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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: OPENLANDS TREEKEEPERS COURSE REGISTRATION OPENS

*** Summer certification course to be offered in Oak Park ***

CONTACT:    Brandon Hayes, 312-863-6260, bhayes@openlands.org
Patrick Williams, 312-863-6277, pwilliams@openlands.org
(Media inquiries only)

(Chicago – April 25, 2017) Openlands announces that registration is open for the summer 2017 TreeKeepers certification course. Since 1991, Openlands has trained over 1,800 volunteer TreeKeepers to care for Chicago’s urban forest, identifying potential tree-related problems, and leading neighbors in tree planting and tree care.

Summer 2017 classes will be held on Tuesdays and Thursdays from June 1 through June 27. Weekday courses allow interested individuals with busy weekend schedules a chance to participate in the program. Tuesday and Thursday classes run from 6-9pm at Austin Gardens Environmental Education Center, 167 Forest Avenue, Oak Park, IL 60302. Interested applicants may visit www.openlands.org/treekeepers to apply. The registration period closes on May 31.

The course costs $128. Tuition includes a TreeKeepers Program Manual, safety glasses, and upon graduation, a TreeKeepers certificate, TreeKeepers badge, and TreeKeepers t-shirt. This summer Openlands will provide five scholarships to local residents and current Village of Oak Park employees.

All certified TreeKeepers go through the TreeKeepers program. Certification includes an eight-day course with classroom and field components; passing a written exam, completing practical exams on tree planting, mulching, and pruning; pledging 25 volunteer hours within the year following graduation; and adopting public trees in a park or on a parkway. Two undergraduate or graduate credit hours are available through the College of Education at Aurora University for an additional fee.

Founded in 1963, Openlands is one of the nation’s oldest and most successful metropolitan conservation organizations, having helped secure, protect, and provide public access to more than 55,000 acres of land for parks, forest preserves, wildlife refuges, land and water greenway corridors, and urban gardens. For more information, please visit www.openlands.org.

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: OPENLANDS RELEASES STATEMENT IN SUPPORT OF MAYOR EMANUEL’S TREE PLANTING PROPOSAL

CONTACT:    Brandon Hayes, 312-863-6260, bhayes@openlands.org
Patrick Williams, 312-863-6277, pwilliams@openlands.org
(Media inquiries only)

OPENLANDS RELEASES STATEMENT IN SUPPORT OF MAYOR EMANUEL’S TREE PLANTING PROPOSAL

(Chicago – February 21, 2017) Statement by Openlands President and CEO Jerry Adelmann:

Openlands applauds Mayor Emanuel’s proposal to use unclaimed property tax rebates for tree plantings in Chicago. We wholeheartedly support efforts to reduce crime and enhance community wellbeing on Chicago’s south and west sides. Our urban forestry work has supported those goals for over 25 years. Tree plantings not only increase community greening, which has been repeatedly demonstrated to reduce crime and aid community development, but also can be strong drivers of job creation.

Mayor Emanuel’s tree planting allocation of $500,000 is a small part of the proposed $15 million property tax rebate. The Bureau of Forestry’s budget for tree plantings has been repeatedly cut, and under this plan, plantings of 20 trees will take place in all 50 wards, providing substantial public benefit:

  • Trees in Chicago capture harmful pollutants such as volatile organic compounds and improve air quality;
  • Children play outside 10% more in tree-lined neighborhoods, and have lower rates of ADHD and asthma;
  • Trees provide a mentally restorative effect that decreases the incidence of violent crime by measurably improving mental health;
  • They retain storm water to reduce urban flooding across the city;
  • And trees mitigate the effects of climate change, which affects low-income and communities of color most.

This is a small, but vital investment in community development and public health that will yield significant results for all Chicago’s residents.

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: OPENLANDS TREEKEEPERS COURSE REGISTRATION OPENS

CONTACT:    Brandon Hayes, 312-863-6260, bhayes@openlands.org
Patrick Williams, 312-863-6277, pwilliams@openlands.org
(Media inquiries only)

OPENLANDS TREEKEEPERS COURSE REGISTRATION OPENS

(Chicago – February 13, 2017) Openlands announces that registration is open for the spring 2017 TreeKeepers certification course. Since 1991, Openlands has trained 1,800 volunteer TreeKeepers to care for Chicago’s urban forest, identifying potential tree-related problems and leading neighbors in tree planting and tree care.

