Land protection and conservation is central to the Liberty Prairie Foundation. Our history is intertwined with the development of the Prairie Crossing conservation community and establishment of the Liberty Prairie Reserve.


The impact of the Liberty Prairie Foundation’s conservation work is demonstrated through the following projects:

Prairie Crossing is a nationally recognized master-planned conservation community in Grayslake, and one of the first modern developments in the country planned with a working organic farm. Prairie Crossing remains a flagship project for conservation and innovative stormwater practices. The Liberty Prairie Foundation maintains strong ties with the Prairie Crossing neighborhood, serves as the environmental manager, and owns the Prairie Crossing Farm and Byron Colby Barn. Click here for more information about Prairie Crossing.

The Liberty Prairie Reserve is an area of approximately 5,000 acres in central Lake County (Illinois) established in 1991 through a privately developed comprehensive plan adopted by the Lake County Forest Preserve District, Libertyville Township, and a group of civic-minded private landowners. The Reserve improves the quality of life for the people who live in or near it by improving the health of the land, water, and wildlife while providing for economic livelihoods through farming. Click here for more information about the Liberty Prairie Reserve.

Byron Colby, a local dairy farmer, built the Barn in 1885 on a nearby site overlooking the Des Plaines River. A century later it was scheduled for demolition, but the owner instead agreed to donate it to the developers of Prairie Crossing, and this historic dairy barn was preserved for the enjoyment of future generations. An expert crew carefully deconstructed the Barn timber by timber, and in 1996 the Barn was rebuilt in Prairie Crossing. The original timbers were restored and carefully fitted together with mortise and tenon joints, just as they had been over a century ago. The Byron Colby Barn now proudly stands at the entrance to Prairie Crossing at Route 45 and Jones Point Road as a testament to the quality of Midwestern architecture. Click here for more information about the Byron Colby Barn.

The Liberty Prairie Foundation’s continued involvement in the Route 53/120 Project demonstrates our commitment to seeing that land conservation and the environment continue to be prioritized through the next phase of planning. Click here for more information about our continued involvement in the Route 53/120 Project.


CONSERVATION PARTNERS PC_editedThe Liberty Prairie Foundation works in partnership with the following organizations to advance our conservation work:


CONSERVATION_editedIn addition to our flagship project, the Liberty Prairie Foundation continues to advance conservation initiatives. We have created or collaborated with others to produce the following conservation resources:

After several years of collaboration, we are pleased to share the results of our collective efforts to update the Liberty Prairie Reserve Master Plan through a CMAP Local Technical Assistance (LTA) project, described on the project webpage. In addition to the Liberty Prairie Reserve Master Plan, this project also produced the Lake County Sustainable Local Foods Systems Report described in the Local Food section.

The Liberty Prairie Foundation played a key role in the Blue Ribbon Advisory Council (BRAC) and helped to shape an ambitious plan with a rigorous set of recommendations. With the Foundation’s leadership and close collaboration with a diverse set of partners and stakeholders, the BRAC successfully reached a consensus view resulting in the adoption of the Resolution and Summary Report in May 2012. The BRAC recommendations codify a blueprint for a 21st Century “modern boulevard” with design and environmental requirements that will protect the natural environment while preserving the character of Lake County, which represents a significant shift in how the county and state envision meeting the county’s transportation needs. Click here for more about the Route 53/120 Project.

This report is an outgrowth of a Liberty Prairie Foundation workshop at Prairie Crossing with developers, architects, and farmers from across the country.