Press Releases

For Immediate Release: The Openlands 2015 Annual Luncheon Honors Toni Preckwinkle and Celebrates Healthy Land and People

September 29, 2015


CONTACT:    Brandon Hayes
(Media inquiries only)



***Robin Wall Kimmerer is the Keynote Speaker***

***Christopher G. Kennedy is the Committee Chair***

***BMO Harris Bank is the Presenting Sponsor***

(Chicago – September 29, 2015) The Openlands 2015 Annual Luncheon focuses on how to care for our natural resources in the Chicago region for the benefit of people and the environment. At the luncheon, Cook County Board President and Forest Preserves of Cook County President Toni Preckwinkle will be presented with Openlands’ Conservation Leadership Award.

The luncheon will take place at the Hilton Chicago on October 29 from 10:30am until 1:30pm. A networking reception begins at 10:30am and the lunch and program begin at noon.

The Openlands Annual Luncheon is consistently the largest gathering of conservation-minded organizations, volunteers, and elected officials in metropolitan Chicago with over 900 attendees expected.

Preckwinkle led the development and implementation of the Next Century Conservation Plan for the Forest Preserves of Cook County, an ambitious roadmap formulated by a dedicated commission. The work was facilitated by Openlands, Metropolis Strategies, and the Forest Preserves of Cook County. Openlands provided staffing for the effort. The plan creates healthy landscapes for the people, inspires economic growth, and builds a culture of conservation.

“Openlands is honored to celebrate President Preckwinkle’s leadership on this ambitious road map for the future of the forest preserves,” said Openlands President and CEO Jerry Adelmann. “Her passion to connect people of all backgrounds to the ecological, physical, and mental health benefits of restored public lands is directly in line with Openlands’ mission. Under her leadership, the Forest Preserves of Cook County remain a strong partner in ensuring the ecological and human health of our region.”

Christopher G. Kennedy serves as Chair of the 2015 Annual Luncheon Committee. Under Kennedy’s leadership of The Merchandise Mart, it became the largest building in the world to be awarded the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Certification.

Dr. Robin Wall Kimmerer serves as the 2015 Keynote Speaker. As a Distinguished Teaching Professor of Environmental Biology at the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (Syracuse) and the founding Director of the Center for Native Peoples and the Environment, her work draws on both indigenous and scientific knowledge for shared goals of sustainability.

For tickets or more information on attending the event, visit: or contact Sasha Doyle-Weiss at or call 312-863-6273.

Media inquiries or members of the press wishing to attend the Openlands 2015 Annual Luncheon should contact Brandon Hayes at or 312-863-6260.

Corporate/Organizational Sponsors as of September 29, 2015

The Openlands 2015 Annual Luncheon Presenting Sponsor is BMO Harris Bank. The Emerald Sponsor is Northern Trust. Platinum Sponsors are Allstate, ArcelorMittal, ComEd, ITW, and Stantec Consulting Services, Inc. Gold Sponsors are Bartlett Tree Experts, The Boeing Company, Christy Webber Landscapes, Liberty Prairie Foundation, Living Habitats, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP, The University of Chicago, Office of Civic Engagement, and U.S. Bank. The Silver Sponsor is Wells Fargo.

About Openlands

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, wildlife refuges, land and water greenway corridors, and urban gardens. For more information, please visit

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