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Forest Preserve Foundation Awards 3 Grants to Support Forest Preserves’ Initiatives

A group of high school age participants in the 2017 Forest Preserves Experience program.
Participants in the 2017 Forest Preserves Experience program.

During the Forest Preserve Foundation’s spring grants cycle, three grants totaling $152,500 in support of Forest Preserves of Cook County initiatives were approved.

Developing the Next Generation of Outdoor Leaders: Curriculum and Training in Public Engagement

The Foundation awarded a grant of $27,500 to the Forest Preserves to support teen leaders for nature-based programming in the Forest Preserves. The Forest Preserves will work in collaboration with community-based organizations that have experience in environmental education, youth development and curriculum development to directly supervise young people in a process to develop curriculum and program activities related to three projects.

This team will work on the Dan Ryan Nature Play Area and Tree House, Sand Ridge Nature Center/Camp Shabbona Campus and Underground Railroad Hikes, and Beaubien Woods/Altgeld Gardens and Outdoor/Adventure Programming at that site.

Forest Preserve Experience Program

A $75,000 grant will support the Forest Preserve Experience Program, the Conservation Corps partnership between the Forest Preserves and the Housing Authority of Cook County. For 2018, 100 high school youth and leaders (ages 14 to 19) will be recruited from the south and west sides of Cook County, where they will be deployed to work at their local forest preserve led by trained adult leaders and assistant crew leaders.

Participants will conduct conservation activities including invasive species management, tree care and urban gardening. All youth attend a green career panel where are exposed to careers in the green industry. Participants leave with an understanding of what the Preserves offer and why healthy nature is important to their community and quality of life.

Student Conservation Association

The Foundation awarded $50,000 to directly support a 2018 Chicago Conservation Leadership Corps crew. For six weeks, the crew of 14 teens and leaders will perform conservation work at a Forest Preserves of Cook County site. The grant will be directly applied to this crew, funding youth wages, leader wages, supply and training costs, risk management supplies, member transportation, evaluation and assessment, insurance, and worker’s compensation.

During 2018, program members will collectively contribute more than 10,000 hours of conservation service toward the creation and maintenance of forest preserves and parks. Student Conservation Association will recruit city of Chicago residents for this crew.

Interested in learning more about or supporting the Forest Preserve Foundation? Visit forestpreservefoundation.org.