Why use the Map?
The grassroots conservation community of the Chicago area is an internationally recognized pilot project for stewardship of nature. With more than 170 state or federally listed endangered or threatened species, the Forest Preserve District of Cook County’s 68,000 acres are home to some of the highest quality natural communities in the Midwest. Nowhere else on the planet have more people, more deeply engaged in keeping nearby nature healthy. Success brings more challenges. Increasingly, the work of volunteer stewards is being amplified by significant investments from public agencies.
The added resources increasingly require improved communication and coordination among all involved including the landowner agencies, volunteers, restoration contractors, interns and partner conservation organizations.
We hope Restoration Map will rapidly contribute to saving populations of rare and endangered plants and animals and declining habitat types. It will help us document restoration work done, test assumptions about the work, analyze the results, and adapt conservation plans and schedules. We hope Restoration Map will increase communication among the volunteer stewards, monitors, agency staff, contractors, scientists, and the public. By sharing data with the public on the health of our natural communities, the map may generate more interest in the ecological restoration work already being done, increase volunteer numbers and effectiveness, and deepen appreciation for the diversity of the Midwest’s grasslands, woodlands, and wetlands.