Climate Action

Climate change exacerbates existing threats to our region’s nature – such as habitat loss and fragmentation, invasive species, and pollution – and requires us to recognize and adapt to changing circumstances. By protecting and conserving open space and restoring the health of the region’s natural areas, Chicago Wilderness members are making our lands and waters more resilient – capable of responding to and recovering from stresses.


Climate change is affecting both people and nature in the Chicago Wilderness region. Chicago Wilderness and its member organizations work together to provide resources for individuals, communities, municipalities and regional entities that are interested in learning about the projected local impacts of climate change and ways to adapt to these changes. Some of these tools help mitigate, or lessen the future impacts of, climate change by reducing green house gas emissions. 

Climate Change Update to the Biodiversity Recovery Plan
This tool is intended to be a detailed and stand-alone reference that supports the development of specific adaptation strategies for the natural communities of Chicago Wilderness. The Update is a tool that assists land managers, policy makers and individuals in creating and implementing strategies for biodiversity recovery and adaptation. View the update here.

Chicago Wilderness Climate Action Plan for Nature
The Climate Action Plan for Nature is the first plan of its kind to link climate change specifically to issues of biodiversity conservation. Learn more about the alliance’s strategies to help plants and animals adapt to the shifting environment, and to reduce the magnitude of climate impacts through land and water conservation action. View the plan here.

Climate Considerations for Management of Natural Areas and Green Spaces in the Chicago Region
The City of Chicago, The Nature Conservancy, University of Notre Dame and The Field Museum collaboratively developed a  Climate Considerations Guidebook for the management of natural areas and green spaces in the City of Chicago. This guide is intended to help identify climate-sensitive planning and management decisions for urban natural areas, and is a first step toward protecting species and ecological services over the long-term. With the help of a team of climate interns, six sites in the Chicago region are piloting the Guidebook this summer. A report will be available in September 2013 comparing the utility of the resource across sites. View the Climate Considerations Guidebook..

Climate Adaptation Guidebook for Municipalities in the Chicago Region
The Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP) developed the Climate Adaptation Guidebook for Municipalities in the Chicago Region for communities interested in adapting their planning and investment decisions to a changing climate. Essentially, this means improving resilience to future weather impacts. The central reason for considering climate change is that, in many instances, it will be cheaper and less disruptive to plan for anticipated conditions than to retrofit or rebuild later. Since it is meant for municipalities, this guidebook concentrates on sectors and services that are typically under their jurisdiction. View the Guidebook here.

The Nature Conservancy Climate Change Adaptation Case Study
The overall goal of this case study is to show how information is being used to advance conservation strategies that consider future climate threats and to illustrate how and why climate change has been incorporated. It is intended to help The Nature Conservancy communicate how we are learning, and provide opportunities for feedback from our partners in resource protection and restoration. Through this dialog, we hope to help clarify what “adaptation” means by providing clear examples of how linking climate change impacts to the viability of our conservation targets leads us to change how we work, where we work, or the partners we engage. Read the case study here..

What Can You Do?

Chicago Community Climate Action Toolkit  
Explore actions that you and your community can take to reduce the impact of future climate change and to adapt to the changes already occurring. These community action strategies are designed to assist individuals and communities to mitigate, or lessen the future impacts of, climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions as well as help communities, plants and animals adapt to climate change. View the Toolkit here.

Attend a Climate Clinic for Educators
The Chicago Wilderness Climate Action Education and Engagement Working Group hosts climate clinics to connect local aspects of climate change with global issues. Topics include: local impacts of climate change, basic climate change science, mitigation and adaptation practices and strategies for education and communications. Clinics allow educators to share resources, discover new activities and keep current on strategies for community engagement. For additional information and dates, please contact Susan Ask at