THRIVING Communities

We believe that for the people in our region to thrive, growth is necessary. However, we believe that cities and villages should host the majority of growth and development while integrating and considering nature in all aspects of growth. We believe this is cost-effective in the long run and favorable for community health, recreation, and economic development.

HeartLands Conservancy works with communities – frequently in a consulting-style role and or as a partner and collaborator – on projects and initiatives focused on our mission.

Community Planning & Policy Services

Thriving communities do not happen on their own. Community growth and revitalization come from engaged community members, deep respect for the place and culture, and mutually supportive environmental, economic, and social systems. We help communities in southern Illinois address these complexities. 

Our professional team of community planners, landscape designers, GIS and data experts, ecologists, and community engagement practitioners work with units of government, community groups, and residents to provide technical assistance toward creating great places in our region. 

Contact Laura Lyon about partnership opportunities: 618-566-4451 ex 22

We offer the following services:


  • Community engagement
  • Community planning – comprehensive, focus areas, neighborhoods, and master planning
  • Public park and parks system design and planning
  • Bicycle and pedestrian system planning
  • Strategic planning for environmental, parks, and other resources
  • Water quality education to meet MS4 requirements
  • Watershed and stormwater planning and implementation
  • Green infrastructure planning and implementation
  • Climate adaptation strategies
  • Property acquisition – strategy, deal-making, grant-writing
  • Grant funding assistance/grant writing
  • Outdoor classrooms and garden planning and design
  • Cultural resource planning and preservation
  • Ecological assessment, management, and conservation planning

Examples of our work are available on our resource library page.

Contact our staff to inquire about community services

(618) 566-4451   |


We provide many services for communities and have several regional initiatives in partnerships with communities, businesses, and residents: