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For Immediate Release - The Garden Club of America Honors Gerald W. Adelmann

May 3, 2013

CONTACTS:  Brandon Hayes, Openlands
                     312-863-6260 (office)
                     312-479-0819 (mobile)
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                     Jennifer Barnette, Garden Club of America

The Garden Club of America Honors Gerald W. Adelmann

Philadelphia, PA (May 3, 2013) – The Garden Club of America presented the Frances K. Hutchinson Medal for distinguished service to conservation to Gerald W. Adelmann of Chicago at its Centennial Annual Meeting in Philadelphia May 2.

As President and CEO of Openlands, a regional conservation organization that serves northeastern Illinois and the surrounding region, Adelmann launched the 21st Century Open Space Plan, which called for expanded parklands, greenways and trails for the region. Adelmann has worked for Openlands since 1980 and assumed the role of CEO in 1988. His leadership in creating the Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie (Joliet, Ill.); in preserving the rare and scenic landscape at the Openlands Lakeshore Preserve (Highland Park, Ill.) for public learning and recreation; and many other conservation and preservation accomplishments has earned him numerous honors and conservation awards.

“This honor is especially meaningful since The Garden Club of America is celebrating its centennial and, Openlands, our 50th anniversary this year,” said Adelmann during his acceptance speech. “Anniversaries offer tremendous opportunities to reflect on past accomplishments while looking forward to the important challenges that face contemporary society.  The Garden Club of America has an amazingly rich record of impact, always fostering a culture of conservation and addressing systematic change.”

Described by GCA’s local clubs as Chicago’s “Mr. Conservation,” Adelmann founded the Canal Corridor Association of the Des Plaines River Valley in 1982 and headed the effort to create the Illinois and Michigan Canal National Heritage Corridor in 1984. The Heritage Corridor was the first heritage land designation of its kind. More recently, Openlands successfully completed its most ambitious preservation project to date: the 2010 opening of the 77-acre Openlands Lakeshore Preserve, the last undeveloped stretch of lakefront and ravines in Illinois. Openlands was also instrumental in helping create the Chicago region’s first national wildlife refuge, Hackmatack, in 2012. These sites provide vital habitat to many native Midwestern plants and flowers.

Designed in 1940 by Spaulding-Gorham Silversmiths of Chicago, the Frances K. Hutchinson Medal is presented and endowed by the Lake Geneva Garden Club in memory of its founder, Francis K. Hutchinson. Previous recipients include Rachel Carson (1952), Walt Disney (1954), former Secretary of Interior Stewart Udall (1965), Lady Bird Johnson (1968), and Roger Tory Peterson (1970). This is the second time a member of the organization has received the Hutchinson award. In 1983, Jeffrey R. Short, Jr., Openlands’ founding board chair, was named the recipient.

About the Garden Club of America
The Garden Club of America, a volunteer association of 200 member clubs throughout the United States, is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year. A national leader in the fields of horticulture, conservation and civic improvement, the 18,000 members of GCA clubs passionately devote their energies and expertise to a wide array of projects in their communities and across the nation. In celebration of its founding, GCA initiated the Centennial Tree Project that has resulted in the planting of more than 23,500 trees. Every GCA member club participated in the project and in doing so, helped preserve the past and grow the future – an integral part of GCA’s mission since 1913. For more information visit

About Openlands

Openlands has been fortunate to collaborate with all six of The Garden Club of America Chicago-area clubs. Founded in 1963, Openlands is one of the nation’s oldest and most successful metropolitan conservation organizations, having helped secure, protect, and provide public access to more than 55,000 acres of land for parks, forest preserves, land and water trail corridors, and urban gardens. For more information visit

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