203 - Celebrating and Taking Care of Our Nature Preserves, Not Just an Ordinary Park!
Amy Doll, Director, Friends of Illinois Nature Preserves; Christos Economou, Volunteer Steward, Friends of Illinois Nature Preserves; Matt Evans, President, Friends of Illinois Nature Preserves; Eriko Kojima, Volunteer Steward, Friends of Illinois Nature Preserves; Emma Leavens, Volunteer Steward, Friends of Illinois Nature Preserves; Stephanie Place, Volunteer Steward, Friends of Illinois Nature Preserves
Illinois nature preserves are more than just open spaces in the park system. These are special places protected from development in perpetuity by state law because of their irreplaceable natural features and biodiversity. In the age of invasive species and climate change, nature preserves require specialized care to maintain these vital cultural resources. The mission of the Friends of Illinois Nature Preserves is to ensure that all Illinois nature preserves maintain their rare and unique plants, animals, and natural communities in the future. We believe in a hyperlocal, work-learn-lead approach to land stewardship and will celebrate the 60th anniversary of the founding of the nature preserve system by sharing this vision for taking care of nature preserves in your community with you. Learn how this approach can encourage powerful volunteer stewardship in your natural areas and result in a greater constituency for the nature preserves and your park system as a whole.
- Recognize the value of nature preserves in the community and how to leverage the statewide celebration to increase volunteer stewardship and grant funding for the care of nature preserves.
- Implement the work-learn-lead approach to stewardship for volunteer stewards of nature preserves, including finding resources for training, tools, and recruiting additional volunteers in communities.