

In the midst of a seemingly never-ending to-do list, it is important to allot time to yourself to meditate and become more aware of your surroundings.  It is easy to be on autopilot and to become invested in the plethora of tasks you have to complete: it may seem almost inconvenient for you to stop for a moment and to take a break. These past few weeks have been incredibly difficult for me since it was comprised of ultra-high stress levels, standardized testing, and AP testing. While I did have study breaks, I felt guilty for not working to accomplish my tasks and for partaking on a short escape from reality.  It was then that I realized the utmost necessity of taking a break and putting my current tasks on hold.

It is absolutely vital to meditate or to set aside some time for yourself to reflect on your life, completely free of guilt.  I am currently taking a gym class at Barrington High School called Fit for Females.  This class has really made me look forward to Friday mornings because Fridays are dedicated to achieving mindfulness through meditation and yoga.  We are privileged with being given the entire class period to lie down and listen to guided meditations or peaceful meditation music.  I can distinctly recall one Friday in which I was so relieved to finally have forty minutes to myself, completely void of obligations, and to reflect on a particularly difficult week.  My teacher read aloud some guided meditation and she reminded us that we constantly say, “I love you” to our family and friends, but she posed the ultimate question: “How often do you express love for yourself?”  Following the meditation and walking to my next class, I felt rejuvenated.  The meditation session was incredibly cathartic and had imbued me with a great amount of motivation and inspiration to go about the rest of my day.  I realized that although these optimistic feelings were not everlasting, it was pleasurable to hold onto these feelings for even just a short time.

Upon receiving this article assignment, I took it upon myself to consciously spend more time with myself, whether it is indoors or surrounded by the inexhaustible beauty of nature.  Unfortunately, Mother Nature decided to throw rainy weather at me just as I was about to embark on my daily meditation routine.  I desired to venture out of my comfort zone and meditate in the rain on a Saturday afternoon.  To be completely honest, my initial thoughts upon going outside were to go back inside because it was cold and windy.  Despite these desires, I decided to continue with my meditation.  I began to take notice of the trees that that were swaying back and forth and the vastness of the sky.  I contemplated about how this time next year I will be committed to a college and transend familiarity on the new chapter of my life.  This meditation in the rain made me realize that despite feelings of insecurities, unhappiness, or disappointment, nature will continue to exist and the trees that extend beyond my deck will continue to sway back and forth, regardless of my current troubles, which certainly impelled me to put matters in perspective.

Make meditation a part of your daily life because although the positive feelings it will bring you afterwards are ephemeral, mediation will become a constant in your life and help you feel more confident with your inner self.  Through meditation, you will become more acquainted with yourself because meditation enables you to reflect on your thoughts and gives you an opportunity to embrace your inner confidence and allow negative feelings to, at least, temporarily subside.  I don’t believe there is an ultimate cure for happiness, but meditation does serve as a portal to an alternative dimension away from reality for the time being.  I have noticed that every time I immerse myself in nature and truly look at what is in front of me, I feel more in touch with myself and become less concerned with how others perceive me.  I hope that after reading this article, you feel inclined to dedicate more time to yourself and to make more of an effort to spend less time looking down at technology and more time being surrounded by nature.


Earth Day: How Did It Begin and How Can You Help Celebrate It Year Round?

By Audrey Li

We just celebrated Earth Day with a planting and work day at our Pederson Preserve in Barrington.  High school students and adult volunteers came out to help clean up brush and buckthorn and to plant seedlings grown by the Horticultural Department at the high school.  Why is Earth Day such an important day?  Let’s look at how and why it began.

Prior to the first Earth Day, maintaining and protecting earth’s natural resources was not regarded as a priority.  Factories released pollutants into the air and only a minute portion of the American population engaged in the practice of recycling.  Gaylord Nelson, a U.S. Senator from Wisconsin, was the founder of the first Earth Day.  The 1962 publication of Rachel Carson’s book, Silent Spring, which boosted public awareness for the environment, the 1969 massive oil spill in Santa Barbara, California, and a 1969 fire on Cleveland’s Cuyahoga River, are among the plethora of factors that led to Senator Nelson’s orchestration of the first Earth Day, which he believed was a crucial step in creating an influential environmental movement.

