Environmental foundation to honor partners as it marks 40 years
By Susan Frick Carlman firstname.lastname@example.org October 25, 2012 7:46PM
The sign welcoming visitors to the Conservation Foundation's Mcdonald Farm in Naperville on Tuesday, March 27, 2012. | Brian Powers~Sun-Times Media
If you go
What: Conservation Foundation’s 40th anniversary celebration and recognition dinner
When: 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Nov. 8
Where: The Abbington, 3S002 Illinois 53, Glen Ellyn
Why: To celebrate the partnerships that have enabled the foundation to do its work more comprehensively.
How: Tickets cost $50 and can be reserved by calling 630-428-4500, Ext. 10, or sending an email to email@example.com.
Who: The 40 partners that will be honored at the event are Aquascape Designs, Art & Linda’s Wildflowers, Batavia Park District, Campton Township, Cardno JFNew, Christopher B. Burke Engineering, LTD, the city of Aurora, Deloitte & Touche, Dickson-Murst Farm Partners, Dugan & Lopatka, DuPage County, DuPage River Salt Creek Workgroup, Forest Preserve District of DuPage County, Forest Preserve District of Kane County, Forest Preserve District of Will County, Fox Valley Park District, Green Earth Institute, Itasca Bank & Trust Co., Kendall County Forest Preserve District, Keson Industries, Molex, Inc., Naperville Park District, NICOR, Oak Brook Park District, Pizzo & Associates, Sikich Marketing, Spraying Systems Company, Tellabs Foundation, The Gaylord & Dorothy Donnelley Foundation, The DuPage Community Foundation, The Grand Victoria Foundation, The Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation, The Morton Arboretum, V3 Companies, the village of Montgomery, Waste Management, Waubonsee Community College, West Chicago Prairie Stewardship Group, Wheaton Park District and Wheaton Bank & Trust.
Updated: November 27, 2012 10:26AM
The Conservation Foundation has learned the value of connections over the four decades it’s been at work.
Members of the land and watershed protection agency based in Naperville will recognize 40 of its partners when they come together Nov. 8 to celebrate the organization’s 40th anniversary and the people and entities that make its work go farther.
“The name of the game is collaboration,” said Brook McDonald, the nonprofit’s president and CEO. “I think the days of organizations doing things by themselves are long gone. It’s the same old ‘we all need to work together’ kind of thing.”
The adage has borne fruit for the foundation, which is headquartered on the McDonald Farm on Knoch Knolls Road.
With help from its fellow collaborators, the organization has been able to preserve more than 32,000 acres of open space and raise some $700 million in public funds to help pay for it. It has spearheaded 20 restoration and protection initiatives for local waterways, educated thousands of school kids about nature and the environment, and coordinated the removal of 210 tons of garbage from the region’s rivers and streams.
The alliances forged by the Conservation Foundation range from relationships centered mostly on funding support to nonprofits that help with the leveraging of existing assets and resources.
John Hoscheit, longtime president of the Forest Preserve District of Kane County, appreciates the value of the foundation’s work with his agency.
The district has nearly 20,000 acres of open land, which represents a five-fold increase since the mid-1990s. Aided by the foundation, Kane County activists passed an open space referendum in 1999 with support from 65 percent of those who voted, and three more successful campaigns followed it.
“What the Conservation Foundation did for us ... was put together a volunteer group of community leaders as an advocacy group, and got the message out to the public about the importance of open space, not only from an environmental perspective from the taxpayers’ perspective,” said Hoscheit, noting that undeveloped land carries fewer tax burdens because it will not require infrastructure improvements or support public features such as schools and government buildings.
McDonald finds it particularly satisfying that the foundation has been able to protect such a broad swath of open land.
“A football field is one acre, so imagine 32,000 football fields,” he said.
Also a source of satisfaction is the springtime cleanup of the DuPage River, which has been taking place yearly since 1991.
“To me, the DuPage River Sweep is the poster child for collaboration,” McDonald said. “We get over 600 volunteers who come out for it every year.”