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Conservation@Home: Making a Difference, One Yard at a Time

Encourage others, save the monarchs and oaks…can one homeowner do these things? YES! The Land Conservancy’s Conservation@Home  (C@H) program brings together the stories of local homeowners turned environmental champions, such as the Dieckhoff family and their desire to educate others about the benefits of sustainable living.

PatTerry editPat & Terry Dieckhoff’s journey to a natural yard began 28 years ago when they moved into their Crystal Lake home and wanted to mow less lawn. Terry, a retired teacher, began attending local yard walks and using native plants.  He was so encouraged by the beauty of the plants and wildlife that gradually the gardens expanded.  They now have a native plant rain garden which has been so efficient that it has lessened the activity of their sump pump.  They also use five rain barrels, recycle kitchen scraps with a compost pile, planted a bur oak for Pat’s 50th birthday, and have ten solar panels on their roof. They’re not content with simply employing these practices on their own property.  They want to encourage and educate others on actions they can take as well.  Their property is part of local yard walks and they are certified through TLC’s C@H program.  They strategically placed their C@H sign to face a public park, and speak with interested people who notice the sign.  They even featured the C@H program at their church’s Green Living Fair.

This is one example of a local homeowner and the impact that a small yard can make.  Water conservation, native plants, pollinator habitat, and minimizing chemical usage are the basic ideas of the C@H program. Interested?

Swallowtail on purple coneflower editClick here to look at our checklist of ideas and then set up a site visit, email Sarah at [email protected].  If you choose to become certified, you’ll receive a yard sign to help educate others about the program, a monthly e-newsletter with seasonal tips, and discounts.  If you’re not a TLC member, the fee includes a one-year membership.                                          
Swallowtail butterfuly on purple coneflower.
Photo courtesy of Terry Dieckhoff.