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What's New: Around the Region

July Member e-news 2018

Thursday, August 30, 2018   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Laura Reilly


Chicago Wilderness Alliance

Steering CommitteeUpdate

These past several months the Chicago Wilderness Steering Committee has worked on behalf of its members to accomplish many critical tasks to strategically move the alliance forward. These tasks included developing a proposal for the FY 2019 budget (January 1 to December 31), submitting an RFQ for an independent contractor to serve in the role of Coordinator for the Chicago Wilderness Alliance, establishing a visioning timeline/process, evaluating communications/marketing needs, reviewing membership dues/structure and discussing the nominations and elections process for the upcoming year.

More than a dozen proposals were received for the newly created independent contractor position of CW Coordinator approved by the Executive Council in April. Nine candidates were put through an extensive interview process by a select group of Steering Committee members which included an in-person interview and in-box/out-box exercise. The qualifications of the candidates were exceptional, making the decision to hire just one contractor, even more difficult!

After extensive review and discussion, we are pleased to announce that Laura F. Reilly has been selected as our candidate of choice and has been awarded the contract. Ms. Reilly will assist the CW Alliance with administrative duties, including oversight of the Membership Portal, providing membership support and outreach, and assisting working groups/teams with meeting scheduling and correspondence. Ms. Reilly brings more than 20-years of experience working closely with Chicago Wilderness on many initiatives and has extensive experience in managing regional environmental organizations. Ms. Reilly served as the Coordinator for the Chicagoland Environmental Network and worked closely with a wide variety of local, national and international conservation organizations including working alongside Dr. George Rabb, Director Emeritus of Brookfield Zoo. Ms. Reilly has a BA in Government/International Relations from the University of Notre Dame and an MA in International Studies/Economic Development from the University of Miami. Ms. Reilly will be in attendance at the upcoming Executive Council meeting to meet members and guests. For more information contact CW Vice Chair Elizabeth S. Kessler

The next Executive Council meeting is on Wednesday,July 18, 9:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning. Meeting materials and agenda will be posted to the Chicago Wilderness website on Friday, July 13, 2018.

Save the date: Executive Council Meeting onOctober 17.

Oak Ecosystems

The Oak Ecosystem Recovery Working Group met on June 28. The discussion was divided into two sessions with the first half focused on oak recovery efforts by those working on public lands and the second half centered around outreach and engagement of private landowners. Each of the counties in Northeastern Illinois have identified an oak ecosystem core and buffer complex as a starting point for coordinated private landowner engagement. During the last three months, the partners in each county have been working together to chart out the strategies for their focal complexes. The action plans are different for each county, but many include a set of private landowner events beginning later this year. The working group is coordinating with a number of partners in SE Wisconsin on a meeting this summer to examine oak recovery priorities in this part of the region and to explore opportunities for cross-border collaboration. For more information, contact Chris Mulvaney

Climate Action

The next meeting of the Climate Action Committee is on Monday, July 30 from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.For more information or to RSVP, contact Abigail Derby Lewis

At the May 21 meeting, Climate Action Committee Chair Abigail Derby Lewis presented the preliminary results of a survey of participants at the Chicago Community Climate Forum, held at the Field Museum on December 3, 2017. A total of 196 attendees participated in the survey, which assessed and compared the assets/resources organizations can offer to advance Chicago climate change efforts versus the resources they need to do so.

The highest numbers of survey respondents said they could contribute environmental expertise (30 percent), teaching and learning skills (19 percent), and access to people and networks (17 percent).Topping the list of needs expressed in the survey was the ability to network among people and organizations (19 percent). The most common area of interest among survey respondents were strong communities (63 percent), nature (60 percent), and energy (57 percent).

Based on the results of this survey and members’ interests, the Chicago Wilderness Climate Action Committee is creating two initiatives: (1) a series of working groups that will pursue specific projects and (2) professional development and networking.

Project-based teams will focus on:

  • Climate, water, and biodiversity
  • Vulnerability planning
  • Data and research
  • Climate policy

Development and networking will address:

  • Climate connections, including ways to match organizations based on their assets/resources and needs
  • Climate resources, involving the creation of tools for members and partner organizations to support their work and improve decision-making about climate and biodiversity issues

Get more information or sign up for one of these groups

Executive Council Meeting

July 18, 9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP)
233 S. Wacker Drive, 8th Floor, Chicago, IL

Please RSVP by registering on the following link:REGISTER HERE
If you cannot attend in-person but would like to listen in
Call 888-844-9904, Access Code: 5706708#

Introductions & Welcome
Moment of Silence & Remembrance of Jack Broughton, Applied Ecological Services
Approval of Agenda
Approval of Minutes: April 18, 2018
Treasurer's Report
Status Report of Steering Committee Work
- Membership Committee
- CW Coordinator
- Proposal for Marketing & Communications Consultant
- FY 2019 Budget Proposal - Draft
- Nominations & Elections Committee & Process
Reports from Working Groups
- Visioning
- Engaging Private Landowners in Oak Ecosystem Recovery
- Excellence in Ecological Restoration Program and Force of Nature Awards
Guided Exploration of Membership Portal/Website - Time Permitting
Recognition of Retirements
- John Rogner, US Fish & Wildlife Service

Detailed agenda and meeting materials will be posted to the website on Friday, June 13, 2018.

