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Connecting people in the region to nature where they live

Founded in 1963 as a program of the Welfare Council of Metropolitan Chicago, Openlands is one of the oldest metropolitan conservation organizations in the nation and the only such group with a regional scope. Openlands has helped protect more than 55,000 acres of land for public parks and forest preserves, wildlife refuges, land and water greenway corridors, urban farms, and community gardens.


Mission

Openlands protects the natural and open spaces of northeastern Illinois and the surrounding region to ensure cleaner air and water, protect natural habitats and wildlife, and help balance and enrich our lives.


Vision

Openlands’ vision for the region is a landscape that includes a vast network of land and water trails, tree-lined streets, and intimate public gardens within easy reach of every city dweller. It also includes parks and preserves big enough to provide natural habitat and to give visitors a sense of the vast prairies, woodlands, and wetlands that were here before the cities. In sum, Openlands believes that protected open space is critical for the quality of life of our region.

Openlands History

Since our founding in 1963 as a program of the Welfare Council of Metropolitan Chicago, Openlands has been at the forefront of the urban conservation movement. As one of the first organizations in the United States to address environmental issues…

Careers

Job descriptions, internships, and application instructions are posted on this page as they become available. General inquiries are welcome and may be emailed to info@openlands.org. Please note: unsolicited résumés will be ignored. Openlands maintains that achieving diversity requires an enduring…

2018-2022 Strategic Plan

In 2017 Openlands completed a strategic plan to guide our work in communities and across our region. Our vision for the region is a landscape that includes a vast network of land and water trails, tree-lined streets, and intimate public…

Accountability & Impact

Openlands is a registered 501(c)(3), tax-exempt organization. We are grateful to the many donors, partners, and supporters of Openlands’ mission, and we wish to ensure that your support helps to achieve our vision for the Chicago region. The effectiveness and…