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Foundation donates $39,950 to Forest Preserve programs, initiatives

Officials pose with an oversized check.

From left to right are Marcella DeMauro, Foundation Board secretary and former Forest Preserve executive director; Foundation Executive Director Tara Neff; Forest Preserve Board President Annette Parker; Forest Preserve and Foundation Board member Julie Berkowicz; and Forest Preserve Executive Director Ralph Schultz. 

The Nature Foundation of Will County presented a donation check in the amount of $39,950 to the Forest Preserve District’s Board on Feb. 8. 

The first-quarter 2024 donation will fund Forest Preserve programs and initiatives including:

  • The Birds in Art exhibit currently on display at Plum Creek Nature Center through Feb. 25. 
  • Willy’s Wilderness Website, which provides nature-inspired content for teachers and students. 
  • Food, housing supplies and health care for the Forest Preserve’s animal ambassadors. 
  • Raising Riverview – Riverview Farmstead exhibit from March 1 through May 31 at Isle a la Cache Museum in Romeoville.
  • Eagle Watch, which turned into a weeklong event after the one-day program scheduled for Jan. 13 had to be canceled due to weather. 
  • Mammal Madness scheduled for March 2 and Pelican Party set for Sept. 28 at Four Rivers Environmental Education Center in Channahon. 

Tara Neff, the Foundation’s executive director, highlighted contributions from corporate sponsors including Enbridge Alliance, which provided funding for Eagle Watch, Mammal Madness and Pelican Party. 

Neff said additional funding for Connecting Kids with Nature bus scholarships came from Pembina, and Target is supporting volunteer community workshops and the Forest Preserve's Adopt-a-Preserve program.

The Nature Foundation of Will County is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization dedicated to supporting education, recreation and conservation programs that protect nature, inspire discovery and bring people and nature together.

Funds are raised throughout the year via plant and merchandise sales. The Foundation also accepts direct donations. For information on 2024 native plant sales, free Learn and Grow workshops, a new Gardens Gone Native garden tour set for July 13 and ways to donate, visit the Foundation's website.