The Openlands 50th Anniversary Luncheon was the highest earning and best attended luncheon in Openlands’ history, raising over $330,000 for the organization’s mission of connecting people with nature across the Chicago region. Openlands thanks Presenting Sponsor ComEd for its generous support, which helped to make the event so successful.
Countless studies show that public access to parks, nature preserves, and other open spaces close to home empowers people to make healthy and active lifestyle choices that improve their physical and mental well-being. The luncheon focused on “park prescriptions” and other green alternatives as a way to combat the growing health issues that face our communities.
The Luncheon was also the culmination of the celebration of Openlands’ 50th Anniversary. The event highlighted the lasting, landmark conservation achievements of Openlands, while looking toward the future of how Openlands will address 21st century issues such as public health, climate change, and clean and abundant water supply.
2013 Keynote Speaker
The 2013 keynote speaker was Dr. Michael Suk, Chairman of Orthopaedic Surgery for the Geisinger Health System based in Danville, PA. Dr. Suk was asked to serve as Senior Advisor on Health and Recreation to the National Park Service and in 2011 served on the National Parks Centennial Steering Committee. In 2003, Dr. Suk was selected as a White House Fellow by President George W. Bush and served as Special Assistant to Secretary Gale A. Norton at the U.S. Department of the Interior. At Interior, Dr. Suk spearheaded an initiative to develop the link between public health and recreation by coordinating five Interior bureaus which manage 1 in 5 acres of land in the United States and that collectively receive nearly 500 million visitors each year and co-authored with Secretary Norton the widely received law review article entitled “America’s Public Lands and Waters: Gateway to Better Health?” based on his belief that simple outdoor activities such as hiking, biking and camping on public lands and waters can serve as a gateway to a healthier lifestyle. To date, Dr. Suk has spoken to over 100 organizations and has engaged over a thousand leaders in health care, recreation and public health across the nation on this important issue.
Openlands honored Judith Stockdale with its 2013 Conservation Leadership Award. Judith joined the Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation as Executive Director in 1994 and retired at the end of 2012. Prior to the Donnelley Foundation, Judith served as the first executive director of the Great Lakes Protection Fund, an endowment created by the governors of seven of the Great Lake states to better manage their shared natural resources. She was a senior staff associate of the Chicago Community Trust and executive director of Openlands from 1978 to 1986. She is currently a director of the Nuveen Funds, is on the boards of Donors Forum and Friends of Ryerson Woods, and has served on a number nonprofit boards and government advisory commissions.
Openlands 50th Anniversary Luncheon Corporate Sponsors
Bartlett Tree Experts
BMO Harris Bank
The Boeing Company
The Crown Family
The Grainger Foundation
Stantec Consulting Services, Inc.
The University of Chicago