The Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation recently awarded a $21,000 Community Stewardship Challenge Grant to the Forest Foundation of Kendall County to support a large-scale oak-woodland and prairie restoration project at Hoover Forest Preserve in Yorkville.
The ICECF also awarded two separate $5,500 grants – one to support trail head improvements and public opening events at the Fox River Bluffs Forest Preserve, and another to support the development of the Hoover Nature Play Space and Winter Fest special public event at Hoover Forest Preserve. The Winter Fest event will be held in February 2019 to support the oak woodland and prairie restoration project efforts. During the Winter Fest special event, the public will be invited to participate in hands-on activities and demonstrations to learn about management of the district’s natural areas, including brush-pile burning of cleared woodland areas.
The Forest Foundation of Kendall County, a 501(c)(3) charitable organization, was established in 2006 to support the Kendall County Forest Preserve District’s mission to preserve and manage natural areas and open spaces, provide environmental education and offer recreational opportunities.
The Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation was established in December 1999 as an independent foundation with a $225 million endowment provided by Commonwealth Edison.
The Forest Foundation of Kendall County has begun efforts to raise the additional $7,000 to match the ICECF grant for Hoover Forest Preserve. The Forest Foundation will be reaching out to area businesses and individual supporters to help raise the funds by sending out letters, soliciting funds online and providing an opportunity to donate at the district’s public events.
Restoration project efforts at Hoover will begin this fall. Natural area restoration contractors will work alongside Kendall County Forest Preserve District staff members and volunteers to clear invasive honeysuckle within the preserve’s oak woodland bluffs and upland areas, with a goal of eradicating the species from preserve lands.
Fall restoration efforts will include prescribed burning, planting and seeding of Hoover Forest Preserve’s restored oak woodland and prairie areas to enhance native-plant species diversity and pollinator habitat.
As part of this effort, the Forest Foundation and Kendall County Forest Preserve District are working to recruit Eagle Scout and Gold Award candidates and civic groups to support the project. District Executive Director David Guritz said the project “is a great hands-on opportunity for scouts, local businesses, schools and the public to get involved and make a long-term impact on the health and quality of habitats at Hoover Forest Preserve.”
Those interested in volunteering and contributing to the foundation’s matching-grant efforts should email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 630-553-4131.
All donations are tax-deductible, and can be contributed online using the “Donate” PayPal link at www.kendallforest.com, or by direct mail to: Forest Foundation of Kendall County, Hoover Community Stewardship Challenge Grant Program, P.O. Box 143, Yorkville, IL 60560.