New Direction for Chicago Living Corridors

Dear Supporters:

Chicago Area Living Corridors Alliance (aka Chicago Living Corridors) has come to a crossroads in our development which requires a new direction.

The organization was incorporated as a 501c3 corporation in 2016. Donations were received from the organizations of the group’s leaders, and we proceeded with a number of successful actions. Volunteers created the Chicagolivingcorridors.org website.  One of the key features of the website is the map showing the location of properties with native plant gardens and earth-friendly practices. The website provides resources for individuals who are interested in creating better habitat on their own properties.

There has been much interest in CLC expressed by other organizations in the Chicago area with similar goals, such as the  Right of Way as Habitat initiative at UIC , the Field Museum, Lurie Garden and other conservation groups. Many influential proponents of increasing native habitat have accepted our invitation to be on the CLC Advisory Board. Many people, including you, have opted to be on our mailing list.

We have initiated many public relations and marketing activities, including a PowerPoint presentation about CLC, presented at Lake to Prairie Wild One conference, an event at Millennium Park and a Chicago Wilderness Congress. We held organizing meetings. We created exhibit materials and exhibited at several related group conferences. We coordinated the Chicago Living Corridors track at the Wild Ones conference in February, 2017. All of these activities have forged valuable contacts and rapport with other agencies and individuals.

In January, 2018 we hired a contractor part-time to help with administrative tasks and manage mailings to potential partners and sponsors. While many express support and value the role of an umbrella organization such as CLC, we did not receive the financial contributions needed to continue as an independent organization. We have come to realize that umbrella organizations such as Chicago Wilderness and the fledgling Chicago Living Corridors can be difficult to sustain financially because while all the member organizations support the mission, they are financially and administratively committed to their own organizations.

Given these circumstances, the board of Chicago Living Corridors had to consider new options. We recognized that The Conservation Foundation has a similar mission with the expansion of their Conservation@Home program area-wide,  though CLC’s intent was to drive inquiries to the partner organizations, not for CLC to do site visits ourselves. The Conservation Foundation is interested in expanding the map CLC created to add their new sites with improved habitat.  This effort is already underway and should be live on the CLC website soon.

After consultation with Brook McDonald, President and CEO of The Conservation Foundation, and Dan Lobbes, Director of Land Protection and Kane County Director of TCF,  the present board of directors of Chicago Area Living Corridors Alliance has signed an affiliate agreement with The Conservation Foundation. We will dissolve our 501c3 status, and TCF will become the fiscal agent for CALCA.  Jim Kleinwachter, who chairs TCF’s C@H program will join our board of directors to align our efforts with those of TCF. We intend to continue to promote improved habitat on private land in the Chicago area, maintain the Chicago Living Corridors website, and update the map. We are presently adding new members to our board to replace board members who have retired, and we are reaching out for additional committed volunteers.  

We hope you will continue to support our efforts as we know you agree with the mission of CALCA. If so, please go to the Chicago Living Corridor’s website to explore volunteer opportunities.  If you want to make a contribution to CLC, it will still be tax deductible.  However, the check would be written to The Conservation Foundation, with “Chicago Living Corridors”  on the memo line. Thank you for your past and continuing support. Our future can be bright with your help.

Sincerely,

Pam Todd
Peggy Simonsen
Carol Rice
June Keibler

Founding Members

 

Monarch Joint Venture Webinar: Getting Monarchs Into Business

Businesses and corporations can help create native habitat on private property.  Here is information on a webinar scheduled for Aug. 28, 2018.  One of the presenters is Iris Caldwell (UIC) who will discuss activities of Rights-of-Way as Habitat Working Group, an organization active in the Chicago Area.

