CFC’s Preserves

CFC’s real estate holdings of 476 acres include twelve preserves and two conservation easements. Much of this land has been generously donated, but CFC has purchased more than 115 acres through fundraising campaigns.

Grigsby Prairie in Barrington Hills was CFC’s first habitat restoration project. Since Grigsby’s inception in 1987, CFC has achieved amazing results at this 44-acre tallgrass prairie preserve. Nesting birds include meadowlarks, bobolinks, grasshopper sparrows, sedge wrens, king birds, savannah sparrows, red-headed woodpeckers and bluebirds. Grigsby also provides habitat for 175 species of native plants in wet, mesic and dry prairie and in wetlands.

Flint Creek Savanna in Lake Barrington is CFC’s largest and most diverse preserve with 160 acres that include our farmhouse office, nearly a mile of creek course, four oak and hickory groves, and acres of restored wetlands and prairie, including more than 200 species of grasses, sedges and wildflowers. Three birds from Illinois’s list of “species in greatest need of conservation” nest here: savannah sparrows, sedge wrens and, every year since 1998, sandhill cranes.

Among the numerous restoration projects at Flint Creek Savanna:

  • a prairie pothole near the east entrance, considered one of the best wetland restorations in the Chicago area
  • a series of ponds and filter marshes that slow and cleanse storm water before it flows into Flint Creek from the west
  • two gravel hill prairies near the office parking lot that are based on concrete debris from the old barn.

Farm Trails North (18.3 acres) and Wagner Fen (43.3 acres) are located in Lake Barrington while Barrington Bog (44.7 acres) is in North Barrington; all are dedicated Illinois Nature Preserves. Bogs and fens are specific types of wetlands that were once abundant in Illinois but now survive only in scattered remnants. Each wetland preserve supports unique plant communities and provides habitat for both common and rare wildlife. The Baltimore checkerspot butterfly, which depends on the turtlehead plant, is one species that thrives only in fens.

Hawley Lake Marsh (17 acres in Barrington Hills), Heron Marsh (48.5 acres in Cuba Township), River’s Bend (12.5 acres in Lake Barrington), Steyermark Woods (1.5 acres in North Barrington), and Twin Ponds (22.8 acres in Lake Barrington) are preserves maintained in their current natural state.

Craftsbury Preserve (53 acres), CFC’s newest property, is south of Cuba Road on both sides of North Hart Road in Cuba Township. The east side was donated in 2015 in honor of Art and Carol Rice and was part of the Rices’ Craftsbury Farm and the west side was purchased with a generous grant from Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation. The property has approximately twelve acres of upland with remnants of sedge meadows and grasses and about ten acres of wetland that extend across North Hart Road to the west. The land donation provides CFC with an opportunity to protect wetlands that drain into an important recharge area and provide water storage and flood protection to neighboring areas.