Here's one supporter's story of being inspired by our Emiquon Preserve. What's your story?
Each contributor to The Nature Conservancy has a story about why they give back to nature—to leave a legacy, to support our mission, to help protect our world. For Lucinda Boyd, it's about protecting a natural area she remembers from her childhood.
Read Lucinda’s story below and then share your own story to inspire others as you have inspired us!
Lucinda Boyd’s interest in the Nature Conservancy traces back to her childhood. “My father's family has continuously owned farmland in White Co., Illinois since 1809, and so preservation of land in the Prairie State came with being a Boyd.”
She grew up in Havana, Illinois, across the River from Norris Farms, which became part of the Emiquon Preserve
five decades later. Lucinda remembers how the land had a far different purpose than what it’s used for today.
“When I was in high school, Norris Farms had two interesting features –acres and acres of corn and cattle feed lots – it was a “fattening” stop on the way to the stockyards in Chicago.”
But to Lucinda, the need to reconvert this area to wetlands became clear over time.
“When I first read of the proposals, the idea seemed unreal – how could all that acreage revert to bottomland? But the idea was exciting, especially in the context of the great Illinois River flood of ’93,” she said.
During this time, torrential rains in the basin resulted in record floods on the Illinois River, which in turn slowed the normal drainage of the underground Mahomet aquifer into the river.
“This affected Havana in a strange fashion: water in the aquifer rose so high it surfaced and began flooding Havana from the East!” Lucinda recalls. “It made hydrologists of all of us, trying to understand this complicated system.”
“What we know now is that the sponginess of bottomlands like Emiquon is better for flood control than dams and levees, a comparatively new understanding of the way these waterway systems work.”
Lucinda’s interest and support for the Conservancy grew as she watched the Emiquon Preserve change from farmland to marsh. Today, she’s happy to spot great blue herons and other Gulf of Mexico denizens resting, fishing, and simply being when she visits the preserve.
Lucinda currently splits her time between Illinois and North Carolina and supports the Conservancy in both states.
“It is no great leap of reason to be supportive of the various programs of the Nature Conservancy,” she says. “Right now in North Carolina, which is where I spend part of the year, the big issue is water pollution. Obtaining drinking water in Appalachian states is a different matter than it is in the Great Lakes states, but there’s a common thread, one of the many reasons why I support the work of The Nature Conservancy to protect freshwater in all places.”