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Priority Species





The essential lands and waters of Chicago Wilderness support thousands of native species. Many of these species face multiple threats to their long-term survival. By focusing collectively on a targeted group of 12 species, we aim to improve their health and habitats. You can help.

Progress thus far

  • developed set of species selection criteria with detailed input from more than 60 Chicago Wilderness members
  • held an open nomination process for candidate species – received 76 nominations resulting in 43 unique species
  • convened more than 40 stakeholders to review and rank the nominated species; advisors finalized the list

2020 Goals

  • monitoring program: regionally coordinated
  • modeled landscape connectivity
  • research underway-critical questions
  • advance recovery goals through conservation action
  • pursuing improved population trends
  • relevant outreach tools in place

Metrics (Examples)

  • population trends
  • habitat availability & quality
  • species abundance & distribution


Lead Partners: Audubon Great Lakes| The Field Museum | Illinois Audubon Society| Illinois Natural History Survey | Lake County Forest Preserves | Lincoln Park Zoo | National Great Rivers Research and Education Center | The Nature Conservancy, Illinois Chapter | Openlands | Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum | U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Advisors: Chicago Botanic Garden | Forest Preserve District of Kane County | Shedd Aquarium | USDA Forest Service