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2017 Force of Nature Awards:
Call for Applicants



Chicago Wilderness looks to celebrate individuals and organizations doing outstanding work in our region. The Force of Nature Awards bring recognition to people and organizations whose conservation, restoration, advocacy, and/or educational activities are inspirational examples for others.  The Force of Nature Awards complement the Excellence in Ecological Restoration Program (EERP), which focuses on high quality restoration of remnant ecological landscapes (100 acres or more).

We Will Identify and Recognize:

1. Outstanding site-specific natural land or water enhancement work. Examples include but are not limited to: a landscape that transitions from turf to prairie, introduction of a native habitat or garden in a high profile location, a community-driven landscape project that demonstrates how nature can thrive in an urban context. 

2. People, programs and projects that are not site-specific but have made a positive impact on conservation in the region. Examples include but are not limited to: innovative outreach programs, effective marketing campaigns, unique partnerships and collaboration, and outstanding leadership.


The purpose of this award is to

recognize exceptional work.    


Think: novel approaches, big ideas, extraordinary

collaborations, bold leadership.



1.  One can apply to be recognized as a: 

a) Site-specific conservation project

b) Program, marketing, or educational initiative

c) Person whose actions exemplify leadership in conservation

2.  You may nominate yourself (or your organization) or someone else. If you nominate someone else, we will keep this confidential during the review process.

3.  Do not let the size of an organization, site or program keep you from applying. We recognize that small organizations do important conservation work even though they may not have the capacity to take on the same scale of projects as larger organizations.

4.  For site-specific applications, the intent of this award is to recognize work on landscapes that extends beyond traditional restoration work.   (See our Excellence in Ecological Restoration Program application for remnant sites that are 100+ acres.) 

5.  The site, program or person who is being nominated for an award must be located in the Chicago Wilderness Region.

Please read below for application instructions. 


The application period is now closed.




The Force of Nature application is intentionally designed with broad questions so that applicants are not restricted to narrow criteria that does not apply to their effort.   As such, the application offers the opportunity for applicants to explain what makes a program, place or a specific person unique: a true Force of Nature.  

The type of information requested differs depending upon if you are applying for recognition as a site, project or individual.  All applicants are asked to provide the following:

  • Submit supporting documentation (via email to that may include:  photos, letters of support, any pertinent marketing or outreach documents, and letters of reference.  Note: there are file/page size limitations.  In the subject line, please provide name of nominated Site/Project/Program/Individual and the phrase "supporting information."  

  • Note if the project, program or individual's work relates to any of Chicago Wildernesssix focus areas.  To learn more about the focus areas, please click here.

  • Describe what makes the nominee a Force of Nature.

  • If applicable, list other partners/stakeholders who should be recognized as part of the award, including name(s) and contact information (email and phone number).

For applicant-type specific questions, please note:

1) Sites:

  • The size of the project.
  • Describe the project and related conservation activities (250 words or less).
  • The type of ecosystem this project represents.
  • Describe the site’s setting (rural, suburban, urban) and surrounding land use.

2) Programs:

  • Describe the program including the audience, purpose, participation and outcomes (250 words or less).
  • Note locations where program is offered and length of time the program has been underway.

3) Individual

  • What makes the individual a Force of Nature?  Describe actions, activities, relationships, outcomes and anything else that explains the impact this person has had on the conservation community (250 words or less).



The application period is now closed.

Click here for a PDF version of the application.  Note that the PDF version contains all potential questions, whereas the online version directs the applicant only to questions pertinent to that type of application (person, project, or site).


Please note that all applications must be submitted through the online form, with supplemental documents emailed to



TuesdayFebruary 28, 2017, 6 p.m.




The Chicago Wilderness Awards Ceremony for both Force of Nature award recipients and EERP awardees will be held on Tuesday, April 4, 2017, at 5:30 p.m. at the Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington Street in Chicago.   Force of Nature award recipients will be notified by mid-March.   

We invite everyone to attend the awards reception and ceremony, regardless of whether or not you applied for an award.  Connect with Chicago Wilderness members and celebrate our award recipients, collective progress, and great work done in the region.  Details forthcoming.


If you have questions or need assistance with the submission process, please contact