A message from PSCC President John Sentell…

We are reaching out with urgent concern regarding the advancement of HB5293 in the Illinois House. You may recall that Jen Walling, our colleague at IEC, discussed at the PSCC Annual Meeting how this bill is a serious threat to wildlife, and the legislation had the risk of building momentum in the Illinois legislature. Unfortunately, this bill is moving quickly and the threat of passage is high.

For those of you who may not be aware of the news, HB5293 is a bill being advanced that will remove the requirement for a state permit for incidental takings of federal endangered species (effectively tying us to any federal wildlife rollbacks) and will also add 2 members of the Farm Bureau as permanent seats on the Endangered Species Protection Board. The Farm Bureau has a publicly stated interest in stopping the monarch butterfly from becoming listed, which is likely the impetus behind this.

HB5293 has been moved to third reading in the House. This means that this bill could be called as early as next Tuesday.  It is HIGHLY likely that this bill will pass the House. The roll call is negative from our standpoint, and so we need your help now.

Here’s what you can do:

  1. Contact legislators that represent you or your conservation area ASAP.
  2. Send Jennifer Walling, and your legislators, official science-based letters from your organization providing information on your opposition and why this is so bad.
  3. Send out an action alert to your board and members.
  4. Share on social media.

In addition, if you have any expert knowledge on this bill that you can share with Jen Walling, please do so immediately.  She needs our help.

Attached is a HB5293 fact sheet that is very helpful. PSCC will keep you informed as we hear information. DOWNLOAD THE FACT SHEET HERE.

We know that the voice of PSCC and its member base is powerful. Please do what you can to help put the brakes on HB5293.




2017 Year In Review

David Holman’s comprehensive 2017 Year In Review report is now online! CLICK HERE for the full report.



Bee webinar Dec. 7 on conservation strategy

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is hosting a webinar Thursday, December 7 on the rusty patched bumble bee to present information about the Service’s conservation strategy; where to get information about section 7 consultations, project reviews, research needs, and surveys; resources that are available to you; and what you can do to help the bumble bee.

This webinar is for anyone interested in conservation actions for the species (including additional survey effort or needed research) or who may engage in section 7 consultations or other project reviews on the species. We will provide guidance and contacts for getting information for your specific interests.

What:    Rusty Patched Bumble Bee Webinar

Date:     Thursday, December 7, 2017

Time:    1 to 2:30 p.m. Central Time

Phone Access
Phone Number:  1-812-334-4261
Participant phone passcode: 1816413#

Web access will be for the presentation only. For audio portion of the presentation, please use the phone number, above.

WebEx Access
Password: No Password Required

Join Instructions for Instant Net Conference:

  1. Join the meeting now:


  1. Enter the required fields.
  2. Indicate that you have read the Privacy Policy.
  3. Click on Proceed.

Lincoln Institute of Land Policy Online Conversation

There’s still time to sign up for this online conversation with Kingsbury Browne Fellow Steve Small about the advent and future of tax deductible conservation easement policy in the United States next Tuesday, June 20, from 11 a.m. to noon. You can register for this event HERE.

Steve Small

If you have protected farmland, forests or open space in your community, there’s a good chance you have Steve Small to thank. A legal pioneer who paved the way to make conservation easements tax-deductible in the U.S., Small wrote federal tax regulations credited with facilitating the conservation of millions of acres of private land.

He is an indefatigable source of energy and creativity for the use of easements and land conservation in America.

Small will join Jim Levitt of the Lincoln Institute and the Harvard Forest for an online dialogue regarding the history of tax deductible conservation easements over the past four decades, and the future of private open space protection in the United States. The two will also have a chance to reflect on the extensive collection of conservation related books which Small collected over the course of his career, and which he recently donated to the important collection of such volumes at Texas Tech University.


Land Trust and Trails Open House

Trails are one of the best ways that land trusts connect people with nature! Illinois Trail Corps and Grand Prairie Friends invite all conservation land trusts from around our State to tour and learn from the trail development project at Warbler Ridge, just south of Charleston, Illinois.

Saturday, June 10
8 a.m. to Noon

Warbler Ridge, Charleston, IL

You’ll find a map HERE for the location. To register for this outdoor excursion, click HERE to reserve your spot!

The Warbler Ridge trails project is a partnership between Grand Prairie Friends and Illinois Trail Corps, a program of the non-profit Trails for Illinois. Illinois Trail Corps helps public agencies, conservation land trusts and trail groups plan, design and build natural surface, non-motorized trails that encourage people to enjoy and explore the outdoors while minimizing ecological impact and maintenance.

The young adults who serve in the Corps get expert training and leadership in sustainable trail design and construction, and they LOVE teaching others and showing off their work. At the Open House, you will learn:

• Why Grand Prairie Friends said “YES!” to public access in its newest, largest reserve

• The considerations and methods behind sustainable trail planning and design

• Hands-on trail construction techniques (with sharp, heavy hand tools)

• The role sustainable, low-maintenance trails could play at your own properties

• The value of partnerships between conservation and non-motorized trail users and groups

• How good a bratwurst tastes after a 3-mile hike with over 800’ of climbing! (Yup, we’ll grill out.)

BONUS: A guided tour of the Woodyard Conservation Area, just up the road from Warbler Ridge. The world-class mountain bike trail system at Woodyard grew out of a conversation and then a partnership between the mountain bikers, the City of Charleston, local conservationists and birders to better steward and protect its 206 acres while increasing its value to Charleston’s economy and quality of life.

Looking forward to meeting you at Warbler Ridge!



Support Illinois Nature Preserves

The Illinois General Assembly is considering the Natural Areas Stewardship Act (HB 2031/SB 1029) that would allow expert nonprofit organizations to help local and state government conduct needed stewardship actions on Illinois Nature Preserves.

Nature preserves are permanently protected places that give us rare glimpses of what Illinois’ true nature looks like. Spread across 110,000+ acres in 94 counties, Illinois Nature Preserves support tall grass prairies, oak groves, sandstone bluffs, cypress swamps, and other rare native habitats.

You can contact your state legislators and request their support for the Illinois Natural Areas Stewardship Act by clicking on this link provided by the Prairie State Conservation Coalition’s land trust partner, Openlands. 

Please share this information with your members. Together we can make our voices heard and make a difference.


Natural Land Institute accepting nominations for Fell Award

Nominations for the 2017 George and Barbara Fell Award are now being accepted for indiviuals with outstanding achievements in land conservation by The Natural Land Institute. Deadline for submissions is Friday, February 3, 2017.

The award is named after George and Barbara Fell who founded the Natural Land Institute in 1958 for the protection of natural areas in Illinois.

For details on submissions, click here for the nomination form.



Learn how to borrow money for land acquisitions

Ever struggle with finding funding for land and resource acquisitions? The Borrowing Money Boot Camp will help you learn “the art and science of borrowing money.”

Presented by The Conservation Finance Network, this boot cammp is March 14-16 at the National Conservation Training Center in Shepherdstown, West Virginia.

For details. click on the link below:

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Illinois realtors support land conservation

The January issue of Illinois Realtor highlights the benefits of conservation easements and the organizations working to preserve more land.

Dan Lobbes, director of land protection for The Conservation Foundation, and Mary Vandevord, Heartlands Conservancy president and CEO, share their views on land preservation in the article, which also mentions Prairie State Conservation Coalition.

Check out the article here:

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Land Trust Census is out!


Did you know there were more than 47,000 visitors to Illinois land trust properties last year? Or that conservation land trusts have protected more than 230,000 acres of land in our state to date?

Learn more about the important work land trusts are doing by viewing the Land Tust Alliance’s land trust census here.