Good news for conservation! The HeartLands Conservancy Board of Directors has expanded our service area from the original seven counties of southwestern Illinois to now also include the southern third of Illinois.

Local conservation land trusts serve the majority of our beautiful state, but up until now, many parts of Southern Illinois did not have a local land trust to turn to if they wanted to preserve their family farm or the woods they grew up in.

Now these families will have an option to conserve the lands they cherish and the places we all love. 

To increase the pace of conservation, and serve those who wish to conserve their land, we will be working to raise funding to expand our team and partnerships. Already, there are those contributing gifts of stock, from their IRA accounts, and considering bequests. That makes conservation happen. Thank you. 

Where is “the southern third?” Generally the counties that are touching and/or south of Interstate 70 in Illinois to the Ohio River, and from the Mississippi River to the Wabash River.

The Board of Directors spent two years updating the organization’s strategic plan in 2022 and 2023. Community members in the southern parts of Illinois had asked our board to examine if our land conservancy could expand our boundary. The board of directors had many discussions about the feasibility and impact of such an expansion, and ultimately decided to expand. 

Photo: Garden of the Gods in the Shawnee National Forest, Saline & Pope County. Illinois