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"Betsy's Savanna"

As Wayne residents we have the unique opportunity to enjoy nature unlike any other community in the Chicagoland area. DuPage and Kane County Forest Preserves surround us with open spaces, fields and lakes. Over 100 miles of equestrian trails weave a continuous system connecting all four quadrants of the village providing hours of scenic horseback riding. The Illinois Prairie path on the east side of town is available for multi-uses which include horseback riding, biking and hiking. There are also open spaces donated by generous individuals helping to preserve the Wayne countryside they have enjoyed over the years.
The Hamill family has long been influential in Wayne, especially in regards to equestrian traditions and philanthropy. Making Wayne their home over 80 years ago, the late Joan and Corky Hamill with their children: Jonathan, Betsy (Bramsen), and Nancy (Winter)have long been generous supporters of Wayne and the Wayne Area Conservancy Foundation (WACF). The family has been and continues to be committed to the preservation of open spaces knowing the environmental impact they have within communities. The village of Wayne has been a beneficiary of the family’s forethought and generosity.
In 2001 Betsy’s father Corky donated over 7 acres to the Village of Wayne in memory of his wife Joan Hamill. The property is located on the east side of Dunham Road just north of the Dunham North subdivision. It is an open space for scenic and equestrian enjoyment in memory of Joan’s contributions as the founder of the Wayne-DuPage Hunt Pony Club and for her years as Master of Foxhounds for the Wayne-DuPage Hunt. The locals call this land Joan Hamill Field.
In 2019 Elizabeth C. Bramsen (Betsy) purchased the 18 acre property at the southwest corner of Army Trail and Dunham Road. The land was farmed for years, and residents may remember it rotating between corn and beans. Betsy had a conservation easement placed on the land to preserve the natural and scenic open space for future generations. The easement is held by The Conservation Foundation. There can never be a strip mall, gas station or any development on that corner. In 2020 Betsy donated this land to the Wayne Area Conservancy Foundation (WACF). The WACF began efforts to return this land to its natural state. Through research it was determined the land was originally an oak savannah. In December 2020, WACF purchased and volunteers planted 90 oak trees. In January volunteers planted a mixture of native short grasses and colorful prairie flowers. What a spectacular show we will have this spring and summer! A ribbon cutting and dedication will be planned when large groups can gather once again. This land will be called Betsy’s Savanna.
This is the second property Betsy has purchased and has placed a conservation easement upon. This easement is held by The Conservation Foundation as well. In 2016 this land, approximately 40 acres west of Honey Hill Road at Army Trail, was donated to the village of Wayne. Honey Hill Meadows, as it is referred to, offers some of the most spectacular scenic views of nature in regards to wildlife, flora and fauna. It’s proximity to Dunham Forest Preserve just east of Honey Hill Road, has preserved the country long time residents, as well as new, appreciate and value.
The Conservation Foundation will regularly monitor the land it holds an easement on to insure the terms of the easement are upheld and the integrity of the Easement remain intact. It offers perpetual protection for the land. The Conservation Foundation will monitor Honey Hill Meadows which is owned by the village of Wayne and Betsy’s Prairie which is owned by the Wayne Area Conservancy Foundation.
Wayne is a fantastic place to live and play! It is uniquely special and people really do fall in love with the village because of the history, traditions and country lifestyle. We are extremely fortunate to have wonderful donors and volunteers giving back to the community. Please consider donating your time or treasure by supporting the WACF. You too can play a part in our future and help in the efforts to keep Wayne the village we all love. The WACF is a 501(c)3 volunteer organization. All donations are tax deductible and support our projects and programs.
If you would like more information about the Wayne Area Conservancy Foundation or The Conservation Foundation please contact us.

Pam Ruminski, President WACF 630-740-1447

Fred Iozzo, MFH WDH 630-584-6515

Partnership with Chicago Voyagers

Last month, over twenty youth and adult volunteers gathered in Wayne, Illinois, for a day of environmental stewardship and fellowship. And what a day it was! 

A partnership between Chicago Voyagers, Youth Crossroads, and the Wayne Area Conservancy Foundation, our goal was to connect new board members, David Saunders, Lynn Stachura, Sadiki McCalla, and Silvia Grabacki, to our mission and youth while caring for the environment..

Program leader, Amos Pomp, kicked off the morning with an ice breaker designed to get youth and adults from these three organizations interacting and strategizing through play.  Laughter and smiles erupted as volunteers attempted to defy the windy conditions by transferring a ball from one team’s blanket to the other without touching the ball.   

The real work began as adults and youth began clearing invasive species from a parcel of wooded land recently donated to the Wayne County Conservancy.  Within just a couple of hours, the group amassed two large burn piles of Buckthorn, hemlock, and honey suckle, clearing the way for outdoor enthusiasts to access the emerging trails and enjoy regional plant life including Blue Bells, Trillium, and Buttercups.  Way to go Voyagers’ youth and board members! 


More Projects and Efforts

  • Assisting in cleaning up the equestrian fields of "un-natural objects"  leftover from horse trials and various horse events

  • Assisting in purging an area taken over by an invasive Pear tree strain

  • Mowing management and control of invasive species at the new Hoschiet Woods Forest Preserve

  • Planting trees in Joan Hamill Field and in the DuPage County Forest Preserve

  • Purchasing and planting seed for the prairie in Dunham Forest Preserve

  • Partnering with the Village of Wayne Park Commission in the habitat restoration and pedestrian/equestrian bridge construction in Barbara Dunham Dole Park

  • Trail development and establishment of new trails

  • Providing hundreds of volunteer hours to mow fields and meadows in cooperation with both the DuPage and Kane County Forest Preserves

  • Purchasing and maintaining trail clearing and mowing equipment

  • Working to control invasive plant species in the area

  • Preservation and maintenance of Historic Buildings in Wayne

  • Sponsorship of the Wayne-DuPage Hunt Pony Club and providing educational and recreational opportunities

  • Construction of the pedestrian and equestrian bridge at Billy Burns Road

  • Maintaining over 100 miles of pedestrian and equestrian trails

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