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Press Release: Forest Preserves Names Conservation & Policy Council

President Preckwinkle appoints leaders from diverse backgrounds and fields to guide the preserves into a second century

Forest Preserves of Cook County President Toni Preckwinkle yesterday appointed the agency’s first Conservation and Policy Council, naming 10 inaugural members to provide continuous conservation leadership and expertise to the Forest Preserves President and Board of Commissioners:


  • Wendy Paulson, President, Bobolink Foundation


  • Robert Castaneda, Executive Director, Beyond the Ball
  • Michael DeSantiago, Founder, President & CEO, Primera Engineers, LTD.
  • Peter Ellis, Partner, ReedSmith LLP
  • Terry Guen, President and Principal, Terry Guen Design Associates
  • Sylvia M. Jenkins, Ph. D, President, Moraine Valley Community College
  • Falona Joy, President, SNP Strategies
  • Linda Mastandrea, Attorney at Law
  • Laurel Ross, Former Director of Urban Conservation, Field Museum
  • Mark N. Templeton, Director, Abrams Environmental Law Clinic at the University of Chicago

Read biographies of the new appointees at fpdcc.com/conservation-policy-council/.

Commissioners ratified the appointments at yesterday’s board meeting. The terms of the council members are one to three years, and will be staggered. An ex-officio member is still to be determined.

The Forest Preserves’ Next Century Conservation Plan called for the creation of a Conservation and Policy Council comprised of leaders who reflect the geographic and demographic diversity of Cook County and have expertise in fields relevant to the Forest Preserves’ mission, services and policies.

The main charge of the council will be to advise the President, Board of Commissioners and General Superintendent on specific steps to implement the Next Century Conservation Plan’s vision of a vibrant, ecologically healthy and welcoming forest preserves system.

In addition, the council will be responsible for developing and annually updating a strategic plan to operationalize the Next Century Conservation Plan, as well as reviewing and making recommendations for the annual budget, conservation policies and practices and long-term strategic issues.

“The residents of Cook County rely on the Forest Preserves to preserve and enhance these precious natural resources, but as I often say, government can’t do it alone,” said President Preckwinkle. “This volunteer council will help us ensure that the Forest Preserves continue to thrive throughout their second century.”

“The Next Century Conservation Plan is both visionary and practical,” said Jerry Adelmann, President and CEO of Openlands. “This step toward implementing one of the plan’s central governance recommendations means that the Forest Preserves will have the expertise needed to ensure that nature will thrive for future generations.”

The council’s first meeting will be January 20, 2015.


About the Forest Preserves of Cook County
Don’t you sometimes just want to escape? Explore the natural beauty of Cook County for an hour, a day or even a night. When you’re surrounded by 70,000 acres of wild and wonderful there’s no better place to feel free.