On October 14, CenterPoint Properties LLC will present The Nature Conservancy in Illinois with a $1 million donation to support the volunteer program at Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie, located just outside of Joliet in Wilmington, Illinois.
The donation will be set up as an endowment fund that will continue to grow, supporting Midewin now while sustaining support for the future. This is the largest endowment donation the Conservancy in Illinois has received.
"We are truly grateful for CenterPoint's generosity in supporting the volunteer program at Midewin," said Leslee Spraggins, state director of the Conservancy in Illinois. The Conservancy in Illinois runs the volunteer program at Midewin, which is a U.S. Forest Service administered site. "At more than 19,000 acres, Midewin is the largest prairie restoration east of the Mississippi River," said Spraggins.
The award-winning Midewin volunteer program has 400 adult volunteers and 1,000 youth volunteers who annually give about 8,000 hours toward seed harvesting, planting, leading tours and youth programs and helping with the trail steward program, among other activities.
CenterPoint has supported restoration efforts at Midewin since 2004, when it partnered with the U.S. Forest Service and the Army Corps of Engineers to improve wetland and upland ecosystems. With the company's support, more than 70 acres of wetlands in the Middle Grant Creek project area and various watersheds at Midewin have been restored. CenterPoint also helped fund interpretive displays at Midewin's Welcome Center.
"CenterPoint is pleased to join in this partnership with The Nature Conservancy and establish an endowment that will support Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie for generations to come," said Mike Mullen, CEO of CenterPoint. "CenterPoint believes strongly in the importance of preserving and restoring these critical natural habitats and wishes to thank the many dedicated employees and volunteers of Midewin that make this possible."
Midewin is home to several threatened and endangered plants. Leafy prairie clover, glade quillwort, globe mallow, ear-leaf foxglove, Pitcher’s stitchwort and white ladies slipper are among those plants being monitored at Midewin. Some 100 bird species nest and breed at Midewin, and an additional 68 species use Midewin during migration, or as their winter range. Birds that can be seen and heard at Midewin include threatened Henslow's sparrows and loggerhead shrikes, endangered upland sandpipers, and more commonly the bobolinks, eastern meadowlarks and dickcissels.
The Nature Conservancy is a leading conservation organization working around the world to protect ecologically important lands and waters for nature and people. The Conservancy and its more than 1 million members have protected nearly 120 million acres worldwide. Visit The Nature Conservancy on the Web at www.nature.org.