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Make it Personal and Support a Local Endangered Species

To celebrate a 20-year legacy as the region’s leading conservation alliance, Chicago Wilderness is conducting One Home: A Campaign to Support our Species (, a fundraising effort through November 29 to support the health and habitat of 12 priority animal species in the region through CrowdRise. “This is the first time that anyone has launched a crowdfunded campaign of this scale to support wildlife in our region,” says Suzanne Malec-McKenna, executive director of Chicago Wilderness.

       Those interested in taking a more active role in fundraising can make it personal by becoming a team leader to reach a targeted group of supporters for a species. Team leaders receive a unique URL which they can distribute and use to track the funds raised for Chicago Wilderness.

       Being a team leader is fun, customizing all kinds of easy-to-use information for quick communiqués via emails, newsletters or social media. For example: “So glad you like the aquatic species. Each species was chosen based on a variety of criteria, from regional challenges to feasibility of having an impact to opportunities for outreach/community engagement.”

       Being a team leader is easy; after signing up, team leaders get a personalized link to the fundraising campaign and can name their team whatever they want. As a team leader for whatever species is chosen, the team’s name will be featured prominently with that species and shown in the overall page, as well.

       The coolest thing about being a team leader is that they have access to the contact information of anyone that donates via their link, which is sure to be a much broader audience than the original list, as folks are encouraging others to share the information. That’s great for market research, communication support and more.

       The 12 priority species represent an array of wildlife of high conservation concern and those with habitat that requires critical support, such as the globally rare oak savanna. The campaign kicks off strategic conservation work across the region for the next five years: individuals can choose the species they prefer and contribute what they can, but funding will be distributed equally among the priority species to support conservation efforts.

       Lead partners include Audubon Great Lakes, The Field Museum, Illinois Natural History Survey, Lincoln Park Zoo, The Nature Conservancy Illinois Chapter, Openlands, Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, National Great Rivers Research and Education Center, Illinois Department of Natural Resources and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. “With this coalition, we can make impressive and meaningful strides in the years ahead,” adds McKenna.

           Chicago Wilderness is a regional alliance promoting strategies to preserve, improve and expand nature and quality of life. In concert with more than 200 member organizations representing corporate, nonprofit and government interests, Chicago Wilderness is connecting leaders in conservation, health, business, science and beyond. Chicago Wilderness tackles challenging issues to ensure a resilient region. Building on a 20-year legacy of collaboration, the broad alliance of member organizations advance work in Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin and Michigan.

For more information, to pledge or to sign up as a team leader, visit


Join Team Natural Awakenings Chicago to raise funds supporting Chicago Wilderness
and their lead partner organizations by visiting