Citizens for Conservation is a volunteer-based organization dedicated to environmental preservation and restoration of the wider biodiversity that once covered northeast Illinois. CFC is based in Barrington, Illinois where the organization owns and carefully manages over 415 acres in eleven property locations.

We don’t just hold land, however; we actively restore it through volunteerism and financial aid from generous donors who want to see the beauty and biodiversity of our land remain for generations to come. Our restoration efforts, education programs, and a variety of other activities are driven by volunteers with a wide variety of backgrounds and interests.

If you are inspired to join us in saving living space for living things, we welcome you to volunteer, attend one of our seminars or outdoor activities, or just stop by and say ‘hi.’  You’ll be glad you did!

- What’s Happening -

Winter Community Ed Programs

All these programs will be held at the Barrington Village Hall, 200 South Hough Street, Barrington.  All programs begin at 10:00 on Saturday mornings, but please come at 9:30 for coffee, conversation, and handouts. Program fee is $10.00 for non-members; CFC members attend for free as a benefit of membership. Please RSVP to 847-382-SAVE (7283) or to our email address at
[email protected] and include your name, phone number and program name!

Saturday, February 7 Bees, Bugs & Butterflies

Joan Sayre, Photographer
Joan is a member of Riverwoods Nature Photographic Society, a conservationist, and a native plant enthusiast. Her program will “wow” us with her beautiful photography and her insight into the importance of insects to our environment.

Saturday, March 14 Landscaping with Native Plants

Saturday, April 11 Organic Power Vegetable Gardening

Click here for more info.

 Great Backyard Bird Count

February 14 1-3 pm Crabtree Nature Center 3 Stover Rd, Barrington, IL 60010The Great Backyard Bird Count is an annual international event that connects bird watchers of all ages in counting birds to create a real-time snapshot of where the birds are all across the world.  Bring your binoculars!

We will discuss how to identify birds and view pictures of most common birds to see in winter, observe birds at feeders, hike a trail while counting birds, and head indoors to compile our data.  For more info or to register: click here.

What We Do:


oak_diving_martinWe protect natural areas – CFC led the initiative to protect over 3100 acres of public land in the Barrington, Illinois area. Years of planning, urging and negotiating resulted in the creation of four new forest preserves: Ela Marsh, Fox River, Grassy Lake/Flint Creek and Baker’s Lake Younghusband Prairie. CFC itself owns eleven preserves encompassing 415 acres. Much of this land has been generously donated, but CFC has purchased over 133 acres through fundraising campaigns.


tadpoleWe educate the community about the value of natural resources and foster good environmental ethics and practices. Hundreds of people have attended adult education programs that we offer to the public on a variety of subjects. Our Adventures in Nature program allows children to discover and explore nature, thereby fostering an interest and passion for the outdoors. We regularly open our preserves to the public for guided nature walks and birdwatching. CFC can approve volunteer hours of applicants to the High School National Honor Society or community service programs. Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts and Eagle Scouts perform projects on our properties under our guidance.


flower_closeupWe restore native plant communities – prairie, oak savanna and wetland. CFC’s prairie restoration successes have been the subject of articles in two British publications, and its floating islands installations and grassland bird restoration efforts have been featured in two nationally broadcast TV programs. Restoration helps perpetuate the diverse species of plants and animals that give our communities their special character. Acting as stewards of the land, we transplant wildflowers, remove weeds, clear brush, collect seed, and conduct controlled burns.

Our Preserves:

During 2010 and 2011, CFC News ran a feature called “Preserve Profile.” In the articles we described the salient features of some of our beautiful properties and provided maps showing their size, shape, and location. Please click on any of the properties listed here to read its Preserve Profile.


Barrington Bog

Wet, prolific, and vital, Barrington Bog is a graminoid (grassy) bog owned by Citizens for Conservation and dedicated as an Illinois Nature Preserve. It is located at the northeast corner of Route 59 and Grandview Road in Lake Barrington. There is little if any access since it is very wet and boggy! Learn More!


Farm Trails North

Farm Trails North (FTN) is a fen owned by Citizens for Conservation. The 20-acre site in Lake Barrington is part of an extensive deep kettle wetland which extends a half mile west to the Fox River. Located at the southeast corner of Roberts and River Roads, it was donated to CFC as a gift from the developers of the Farm Trails Subdivision Mr. and Mrs. Robert Hagemann and Richard & Bonnie Johnson. Learn More!


