Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Friends of Forest Preserves’ Category

RCBH

The Riding Club of Barrington Hills (RCBH) recently released their April newsletter.  Topics covered this month include:

  • State of the trails
  • Saturday morning trail rides
  • 4th of July parade
  • What’s happening at the Park District, and
  • Forest Preserve

A copy of the RCBH newsletter can be viewed and downloaded here.

Read Full Post »

FPDCC

“The Forest Preserve District of Cook County made a preliminary presentation at the Barrington Hills Park District’s January meeting regarding Horizon Farms.”

The January 12th, 2022, presentation can be viewed and downloaded here.

Read Full Post »

Bison

The goal of the bison grazing partnership is to utilize bison as another tool to manage prairie and grassland habitat for the benefit of breeding birds and other wildlife. The District is committed to advancing its conservation goals through data-driven, conservation-oriented farm management using practices that protect soil and water resources, conserve wildlife habitat, and regenerate ecological function. We continue to seek innovative ways to accomplish these goals through new partnerships.

Bison are a native species that historically played a keystone role in the ecology of prairies and grasslands, and they are an excellent management tool for prairie ecosystems. They help keep the balance of habitat structure and species composition of the prairie. Their grazing and wallowing behavior creates a mosaic of microhabitats for grassland birds, pollinators, and other wildlife. Bison are also more selective in their grazing habits, which promotes a more diverse plant community.  It is important to the prairie habitat to have grazers part of the land management.  The bison are doing the work of managing the prairie, and in a far more natural and beneficial way for wildlife.

In 2021, the Conservation District entered into a 15-year lease agreement on 180 acres of pastureland at Pleasant Valley Conservation Area in Woodstock to Ruhter Bison LLC  to raise young bison (age 1-3 year-old animals). Liberty Prairie Foundation was instrumental in finding and connecting the two entities, which developed into a successful match for the District to begin a bison grassland grazing program.  The Conservation District is using a low stocking rate and rotating the herd to manage the habitat. Ruhter Bison is dedicated to wildlife conservation and protecting natural resources.

“The bison will do the work of managing the prairie in a far more natural and beneficial way for wildlife,” said Brad Woodson Manager of Natural Resources, McHenry County Conservation District. “It is so important to prairie habitat to have grazers as another restoration tool in land management. Grazers like elk, deer or bison are essential to enhancing the diversity of a grassland habitat – they help keep the balance of habitat structure and species composition of the prairie.
We are looking forward to seeing the result!”

“When used in conjunction with prescribed burns, to manage grassland habitat, bison are a native species that historically played a keystone role in the ecology of prairies and grasslands. Their grazing and wallowing behavior creates a mosaic of microhabitats for birds, pollinators, small mammals, and other wildlife,” stated Brenna Ness Agricultural Ecologist, McHenry County Conservation District.

Grassland bison grazing is something McHenry County Conservation District has looked at establishing for many years, but there were few opportunities where the conditions were just right. The opportunity presented itself when the previous tenant, who utilized the land as a combination of agriculture and cattle, no longer wished to re-new their farm lease.

Read the full McHenry County Conservation District article here, watch their video and ask yourselves how great it would be to replicate this initiative in a portion of Horizon Farm?

Read Full Post »

RCBH

The Riding Club of Barrington Hills has released their August, 2021 newsletter.  A section includes definitions of three major types of riding trails in the Village and Cook County as:

  • Trails on private property
  • Village deeded equestrian trails, and
  • Forest Preserve trails

A copy of their newsletter can be viewed and downloaded here.

Read Full Post »

The Village Equestrian Commission will meet for the first time this year at 6:30 PM at Village Hall. A copy of their agenda and minutes from their last meeting on August 13, 2019 can be viewed and downloaded here.

Read Full Post »

Our Village Board of Trustees meets this evening, and one of the topics on their agenda is the,Open Burning Ordinance.” We have the sneaking suspicion this might me the first of many occasions this subject will appear in their and other’s agendas.

Many residents have shared their thoughts and frustrations on this ordinance since it was first passed around the turn of the century. It rarely comes up in public discussion even though open burning of “bonfires” is a daily occurrence somewhere in Barrington Hills.

Since it will be discussed tonight, here are some of our collective thoughts on what we see as the two primary components of contention of the ordinance:

Bonfire size:

The code states, “A bonfire shall not be more than 5 ft X 5 ft X 5 ft in dimension.”

