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Conservation@Home: Local homes, businesses adapt property to be conservation-friendly

August was a special month for The Conservation Foundation’s Conservation@Home and Conservation@Work programs in Kendall County. We surpassed 100 certified sites in the county!

The Conservation Foundation has helped hundreds of property owners in northeastern Illinois turn their property, big or small, into water-conserving habitats for pollinators and wildlife with the beauty of native plants and working to keep nature in balance through the Conservation@Home and Conservation@Work programs. Now is a good time to have your home or business certified in the program.

Although having home landscapes be conservation-friendly is important, some of the largest landholders are businesses, schools, local governments and churches, whose properties offer a tremendous opportunity to impact water quality, habitat and wildlife. These sites can be certified in the Conservation@Work program. Several such entities have recently been recognized for their work in Kendall County, in addition to the numerous homes.

New Kendall County Conservation@Work certified sites include Oswego ACE Hardware for their planters with monarch butterfly milkweed plantings; Oswegoland Park District for multiple sites with naturalized stormwater management, native plantings and natural areas; University of Illinois Extension in Yorkville for their native planting and composting demonstration site; and Scout Sam Golinski’s Eagle Scout project to plant monarch butterfly and native plant garden plots at Lyon Historical Farm near Yorkville.

These practices not only help preserve and restore the natural environment, but they can help reduce maintenance costs while providing shelter for beneficial wildlife and beautiful outdoor spaces to enhance employee and customer satisfaction. Native perennials offer a deep root system that improves water infiltration into the soil, reducing wasteful stormwater runoff and also reducing the amount of irrigation needed. The deep root systems also help aerate the soil, create pathways for beneficial insects and add organic matter. Many of the flowering plants are also excellent sources of food and habitat for our native pollinator insects.

Homeowners and businesses that are certified receive a Conservation@Home or @Work yard sign, identifying the property as a conservation-minded landscape. Whether it’s creating a butterfly or rain garden with native plants, capturing stormwater in a rain barrel, or removing invasive vegetation, every little action we accomplish on our own property works toward the greater goal of creating healthy landscapes for people and wildlife.

For more information about Conservation@Home or Conservation@Work programs, phone 630-553-0687, ext. 204, or visit the website theconservationfoundation.org.

• John Church is the Kendall County program director at The Conservation Foundation.

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