Barrington Breakfast Rotary Club’s recent gift to Citizens for Conservation’s Acorns to Oaks program will provide benefits to the Barrington community both now and in the future.
BBRC’s donation included funds for 15 young oaks along with accompanying native shrubs and plants that will support the long-term growth of the oak savanna ecosystem. BBRC members and CFC volunteers planted the trees and plants in Flint Creek Preserve on October 17. Under CFC’s care and conservation practices, the plantings will play an important role in strengthening plant and animal habitats and contribute to water quality in the Barrington area.
“CFC’s desire is to go beyond just planting trees; it is to create complete ecological ‘corridors’ which are connections that allow the remnants of our native ecosystems to stay in touch. These corridors are vital to our native plant and animal populations and as way-stations for migratory birds as well,” said Larry Anglada, CFC Acorns to Oaks program head.
Why planting young oaks is important:
Across the Barrington community, there are currently fewer native sprouting oaks to replace sentinel oaks as they die. This is due in part to invasive plants like buckthorn in non-restored areas. CFC’s Acorns to Oaks program collects specific local native acorns, cultivates them, and plants the resulting young trees in new restoration areas. The program engages volunteers, Barrington High School environmental classes and clubs, and local nurseries.
In addition to providing acorns for future trees, these oaks, as they mature, will help protect the Flint Creek Watershed area which is so important to the Barrington community for water recharge and quality.
Oak trees also support increased biodiversity. “Oaks are critical for birds and other wildlife, not only as nesting habitats but as food. Trees, especially oaks, can provide nuts, berries, and acorns. They are especially important for caterpillars, who are dependent on native trees, which can provide up to 90 percent of a young bird’s diet,” said Daniel Suarez of Great Lakes Audubon.
Working together for larger positive impact:
Rotary has recently added conservation as an impact focus.
“Rotary International President Ian Riseley states that ‘Rotary can no longer ignore environmental issues,’” said BBRC President Kristine Young. “He has directed that one tree be planted for each Rotarian in the world. We are attempting to surpass this goal …in the Barrington area.”
BBRC’s donation to CFC is part of meeting this goal.
CFC has been an internationally recognized leader in conservation for almost 50 years. It has been influential in creating the iconic open-space character of the Barrington community. The Barrington Greenway Initiative (BGI) is CFC’s vision for the future, where collaborative conservation efforts create larger positive benefits. BGI’s objective is to link 14,000 acres of ecosystems in the greater Barrington area to increase biodiversity, create corridors for native plants and animals, and help nature deliver greater benefits to the community.
CFC welcomed the BBRC as a BGI supportive partner on behalf of the coalition of BGI implementing partners which include the Forest Preserves of Lake, Cook and McHenry Counties; Bobolink Foundation;, Great Lakes Audubon; Friends of the Forest Preserves; various conservation steward groups; and others.
"This is a perfect example of the cooperation and partnerships intended as a fundamental of the BGI program” said Steve Smith, CFC board member.
“[BBRC is] committed to dedicating time and resources now and throughout the future to enhance our environment. We are looking forward to putting our combined energies to work, in an ongoing manner, in our new focus on the environment for the benefit of all,” said Mark Gibson, environmental liaison, and international chair for BBRC.