Date/Time: Tuesday, August 28th, 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM EDT (1pm Central, 12pm Mountain, 11am Pacific)

Webinar Title: Getting Monarchs Into Business: Case studies of monarch conservation

Description: Thelma Redick will discuss the business case for support monarch conservation, exploring how businesses work with the Wildlife Habitat Council (WHC) to incorporate conservation into business operations, corporate citizenship initiatives and business management targets. Several quick-fire case studies will introduce the breadth of project types implemented by WHC members, across sectors and with varying resource availability. Susan Kelsey, will then take a deep dive into how GM, a long-time member of the Wildlife Habitat Council, monarch habitat a priority among their suite of pollinator projects in North America. With more than seventy certified programs world-wide, GM has used very effectively used monarch habitat as one way to engage employees and community, enhance habitat, and link to local, regional and national ecological initiatives. Iris Caldwell will then provide an overview of how organizations in the Rights-of-Way as Habitat Working Group are approaching monarch habitat conservation, also featuring a couple of industry case studies.

Presenters:  Iris Caldwell, Energy Resources Center, Thelma Redick, Wildlife Habitat Council and Susan Kelsey, GM.

Register: Getting Monarchs into Business

Please feel free to share this announcement and registration information!

We look forward to your participation!
MJV/NCTC Webinar Team

Tracy McCleaf

US Fish and Wildlife Service
National Conservation Training Center
698 Conservation Way
Shepherdstown, WV 25443
304-876-7781
tracy_mccleaf@fws.gov

Spring Gardening Inspiration, hosted by Darien Garden Club

On Saturday, March 10, Chicago Living Corridors was an exhibitor at the Darien Garden Club’s Spring Gardening Inspiration.  This event had 115 registrants and 11 exhibitors. The volunteers did a terrific job of planning, from greeting the exhibitors at the entrance to offer assistance, to providing an array of refreshments and lunch, and  wonderful perks. The best goody bag ever and a plant arrangement at every table. There were over thirty baskets of raffle prizes.

Of course, the speakers are the essential part of a good program, and the keynote was given by Dr. Abigail Derby Lewis, Senior Conservation Ecologist, Senior Program Manager, Chicago Region, Field Museum of Natural History.  “What You Plant Matters: the collective impact of urban habitat on people and nature.” She showed maps and graphs diagraming the amount of available open land in the Chicago region, and the opportunities that exist for increasing the habitat for monarchs. The challenges created by climate change were a major focus of her presentation, and the resulting impact on invasives, diseases, flooding, biodiversity, and mismatching of “pheno-phase”.  (meaning that plants will bloom too early due to warmer temperatures and not be available when the insects/birds arrive that depend on those plants.)

She recommended actions that can be taken to withstand the changes, and stressed the need for improving the health of the landscape: tree planting initiatives and the Biodiversity Recovery Plan of Chicago Wilderness were two examples.  Planting native habitat on private property was a key objective, and lines up perfectly with the mission of Chicago Living Corridors.

After the keynote, there were two tracks, with two speakers on native plant subjects and two speakers on vegetable gardening.

The variety of exhibitors was also a great feature – including tables for Conservation@Home, The Indian Prairie Public Library, Sunny Patch Farm, the Forest Preserves of DuPage County, a Seed Library (I missed the full name, but a terrific idea),  Downers Grove Organic Gardeners, the Garden Clubs of Illinois organization, and Wild Ones of Greater DuPage, as well as a table for the host organization and a few others.

The Darien Garden Club has a number of members that are growing native plants in their home gardens, and the club stands out as a leader in the garden club universe.  Chicago Living Corridors was very pleased to have been invited to exhibit at this function, and meet some of the principals of the Darien Garden Club. We will be exploring creating a connection between the garden club and CLC.  

Illinois Native Plant Society Reinstates Grants

Some of the key details of the grant program are detailed here:

Program Explanation

The Illinois Native Plant Society Research Fund was developed to promote the conservation of Illinois native plants and communities through scientific research.

Availability of Funding

$4500 is available for grants ranging from $500-$1500.
Please open the link to read full details of the grant program

2018 Research Grants