Ecological restoration is becoming increasingly necessary as humans degrade the landscape. Local ecological restoration volunteer programs educate concerned citizens in a hands-on fashion, connecting them with nature and perhaps leading them to behave in a more environmentally responsible manner. The master's project team worked with McHenry County Conservation District to revitalize a dormant ecological restoration-themed education program at Glacial Park in the greater Chicago area. The team contributed to planning, marketing, and implementing the three-day "Weekend of Restoration" event, which occurred in September 2011. During the event, 17 participants restored a wetland degraded by agriculture and learned about ecological restoration, Midwestern landscapes, and climate change through seminars and lectures. Participants reflected on their connection with the environment through discussions and through their active participation in the restoration process. The team administered a series of surveys to participants to evaluate the event and its impact on attitudes toward nature and environmental stewardship behaviors. The team also compiled a comprehensive set of recommendations and templates that McHenry County Conservation District will use to improve the event and transform it into a sustainable annual program.
- Opportunity to understand how a public conservation organization works
- Opportunity to understand how ecological restoration is conducted in the Midwest
- Opportunity to understand the history of ecological restoration in the Midwest
- Opportunity to work with an innovative on-going ecological restoration education program
- Opportunity to meet and interact with conservation professionals in the Chicago Area
- Opportunity to present findings at professional conferences
Funding to conduct the proposed retreats will be provided by MCCD. Master's students will have the option of staying in MCCD housing at no charge during their project time in McHenry County.
A comprehensive plan for developing an ecological restoration-based eco-tourism program at Glacial Park. It is the client's intent to put the ecological restoration-based eco-tourism program into effect as soon as possible upon completion of the project.
- Trinity Pierce, MLA, Landscape Architecture
- Nayiri Haroutunian, MS, Behavior, Education and Communication
- Erin Dreps, MS, Sustainable Systems
- Kathryn Bomey, MS, Behavior, Education and Communication/ Conservation Biology
- Lindsay Hanna, MS, Terrestrial Ecosystems