Lake County, Illinois

As Illinois’ most biologically diverse county, Lake County has a richest assortment of plants and wildlife, and the greatest number of rare species. Offering a coastline on one of the world’s largest freshwater lakes, it also features an uncommon number of oak groves, glacial lakes, streams, prairies, wetlands and rare kinds of natural areas.

Because of this, Lake County is one of Openlands’ four priority landscapes in our area or work. We have a long history of working here to protect the land and engage people in conservation. From our work at the Liberty Prairie Reserve to the merging with Conserve Lake County in 2018, Openlands has consistently partnered with the people and organizations to protect and revitalize this precious land.

And our programs speak to a dynamic commitment to land protection.

Lands in Harmony

Looking for information or advice as you incorporate conservation-friendly practices into your landscape? We can help.

Native Tree and Plant Sale

To help people care for their landscapes in ways that reflect their values, we sell the native trees, shrubs and flowers rarely found in garden centers.

Liberty Prairie Reserve

In the heart of Lake County is a 6,000-acre area where more than half the land is permanently protected as open space. Openlands has worked on this for over 30 years, owning and holding conservation easements on many acres.

Lake Michigan and Clean Water

To protect Lake Michigan for all who depend on it, Openlands works with many communities and agencies on stewardship and planning. Also, although temporarily closed, our Lakeshore Preserve in Highland Park has a strong track record of increasing the number of people who can enjoy and advocate for the lake.

Driving Policy Solutions

Openlands brings its strength against efforts that threaten open space and quality of life in the region, like the Route 53/Tri-County Access Project.

Land Preservation

We’re working with landowners, the Forest Preserve District and others toward the goal of preserving at least 60,000 acres by 2030. Openlands is nationally accredited and steward under the rigorous standards of the Land Trust Alliance.

Birds in my Neighborhood

Openlands partners with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources to deliver Birds in my Neighborhood in Lake County, and organize in-class lessons, bird walks, and field trips.