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Congratulations - 2017 Force of Nature & Excellence in Ecological Restoration Program Recipients


From vast, rolling prairies and woodlands to outdoor classrooms, the accreditation and awards showcase the region’s best examples of places that benefit both wildlife and people.


In 2017, ten outstanding individuals/agencies were recognized with The Force of Nature Award for their efforts in conservation, restoration, advocacy, and/or educational activities that are inspirational examples for others. These inspiring role models include:

Amaris Alanis-Ribeiro
(Chicago Botanic Garden)

Bill Glass
(USDA Forest Service, Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie)

Dr. Agnes Wojnarski
(Prospect Heights Natural Resources Commission)

Metropolitan Mayors Caucus
(Greenest Region Compact 2)

Faith in Place
(Migration & Me Program)

Friends of the Chicago River
(Turtle Habitat Restoration Project)

Elgin High School
(National Biodiversity Teach-In)

ArcelorMittal Research and Development Center
(Campus Restoration Project)

Village of Green Oaks Volunteer Stewards
(Dennis Dorsey Conservation Area)

Forest Preserve District of DuPage County
(The Preserve at Oak Meadows)


“The natural areas of Chicago’s wilderness are home to a wide diversity of species and rare habitats that provide opportunities for recreation and exploration, as well as clean air and water, flood protection and so much more. Yet the region’s natural areas are threatened by fragmentation; invasive plant and animal species; pollution; and the impacts of climate change. The Excellence in Ecological Restoration and Force of Nature award recipients are addressing these threats through their continued conservation work,” said Elizabeth S. Kessler, McHenry County Conservation District Executive Director and Vice-Chair, Chicago Wilderness.

“The Chicago Wilderness alliance is excited to celebrate these sites and the conservation leadership of the organizations that manage them,” said Arnold Randall, Forest Preserves of Cook County and Chair, Chicago Wilderness. “They are ensuring that our region’s natural resources survive and flourish for generations to come.”