Archive for the ‘FPDCC’ Category


Fifty to 60 years ago, when today’s older farmers were growing up, there were many more bobolinks, eastern meadowlarks and Henslow’s sparrows in northern Illinois.

The disappearance of pastureland and the decline in hay fields accounts for the sharp decline in the grassland bird populations.

John Strauser, a farm researcher, studied livestock grazing when he was in graduate school at the University of Illinois. Strauser told The Center Square that grazing cattle and dairy herds on pastureland restores habitat that the birds need.

“Cattle grazing and dairy-cow pasturing create desirable habitat conditions for various kinds of birds,” Strauser said in his graduate school study Returning Marginal Lands to Forage Production.

Birds need a complex landscape that has short grasses and long grasses and different species and different fauna and flora, Strauser said.

Farmers are aware of the disappearing numbers of birds, and they are enthusiastic about doing what they can, he said. Strauser has found that farmers are open to discussing the benefits of grazing and foraging.

Read more here.

Related:Bison grazing for grassland bird habitat,” “Grant helps fund Bison grazing area upgrades

Editorial note: Would Horizon Farm be a suitable candidate for populating a small quantity of bison? 

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Horizon Farm Master Plan: Your Feedback is Appreciated

The Park District will host a meeting with the Cook County Forest Preserve District to discuss a Master Plan for the Horizon Farm property. The public is encouraged to attend in person or via Zoom (check back here for a link to the meeting.) Meeting Date: Feb. 8th, at 7:00 p.m.  Meeting Location:  361 Bateman Rd. Barriington [sic] Hills, IL, at the Park District’s Riding Center Meeting Room.”

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Orland Grasslands

Orland Grassland’s 900 acres of open prairie provide rare grassland birds needed habitat. Once farmland, this complex has been restored to prairie, wetlands, open ponds, oak savannas, shrublands and woodlands. Photo by: Chris Gill

In this Issue:

  • Commit to a Day of Service on MLK, Jr. Day
  • Horizon Farm Fully Opens for Exploration
  • Eight Forest Preserves Police Recruits Graduate Police Training Academy
  • Latest News: Consider Doing Business with the Forest Preserves, Attend 2023 Wild Things Conference, Forest Preserve Foundation Offers Alternate Way to Give Back, Five Fun Facts about Eastern Milk Snakes
  • Upcoming Events
  • Volunteer Opportunities

Learn more here.

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The Barrington Hills Park District Board will hold their regular monthly meeting this evening in person and via Zoom at 7:00 PM. Their agenda reads as follows:

  1. Call To Order
  2. Recognition Of Commissioners
  3. Recognition Of Visitors
  4. Approval Of The December 2022 Park Board Meeting Minutes
  5. Approval Of The December 2022 Treasurer’s Report
  6. Advisory Committee Report
  7. Facility Rental Requests
  8. Trainer Registrations
  9. Facility Maintenance
  10. Action To Be Taken On Discussed Items
  11. Old/New Business
  12. Adjournment

In other words, pure boilerplate. Not even a heads up on the public hearing scheduled next month. However, the way they operate, practically anything can be discussed and voted upon tonight.

A copy of their agenda can be viewed here. Instructions for accessing the meeting remotely can be found here.

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Public can enjoy miles of trails for walking, biking, equestrian use and more

The Forest Preserves of Cook County has fully opened Horizon Farm preserve in Barrington Hills for public use, including the introduction of several official trails available for pedestrian, biking and equestrian use. In 2023, the Forest Preserves will continue to gather input and present a long-term comprehensive plan for the nearly 400-acre site.

The northernmost section of Horizon Farm, approximately 40 percent of the property, has been open to visitors since November 2021. Since gaining full possession of Horizon Farm in 2019, the Forest Preserves has created new trails and addressed maintenance and safety issues for public use, including demolition of more than 20 buildings that were beyond their useful life—in some cases in deep disrepair.

“Every decade for more than 100 years, the Forest Preserves of Cook County has added to its holdings of public lands that are a home for native plants and wildlife and a resource for the people of Cook County. We are pleased to announce that now, the public can fully explore Horizon Farm. Our long-term plans for the site are still a work in progress, but now visitors can go further and do more,” said Arnold Randall, General Superintendent of the Forest Preserves of Cook County

A former equestrian estate, the Horizon Farm property is the largest purchase of land by the Forest Preserves since 1968. The site features meadows, wetlands and small streams, as well as open habitat for grassland birds. As of December 30, 2022, Horizon Farm is available sunrise to sunset for activities like hiking, birdwatching, photography, horseback riding and cross-country skiing.

In addition to opening the southern section of the property, the December 30 opening includes a new 1.2-mile loop trail and a spur connection to the Riding Club of Barrington Hills trail to the west. With the introduction of official Forest Preserves trails, equestrian use is now allowed in Horizon Farm. Some segments of the site will occasionally be closed for further trail improvements in 2023. The buildings that currently remain on the property include a garage for Forest Preserves maintenance needs, a barn at the main parking lot and a small corn crib that was once used as an office by a previous owner.

The Forest Preserves process to create a master plan for Horizon Farm will reconvene with key stakeholders in early 2023 with the goal of completing a draft for presentation to the public in the summer of 2023. The master plan will include plans for the remaining facilities on the site and a completed trail system, as well as strategies for investment in visitor amenities, promotion of ecological restoration efforts, and how to expand and deepen partnerships with local stakeholders.


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BHPD New Masthead

The Barrington Hills Park District Advisory Committee meets this evening at 7PM. The primary topic of discussion is, “Explore possibility of a better time for Riding Club on weekends (as opposed to?).”

A copy of their agenda can be viewed here.  Instructions for attending the meeting via Zoom can be found here.

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Crabtree New Years

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2023 Calendar

The Forest Preserves 2023 Wall Calendar is now available

In this Issue:

  • Increasing Connections to Nature: Trickster Cultural Center and the Forest Preserves
  • 2023 Wall Calendars Now Available
  • New Position Paper on Diversity and Inclusion
  • Latest News: New Funding, Amendments Accepted for FY 2023 Budget; Five Fun Facts about Chipmunks; Year-end Donations to the Forest Preserve Foundation Help Sustain the Preserves You Love; Watch Social Media for Winter Pop-up Programs
  • Upcoming Events
  • Volunteer Opportunities

Click here to view the latest.

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The Barrington Hills Park District Board will hold their regular monthly meeting this evening in person and via Zoom at 7:00 PM. A copy of their agenda can be viewed here. Instructions for accessing the meeting remotely can be found here.

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