Garfield Farm Heading

Garfield Farm home page | News Index

News from Garfield Farm

Garfield Farm Museum Can Win $21,000 Challenge Grant

Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation Will Match 3:1 to Restore Garfield Harley Pond & Woods  

  Campton Hills, IL: The Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation has challenged Garfield Farm Museum’s Campton Historic Agricultural Lands to raise $7,000 to receive a $21,000 ICECF Stewardship Grant to restore the Garfield Harley Ephemeral Pond and Woods. Additionally, 500 hours of volunteer assistance can earn the project another $6000 to aid in the restoration of this rare wooded wetland.

       This is a special honor for the museum as its supporters had earned in 2015 a $12000 challenge grant from the ICECF to combat invasive species on the Garfield Farm’s Mill Creek Prairie, Fen and Marsh.

       This program is for a special place as the Garfield Harley Pond and Woods was purchased for preservation by CHAL in 2002 from a group of local developers. Containing a 1.5-acre vernal pond surrounded by 8.5 wooded acres, the seasonal dry down of the pond prevents fish habitat and makes a safe springtime watery haven for frog and amphibians to reproduce and their young to flourish. Most ephemeral, i.e. temporary ponds like this, may be less than a few feet across and thus ae often undervalued and destroyed in the course of human activity. This is a large wetland of for its type that occurs amongst three morrainal ridges consisting of a red and white oak savanna. Preserving it from neighboring development was the impetus for the Campton Township Open Space Program’s purchase of the surrounding 40 upland woods now named Harley Woods.

       Although some buckthorn and Amur honeysuckle removal has been done and small areas of this woods have been managed with controlled burns, this funding would allow for establishing a perimeter firebreak, a complete fall burn of the woods and removal of invasive brush including the ornamentally popular but ecologically damaging burning bush. The timing of this is critical as passing years would otherwise guarantee loss of the wood’s rich flora.

       Any volunteer hours assisting in this work can earn the museum another $4000 and 100 hours of volunteer social media work would raise $2000 more. The grant also includes an 80% cost share of up to $5000 for any equipment purchases.

       Stewardship grants for natural areas are not very common and this is a most generous program that aims not just to help fund but also recruit a network of volunteers to help manage such sites for the long term. The Foundation has awarded 56 grants to date under this program, supporting volunteer stewardship activity at sites located throughout the state. The program is offered to non-governmental 501(c)3 organizations.        To undertake this project, volunteer activity includes clearing, seed collecting, location of drain tiles and removal, building deer fence to protect areas containing rare plants, plant and animal surveys from pond life to birds overhead. For those who enjoy social media, volunteering to post announcements are needed as well.

        The Garfield Harley Pond and Woods acquisition was made to historically re-acquired acreage the Timothy Garfield Family had acquired in the 1800s. Secondly, wood plots were important to early settlers and their descendants when wood was still an important commodity for heating, cooking and building. The woods here is more reflective of the woods that would have existed at Garfield Farm Museum but those have been degraded or eliminated by past agricultural practices. Garfield Harley was a great-grandson of Timothy Garfield and his grandfather Jefferson Adams Garfield acquired the property in the 1860s. The woods was grazed through the 1950s but was only occasionally logged after that, allowing native plants to thrive. However, in the 1990s one began to see the spread of invasive species into such areas and now vigilance is required to protect what little survives in Illinois and the Midwest.

       To donate to this effort or volunteer time, contact Garfield Farm Museum at 630 584-8485 or e-mail Garfield Farm Museum is part of the efforts by the two non-profit organizations, Garfield Heritage Society and Campton Historic Agricultural Lands to preserve, present, and interpret the inseparable the three themes of history, farming and the environment. The incredible vast prairies that produced some of the most fertile land in the world in turn attracted the American settling farmers who had founded the modern world’s first democracy. These interconnections are not realized by many and yet all Americans of today depend so totally on these relationships.

       Garfield Farm Museum is located at Illinois Rt. 38 and Garfield Road in Campton Hills, IL five miles west Geneva, IL. It is the only historically intact former 1840s Illinois prairie farmstead and country inn being restored as an 1840s living history farm. This is the 40th anniversary of the museum’s founding. Most of the 375 acres and 20 –plus historic buildings are on the National Register of Historic Places and partnerships with Open Lands of Chicago, IL, Campton Township Open Space Program, the USDA NRCS Farmland Protection Program and U. S. Fish and Wildlife help protect for the long term the historic, agricultural and environmental features of the site.