Connecting People to Nature
Image Credit: USDA FS
The Chicago Wilderness Alliance works in wildlife areas around and outside of the Chicago metropolitan area. With natural areas in nearby Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, and Michigan, the region is able to provide a variety of habitats to explore and park sites to visit.
In metropolitan areas like Chicago, it can be hard to find wilderness and open space. This makes it all the more valuable and necessary to protect. The Chicago Wilderness Alliance (CW) has stepped up to connect people with nature. The regional alliance has more than 250 organizations as participants, including the USDA Forest Service. \
The CW works at the local and regional levels in the Chicago metropolitan area. At the local level, CW coordinates with individuals to encourage people to volunteer, write to local elected officials, and use native landscaping in their homes. At the state and local government level, CW works to allocate more resources to land management agencies to increase acres preserved and to implement sustainable development practices.
Through this approach, the CW has preserved over 370,000 acres of open space in the Chicago metropolitan area. Its collaboration with the Forest Service and the Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie has also involved environmental education activities and programs for children.
Currently, the Chicago Wilderness Alliance is working on securing funding and implementing four main initiatives. These initiatives are the restoration of local natural areas, green infrastructure, climate change, and the Leave No Child Inside initiative, which focuses on children and nature. Through these programs, the organization hopes to continue their mission of promoting open space in urban areas.
Wendy Tresouthick (wltresouthick “at” fs.fed.us)