HeartLands Conservancy has a 30+ year history of working in partnership with public agencies – cities, villages, counties, townships, districts, state, and federal – to conserve land and create places for public enjoyment and benefit. Our team is known for its innovative and strategic approaches to help agencies set and achieve their conservation and park goals. 

Land Acquisition & Holding

When a public agency wants to purchase a piece of land but cannot move quickly enough or is not ready to buy it, HeartLands Conservancy can help. We can step in and purchase the property and hold it for the public agency until they obtain the funds to buy it from us.

Contact President & CEO at (618) 566-4451 or

Conservation Easements

HeartLands Conservancy holds over 30 Conservation Easements in southern Illinois, totaling over 2,700 acres.  Many of these easements are on properties owned by public agencies as a requirement of grant funding or regulation.

A conservation easement is a legal agreement between a landowner (including a public entity) and a land trust, such as HeartLands Conservancy, or another agency, designed to permanently protect the conservation values of a property by defining allowed uses.

Stewardship of Conservation Easements

HeartLands Conservancy monitors conservation easements every year. Monitoring helps us maintain an accurate record of any changes to the land over time and discuss any concerns or questions. These visits help us assist you – the public agency – better! HeartLands Conservancy is responsible for making sure the easement’s terms are followed and is required to take enforcement action if the terms are not. Yearly visits help us work together to address any issues before enforcement action is necessary.

HeartLands Conservancy can also provide long-term management of publicly-held conservation easement property. We typically enter into a long-term agreement with the public agency and coordinate long-term management funding options to ensure the property is cared for in perpetuity.

We encourage you to contact our Conservation Manager as you contemplate a possible conservation easement. Call (618) 566-4451 ex 23 or request a consultation or service.

Funding & Technical Assistance

Local governments in southern Illinois often do not have the time or staff resources needed to seek and manage funding for land, parks, and other projects. HeartLands Conservancy has helped numerous communities obtain financing for land acquisitions, park and trail development, stormwater management, and green infrastructure. We have leveraged more than $50 million in funding for the region.

Beyond funding assistance, HeartLands Conservancy’s team has decades of technical expertise in land acquisitions and deal-making, parks and trails planning and implementation, watershed and stormwater planning and implementation, bicycle and pedestrian planning, land use planning, master planning, neighborhood planning, ecological evaluation and management, community forestry, and more! We often serve as consultants to communities or as partners with the private sector or governments on specific initiatives.

Learn more about our work in communities.


Contact our staff for more information

(618) 566-4451   |

Land Management and Restoration

HeartLands Conservancy often assists public agencies with habitat restoration and ecological management services. In addition to our conservation staff, we work with ecological management contractors. In some cases, we leverage volunteers to tackle specific projects.


Contact our staff for more information

(618) 566-4451   |