Stewardship Endowment Established

The Illinois Audubon Society announces the establishment of the Brucker Stewardship Endowment. A resolution establishing the endowment was passed by the Society’s Board of Directors during a recent meeting.

In 2019, Dr. Maury Brucker donated to the Society 160 acres of farmland in Stark County which his grandfather had purchased in 1939. Historically, the property provided overnight accommodations for travelers driving hogs to Chicago. In 2019, Brucker explained that his motivation for the donation was because he could “see the value that the Society places on the preservation and management of high-quality lands.” With Brucker’s blessing, the property was sold in 2021, with proceeds earmarked for an endowment in perpetuity for the Land Steward position with Illinois Audubon Society.

“We are enormously grateful for this inspiring gift that will ensure lasting stewardship of Society properties for generation to come,” remarked Jim Herkert, Executive Director. Proceeds from the land sale will be invested for the primary purpose of supporting the Land Steward position and related expenses. A secondary purpose of the investment will be to support general stewardship activities at Illinois Audubon Society sanctuaries.

Brucker served on the Board of Illinois Audubon Society from 2002-2014, including two years as President. He along with Ms. Emiko Yang worked tirelessly for years on the restoration of Hopewell Hill Prairies and Fern Ridge Nature Preserve in Marshall County.  The Peoria couple donated the sites to the Society in 2019. Hopewell Hill Prairies are four tracts totaling 16 acres that exist on bluffs 150 feet above the adjacent Illinois River floodplain. The glacial drift hill prairies occur on moraines left by Wisconsin Ice Age glaciers more than 10,000 years ago. The 3.25-acre Fern Ridge Nature Preserve is a forested ravine ecosystem with a rich biodiversity despite its small size.

The Illinois Audubon Society Board also passed a resolution honoring Brucker and Yang’s long-standing dedication to the stewardship of Illinois Audubon Society properties, their exceptional, long-term support for several biologically significant properties, and previous stewardship related gifts to the Society, including a financial gift that helped launch the Marilyn Campbell Stewardship and Acquisition Fund.

photo by Tom Lerczak

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