conserving nature for life

Hackmatack National Wildlife Refuge

Since 2005, Openlands has worked to protect the ecologically significant landscapes found along the Illinois-Wisconsin border, acquiring over 2,000 acres of land in Hackmatack National Wildlife Refuge, and collaborating with partners and community residents to restore it.

A bearded man in a black shirt stands before a field. (Michael Davidson Openlands)

Michael Davidson named the next President and CEO of Openlands

Openlands announces the appointment of Michael Davidson as its next President and Chief Executive Officer.  This appointment comes during the 60th anniversary of one of the nation’s oldest and most successful metropolitan conservation organizations.

2023 Openlands Annual Report

The 60th-anniversary special issue of our annual report is now available digitally. Over the course of these six decades, we have honed our own conservation toolkit that informs how we approach opportunities and challenges. This annual report is organized around our core areas of expertise, providing a comprehensive view of how they have been put to use over the years to achieve milestone conservation wins and lay the groundwork for our endeavors today.

a stack of green and red boxes

Openlands' Nature for All Campaign

Join Openlands' most ambitious campaign to date to create a lasting impact on nature and people, for now and for generations to come.

Support Openlands by becoming a monthly donor

Celebrate Openlands' 60th anniversary with a gift of $60 a year, or $5 a month and make a sustaining difference.

Committed to conserving nature for life.

Openlands protects the natural and open spaces of northeastern Illinois and the surrounding region to ensure cleaner air and water, protect natural habitats and wildlife, and help balance and enrich our lives.


Acres Protected

in Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin


Acres Restored

to a healthy state for nature, wildlife, and people


Trees planted

throughout the Chicago region



certified as TreeKeepers

Openlands is a conservation thought leader in the region.

With over 60 years of strong experience in serving people and nature, our experts share their vision and lessons learned for a more sustainable future.

Latest Openlands News

Explore Nature in the Region

Use our interactive maps to discover places and ways to enjoy nature in the region. Explore over 400 parks, preserves, and natural areas open to the public.

Get Involved in Our Programs


TreeKeepers are an ever-growing community of tree ambassadors that care for the Urban Forest in Chicagoland. Through the TreeKeeper Course, tree lovers of all ages and backgrounds gain accessible training and education that certify them as an official TreeKeeper. English and Spanish courses are offered.

a group of people standing next to a tree

The Arborist Registered Apprenticeship is a 3-year training program administered by Openlands in partnership with the Department of Labor and tree care companies across the Chicago region. Apprentices work alongside industry professionals and gain hands-on experience, training, and skills to launch their green careers in arboriculture and urban forestry.

a young boy holding a book and a camera

Birds in My Neighborhood is a volunteer-driven program for elementary students that helps students see nature in their community by observing birds. Volunteers help run the program by working with teachers to schedule two classroom visits and a field trip to a local natural area.

The Openlands Native Tree and Plant Sale is now open. Visit the Possibility Place online store now to order your native trees, shrubs, and perennials. Trees and shrubs ship beginning April 1. Perennials ship beginning May 1. More species will become available for order and shipping in the Spring.

Our 30x30 Goals

We are partaking in the global effort to restore, connect and conserve 30 percent of lands and waters by 2030.

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Connecting people to nature where they live.

As innovative protectors and stewards of the land since 1963, Openlands exists to create access to nature for all. Through local alliances, forward vision, and persistent action, Openlands connects and leads conservation work, serving as a guiding voice for communities, organizations, and more effective policy in northeastern Illinois and the surrounding region.

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