Visioning Group Begins Listening and Engagement Tour
The Visioning Group kicked off its Listening and Engagement tour at the CW Corporate Council meeting on July 23, 2018. The purpose of this tour is seekingto learn both how people in different places and walks of life value nature and see it as promoting quality of life, and what people need to increase their access to nature and to improve local environmental health. The intended outcome isa firm and broad commitment to the foundations of the Chicago Wilderness alliance, including science-based and resilient land management, engagement and education on conservation and quality of life, and ever-increasing grassroots stewardship of local nature, important places, and nature corridors that connect these places.
The next step will be engaging CW members at regional meetings. To improveeffectiveness, the Visioning Group is looking for volunteers to host and assist with meetings, and to invite members interested in becoming more involved. The time commitment is estimated to be one or two calls before the meeting, and one follow-up conference call after the meeting.
The Visioning Group is interested in holding events to update the membership on the progress of CW toward a full implementation of its mission. Their first Visioning Group presentation was held at NIRPC Environmental Management Policy Committee meeting onSeptember 6 at 9:00 AMat 100 Southport Rd, Portage, IN and was followed by apresentation on the Chicago Wilderness Oak Recovery Project by Christopher Mulvaney.
Anyone interested in joining the Visioning Group or assisting with the regional meetings is encouraged to reach out to Aaron Durnbaughatadurnbaugh@luc.edu,Daniel Suarez firstname.lastname@example.org,or Debra Moskovits email@example.com more information.
Opening for At-Large Steering Committee Member
As you know, the Steering Committee was formally established in January. There are several changes coming, and also a need to get to a place where there are staggered terms so the Committee terms don’t all start and end at the same time.
The Steering Committee met to discuss this, and to learn of intentions for ongoing involvement next year. All current members expressed interest in remaining on the committee and several expressed interest in shifting to other Steering Committee positions as we fill the vacancy created when Chair Arnold Randall steps down at the end of his term later this year (that is, the Vice Chair serves as Chair, someone fills the Vice Chair slot, etc.; this action will be presented to the Executive Council for approval).As a result,the Nominations and Elections Committee will be seeking candidates to fill one At-Large positionas described below:
At-Large Steering Committee Member Position:A Steering Committee member with the appropriate interest and capacity will be designated to coordinate key functions, including Membership Recruitment and Retention; Public Programs (e.g. Excellence in Ecological Restoration and other outward facing programs); External Communications; and Strategic Initiatives.
Time commitment: Term begins with the January 16, 2019 Chicago Wilderness meeting and runs for 3 years. Attend quarterly Chicago Wilderness Executive Council meetings. Attend quarterly Steering Committee meetings. Conduct pre-work ahead of the meetings (setting agenda, outreach with members, committees and working groups, etc.). Other projects as assigned.
Interested?For more information contact Lynne Westphallwestphal@fs.fed.us,Lynne: 224-999-1992;or Lynda Lancasterlynda_lancaster@nps.govLynda: 219-928-8677.
CW Meeting Schedule for 2018-2019
TheExecutive Councilwill meet quarterly on the third Wednesday of the month from 9:00 am—12:30 pm on the following dates:
October 17, 2018at CMAP, 233 S. Wacker Drive, Suite 800, Chicago, IL 60606
January 16, 2019location TBD
April 17, 2019location TBD
July 17, 2019location TBD
October 16, 2019location TBD
TheSteering Committeewill meet quarterly from 9 am—12noon, one month before the Executive CouncilMeeting, on the following dates:
September 19, 2018at the George W. Dunne Cook County Office Building, 69 W. Washington, Chicago IL 60602 in the Finance Conference Room
December 19, 2018at the George W. Dunne Cook County Office Building, 69 W. Washington, Chicago IL 60602 in the Finance Conference Room
March 20, 2019location TBD
June 19, 2019location TBD
September 18, 2019location TBD
Steering Committee Conference calls will be set for the first Wednesday of each month at 10 am for one hour.
TheVisioning Groupwill meet monthly on the first Wednesday of the month from 3 pm – 5 pm at the Field Museum, 1400 South Lake Shore Drive, Chicago IL 60605on the following dates:
September 5, 2018
October 3, 2018
November 7, 2018
December 5, 2018
Migration & Me: Connecting People with Nature Through Stories of Personal Journey
by Jennifer Roche | firstname.lastname@example.org
When Veronica Kyle, founder of the Chicago Wilderness Force of Nature Award winning program Migration & Me, began working on environmental issues years ago, she didn’t find a lot of other African Americans around the table with her. As part of her role with Faith in Place, she remembers listening patiently as her collaborators discussed their theories on why more African Americans were not involved in the parks, particularly in stewardship or outdoor recreational activities.
“I would hear things like ‘they’ don't really do nature or hiking or come outside or ‘they’ like to stay close to their community,” recalled Kyle. “I knew that story had another side to it.” Kyle, who was born in Alabama and moved to Chicago as a child, remembered men who fished and hunted and women who gardened, canned, and made quilts outside while sitting on their porches or under huge weeping willow trees. During her later experiences working in Jamaica and South Africa, she saw how the oceans and nature interconnected with daily life.
“But, I also knew there was a bittersweet side in nature for African Americans,” said Kyle. “In servitude as slaves, as sharecroppers and from lynchings in the woods. We picked cotton, planted and harvested fruit, but we were also ‘strange fruit,’ as Billie Holiday sang.”
Kyle recognized these incorrect assumptions and stories about why black people were not engaged in their local parks and forest preserves, and she felt the situation lacked some “real, raw truth-telling.” Historical factors that African Americans and other diverse people have faced, like being run off of Chicago beaches, shot in local woods and preserves, or forced from their land in the South, were not being recognized by the broader environmental community. Not to mention that the land had been taken from indigenous people before that. “It’s painful for some to admit that even the land we now steward may have been taken or stolen from those who came before us to this country,” she said.
Finally, at a meeting, the discussion came up again. How do we get diverse people involved with nature? “They weren’t asking me,” Kyle recalls. “And, I thought, ‘Did you invite diverse people? Was it a real invitation?’ And a few people said in a kind of dismissive way, ‘That will probably never happen.’” Kyle went home that night with these concerns on her heart, and by morning she had her answer. Inspired by what she learned from US Forest Service Program Specialist Mike Rizzo about the monarch butterfly’s 3,000-mile migration -- from Mexico to Nova Scotia -- she saw the stories of African Americans and Mexican Americans aligned in that same journey.
A New Idea
“What if I started a story circle in churches and everyone got to tell their migration story and how nature was a part of it?” Kyle recalled thinking that evening. Everyone has a migration story, just like the “amazing” insect, whether it’s from the south to the north or from the city to the suburbs or from apartment to apartment. She was convinced this could be a way to bring diverse stories into the environmental movement.
Read the full article here