Willoughby Farm's Sustainability Plan
The following plans have been implemented at the farm
Fence made with recycled Milk CartonsOur fence that runs around the Kids' Zone club house is made of 100% recycled plastic from old milk cartons and lids.
Recycled Railcar Bridges
Two bridges (Coyote and Horsetail) were recycled from abandoned 20ft flatbed railcars. They each were installed crossing Schneider Creek in the conservation reserve as a part of three miles of interpretive trails.
Removal of Invasive Species with Native Recovery
An NRI (Natural Resource Inventory) was conducted in 2002 and revealed how the original over-grazed pasture land (right) had become inundated with exotic invasive species (left) as it was allowed to naturally (but not ‘natively’) grow in the 1970’s.
The challenge began in 2004 to take back our native IL woodland and 2 prairies. We have removed over 10 acres of exotic invasives replacing them with such natives as oak, hickory, bald cypress, poplar, basswood, etc. We are also trying to establish an understory canopy of redwood, dogwood, native bushes and woodland flowers. There are now over 3 miles of interpretive trails. Two acres are being restored into native prairie with interpretive panels. In 2014 we were awarded the Green Leaf Achievement Award for our efforts in restoration and facilitating Youth in Environmental Education.
Each year over 700 people (or 30 different school groups preK - college and from the community) join our efforts in taking back our native IL woodland and prairies. Over the past 6 years, we have planted over 420 trees/bushes that were awarded from the Forest ReLeaf Program of Missouri.
Pygmy Goat Squad
Our goats help us naturally restore our conservation reserve by eating invasive exotic (non-native) weeds. They absolutely LOVE bush honeysuckle, but won’t touch the tree of heavens!
Pollinator Field and Eco-friendly Buffalo Grass
The pollinator plot is being restored by the 2017 senior class from McKendree University’s Environmental Science students as their CAP project. The buffalo plot is being restored by Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville (SIUE) students as a service learning project. IDNR Schoolyard Habitat grant 2014
Garden Waste Composte System
We are trying to spread the word on food waste and encourage visitors to do their part. A simple way to help ease climate change can be done in the backyard. According to the EPA, food waste accounts for approximately 31% of the overall food supply and contributes to 18% of the total U.S. methane emissions!
Using Native Biological Species to Decompose Asphalt, current project by an SIUE Environmental Science student.
Heat Exhange System
To air conditioni the interior air, heat is transferred from the warm/hot outdoor supply air into the cool indoor exhaust air inside the HRV heat exchanger, thus reducing the temperature of the fresh air coming in. The ERV heat exchanger not only transfers this heat but transfers some of the moisture in the more humid supply air into the less humid exhaust air, thus reducing the humidity of the fresh air coming in. This heat/energy transfer means that your house cooling system uses less energy when compared to any other form of ventilation.
In the Rest Rooms
The restrooms are built with water conversation in mind, utilizing hands free sensors on all toilets, hand dryers, and sinks, making it 40% more efficient. We also have a water bottle refill station near our drinking fountains and thermal regulated windows which help control air temperature during the summer when the farm is at its busiest.
In the Gardens
In the gardens we’ve managed to implement:
• Composting for organic gardening.
• Vermicomposting, which improves soil aeration, enriches soil with micro-organisms, and improves water retention. This method also reduces bio-waste and is a low-cost way to add nutrients to soil.
• Vertical Gardens implemented
• Rain gardens added to the site for better water retention and reduction of rain run-off that can contribute to stream erosion. These were made possible by a State of Illinois Grant.
Using these methods Willoughby Farm has been able to donate more than 1500 lbs to area food pantries.
In the Farm Yard and Conservation Area
• Use of Buffalo grass, which is a native grass to the area and does not require mowing, provided by the IDNR Schoolyard Habitat Grant.
• Prairie and pollinator fields through the IDNR Schoolyard Habitat Grant.
• Water Reclamation project-which will collect rainwater, reduce storm water erosion, and allow for local reuse on site. Made possible by the Madison Co. Planning and Development
• 3.1 KW Gird tied to solar panels. Funded by Grants from Madison Co. Planning and Development, The IL Clean Energy Foundation, and IL Rebate Program. To track this system visit: https://enlighten.enphaseenergy.com/public_systems
• Parking Lot Solar Powered light with battery. Made possible by an IL Clean Energy Grant.
• Goat enclosure using a recycled fence (made out of milk cartons). Made possible by Madison Co Planning and Development.
• 2 Steel bridges have been installed on walking trails. These have been recycled from railcars. Made possible by Madison Co Planning and Development.
• Goat enclosure attic fan, which helps keep the goats cool.
• Electric UTV (Utility Task Vehicle) which produces no CO2 emissions.
• Energy efficient lights have been installed around the compound to reduce energy consumption for night-time lighting.
• Solar powered lights have been installed around the outer walking ramp and steps of the House.
There's always more to be done, so be sure to check back often. It's Willoughby Farm's mission to raise awareness and to educate everyone on how to conserve our natural resources. If you'd like to learn more about the Farm please visit our Willoughby Farm page.