Flint Creek Savanna

Flint Creek Savanna (FCS) is Citizens for Conservation’s largest and most diverse preserve with savanna, creek, wetland and prairie restorations. FCS is
the only property that CFC has purchased rather than received by donation from a developer or landowner. The initial thirty-three acres acquired in 1988 have grown to 109 acres with the latest six-acre acquisition in 2005. CFC member have donated all of the $1.4 million that this property cost, an extraordinary accomplishment in light of current reliance on government funding. Learn More!


Grigsby Prairie

Grigsby Prairie is Citizens for Conservation’s top prairie restoration. All forty-two acres at Grigsby were donated to CFC by Ms. Peggy Grigsby Richards. Ms. Richards, who named the preserve for her father who had farmed it for many years, wishes to preserve the land as open space and particularly wants to see the grassland birds that inhabited her hay meadows remain. Learn More!


Heron Marsh and Twin Ponds

Heron Marsh/Longeway is located in Lake County on Route 22 west of Kelsey Road and Pheasant Ridge subdivision. Thomas and Jacqueline Longeway of Classic Sunglasses and Robert Orbesen of Hubschman Group donated the land in two parcels, one in 1986 and the second in 1987 for a total of 48.5 acres. Learn More!


Steyermark Woods

Steyermark Woods is one of CFC’s smallest preserves. It is located in North Barrington on Eton Drive just east of Biltmore Drive. Though it is small in size, its beauty is grand. Learn more!


Wagner Fen

Wagner Fen, one of CFC’s lesser-known preserves, lies just east of River Road and south of Roberts Road in Lake Barrington. It has been recognized as an Illinois Nature Preserve due to its variety of rare native plants. The land was donated to CFC in years 1980 through 1984 by Mr. and Mrs. Robert Hagemann, Mr. and Mrs. William Muench, and Mr. Gregory Daul. CFC owns 42 acres, most of the north portion of the fen; Lake County Forest Preserve District (LCFPD) owns the south portion, and the remainder is owned by Tower Lakes homeowners association. Learn More!

Wagner Fen Sign

Ways to Get Involved with CFC:

Volunteers Are the Lifeblood of CFC!

Volunteers represent a cross-section of the residents in the northwestern suburbs of Chicago. Volunteers need not be CFC members. The majority of our volunteers are involved outdoors in our restoration workdays, but we also have a number of other needs.

Members Matter!

Your support makes a big difference. As a member of Citizens for Conservation you are joining an organization that not only directly benefits you, but also your neighbors and the entire Barrington area community. Our members are partners in the acquisition and restoration of our land resources in the Barrington, Illinois area. Please join us and become a steward of a most valuable natural resource and help CFC continue “Saving Living Space for Living Things.”

Species Monitoring

Monitoring ecosystems helps us determine our success in restoring native habitat and warns us if an area is suffering declining health. Our bluebird and wood duck monitors actively facilitate breeding success. Anyone can become a monitor as long as he or she can be committed to be in the field checking the status of the subject area at the appropriate times. Training is available. Most monitoring takes place on CFC property, but as resources permit, may also include local forest preserves and parks. We have a definite need for birdhouse monitoring as there are many established bluebird and wood duck trails that need to be maintained.

Become a Native Seed Gardener!

The Native Seed Gardeners (NSG) is a pilot program developed by Friends of Spring Creek Forest Preserves and Citizens for Conservation (CFC) with support from Audubon-Chicago Region, according to Sam Oliver, who made the presentation on behalf of both groups. Starter plants for the project are being grown this winter by the Chicago Botanic Garden. This program's purpose is to increase the amount of seed that is available to restore ecological health and diversity to the area's woodlands and prairies.

Make Your Property Part of a Habitat Corridor!

Learn how you can turn your property into a sanctuary for native plants, birds, butterflies and other native creatures that need help. Habitat Corridors is CFC's newest and most important community education project. The goal of Habitat Corridors is to encourage and assist local residents and property owners in becoming more earth friendly in their landscaping choices and maintenance practices.


Citizens for Conservation is a non-profit organization that depends on donations of various types to continue its efforts.

Upcoming Events:

Community Programs and Education:

Habitat Corridors

habitat_corridors_logoHabitat Corridors is a program developed by Citizens for Conservation to educate and assist local property owners in using their land in an area-wide expansion of native habitats that encourage native birds and butterflies and the plants and space they need. Corridors rather than isolated parcels of land are critical to helping species find the food, shelter, and breeding opportunities they need to thrive. Every yard, no matter how small, becomes part of the solution.

Learn More

Native Plant Database and Sale

Trillium_erectum_01Our extensive database of plants native to the Barrington area (and a few outliers) is here for your reference.  We offer a native plant sale every spring and fall where you can select from hundreds of species to purchase and plant in your own backyard.

Learn More