Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. And beauty through the eyes of an adult can very different than what was once seen as a child.
âEvery child who grows up in Barrington has fond memories of the beautiful place that it is,â explains Barrington Hillsâs Jessica Green. âAs an adult returning to Barrington, the beauty is appreciated and seen through a different lens.
Having children makes preserving the future of these open spaces even more meaningful for me.â
At the request of her childhood friend and Barrington Area Conservation Trust (BACT) board member Meghan Norton, Green is co-chairing the organizationâs annual fundraiser Concert for Conservation with Norton on August 27.
The mission of Barrington Area Conservation Trust is to preserve the communityâs rare and exceptional open spaces for current and future generations. They are able to achieve this through the generous support of individual members, family foundations, and business organizations.
Since itâs inception in 2001, BACT has preserved in perpetuity nearly 500 acres of land, primarily through conservation easements, with the goal of preserving 1,000 acres by the year 2020. In addition, BACT promotes conservation practices to area residents, including a very successful new high school [email protected] program that immerses students in hands-on conservation through classroom programming, after-school volunteer workdays, summer internships, and other special events geared toward fostering future environmental stewards.
âMy mom was a founding donor of BACT,â says Green of her mother Kimberly Duchossois. âShe has been talking about the work of the trust for years, and now that my family and I have returned, I love being a part of it. We recognize it is now our responsibility to continue Barringtonâs open-land legacy for future generations.â
Greenâs grandparents Richard and Beverly Duchossois settled here in the late 1960s so that their family could enjoy the countryside of the Barrington Hills farm now known as Hill âN Dale. Nortonâs parents, Stuart and Bette Bilton, chose Barrington as a peaceful place to raise their young growing family in the late 1970s.
âWe are here because of our members and because of the support of families in the area,â says Lisa Woolford, executive director for the Barrington Area Conservation Trust.
âWe just closed on a very important conservation easement with a resident in Barrington Hills, and have three additional projects in discussion with other landowners. Itâs great to have so many projects going on at one time for the greater good of our area.â
According to Woolford, there are two primary ways people can preserve their land. They can donate it or they can permanently protect their land with a legal tool called a conservation easement. âWith the easement,â Woolford explains, âyou still own your land but you put a legal conservation easement on it that will preserve it forever, regardless of who owns it. Once an easement is in place, the land cannot be developed. This is a way for private landowners to participate in conservation in a different way. Our largest easement is currently 400 acres.â
In addition to the land conservation that is achieved through an easement, there are also benefits to the landowner which include an income tax deduction, a reduction in property taxes, and a reduction in the estate tax rate.
Nortonâs parentsâ easement was the first one that Woolford brokered as director at BACT.
Woolford encourages all residents to consider volunteering at BACT. âPeople can choose to work outside and help with restoration of the land, work in the office, or help with a special event,â she says. âWe are building a powerful volunteer forceâespecially with our high school studentsâwhich makes our work possible.â
As a volunteer, Norton agrees. âIt brings me so much joy to share all that I loved about growing up in Barrington with my own children,â says Norton with a smile. âEvery morning we start our day by walking down to Flint Creek to see what is happening there. I want to make sure that my childrenâs children have the same opportunities.â
The Barrington Area Conservation Trustâs Concert for Conservationâspearheaded by BACTâs longtime Social Committee Chair and Barrington Hillsâs resident Matt Vondraâis a family friendly, outdoor, live music event held this year at the Galvin Estate, Rolling Oaks Farm, on August 27 from 3 to 7 p.m. The concert will feature the music stylings of local musican Pat McKillen, as well as land appreciation experiential opportunities that will be available for auction. Children, grandchildren, friends, and family are encouraged to purchase tickets for a fabulous day of live music, community, conservation, and celebration on the land BACT is working to protect.
âOur boys are very conscious of the importance of native habitats and growing oneâs own food,â Green explains. âIf they are fluent in this understanding now, weâre hopeful this will inspire them to be stewards of the land when they are grown.â
For more information or to purchase tickets to the Concert forÂ Conservation, visit bactrust.org.