Spring 2017 classes are held on Saturdays and Wednesdays from March 18 through April 12. Wednesday classes run from 6:30-8:30pm, and Saturday classes run from 10am-2:30pm at McKinley Park, 2210 W. Pershing Rd., Chicago. Interested applicants may visit www.openlands.org/treekeepers to apply. The application period closes on March 17.

The course costs $128. Tuition includes a TreeKeepers Program Manual, safety glasses, and upon graduation, a TreeKeepers certificate, TreeKeepers badge, and a TreeKeepers t-shirt. This year Openlands will provide five scholarships to local residents and current Chicago Park District employees.

All certified TreeKeepers go through the TreeKeepers program. Certification includes an eight-day course with classroom and field components; passing a written exam, completing practical exams on tree planting, mulching, and pruning; pledging 25 volunteer hours within the year following graduation; and adopting public trees in a park or on a parkway. Two undergraduate or graduate credit hours are available through the College of Education at Aurora University for an additional fee.

Founded in 1963, Openlands is one of the nation’s oldest and most successful metropolitan conservation organizations, having helped secure, protect, and provide public access to more than 55,000 acres of land for parks, forest preserves, wildlife refuges, land and water greenway corridors, and urban gardens. For more information, please visit http://www.openlands.org.

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: OPENLANDS HELPS CITY OF WILMINGTON ACQUIRE NEW PARKLAND ALONG THE KANKAKEE RIVER

CONTACT:    Brandon Hayes, 312-863-6260, bhayes@openlands.org
Patrick Williams, 312-863-6277, pwilliams@openlands.org
(Media inquiries only)

OPENLANDS HELPS CITY OF WILMINGTON ACQUIRE NEW PARKLAND ALONG THE KANKAKEE RIVER

***Local Public/Private Partnership Is In Service of the Public Good***

(Chicago – February 8, 2017) On Tuesday, Wilmington City Council voted to finalize the acquisition of land on the South Island in the Kankakee River.  South Island is connected to downtown Wilmington by the historic Route 66, and the City has developed a vision for the South Island that increases open space and public use options.  The vision recognizes the South Island as a natural attraction that will draw tourists, support local businesses, and leverage Wilmington’s uniqueness in the region.  To support this vision, Openlands assembled the land from three separate landowners in 2011, and has held the property as interim owner since that time.  Owning the land now gives Wilmington flexibility and control in shaping the future of the site, and plans include developing a marquis gateway. Through working with Openlands, an accredited Land Trust, Wilmington was able to access grant funding from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources to support the project.

“The effort to build onto and utilize a natural attraction like the Kankakee River, which was designated as a National Water Trail last year, will draw tourists, support local businesses, and leverage Wilmington’s uniqueness in the region,” said Mayor Marty Orr.

“Openlands is pleased to partner with Wilmington on this opportunity to advance open space and economic development goals,” said Openlands Vice President of Conservation Emy Brawley. “The City’s plan to increase open space and public use options on the island is good planning at its best.”

About Openlands

Founded in 1963, Openlands is one of the nation’s oldest and most successful metropolitan conservation organizations, having helped secure, protect, and provide public access to more than 55,000 acres of land for parks, forest preserves, wildlife refuges, land and water greenway corridors, and urban gardens. For more information, please visit http://www.openlands.org.

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For Immediate Release: Openlands 2016 Annual Luncheon Raises Record-Breaking $360,000; Celebrates Connecting People to Nature

November 11, 2016

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT:
Brandon Hayes, 312-863-6260, bhayes@openlands.org
Patrick Williams, 312-863-6277, pwilliams@openlands.org
(Media inquiries only)

OPENLANDS 2016 ANNUAL LUNCHEON RAISES RECORD-BREAKING $360,000; CELEBRATES CONNECTING PEOPLE TO NATURE

***Emerald Sponsors were The Negaunee Foundation and Stantec Consulting Services, Incorporated***

*** 2016 Conservation Leadership Award Honored Sophia Shaw, Former President and CEO of the Chicago Botanic Garden***

The Openlands 2016 Annual Luncheon focused on welcoming more people to experience the Chicago region’s natural areas. The event raised more than $360,000—a record—for the regional conservation organization. More than 800 guests enjoyed the Keynote by Audrey Peterman about encouraging diverse communities to experience America’s public lands. The Honorable Senator Dick Durbin congratulated Openlands on major regional accomplishments such as Hackmatack National Wildlife Refuge and Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie. Sophia Shaw, recently retired President and CEO of the Chicago Botanic Garden, received the 2016 Conservation Leadership Award.