Our experience is that few residents gather a bonfire for the purposes of roasting weenies and s’mores. When tree limbs and other debris are stacked on their five-acre property, can it be assumed that residents are following code or is it more likely that their bonfires are “illegal” due to the size?

Clearly there needs to be limits to the limits of the burn pile (our technical term), but the current limits are too low and unrealistic in most cases.

Hours and duration burning is allowed:

No bonfire shall be started or maintained other than between the hours of 10:00 AM. to 10:00 PM and for a maximum duration of 3 hours per day:

Experience shows winds are almost always calmest in the early morning and late evening hours. On any given day, by 7:00 – 8:00 AM, if you cannot see some neighborhoods with smoke rising, you will likely smell it some days.

Then, depending on the season, by 6:00 PM people are outdoors enjoying their property from barbecues to bocce, and they likely do not appreciate the smell of smoke other than that from their own grills. Also, in the spring and fall, who does not want to open their windows for fresh, cool air?

Summarizing, when it comes to size and time/duration of bonfires, although in most cases inadvertently, residents are breaking the law. If the codes are deemed acceptable, they should be enforced. If not, the need to be amended.

The Board of Trustees meeting is at 6:30, and a link to the remote proceedings can be accessed here.

Read Full Post »

Cook County Commissioner Kevin B. Morrison

Cook County Commissioner Kevin B. Morrison and State Rep. Michelle Mussman will host a COVID-19 virtual town hall at noon Friday to discuss the county and state’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the resources available to residents and businesses.

The meeting will be live streamed on their Facebook pages and abit.ly/2VppIC1. Residents can submit questions beforehand to District15@cookcountyil.gov.

Morrison’s 15th District includes Barrington Township, and his contact information can be found here. He is a voting member of the Forest Preserve District Board which oversees Crabtree Nature Center, Horizon Farm and Spring Lake preserves.

Read Full Post »

Get outside and walk with us!

Starting at Penny Road Pond in Spring Creek Forest Preserve, Friends of the Forest Preserve staff and local land managers will lead our group through one of Cook County’s most unique grassland preserves. The walk will include information about native plants and wildlife, local hiking opportunities, a brief stop to collect wildflower seeds, and all the beauty of an Illinois prairie!

This walk is approximately 2.5 miles and begins at noon, October 19th. While not a very difficult trip, it will involve a hill and mowed grass trails. Please be prepared with sturdy footwear, long pants, and water bottles.

To register click here, or for more information, please contact Peter Whitney at peter@fotfp.org.

Read Full Post »

Screen Shot 2018-10-03 at 10.25.25 AM

When Barrington Hills Village President Martin McLaughlin volunteered to participate in a dunk tank during the recent “The Hills are Alive Fall Festival,” he did so with a village police officer in mind.

Shortly after he situated himself in the dunk tank on Sept. 30., youngster Susie Bongiorno hit the target and dunked McLaughlin into the water below.

Proceeds this year from the dunk tank, as well as food and beverage sales during the village’s annual fall community festival, went to an ongoing effort to raise funds for Jeremy Hensler, a police officer in Barrington Hills who recently was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

“(Bongiorno) threw a strike. I coached her on our softball team,” McLaughlin said of the dunk tank experience, adding how an estimated crowd of 600 attended the festival. “We think that’s pretty good attendance for a village with 1,100 homes.”

But the featured element of Barrington Hills’ sixth annual fall festival was supporting Hensler, who also is a member of the Northern Illinois Police Alarm System — a group of suburban police departments in the Chicago area, officials said.

“He was one of our highest-trained, well-qualified officers,” McLaughlin said of Hensler.

Screen Shot 2018-10-03 at 10.25.38 AM

McLaughlin said the Dunk Tank ended up generating about $500 in proceeds. Organizers also collected donations through vendors’ food and beverage sales at the event, he said. Timmerman’s Equestrian Drill Team, of Island Lake, also performed for the festivalgoers.

Other activities included a climbing rock wall, an interactive animal show and a make-your-own ice cream area, organizers said.

The entire Barrington Courier-Review article can be seen here.

Read Full Post »

Recently the Observer published links to some of the websites for candidates in the upcoming April 4th village election. In reviewing those sites, we noticed some glaring omissions and dare we say it – “lack of transparency” about their community involvement and their positions on some of the most important village issues.

