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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Openlands

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

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

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

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.

Did you know?

There are over 500 miles of rivers and lakes open to the public for canoeing and kayaking. Visit [PaddleIllinoisWaterTrails.org](https://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

$3.9m

Annual Budget
Year ended Sept 2017
Program Spend
83%
Fundraising Spend
8%
Management Spend
9%
EIN
362649603
Founded
1963
President & CEO
Jerry Adelmann
Headquarters
Chicago, IL
# Employees
42
# Volunteers
1922
Openlands

Instagram

2 days ago - @openlands.chicago

At McHenry County’s Fel-Pro RRR Conservation Area, you can enjoy the outdoors pretty much anyway you like. With options for biking, hiking, fishing, ADA-accessible trails, beach volleyball, and more, there’s something for everyone. Check it out next time you’re in the Cary area! Photo: @crystalfluff . . . . . Share your favorite places to get outside in the Chicago Region by tagging your photos with #DiscoverYourPlace.

4 days ago - @openlands.chicago

Located just over an hour’s drive from downtown Chicago, Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie is an outdoor recreation haven. It’s home to 22 miles of mixed use trails, it’s an excellent spot to explore for its history and ecology, and it’s now a home for a herd of bison. . . . . . Share your favorite places to get outside in the Chicago Region by tagging your photos with #DiscoverYourPlace.

1 week ago - @openlands.chicago

The 948-acre Mallard Lake Forest Preserve in DuPage County features trails and opportunities for picnicking, boating and fishing, including two accessible piers and a boardwalk that's ideal for birdwatching! Check it out this weekend. Photo: American goldfinch by @eggnogskills . . . . . Share your favorite places to get outside in the Chicago Region by tagging your photos with #DiscoverYourPlace.

1 week ago - @openlands.chicago

Orland Grassland is home to an expansive paved trail system, open for mixed use and allowing everyone to enjoy this unique prairie landscape. A five-mile paved trail rings the main unit of the preserve, with a 1.6-mile trail surrounding the adjacent south unit. Orland Grassland is one of the higher elevation points in Cook County – on a clear day you can even spot the Chicago Skyline! . . . . . Share your favorite places to get outside in the Chicago Region by tagging your photos with #DiscoverYourPlace.

2 weeks ago - @openlands.chicago

Tomorrow: kick off the season at Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie as part of the Route 66 Red Carpet Corridor Festival! Meet @smokeybear and keep an eye out for the baby bison just born there while enjoying a walk on Midewin's trails. Photo: Rick Short / USDA Forest Service. . . . . . Share your favorite places to get outside in the Chicago Region by tagging your photos with #DiscoverYourPlace.

2 weeks ago - @openlands.chicago

Lake County’s Volo Bog State Natural Area is home to several miles of natural trails, great birdwatching, and an education center. With a landscape thousands of years in the making, be sure Volo Bog is on your list for the summer! . . . . . Share your favorite places to get outside in the Chicago Region by tagging your photos with #DiscoverYourPlace.

2 weeks ago - @openlands.chicago

Take a trip this summer to the newest National Park at Indiana Dunes! Just a short drive from the Chicago area, Indiana Dunes is home to 15 miles of trails and over 50 miles of lakefront. . . . . . Share your favorite places to get outside in the Chicago Region by tagging your photos with #DiscoverYourPlace.

3 weeks ago - @openlands.chicago

This is the final week for online presale orders for the Openlands Native Tree and Plant Sale! Shop online now for gorgeous native species that support wildlife in our region. We are accepting online presale orders at OpenlandsPlantSale.org (Link in Bio). . . . . . Shop online through April 28 for a larger selection at a lower price. Orders over $200 are eligible for a 10% discount (use code SPRING at checkout). . . . . . All online orders must be collected during pop-up shop hours: Friday-Saturday, 10am-3pm, May 17-18 and May 24-25.

3 weeks ago - @openlands.chicago

“You cannot get through a single day without having an impact on the world around you. What you do makes a difference and you have to decide what kind of a difference you want to make.” — Jane Goodall

Happy Earth Day! . . . . . Share your favorite places to get outside in the Chicago Region by tagging your photos with #DiscoverYourPlace.

4 weeks ago - @openlands.chicago

Spring is definitely in the air! What wildlife have you started to see as the warmer weather moves in? Photo: @lorenz_alexw . . . . . Share your favorite places to get outside in the Chicago Region by tagging your photos with #DiscoverYourPlace.

Chicago's WGN9

‘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.

Openlands

Where your money goes

$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