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A Brief History of TLC

In 1988 it became apparent that there was a need for a regional “land trust”- an organization that would work with private landowners to help them preserve their property with donated conservation easements. Prior to that time, conservation easements were held by the McHenry County Conservation District (MCCD), a unit of local government, but as MCCD’s land holdings grew, they felt it was a better use of their resources to acquire and manage land for public use.

A committee was formed by members of the McHenry County Defenders for the purpose of creating this local land trust. In September 1991, The Land Foundation of McHenry County (LFMC) was born and it was officially recognized as a 501(c)(3) not for profit organization by the IRS. By August of 2002, LFMC had accepted 12 conservation easements that together preserved 149 acres of land.

Lisa Haderlein
A new full-time executive director had just started, and was told the group had funds in the bank to pay her salary for 6 months. There was a lot of work do to, as LFMC had 45 paying members, several potential conservation easements, and one possible land donation pending. As LFMC grew, it was learning how to face the challenges that were presented to the organization. Conservation values of easements had to be protected, potential land protection projects had to be reviewed, and membership and volunteers had to be sustained. LFMC had agreed to participate in a capacity building project for Chicago area land trusts through the Land Trust Alliance, but the project was just getting underway.

In 2003, LFMC officially changed its name to The Land Conservancy of McHenry County (TLC) to reduce confusion with other local organizations. That same year, TLC purchased property for the first time – a 6.7 acre sedge meadow that was on the county’s natural area inventory.

In 2004, TLC hired a second full-time staff person as land protection specialist, and in 2005 the organization hired a part-time administrative and membership assistant.

By the end of 2007, TLC had preserved over 1,000 acres of natural, agricultural and scenic land, which included 100 acres of land owned outright.

In 2021, TLC is celebrating its 30th anniversary and has preserved over 2,800 acres for life in McHenry County.

TLC continues to grow with the help of our members, volunteers and friends, protecting and restoring land and precious resources county wide!