“If you succeed in saving a parcel of pristine open space for future generations, you’ve left a great legacy indeed,” said Durbin in his remarks. In her acceptance speech, Shaw referenced the classic Woody Guthrie lyric, “This land is your land, this land is my land…This land was made for you and me,” as embodying Openlands’ mission. She finished by emphasizing the importance of protecting and sharing the world’s natural spaces with everyone. “We need people of all ethnicities to solve climate change and adaptation issues,” said Peterman, recognized nationally as a leader in the movement to diversify the visitors to America’s public lands.

The event was held October 13 at the Hilton Chicago. Emerald Sponsors were The Negaunee Foundation and Stantec Consulting Services, Inc. Platinum Sponsors were Allstate, ArcelorMittal, Connie and Tony Bischof, Shaun and Andy Block, Bobolink Foundation, ComEd, ITW, Jeanine and Andrew McNally IV, and Northern Trust. Gold Sponsors were Bartlett Tree Experts; BMO Harris Bank; The Boeing Company; Christy Webber Landscapes; Art Collins; Deborah Lahey; Liberty Prairie Foundation; Living Habitats; J. Timothy Ritchie; University of Chicago, Office of Civic Engagement; U.S. Bank; Ventas;and West Monroe Partners. The Luncheon Committee Co-Chairs were Dominic Kempson Senior Principal, Sector Leader, Environmental Services, US Federal for Stantec Consulting Services, Inc. and Jeanine McNally, former member of the Openlands Board of Directors.

Honoree Sophia Shaw retired as President and CEO of the Chicago Botanic Garden earlier this year. During her tenure, she generated an almost 50 percent increase in attendance, emphasizing conservation and education programs for a broad audience, including diverse and underserved communities. Keynote Speaker Audrey Peterman is a nationally recognized leader in the movement to make America’s public lands relevant to every demographic group. With her husband, she co-founded Earthwise Productions, Inc., an environmental consulting and publishing firm focused on connecting the public lands system and the American public.

About Openlands

Founded in 1963, Openlands is one of the nation’s oldest and most successful metropolitan conservation organizations, having helped secure, protect, and provide public access to more than 55,000 acres of land for parks, forest preserves, wildlife refuges, land and water greenway corridors, and urban gardens. For more information, please visit http://www.openlands.org.

About the Openlands Board of Directors

The Openlands Board of Directors comprises Jill Allread; Paul J. Anderson; J. Tyler Anthony; Gary F. Balling; Paul L. Becker; Alan M. Bell; Shaun C. Block (Honorary Director); Richard J. Carlson (Chair); Bill Clarkin; George W. Davis; Anthony T. Dean (Honorary Director); Garrett Handley Dee; Derek R.B. Douglas; Josephine F. Elting; Joseph Fedacsek; Marshall Field, V, (Honorary Director); Dean Fischer; Hugh D. Frisbie; Jonathan C. Hamill; Mark M. Harris; Scott Jamieson; Leslie Jones; Iris Krieg; Carrie C. McNally (Secretary); Molly Meyer; Andrew Otting; Wendy J. Paulson; Steven M. Ricchio (Treasurer);  J. Timothy Ritchie; Jeffrey R. Rode; Charles Saltzman; Jo Ann M. Seagren; and Patrick Shaw.

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For Immediate Release: Largest Gathering of Illinois’ Environmental Community Focuses On Expanding The Diversity Of People Who Experience Nature

September 20, 2016

CONTACT:  Brandon Hayes, 312-863-6260, bhayes@openlands.org
Tasha Lawson, 312-863-6277, tlawson@openlands.org
(Media inquiries only)

LARGEST GATHERING OF ILLINOIS’ ENVIRONMENTAL COMMUNITY FOCUSES ON EXPANDING THE DIVERSITY OF PEOPLE WHO EXPERIENCE NATURE

*** Sophia Shaw is the Conservation Leadership Award Recipient; Audrey Peterman is the Keynote Speaker***

***Dominic Kempson and Jeanine McNally are Committee Co-Chairs; The Negaunee Foundation and Stantec Consulting Services, Inc. are the Emerald Sponsors***

Protected landscapes, gardens, parks, and open waterfronts that improve mental and physical health should be accessible and inviting for everyone in Chicago’s diverse metropolis. The Openlands 2016 Annual Luncheon focuses on how we can welcome more people to experience the Chicago region’s natural areas. At the luncheon, Openlands will present former President and CEO of the Chicago Botanic Garden, Sophia Shaw, with the Conservation Leadership Award in honor of her achievements cultivating the Garden as an international leader in horticulture and public engagement.

