a garden with a Conservation@Home sign

Through the Conservation@Home program, residents of Cook County are encouraged to adopt “Forest Preserves Friendly” practices while providing wildlife and native plant habitat in residential, school and workplace gardens.

On this page:

Program Overview

Residents, schools, churches and business can earn a Conservation@Home certification and sign for their yard by filling out an application, meeting easy-to-follow criteria, and inviting a Conservation@Home evaluator to their yard for an evaluation. The criteria include:

  • Property features native plants
  • Owner is actively working on the removal of invasive species
  • Plantings and management practices attract wildlife
  • Water conservation practiced with rain barrels or rain gardens
  • Minimal use of chemicals and/or use of organic fertilizers

Typically landowners who plant native flowers, grasses, shrubs and trees see an increase of colorful birds and butterflies in their yards. These native plantings also provide an array of colors and dimension to a garden and will tolerate droughts, lessening the need to water.

Public programs will be offered throughout the Forest Preserves that provide opportunities for people to learn about the program and how simple efforts benefit native plants and animals.

Conservation@Home is a program of The Conservation Foundation and coordinated in partnership with University of Illinois Extension. Conservation@Home is available in the Barrington area through a partnership with the Barrington Area Conservation Trust.

Have Your Land Evaluated

For a one-time fee of $50, certified residents, schools, churches and business will receive a Conservation@Home sign to post on their property, receive early notifications of upcoming Conservation@Home programs in the Forest Preserves, as well as a seasonal newsletter.

Fee waivers are available for those with financial need.


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