RURAL VILLA GROVE, Ill. (WCIA) — A nature preserve in the Villa Grove area is expanding thanks to the estate of a local farmer.

Grand Prairie Friends, a group that restores open spaces across several area counties, said the Edna Edwards Burnett Land & Water Reserve is expanding from 20 to 80 acres. The preserve is located at 1466-1498 County Road 100 North, Tolono. The project started in 2015 when Villa Grove farmer Ralph Burnett donated the initial 20 acres to honor his late mother.

Now with Ralph’s recent passing, the man’s sons have sold 60 adjacent acres to Grand Prairie Friends. The group said it used an Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation Land Acquisition Grant of $459,600 for 80% of the purchase. Grand Prairie Friends said Brookfield Renewable Energy will provide funds to restore the site over the next 30 years.

Grand Prairie Friends said its preserves are open to the public at any time.