Faces of Conservation@Home
Everyday residents making a difference in your community
Anne Basten, McHenry
Anne Basten lives on a 2/3-acre C@H certified property in McHenry near Moraine Hills State Park. Over the last 35 years, she has been incorporating many sustainable elements into her property, from solar panels to easily incorporated paths of gravel under her gutters, draining her stormwater runoff into areas covered in native plants. She loves the wildlife she sees, from wood ducks using the nest boxes to bats and foxes as well. She advises those just starting to start small and be patient, enjoying the spreading of native plants each year and the discoveries that come along with it. Thanks for your participation and contributions to the ecological health of McHenry County, Anne!
Pat Sullivan-Schroyer, McHenry
Meet Pat Sullivan-Schroyer, who lives on a 0.875-acre Conservation@Home certified property in McHenry. When she first bought the property in 1989, the only native wildflower present was mayapple. Thanks to her consistent hard work and removal of invasive species, there are now over 200 native species found on her property! She enjoys sharing native plants and knowledge with others and working with the Wildflower Propagation and Preservation Committee. Her advice to others just starting out is to start small, but definitely start! Visit restored natural areas, ask for help, and involve children if you have them, because, "It is for them and all those who come after that we do this." You're an inspiration, Pat!
Pat and Terry Dieckhoff, Crystal Lake
Pat & Terry's journey to a natural yard began 28 years ago when they moved into their Crystal Lake home and wanted to mow less lawn. Terry, a retired teacher, began attending local yard walks and using native plants. He was so encouraged by the beauty of the plants and wildlife that gradually the gardens expanded. They now have a native plant rain garden which has been so efficient that it has lessened the activity of their sump pump. They also use five rain barrels, recycle kitchen scraps with a compost pile, planted a bur oak for Pat's 50th birthday, and have ten solar panels on their roof. They're not content with simply employing these practices on their own property. They want to encourage and educate others on actions they can take as well. Their property is part of local yard walks and they are certified through TLC's C@H program. They strategically placed their C@H sign to face a public park, and speak with interested people who notice the sign. They even featured the C@H program at their church's Green Living Fair.
Michael Hallisy, Woodstock
Michael's property is located near the center of Woodstock, yet he has created a haven for pollinators and birds. He planted native plants around his home and now there are native bees, insects and birds living there. Mike put in a bench near the sidewalk for people to stop and sit awhile to look at the flowering native plants and watch and listen to the actions of the bees, wasps, flies and dragonflies zooming around the plants.
Carol Rice, Barrington
Meet Carol Rice, who has lived at her 5-acre property in Barrington for 29 years. Carol has an incredible amount of plant and animal diversity present in her oak savanna and prairie habitats. The savanna was her first restoration project, and has 6 species of oaks, 2 species of hickories, 10 species of ferns, 20 species of sedges, and many understory and shrub species in addition to the spring and summer wildflowers and grasses. Every year they try to remove invasive plant species, and continuously pull out lilies of the valley. They try to plant several new trees and shrubs each year. The prairie is a more recent project and is flourishing. She enjoys spreading the word about conservation to other homeowners, which is something that attracted her to the Conservation@Home program. She advises those new to sustainable efforts to watch for an increase in the numbers of species on your property as the years go by and appreciate the improved health of the land. She is also heavily involved with the WPPC’s “Natural Garden in Your Yard” mentoring program, so be sure to check out their website if you’re not familiar with this fantastic local program (www.thewppc.org).
Linda and Terry Gurgone, Woodstock
Meet Linda and Terry Gurgone, who have owned their 3.15-acre property in Woodstock for 24 years. Having a mix of prairie, woodland, and pond habitats allows for abundant biodiversity. Linda chronicles and photographs her property’s activities on her website, Woodstock Natural Yard at https://sites.google.com/site/woodstocknaturalyard/. The couple is motivated by the holistic feel they get when observing the ecological connections of their site, from the plants to all forms of wildlife that are supported by their restoration efforts. They look forward to experimenting with a plot of eco-grass and building a worm-composting farm. They enjoy spreading the word about conservation possibilities to other homeowners and advise those new to sustainable efforts to start at the edges of their property and move towards the center. Being an environmental steward of your land will make a difference, no matter the size of your property!
April Williams, Algonquin
April Williams' property is located in a subdivision of Algonquin. She provides native plants for food and two hives under apple trees for bees. April provides a diversity of native trees, shrubs, grasses and plants for the bees and other wildlife. She has seen deer, goldfinches, a coyote, a fox, rabbits, squirrels, butterflies and dragonflies at her residence.