The Nature Foundation of Will County donated $5,000 to the Forest Preserve District earlier this month.
The money will be used to offset the costs of bringing three different traveling exhibits to the District's visitor centers.
"The Nature Foundation is helping to create some wonderful opportunities for our Will County community," said Ralph Schultz, the Forest Preserve's chief operating officer. "We appreciate the foundation's continuing support, and we're excited to partner with the organization to promote art, interpretation and recreation in the forest preserves."
The three exhibits that will be funded with the foundation donation in 2018 are: "A Salamander Tale," March 1-May 31, at Plum Creek Nature Center in Crete Township; "National Park Quilts Exhibit," June 17-July 3, at four Forest Preserve visitor centers; and "Bee-lieve it or Not! The Secret Lives of Bees," September 1-November 30, at Plum Creek Nature Center. The salamander and bee exhibits were both organized by the Purdue Agriculture Exhibit Design Center, Purdue University.
"The Nature Foundation is excited to be a part of bringing these fun, educational and unique traveling exhibitions to the residents of Will County," said Cindy Harn, the foundation's executive director. "But, we couldn't do any of this without support from our donors. We hope that visitors enjoy each of these exhibitions and, in doing so, deepen their understanding of, and appreciation for, nature."
The check was presented by Harn to the Forest Preserve's Board of Commissioners at its October 12 meeting. Accepting the donation were Schultz and Board President Suzanne Hart. Also present were Commissioners Mike Fricilone, Denise Winfrey and Don Gould, who serve on the foundation's board, and foundation board member Laurie McPhillips.
This is the third year the nonprofit foundation has donated money to the District. In 2016, a $5,000 donation was used to keep Forest Preserve nature education programs free for Will County students. The money was used to assist the District in purchasing equipment and materials for the programs, which benefited more than 15,000 students.
This year, a $7,000 foundation donation raised during a 2016 Restore Will County campaign was used to award grants to the District's volunteer stewards for supplies, materials and equipment they needed to conduct natural restoration work. Forest preserve volunteer stewards give more than 3,000 hours of their time every year collecting seeds, cutting brush, controlling nonnative plant species, hosting public workdays and monitoring rare and endangered species in the preserves.
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