ParkLands Foundation Land Purchase Expands Nature Preserve System

PRESS RELEASE: 24 September 2019

Jessica Chambers, President, ParkLands Foundation,, 309-287-8768
Jolie Krasinski, Program Officer, Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation,, 847-528-0085


ParkLands Foundation (PLF) of Bloomington, IL, has increased the amount of protected natural area in central Illinois by acquiring 36 acres of Panther Creek forest near its confluence with the Mackinaw River in southeastern Woodford County. This purchase occurred due to funding from the Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation along with funds generated from ParkLands Foundation’s members and supporters.

The Baller Woods Nature Preserve, named for Dr. Robert S. Baller who maintained this property in excellent ecological condition, is close to three other PLF nature preserves, and abuts and extends northward our 142-acre Kenyon Preserve, thereby increasing overall connectivity and area of protected natural land. It furthers our Mackinaw Bluffs Corridor Project goals of increasing protected natural areas in both Woodford and McLean counties to enhance ecological health, provide habitat for native plants & animals, and protect water quality in the Mackinaw River watershed. The preserve will include extensions of the Kenyon Preserve trails system that are open to the public for passive nature recreation such as hiking, nature viewing, and nature photography.

“ParkLands’ achievement of protecting over 3,600 acres of natural area along the Mackinaw River in central Illinois is impressive,” said Dennis O’Brien, Executive Director of the Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation. “The Foundation is pleased to partner in the group’s latest acquisition, Baller Woods. Based on the care taken by ParkLands and its volunteers to improve and protect habitat at sites like Hayes Woods, Letcher Basin and Sweeney Woods, also purchased with the help of Foundation grant support, the new preserve is in good hands.”

The Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation ( supports programs and projects that will improve energy efficiency, develop renewable energy resources, and preserve and enhance natural areas and wildlife habitats throughout the state.

ParkLands Foundation ( is a nonprofit, public membership, conservation land trust that is dedicated to acquiring, preserving, and restoring natural areas in the Mackinaw River watershed of McLean and Woodford counties. Our success since 1967 is due to the long-term support of local volunteers and donors.