Jo Daviess Conservation Foundation
Preserving Land — Now & Forever
Jim and Peg Otis —
Permanently protected the land they love, gained friendships for a lifetime
JDCF's Director of Development, Christie Trifone, with newly fleeced Peg Otis.
Peg and Jim Otis' cabin near Hanover, IL
Basset Hounds have been an important part of Otis life as well. Here Ralph helps with monitoring.
Originally published Spring 2011, JDCF Newsletter
"Peg Otis has been an outdoor enthusiast for as long as she can remember.
Peg and her late husband, Jim, were born and raised in Connecticut. Jim
attended Harvard and Northwestern Law School and eventually became a
lawyer at Keck, Mahin & Cate in Chicago. Peg was a nurse and worked at
Blue Cross/Blue Shield and the Children's Hospital, also in Chicago.
The couple raised four beautiful children: Nate, Molly, Sam, and Ben. Raising their children and being outdoors seemed to go hand in hand for the Otis's. They also enjoyed camping with family and friends and eventually bought a large 52-acre tract of land off of Diggin Hill Road in Hanover, Illinois, to do just that.
With forestland all around them, the Otis's found great comfort in the hidden paradise. Before building their permanent home, the young couple brought their children out to a cabin for summer outings and for Christmas — without heat! These are the memories Peg cherishes most about the land she loves.
There were several reasons the Otis's began building a relationship with the Jo Daviess Conservation Foundation. One was the Galena Rotary Roundtable discussion on development, where they both realized that development was a valid concern. Another was their increasing concern for protecting their property forever from that development. Yet another connection was through the active and very social Conservation Guardian volunteer group where they had made strong friendships and enjoyed many outdoor activities with likeminded individuals.
In 1999, the Otis's became members of JDCF. Jim became very active in the land protection committee, and Peg enjoyed the social volunteer activities in the office. As Peg and Jim grew closer to the JDCF, they began to see the good work that the group was doing.
"We are just so happy to be a part of it all," said Peg.
In 2005, after much consideration the couple decided to place a conservation easement on their forested paradise. After registering their conservation easement, which for Jim and Peg made sense not only personally but financially, Peg and Jim got involved with the Wapello Land & Water Reserve property located in Hanover, Illinois. They both were involved with the property's protection and restoration. They also were founding members of the ever growing Friends of the Hanover Land & Archeological Reserve.
Connections to conservation can come in many forms. For this couple, their conservation easement and support for their local Hanover community through the Wapello Land & Water Reserve has resulted in the permanent protection of the land they love and friendships that will last a lifetime.
When they moved out to Jo Daviess County permanently in 1977, Peg said, "It was like camping permanently, it fit us perfectly."
In the late 1990's, Peg began to see development popping up all over. "We became increasingly concerned that our paradise may fall to development in the future which is why we became acquainted with JDCF."