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Archive for the ‘Horizon Farm’ Category

Barn

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.

Source

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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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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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SECURITY

The Barrington Hills Park District Advisory Committee meets this evening at 7PM.  Some of the topics on their agenda include:

  • Explore request fo motion activated flood lights around exterior of RC – suggestion for solar powered
  • Explore Request for security camera outside: parking lot, tractor shed, stall aisles, outdoor arenas. mounted as high as possible. *Signs* that call out video surveillance could be a deterrent.
  • Explore request for Panic alarm suggested: at either end of barn aisle, two in the arena. A phone with direct line to 911 would be an alternative, and
  • Explore possibility of a better time for Riding Club on weekend

A copy of their agenda can be viewed here.  Instructions for attending the meeting via Zoom can be found 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. Some of the topics on their agenda include:

  • 2023 Tax Levy Ordinance, and
  • Large Equipment To Purchase

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

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Horizons-Farm-blog

The Forest Preserve District of Cook County, long-maligned by a reputation for mismanagement and politically motivated hiring, is taking a gamble on the November ballot: It’s asking voters to hike their own property taxes to give the district an annual budget boost of $40 million.

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle and her hand-picked Superintendent Arnold Randall unveiled a revamp of the district in 2014, but a tax hike was deemed a political non-starter after decades of damaging headlines. Most focused on sweeping patronage accusations (later curbed by court monitoring), but also neglect and financial mismanagement as well as smaller-scale scandals, such as an aquatic center where workers pocketed payments and gave minors alcohol.

A referendum question for voters across the county will ask their permission for a 0.025% increase above the current state-mandated Property Tax Extension Limitation Law cap for the district, bringing the limit to 0.076%.

What does it mean for your bill? Right now, the owner of a median-priced home pays $36 to $47 in property taxes per year to the district. If the referendum passes, the increase for an average homeowner would be less than $20 a year, or about $1.50 per month, according to the district.

The revenues are not yet earmarked, but FPDCC Chief Financial Officer Stephen Hughes told the Tribune its current plans are to spend roughly $7.3 million to buy more property, $6 million for facility maintenance, $6.3 million for land restoration and $9.7 million for pension payments. The Chicago Botanic Garden in Glencoe and Brookfield Zoo, which both stand on FPDCC land, would get $2.4 million and $4 million, respectively, for capital maintenance.

Even the often tax-averse Civic Federation is in support of a “yes” vote on the referendum. President Laurence Msall is among advocates who argue the district has earned the right to ask for the extra cash after cleaning up its act. A right-sized workforce, cuts in expenditures and improvements in planning are all signs of improved management and oversight.

“But important to this referendum is that the Forest Preserves has a reasonable plan that has been vetted” by outside groups, Msall said.

More here.

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