Tamarack Farms, overhead view. (The Conservation Fund)

The Conservation Fund, Illinois Audubon Society and Openlands announced the purchase of the 985-acre Tamarack Farms, which will now become the single largest property within McHenry County’s Hackmatack National Wildlife Refuge.

Trees awaiting planting as part of the Lawrence Avenue streetscape project in Lincoln Square, December 2023. (Patty Wetli / WTTW News)

Chicago has touted the tens of thousands of trees it’s planted in recent years. But the city’s volunteer TreeKeepers say too many saplings die for lack of a maintenance plan.

(Patty Wetli / WTTW News)

The grant was awarded through the America the Beautiful Challenge. The program, now in its second year, is funded in part by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

Michael Davidson has been named president and CEO of the conservation organization Openlands. (Courtesy of Openlands)

The last time the conservation organization experienced a changing of the leadership guard, the year was 1988, Ronald Reagan was president, Mike Tyson was heavyweight champ, and floppy disks were still a thing.

Openlands Lakeshore Preserve. (Courtesy of Openlands)

Pending final approval, Openlands will transfer the Lakeshore Preserve to the Lake County Forest Preserves, which owns the adjacent 250-acre Fort Sheridan preserve.

Openlands is hosting guided paddling trips through the African American Heritage Water Trail on the Far South Side. (Courtesy of Openlands)

Openlands is hosting guided paddling trips through the African American Heritage Water Trail on the Far South Side. It’s a way to experience how Black history and nature intersect.

(WTTW News)

A dense green tree canopy can reduce the effects of air pollution and climate change. A 2019 study by the city found Little Village was among communities burdened by higher air pollution — and now, the neighborhood is planting the seeds for change.

(Patty Wetli / WTTW News)

The Great Lakes was named a global “Hope Spot,” joining the Galapagos Islands, the Great Barrier Reef and the Bering Sea as a place identified as critical to the health of the ocean.

(Patty Wetli / WTTW News)

The six recommended appointees to the board, which was created in June 2021, all received unanimous support during a key committee hearing. Next up is a full Chicago City Council vote.

(Yanna Zissiadou / Unsplash)

Openlands is hoping to find more Latino and Spanish-speaking volunteers to lead the Birds in My Neighborhood program, which educates kids on native birds through in-school lessons and field trips.

Finding uses for Soldier Field's plazas beyond gameday was one recommendation from the Museum Campus working group. (City of Chicago)
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Vision includes ‘rewilding,’ creation of Climate Lab

The Museum Campus working group released its report Thursday and among the big wins for nature is a vision that includes establishing a Great Lakes Climate Lab on the city’s shoreline, positioning Chicago as a global leader in developing resilient solutions for urban areas. 

A group from Thomas Kelly High School in Chicago help plant trees. (Credit: Openlands)

The nature conservation group Openlands and search engine Ecosia are hoping to boost the number of trees in underserved areas through their TreePlanters Grant Program. 

Skyline views from Northerly Island Park. (Chicago Park District / Facebook)

Green space advocates are in agreement that the north star of a new working group tasked to "reimagine" the Museum Campus needs to be the Lakefront Protection Ordinance. In short: No new building construction.

(WTTW News)

Delivering on a promise she made when the owners of the Chicago Bears announced their purchase of the Arlington International Racecourse property, Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced the members of a working group tasked with reimagining the city’s lakefront museum campus.

Currently, the city’s tree canopy cover is at 16%, a 3 percentage point decrease since 2010, according to a 2020 census of Chicago’s trees led by the Morton Arboretum. (WTTW News)

The City Council has unanimously approved an ordinance to create an Urban Forestry Advisory Board — charged with strategically caring for Chicago's urban tree canopy.

Chicago has room for 900,000 more trees in under-resourced areas alone. (Facebook / Openlands)

Supporters are calling it a big win for Chicago’s trees, but say the real work begins now. How the new Urban Forestry Advisory Board will bring together public and private partners to care for and enhancing the city’s urban canopy.