Story by Randy Schietzelt, August 2013
We became involved in McHenry County conservation issues through a friend. She and her husband owned a 4 acre property in rural Cary that had been completely naturalized with native plants over many years. When they sold the home, our friend talked to potential buyers to find one that would keep the property natural, and was very excited to find a family that wanted a naturalized yard for their kids to explore. The sale went through, and within six months the entire yard was returned to lawn.
At the time, we owned a small home in Island Lake where we added savanna seed, trilliums, gentians, oaks, and hickories, which earned us many nice compliments on our yard. When the oaks and hickories were 6’ to 8’ tall, we sold our property to a family who stayed two years. The next owners ripped out almost all the vegetation except the lawn. So now there is only a cypress tree and a big, half‐dead weeping willow on the property. It looks terrible, and all of our hard work is gone.
We know, however, that this same fate will not befall our current home. The land we live on and manage for nature today was previously Bill & Ardath Wingate’s 4 acre property on Walkup Road ‐ land that is permanently protected from development by a conservation easement the Wingates donated to TLC in 1992. In fact, the TLC easement that protects the habitat is one factor that attracted us to the property. We do not have to worry that all of our restoration efforts will be destroyed in the future.
We hope that Bill & Ardath would be happy with our stewardship of their home. It is very rewarding to build up a high quality habitat and know that it will remain as a legacy long after we are gone.
For this reason we have included TLC in our wills, because the organization needs funds to protect properties that have easements like ours forever. The organization will make sure the conservation values of our property ‐ and others ‐ are not compromised. A strong financial footing for TLC will mean that our legacy can go on. Plus, future generations in McHenry County will have the same opportunities to enjoy nature on these properties, just as we have.
If you would like more information about ways to support TLC through your will or living trust, please visit our website, or call Lisa at 815‐337‐9502. If you have already included TLC in your estate plan, please let us know so that we can thank you during your lifetime.