Let’s begin with a look at Elaine Ramesh, who is seeking “re-election” as Village Trustee, although she has not been on the Board since 2013. Her choice of words already comes across as a bit deceptive.560_brookdaleopen2

  • EXPERIENCED LEADERSHIP/EXCELLENT RESULTS?  Ramesh’s Facebook page displays her credentials and governmental involvement, obviously focusing on her time as trustee four years ago. Despite the list of “excellent results” and “eye on the bottom line” that she includes, readers will recall that she routinely disregarded input from residents and tended to view issues only from her personal point of view. She rarely spoke up in discussions during Board of Trustees meetings, and members of the Board and audience were routinely surprised by many of her votes, given that she seldom gave any rationale for her decisions. Ramesh’s lack of explanations did a disservice to both her constituents who deserve accountability from their public servants, and to her fellow board members, whose opinions on various topics might have been swayed if she had offered her personal insights publically. It is because of this reticence that some have labeled her “the Silent One”.
  • “I’M NOT RUNNING ON ANY PLATFORM”  “Basically, I’m not running on any platform, but just offering myself as a volunteer to serve my community,” Ramesh said of her current campaign. (Barrington Courier Review March 8, 2017)  As we have previously stated in our article Ramesh repeat? We hope not, Elaine seems to have intentionally omitted mention of her extensive involvement in the equestrian community, instead focusing on her membership and support of conservation groups. It’s hard to understand why someone who clearly loves horses and the equestrian way of life would omit ANY mention of horses in her campaign. On her campaign site, she shows off her adorable cat and dog, and is pictured jogging in the village or volunteering with the Girl Scouts. But there are no horses, ANYWHERE? Strange. We would call that a lack of transparency.elaine  But Elaine is not just a competitor in hunter/jumper events with her own horses, and isn’t just a member of numerous equestrian organizations (Riding Club of Barrington Hills, American Horse Council, Equine Land Conservation Resource and the United States Equestrian Federation). To be clear, there’s nothing wrong with owning horses and enjoying them – it is a wonderful part of the fabric of our Village. But Elaine Ramesh has held, and currently holds, significant leadership roles in several high profile equestrian groups with very narrow agendas which she is not being forthcoming about. Here’s just a partial list:
    • President of the Riding Club of Barrington Hills, 2015
    • Founder & Chair of the Equestrian Coalition of McHenry County, a regional organization to unite various local equestrian groups to pursue common goals regarding equestrian land use.
    • Past Board Member Illinois Equine Research and Promotion Board, whose mission statement is is to enhance the Illinois equine industry through self-funded programs, projects and activities. http://www.iepb.org/index.html
    • Second Vice President of the Horseman’s Council of Illinois http://www.horsemenscouncil.org/leadership  HorsesFirst_HCIHere’s a graphic from the Spring 2016 issue of the Horsemen’s Council of Illinois Courier newsletter that should give you an idea of their mission statement.
  • COMMUNITY ACTIVISM  We’d also like to remind readers of Elaine’s talk presented to the McHenry County Horse Club in March 2012, entitled “Community Activism — Equestrian Style.”
  • “DEFENDED ESTATE CATEGORY OF ZONING IN McHENRY COUNTY ” We would be remiss if we did not acknowledge Ramesh’s participation in advocating for the inclusion of the Estate Category of Zoning in the McHenry County Unified Development Ordinance and for opposing “conservation design” as the county’s only model for future subdivision development. Those are important elements to help preserve the natural ecology of the county and to help safeguard against dense small-lot housing as being the norm for the county.  But Elaine herself is remiss when she does not also mention her strong defense of the equestrian heritage of McHenry County and her desire for promotion of the equine industry in the county in the same document.

 The Village’s 2010 press release on the topic included Ramesh’s entire submission to McHenry  County, which can be seen here.  We would like readers to pay particular attention to how she signed her remarks.

RameshEquestrienne

…Equestrienne…

Readers will have to judge for themselves if Ramesh is, in her own words “not running on any platform”, only seeking “to help protect our healthy outdoor lifestyle, pastoral viewscapes and heritage”.  Or is she an equestrian activist with a hidden agenda that she doesn’t want voters to know about? We think the facts speak for themselves.

(In case you’re curious to see Elaine’s campaign platform from 2009 when she first ran for trustee, click here to see the PDF.  At that time she said that “she works to help preserve the residents [sic] rights to participate in all equestrian activities”.

 

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: