Since it is a dreary day here in Vermont, we thought it would be good to share a cheery and colorful story about one of our non-profit recipients in Chicago. Lucy Hutcherson, the Director of Conservation and Communication Programs at Chicago Wilderness sent us the following story about an event from last summer that got thousands of kids out of the house and into the woods!
Summer break started with a bang in the Chicago region! More than 15,000 children and adults engaged in free, fun outdoor activities, such as following trails, building forts, playing with mud, and roasting marshmallows! Illinois Governor Patrick Quinn declared June as Leave No Child Inside Month, which resulted in more families reconnecting with their natural heritage through nature play and exploration than in any previous year.
1% member company Cardno JFNew, an ecological consulting and restoration firm headquartered in Walkerton, Indiana, was one of the supporters of Chicago Wilderness, which is an alliance of over 250 organizations that work together to restore local nature and improve the quality of life for all who live in the greater Chicago region. This support allowed for the coordination of outreach, publicity, and community partnerships around the Leave No Child Inside Month campaign. Other supporters of this campaign included the Chicago Wilderness Corporate Council, the U.S. Forest Service, and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.
More than seventy conservation agencies and organizations, park districts, corporations, faith organizations, health-and-wellness coalitions, schools, Native American groups, and other organizations planned and delivered twenty-two family events that made children and their caregivers more comfortable with outdoor play and discovery activities. The campaign strengthened relationships between new and non-traditional conservation partners, engaged English- and Spanish-speaking families, and enabled a wide diversity of participants to attend the events and engage in follow-up summer experiences in community gardens, at the lakeshore, and at other outdoor locations. Who knew that summer in the city could be so much fun!
Thank you to Lucy for sharing this wonderful story with the whole 1% network! We are glad to see that the partnership between Chicago Wilderness and Cardno JFNew has been able to accomplish so much together and we are proud of the work these groups have done to bring such a wonderful event to the greater Chicago community!