Early Land Conservation Efforts

Conservation and preservation were discussed in the early planning stages of Schaumburg’s development due largely in part to Ellsworth Meineke, one of the Village of Schaumburg’s founding fathers. A dedicated naturalist, he was a driving force behind the preservation of the area’s natural resources. In 1973 he worked to help pass a Schaumburg Park District referendum that included funds for the land acquisition inSpring Valley, as well as persuading the village to commit $100,000 toward additional land purchases for the park district. Meineke’s work falls in line with Aldo Leopold’s belief that “Conservation is a state of harmony between man and land” (Leopold, 2009, p. 26).

In 1974 the Spring Valley Nature Club was chartered, a group designed to help ensure the continuation of the native grasses, plants, trees, and wildlife that were lost to land clearing by earlier settlers and farmers. The club has been instrumental in restoring the Merkle Log Cabin, developing the Illinois Heritage Grove, creating the Spring Valley Library and audio-visual center, plus dozens of other projects (Armistead, 2004).

Spring Valley Nature Center (J. Crow Mermel)

Today, the Vera Meineke Nature Observation Building serves as Spring Valley’s main visitor center. This earth-sheltered facility contains a variety of natural history displays, a greenhouse, nature library, meeting room and classroom. There are three and a half miles of handicapped accessible trails to allow visitors to view the variety of natural habitats found withinSpring Valley’s 135-acre sanctuary (Schaumburg Park District, 2008).

Next section: Planning for Sustainability