Climate Action Committee Meeting

July 30, 9:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
ContactAbigail Derby Lewis ataderby@fieldmuseum.orgfor more information

Education Committee

Upcoming Round Tables:

Making Nature Accessible for All
August 23, 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
Little Red School House
9800 Willow Springs Rd.,Willow Springs

NGSS, Bridging the Gap between Formal and Non-formal
October 25, 9:00 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Elgin High School

Look for details and more information in the August e-Newsletter! Meanwhile, save the date: We’d love to see you there!

Community News

Inspired by National Parks Quilt Exhibit
June 17 to July 3

Forest Preserve District of Will CountyView 177 art quilts representing the flora, fauna and landscapes of 59 national parks during this free traveling exhibition, which will be on display simultaneously at four Forest Preserve locations. The exhibition was created to celebrate the National Park Service's centennial in 2016. For more details,

Update: Growing Access at Hackmatack National Wildlife Refuge

On June 5, 2018, Hackmatack National Wildlife Refuge in Wisconsin and Illinois celebrated the addition 86 acres of public land. Regional Director Tom Melius joined leadership from Friends of Hackmatack National Wildlife Wildlife, Ducks Unlimited, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and other partners to mark the occasion at this new land acquisition near Genoa City, Wisconsin.

Hackmatack National Wildlife Refuge was officially established on November 6, 2012with the donation of a 12-acre conservation easement. The easement was purchased for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service by Openlands through a donation from the Friends of Hackmatack and the McHenry County Conservation Foundation. What’s next for Hackmatack? This mix of mature oak and restored prairie and wetlands will become a home for all sorts of migrating and resident birds and other wildlife. Wood ducks will come to nest in the oak and native wildflowers will take root in the restored prairie which will be a welcome sight for butterflies and other other pollinators.

In the future, these acres will be open to hunting, hiking, birding and other non-motorized activities. Getting people outdoors has always been a big part of our mission and now the refuge is helping to make this even more of a reality.

Learn more about Hackmatack National Wildlife Refuge.

REMINDER!E-news Submittals

Do you love this newsletter? It’s easy to keep it going! Just remember to submit your committee updates, events and other newsNO LATER THAN the second Friday of each month. Submit news updates Under the News & Events drop down menu, select "Submit Program Updates" to access the easy-to-use form. Submit bullet points or a rough draft if that’s all you have time to do. The Communications Committee will be happy to work with you to develop a final report.

Articles and Photos Wanted
Are you interested in submitting a Chicago Wilderness region conservation-related article or photo for publication? Contact us atCWCommunicationsTF@gmail.comfor more information.

Volunteers Wanted

The Chicago Wilderness Communications team is seeking volunteers with community engagement or communications experience. For more information, please send an email

If you are not yet involved in the work of Chicago Wilderness but are eager to lend a helping hand, please contact one of the team leaders listed below:
Beyond the Choir
Jo-Elle Mogerman
Climate Education and Engagement
Susan Ask
Communications Working Group
Elizabeth S. Kessler
Education/Next Generation of Conservation Leaders/
Leave No Child Inside
Alison Paul
Government Relations
Susan Donovan
Natural Resources Management
Rebecca Collings
Priority Plants and Fungi
Greg M. Mueller
Climate Action
Abigail Derby Lewis
Commission on Excellence in Ecological Restoration
Ralph Schultz
Corporate Council
James Jerozal
Force of Nature Awards
Cherie LeBlanc Fisher
Lynn Boerman
Oak Ecosystems
Chris Mulvaney
Wildlife Committee
Gary Glowacki


On behalf of the Chicago Wilderness Steering Committee, we would like to express our gratitude to you for generously giving of your time, talents and resources.


Arnold Randall, Chair
Forest Preserve District of Cook County

Elizabeth S. Kessler, Vice-Chair
McHenry County Conservation District

James J. Jerozal, Jr., Treasurer
Nicor Gas/Corporate Council

Danae Ehren, Executive Secretary
Tallgrass Restoration, LLC

At-Large Members of the 2018 Steering Committee
Lynn Boerman, Illinois Department of Natural Resources
Kris Krouse, Shirley Heinze Land Trust
Jo-Elle Mogerman, Shedd Aquarium
Alison Paul, Field Museum
Daniel Suarez, Audubon Great Lakes

Paying Membership Dues:

1. log in
2. click "member portal" in the top banner
3. under Member Login - sign in with your portal username and password
4. go to the "my profile" green box on the right-hand side of the screen and click "Membership Information"
5. under Membership Information you can view invoices/transactions paid or unpaid.
6. to pay - click "the credit card icon" and complete the form "Update Payment & Billing Information"

Questions regarding dues payment(s), pledge(s) and invoice(s), should be directed to Jack Bittner, accountant supporting Jim Jerozal at Nicor Gas.Phone: 630/388-3774

is dedicated to the
of the natural communities of the Chicago region through fostering theircompatibility with the human communities whose lives they enrich.

~ Chicago Wilderness ~
The First Two Years: A Progress Report (1996-1998)