Since 1989, HeartLands Conservancy has been a catalyst for transformative change and resilience for the lands, waters, heritage, and communities in southwestern Illinois.

Our Mission

The mission of HeartLands Conservancy is to conserve, connect, and restore the diverse natural and cultural resources that sustain the people and communities of southwestern Illinois.  

Our Approach

As a steward of distinctive and dynamic places of ecological, cultural, and community value, HeartLands Conservancy is southern Illinois’ largest conservation nonprofit. For over 30 years, the organization has been an advocate and partner for the protection of important places and the development of solutions that balance conservation strategies with economic sustainability and human well-being. We believe that all people in southwestern Illinois should have clean air and water, places for nature to thrive, healthy food, and high-quality outdoor experiences.


We have conserved over 60 places – nearly 10,000 acres – that support farming, wildlife habitat, cultural heritage, community well -being , and scenic beauty. Our organization is actively growing a network of people and places committed to conserving and improving southwestern Illinois.

HeartLands Conservancy’s work is focused on three scales:

Metro East: St. Clair and Madison Counties are where we do the majority of our work. 

Primary service area of seven counties: Bond, Clinton, Madison, Monroe, Randolph, St. Clair, and Washington.

Secondary expanded service area covering additional counties in southern Illinois, including Alexander, Franklin, Jackson, Macoupin, Montgomery, Perry, Union, and Wayne counties. 

We serve both primary and secondary areas because of a significant gap in service in the secondary service area. HeartLands Conservancy is the only organization that provides these areas with a holistic suite of environmental services – from planning, research, engagement, and education to actual on-the-ground work and land protection.