As we count down to midnight on Dec. 31 and 2017 comes to an end, we are happy to savor the good memories as we look ahead. This is a time for us to reflect on the ways the Forest Preserve Foundation has had impact. Yet we know there is more work to be done.
When you make a donation to the Foundation, you are giving back to nature. And nature will give back to you. We ask you to remember nature in your end of year giving. Here are five reasons why:
- Support the next generation of conservation leaders. The Conservation Corps provides paid internships for young people— many working their first jobs ever— to learn skills in land conservation and restoration. They also gain teamwork and leadership experience that inspires them to pursue environmental science related studies. Contributions from donors enable us to grow this program and continue investing in youth development and leadership.
- Engage community in nature. In 2017, the Forest Preserve Foundation in partnership with CSX sponsored a group of Oak Park-River Forest High School artists who designed three original nature-based sculptures that pay tribute to the role the Forest Preserves plays within the local community. We believe these sculptures will inspire more families and communities to come and explore the Preserves.
- Restore nature and provide a peaceful place for all living things. We support volunteers who help improve and maintain the Preserves. Keeping the Preserves healthy allows plants and wildlife to thrive in their natural environments. Individuals and families also can enjoy the peace that nature provides. Volunteers work year round in the Preserves restoring and maintaining the land so the biodiversity of our prairies, woodlands and wetlands can continue to keep our air and water clean.
- Create your own nature adventure. The Foundation is a big proponent of camping in the Preserves. Our investment in the Camping Leadership Immersion Course (CLIC) has helped hundreds of families enjoy camping out in the Preserves. This year we have supported more nature play sites— areas within the Preserve that are constructed to encourage kids of any age to explore the Preserves.
- The Preserves are a place where memories are seeded. We hear of families taking regular bike rides on the trails. Or lifelong friends meeting every season to observe the birds in our migratory corridor. And those who celebrate or honor a family member or a friend by having a tree planted or a bench installed in a preserve.
So, we say goodbye to 2017 knowing that nature is the gift that keeps on giving. And, we at the Forest Preserve Foundation will continue to work to make sure the gifts of nature get shared every day in 2018.
Intern Ryan Aiello contributed to this post.