ParkLands Foundation Receives Community Stewardship Challenge Grant For Natural Areas

PRESS RELEASE June 7, 2016
Jim Franks, President, ParkLands Foundation,, 309.530.5218
Jolie Krasinski, Program Officer, Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation,, 847.528.0085


ParkLands Foundation (PLF) of Bloomington‐Normal, IL, is pleased to announce its receipt of a Community Stewardship Challenge Grant for Natural Areas of $13,000 from the Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation (ICECF) in Chicago. This grant will support ecological restoration and stewardship at two of PLF’s nature preserves along the upper Mackinaw River in central Illinois: Merwin Savanna Nature Preserve/Mackinaw River Land & Water Reserve and Mohr Preserve, both in McLean County.

Both PLF nature preserves that will be the focus of attention are located about 12 miles northeast of Bloomington‐Normal and are being restored to a diversity of native habitats. Merwin consists of 720 acres and is being restored to savanna, upland and bottomland forest, and tallgrass prairie. Mohr consists of 275 acres and is being restored to upland and bottomland forest. PLF’s long‐term goals are to increase natural lands acreage in the Mackinaw River watershed, protect and improve the ecological health of the river, and provide for passive public nature recreation and education.

The ICECF grant will provide a 3:1 match for funds raised by PLF from the general public (up to $12,000; any additional funds raised will be used also for this project) dedicated towards the care of the preserves’ natural habitat, and $1,000 once 100 hours of stewardship work by volunteers is reached. This serves as a challenge for PLF to expand its fundraising efforts and base of support, and involve more people from local communities in its volunteer stewardship activities.

ICECF recognizes that stewardship of natural lands requires a continual infusion of time, effort, and money and it developed this pilot grant program to help encourage community support of this work. PLF owns some 3,000 acres of natural lands throughout the Mackinaw River watershed of McLean and southeastern Woodford County, and stewardship takes the majority of the resources of the organization.

The Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation ( invests in clean energy development and land preservation efforts, working with communities and citizens to improve environmental quality in Illinois. The Foundation supports programs and projects that will improve energy efficiency, develop renewable energy resources, and preserve and enhance natural areas and wildlife habitats throughout the state.

ParkLands Foundation ( is a nonprofit, public membership, conservation land trust based in Bloomington that is dedicated to acquiring, preserving, and restoring natural areas in central Illinois since 1967.