Mission / History

 Our Mission

Barrington Area Conservation Trust preserves our community’s rare and exceptional open spaces for current and future generations.  BACT permanently preserves open spaces through conservation easements and land donations, restores natural habitats and inspires conservation stewards. Our outreach engages homeowners, businesses and schools through education, consultation and hand-on opportunities. We achieve our goals through the generous support of individuals, family foundations and business organizations that embrace our vision of a sustainable, beautiful environment. Together, our efforts make a difference!



History of Barrington Area Conservation Trust



Barrington Hills Conservation Trust (later renamed Barrington Area Conservation Trust to address conservation needs throughout the Barrington communities) is founded by Mary Bradford-White to preserve the open space, rural character, and scenic, recreational, historic, and natural resources of the Barrington communities through advocacy, education and promotion of responsible land stewardship.


BACT closes on the largest permanent land preservation easement in the state of Illinois of over 400+ acres.


BACT is awarded the prestigious Garfield Farm Award for accomplishments in preserving agricultural lands.


BACT receives a grant from the McGraw Foundation to create and publicize the Conservation Buyer program and started the Save our Countryside Program.


BACT rolls out the Heritage Corridor Program to ensure that the rural and scenic character of our residential roads will be preserved.


Jenese Busch donates a beautiful wooded ravine to BACT and names it in honor of her father Jack David Mondschine.


BACT receives a grant from the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency to implement a series of watershed educational programs as well as a grant from the Village of North Barrington to publicize and implement North Barrington’s action items within the Flint Creek Watershed Plan.


BACT protects its first Heritage Corridor along Old Sutton Road from Lake-Cook Road to Donlea by purchasing Pederson Preserve using funds granted by Freddie Pederson.


BACT receives a valuable donation from the Smith family of important wildlife and bird habitat adjacent to the Spring Lake area of Spring Creek Forest Preserve named The Brother’s Preserve. BACT also secures easements that add to BACT’s goal of projecting scenic roads and vistas of the community. BACT hosts its first Earth Day Celebration in Pederson Preserve and initiates its Conservation@Home program to offer consultations with homeowners on how to make their yards more environmentally friendly.

Pederson Preserve, a 5.6-acre parcel of land adjacent to Flint Creek at the southwest corner of Lake-Cook and Hart Roads across from Barrington High School is acquired. Funds were provided by a generous grant from Frederica “Freddie” Smith Pederson and BACT’s “Save Our Countryside” Fund to purchase the property. The property is named the “Pederson Preserve” in honor of Freddie’s late husband, Keith Pederson, who was a distinguished Barrington citizen.


BACT receives a $100,000 grant from the Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation to further its mission of preserving critical land parcels. In another landmark project, BACT works with Cuba Township, the Village of Tower Lakes and Citizens for Conservation to provide funding for the government bodies to purchase a 15.5 acre parcel in Tower Lakes known as Barclay’s Woods. The Barclay’s Woods property is placed in easement with BACT to preserve its valuable natural features. BACT also adds a rare gravel hill prairie to its easements and furthers its Heritage Corridor program by securing easements that protect Brinker Road, Ridge Road and County Line Road. BACT also forms the Tower Lakes Drain Watershed Partnership as part of its efforts to protect wetlands and address concerns about water quality. In addition, BACT hosts a Great Oaks Contest recognizing the caretakers of the valuable remaining oak trees.


Barrington High School’s Leo Club, Green Team, National Honor Society, Horticulture and Environmental Science Programs help to install native wetland plants cultivated by Barrington High School’s horticulture classes at Pederson Preserve on Earth Day.


BACT partners with the Barrington High School to create a comprehensive Conservation Leadership Project (CLP), which would later be known as Conservation@School. This program provides students the opportunity to be engaged in the environment through a variety of experiences including classroom programing and hands-on field work. In September of 2014, the Illinois Conservation Foundation inducted BACT’s founding board member, Betsy Bramsen, into its Hall of Fame for her decades of work for conservation and natural resources.


Steve and Mary Smith make a significant 12-acre land donation to BACT and name it Far Field. The area had once been an oak savanna and BACT began work to restore the field to its native glory.


BACT launches a campaign to protect the monarch butterfly with the receipt of a grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. Through this project, BACT works with other land conservation organizations as well as schools and homeowners to restore habitat for this important pollinator. BACT also creates a youth board named “Teens4Greens” to actively engage the next generation of environmental stewards in addition to BACT’s ongoing efforts with students through Conservation@School. In the last quarter of 2016, BACT completes the important Cressey Easement protecting a portion of Spring Creek and receives the donation of Katie’s Marsh from Scot and Tiffany Thomas featuring wetlands and a stretch of Flint Creek.


The Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation provide grant funding to support BACT’s efforts to restore Pederson Preserve and to create native pollinator habitats. Throughout the year BACT, works with over 500 students through presentations and hands-on work, including the installation of a beautiful native garden at the front of Barrington High School. BACT pursues a community wide education campaign on the plight of the monarch resulting in the creation of 55 monarch gardens in the community. BACT also partners with the Field Museum to assess monarch habitats in the community. In December of 2017, BACT receives The Garden Club of America’s Conservation Commendation from The Garden Club of Barrington. The prestigious Club Conservation Commendation was awarded to BACT from The Garden Club of America presented by the Garden Club of Barrington.


BACT becomes a partner in the Chicago Region Trees Initiative, a collaboration with the Morton Arboretum to educate on the issues facing trees and the steps toward improving the area’s forests. BACT collaborates with scientists from the Morton Arboretum and the Field Museum on initiatives that are vital to healthy ecosystems within our region. These include the Chicago Region Trees Initiative and Urban Monarch Conservation Program.


BACT restructures the organization to having two Co-Executive Directors. BACT hosts its first Celtic themed fundraiser, Tartans for the Trust at the Barrington Hills Park District. BACT partners with the Morton Arboretum and Chicago Region Trees Initiative to create Heathy Hedges and Healthy Home brochures.

The Oberweiler Foundation provides funding to further the experiences for teens through the Future Environmental Stewards Community Education Project offering students the opportunity to participate and learn about wetland, prairie and oak savanna restoration. Through summer internships, Teens4Green, Conservation@School high school programming and volunteer work days, BACT reaches over 1,000 high school students.

Generous grant funding from the Barrington Area Community Foundation facilitates the development of a new interactive website.


BACT offers frequent work days with limited participation due to COVID-19 pandemic, its 6th year for high school summer internship, as well as 5th annual Oaktoberfest. These opportunities provide both physical and mental outlets during the pandemic. More online programming is created.
Conservation Collaboration between Flint Creek Spring Creek Watersheds Partnership, Citizens for Conservation and BACT, through grant funding provided by the Barrington Area Community Foundation, creates a stream bank buffer garden at Pederson Preserve.

Also due to Covid-19, BACT hosts Tartans for the Trust as both live and live streamed event with “watch” parties taking place from all over the country.