The Openlands Annual Luncheon is consistently the largest gathering of conservation-minded organizations, volunteers, and elected officials in the state of Illinois with over 900 attendees expected. It will take place at the Hilton Chicago on October 13 from 10:30am until 1:30pm. A networking reception begins at 10:30am and the lunch and program begin at noon.

Honoree Sophia Shaw retired as President and CEO of the Chicago Botanic Garden earlier this year. During her tenure, she generated an almost 50 percent increase in attendance, emphasizing conservation and education programs for a broad audience, including diverse and underserved communities. “One of the beliefs of the Chicago Botanic Garden is that people live better, healthier lives when they can create, care for, and enjoy gardens and places where nature can thrive, a sentiment shared by Openlands,” said Shaw. “When environmental organizations make it a goal to expand audiences—become relevant to all people—we make a crucial investment in the present and future health of the world.”

“This is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate Sophia’s leadership,” states Openlands President and CEO, Jerry Adelmann. “As Openlands continues to connect underserved and more diverse communities to the vital benefits of nature, the Chicago Botanic Garden is one of the gems of the region for people to visit and feel welcome.”

Keynote Speaker Audrey Peterman is a nationally recognized leader in the movement to make America’s public lands relevant to every demographic group. With her husband, she co-founded Earthwise Productions, Inc., an environmental consulting and publishing firm focused on connecting the public lands system and the American public. On touring the national parks, Peterman says, “Traveling through the park system, I get a bigger picture of what America really is. It is so much more inclusive of all the races. Everybody has contributed to the greatness of this country.”

Co-chair Dominic Kempson is Senior Principal, Sector Leader, Environmental Services, US Federal for Stantec Consulting Services, Inc. He has over 25 years of experience consulting in the management of water resources and natural resources impact analyses. Co-chair Jeanine McNally is a former member of the Openlands Board of Directors and a long advocate of metropolitan Chicago’s natural areas.

For tickets or more information on attending the event, please visit: http://www.openlands.org/openlands-2016-annual-luncheon or contact Jennifer Van Valkenburg at JVanValkenburg@openlands.org or call 312-863-6261.

Media inquiries or members of the press wishing to attend the Openlands 2016 Annual Luncheon should contact Brandon Hayes at bhayes@openlands.org or 312-863-6260.

Sponsors as of September 20, 2016

The Openlands 2016 Annual Luncheon Emerald Sponsors are The Negaunee Foundation and Stantec Consulting Services, Inc. Platinum Sponsors are Allstate, ArcelorMittal, Shaun and Andy Block, ComEd, Connie and Tony Bischof, ITW, Mr. and Mrs. Andrew McNally IV, and Northern Trust.

Gold Sponsors are Bartlett Tree Experts, BMO Harris Bank, The Boeing Company, Christy Webber Landscapes, Art Collins, Deborah Lahey, Living Habitats, J. Timothy Ritchie, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP, University of Chicago, Office of Civic Engagement, U.S. Bank, Ventas and West Monroe Partners.

About Openlands

Founded in 1963, Openlands is one of the nation’s oldest and most successful metropolitan conservation organizations, having helped secure, protect, and provide public access to more than 55,000 acres of land for parks, forest preserves, wildlife refuges, land and water greenway corridors, and urban gardens. For more information, please visit www.openlands.org.

About the Openlands Board

The Openlands Board of Directors comprises Jill Allread, Paul J. Anderson, J. Tyler Anthony, Gary F. Balling, Paul L. Becker, Alan M. Bell, Shaun C. Block (Honorary Director), Richard J. Carlson (Chair), Bill Clarkin, George W. Davis, Anthony T. Dean (Honorary Director) Garrett Handley Dee, Derek R.B. Douglas, Josephine F. Elting, Marshall Field, V, (Honorary Director), Dean Fischer, Hugh D. Frisbie, Jonathan C. Hamill, Mark M. Harris, Scott Jamieson, Iris Krieg, Carrie C. McNally (Secretary), Molly Meyer, Andrew Otting, Wendy J. Paulson, Steven M. Ricchio (Treasurer),  J. Timothy Ritchie, Jeffrey R. Rode, Charles Saltzman, Jo Ann M. Seagren, and Patrick Shaw.

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