Alma

Chicago

Openlands

Founded in 1963, Openlands has helped protect more than 55,000 acres of land for public parks and forest preserves, wildlife refuges, land and water greenway corridors, urban farms, and community gardens.

Openlands
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Welcome

From the President & CEO

Openlands protects the natural and open spaces of northeastern Illinois and the surrounding region to ensure cleaner air and water, protect natural habitats and wildlife, and help balance and enrich our lives.

Openlands’ vision for the region is a landscape that includes a vast network of land and water trails, tree-lined streets, and intimate public gardens within easy reach of every city dweller. It also includes parks and preserves big enough to provide natural habitat and to give visitors a sense of the vast prairies, woodlands, and wetlands that were here before the cities. In sum, Openlands believes that protected open space is critical for the quality of life of our region.

Jerry Adelmann

Openlands

What we do

Program 1

Climate Change

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Climate change is here, and we have a moral responsibility to address it. As the third largest metropolitan area in the United States, the Chicago region has an opportunity to pioneer solutions based in nature that can dramatically reduce our carbon footprint and positively impact the climate. Since 1963 Openlands has steered our region towards sustainability and now we are committed to guiding our region through climate change.

Program 2

Conservation

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Openlands embraces the diversity of the Chicago region in our approach to conservation. We protect land for the region’s special natural areas at the Openlands Lakeshore Preserve, Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie, Hackmatack National Wildlife Refuge, and the Forest Preserves of Cook County.

We engage people through education and outreach, offering nature-based school programs, community tree plantings, trainings for community gardeners, and family canoe trips.

Program 3

Advocacy

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Since Openlands’ founding, we have played a critical role as the only conservation organization looking systematically across the region at the relationship between a thriving natural environment, urban growth, and comprehensive land-use planning. We support our efforts through sustained advocacy at the local, state, and national level to ensure clean air, clean water, and a healthy environment.

Information

Did you know?

There are over 500 miles of rivers and lakes open to the public for canoeing and kayaking. Visit PaddleIllinoisWaterTrails.org to find a way to get on the water near you. This new guide provides rich information about paddling, including step-by-step directions along each trail, interactive maps, and in-depth descriptions of the surrounding areas.

Openlands

Where your dollars go

$10

Provides tools to a local community garden

$25

Provides a pair of binoculars to a student in the Birds in my Neighborhood® program

$100

Gets a family of four out on the water for a canoe trip

$500

Provides a field trip for an entire classroom to a local natural area

Openlands

Key Facts and Figures

$3.9m

Annual Budget
Year ended Sept 2017
Program Spend
83%
Fundraising Spend
8%
Management Spend
9%
Founded
1963
President & CEO
Jerry Adelmann
Headquarters
Chicago, IL
# Employees
42
# Volunteers
1922

Instagram

Latest posts by Openlands

@openlands.chicago There were some amazing shots captured this winter and thanks for sharing what you discovered. Can’t wait to see what you share this spring and summer. #LastDayOfWinter Photo: @rossdettman . . . . . Share your favorite places to get outside in the Chicago Region by tagging your photos with #DiscoverYourPlace.

1 day ago

@openlands.chicago Sandhill cranes are heading back into town! Have you seen (or heard) any of these awesome birds yet? Photo: @timcal00 . . . . . Share your favorite places to get outside in the Chicago Region by tagging your photos with #DiscoverYourPlace.

6 days ago

@openlands.chicago Get a much-needed glimpse of summer and warmth at Chicago’s Garfield Park Conservatory. Home to eight different indoor gardens and thousands of plants, the Conservatory is truly one of the city’s treasures. . . . . . Share your favorite places to get outside in the Chicago Region by tagging your photos with #DiscoverYourPlace.

1 week ago

@openlands.chicago “The more clearly we can focus our attention on the wonders and realities of the universe about us, the less taste we shall have for destruction.” -Rachel Carson #InternationalWomensDay Photo: @j_raithel at McHenry County’s Glacial Park . . . . . Share your favorite places to get outside in the Chicago Region by tagging your photos with #DiscoverYourPlace.

1 week ago

@openlands.chicago Have hope. It’ll be warm again someday. Photo: @robynb63 . . . . . Share your favorite places to get outside in the Chicago Region by tagging your photos with #DiscoverYourPlace.

2 weeks ago

@openlands.chicago It’s still really cold, but at least we’ve got good views... Photo: @erin.e.soto . . . . . Share your favorite places to get outside in the Chicago Region by tagging your photos with #DiscoverYourPlace.

2 weeks ago

@openlands.chicago The cardinals are back. #SpringIsComing Photo: @maren.robinson . . . . . Share your favorite places to get outside in the Chicago Region by tagging your photos with #DiscoverYourPlace.

2 weeks ago

@openlands.chicago There’s really not a bad time to visit the Openlands Lakeshore Preserve. You’re pretty much guaranteed to find some beauty. Photo: @cartoonsushi . . . . . Share your favorite places to get outside in the Chicago Region by tagging your photos with #DiscoverYourPlace.

3 weeks ago

@openlands.chicago Take a trip down to Starved Rock State Park this weekend and take in some of the site’s stunning views of canyons, icefalls, and wildlife as you enjoy a walk through the boardwalks and trails. Photo: @thereal_john.e in Wildcat Canyon . . . . . Share your favorite places to get outside in the Chicago Region by tagging your photos with #DiscoverYourPlace.

3 weeks ago

Welcome to ALMA

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Chicago's WGN9, February 27 2019

‘Birds in my Neighborhood’ lets kids swap phones for binoculars

A local organization has what it believes to be the perfect antidote to kids’ technology-driven world: birds. "When you live in the city, it can be hard to connect kids to nature,” John Cawood, education manager at Openlands, said. “Birds are a natural gateway. They're everywhere — Michigan Avenue, city parks, forest preserves and even our own backyards.”

In the three-day program, kids are introduced to native bird species and provided with a set of binoculars to find them. Through a collaboration with Openlands and The Great Lakes Audubon Society, “Birds in my Neighborhood” is in nearly 70 Chicago schools.

In the Fund

Greener Chicago

In the past, the Chicago River was used as a sewage canal, a shipping canal and, perhaps most famously, a dumping ground for the Union Stockyards. The Great Lakes near the city suffers from elevated pollution levels. Proper conservation and protection are required to protect the natural ecosystems across our region.