Chicago Wilderness is in the midst of a considerable transition.
Over most of their 20 years, the alliance has relied on federal funding. While this funding initially comprised almost 100% of the budget, federal support was never intended to serve as the long-term revenue source for the organization. Despite tireless efforts to find alternative revenue, the alliance was unable to offset the loss of these dollars and in March 2017 it was announced that while the Chicago Wilderness alliance would continue as an important force for conservation in the region, the business side of the organization would cease operations on March 31, 2017.
Yesterday Illinois Audubon Society staff participated in the Chicago Wilderness Executive Council Meeting that discussed the findings and recommendations of the Ad-Hoc Transition Working Group.
Findings of the Working Group and subsequent discussions by the Executive Council and members made it clear that:
- The Alliance continues to have a strong shared vision of collaborative conservation. That vision is strongly demonstrated in the Alliance’s accomplishments including the Biodiversity Recovery Plan, the Green Infrastructure Vision, the Priority Species Focus Area and an enduring culture of partnership and generosity.
- There are leaders stepping forward in the interim to provide cohesion and a continuity to the work underway; however, as a volunteer-led, member-focused and team driven network, there are needs for new leadership at all levels.
- The Alliance recognizes that there remains much work to be done in order to realize our vision of a healthy relationship between people and nature, and we have started working towards a process the will identify the next great conservation achievement(s) for the Chicago Wilderness region.
More on the continuing transition will discussed at the Executive Council’s next meeting in October 2017.
Watch for new updates and information on the Chicago Wilderness website.
The Illinois Audubon Society is a member of the Chicago Wilderness Alliance and is currently a co-lead of the Alliance’s work focused on Bobolinks and Henslow’s Sparrows as part of the Priority Species Focus Area.