Senator Nelson decided to launch Earth Day on April 22, 1970 to bring attention and awareness to the public about our fragile environment.  He did this with the help of staff, Congressman McCloskey and Dennis Hayes, the national coordinator of the first Earth Day. He chose that day because it landed between Spring Break and exams for college students and was before summer break for high school students thus allowing them to participate.  According to reports in the Baltimore Magazine, 20 million people participated in the first Earth Day events and more than 1,500 colleges and universities and 10,000 grade schools and high schools participated in rallies and speeches held around the country.  Congress even went into recess that day in acknowledgement of the first Earth Day.

This massive success of the first Earth Day also led to the creation of many vital pieces of environmental legislation in the 1970’s, such as the Clean Air Act, the Water Quality Improvement Act, the Toxic Substances Control Act, the Endangered Species Act, and the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act.  The Environmental Protection Agency was also started in December of 1970 in response to Earth Day.  In 1995, Senator Nelson was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom for founding Earth Day and for his efforts to raise awareness of the conservation of the earth.

How can you help celebrate Earth Day year round?  Partake in little actions to protect the earth, be mindful of your water usage, reduce your carbon footprint, make your home more energy efficient, and as we are approaching the summer months, go on more outdoor walks and feel at one with nature.

You cannot get through a single day without having on impact on the world around you.  What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.”

Jane Goodall

Join Us for our Annual Meeting, April 18, 2017 Featuring Guest Speaker Doug Tallamy, Renowned Entomologist and Native Plant Advocate

On Tuesday, April 18 from 7:00-9:00 p.m. we will be hosting speaker Doug Tallamy, a noted entomologist, native plant advocate and author.  This “guru” in the insect and nature world will center his talk around the plight of butterflies and other insects and how each of us can help these important pollinators by supporting biodiversity in our backyards and open spaces.  His research goal is to better understand the many ways insects interact with plants and how such interactions determine the diversity of animal communities.

“We can save nature,” says Tallamy, “but only if we learn to live with nature.” Tallamy suggests each of us can play a role by saving biodiversity where we live.

Doug Tallamy is a professor in the Department of Entomology and Wildlife Ecology at the University of Delaware.  He has authored 85 research publications and two books – Bringing Nature Home:How Native Plants Sustain Wildlife in Our Gardens and The Living Landscape, (co-authored with Rick Darke). Tallamy is a regular columnist for Garden Design Magazine and his awards include the Garden Club of America Margaret Douglas Medal for Conservation and the Tom Dodd, Jr. Award of Excellence.

We encourage anyone interested to attend.  There will be a cash bar.  Tickets are free to BACT members, $15.00 to non-members.  Members please e-mail Emily at emily@bactrust.org to reserve your spot.  Non-members, please follow the link below to purchase your ticket.


Ticket price per person

Join now and attend for free!




Free Movie Night: Environmental Documentary Film, “Hometown Habitat” on March 16th, 2017

Please join us on Thursday, March 16, 2017 for a free movie night and bring the family! We are presenting excerpts from “Hometown Habitat,” an environmental documentary film showing why native plants are critical to the survival and vitality of local ecosystems.  The message of the movie is that each individual has the power to conserve resources, restore habitat for wildlife and bring beauty to his or her patch of earth.  The documentary features and is narrated by entomologist and native plant advocate Doug Tallamy, who is a teacher, presenter and researcher on topics related to biodiversity and restoration of natural plants.  Due to the movie length, only portions will be played.

This viewing is being generously co-sponsored by Sebert Landscape and Bluestem Ecological Services, providing sustainable landscape solutions.

The free showing will take place from 7:00-9:00 p.m. at the Prairie Center For The Arts in Schaumburg, Illinois. Each attendee will receive a raffle ticket for a chance to win one of BACT’s heart shaped suets, to support wild birds in your own backyard.  This event is free for both BACT Members and Non-members.