The Openlands 2018 Annual Luncheon

Thursday, October 18, 2018

The Openlands 2018 Annual Luncheon highlighted the pressing need to address climate change by using solutions based in nature and land conservation.

Congratulations to the Conservation Leadership Award Recipient: The Comer Family Foundation

Many thanks to our Keynote Speaker: Dr. Ingrid “Indy” Burke, Dean, Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies

Welcoming remarks from Openlands Vice Chair Mark Harris and a special announcement from MacArthur Foundation President Julia Stasch.

Remarks from Openlands President & CEO Jerry Adelmann and from Senator Dick Durbin.

Openlands board member Molly Meyer presents the 2018 Conservation Leadership Award to the Comer Family Foundation. Stephanie Comer receives the award on behalf of the foundation.

Keynote by Dr. Ingrid “Indy” Burke, Dean of the Yale School of Forestry, introduced by Brooke Hecht, President of the Center for Humans and Nature, with closing remarks by Openlands board member Alan Bell.

“Our lives are infinitely richer and healthier when we are connected to each other and to nature, and I believe when connections start in communities, it’s possible to change the country.”

— Stephanie Comer, Comer Family Foundation


Thank You to Our Generous Sponsors:

Emerald Sponsors


The Negaunee Foundation

Platinum Sponsors


Connie and Tony Bischoff

Shaun and Andy Block



Andrew and Jeanine McNally, IV

Stantec Logo (2)

Gold Sponsors

BMO Harris Bank

Christy Webber Landscapes

The Corwith Fund

Nancy Hamill Winter

Liberty Prairie Foundation

Living Habitats

Harold and Adeline S. Morrison Family Foundation

Peoples Gas

Barbara and Glenn Reed

Ella and Richard Strubel


Openlands 2018 Annual Luncheon Host Committee

Jill Allread, Alan M. Bell, Shaun and Andy, Block Maureen and Scott Byron, Richard J. Carlson and Cristina Benitez, Barbi and Tom Donnelley, Josephine F. Elting, Kay and John T. Golitz, Brooke Hecht, Julie Jahn, Donna LaPietra and Bill Kurtis, Carrie McNally and Rick Maechling, Lois Morrison, Janis and John Notz, Andrew Otting and Laura Hohnhold, Todd Schwebel, Hon. Debra Shore, Judith Stockdale and Jonathan Boyer, George and Nancy Sutherland, Christy Webber.

About the Comer Family Foundation

For over 20 years, the Comer Family Foundation has been at the forefront of studying the effects of climate change, providing direct support to scientists who seek a deeper understanding of earth’s climate.

The Comer Fellows are a group of climate scientists whose diverse work focuses on mountain glaciers, drylands, Greenland and other sites to learn the history of climate changes of importance to the future. Through the Medill Comer Scholars program, a partnership with the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University, the Comer Family Foundation empowers students who are committed to environmental journalism.

About Dr. Ingrid “Indy” Burke

Dr. Ingrid “Indy” Burke is Dean of the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. She is an ecosystem ecologist with expertise in how the grasslands and scrublands of the world are influenced by land use management and by climate change.

Prior to her current role, Burke was Dean of the Haub School of Environment and Natural Resources at the University of Wyoming, and Professor, University Distinguished Teaching Scholar, and Co-Director of the Graduate Degree Program in Ecology at Colorado State University.

She has received over $20M in grant support for research, and published over 150 peer-reviewed articles, chapters, books, and reports. Burke has served as a member of numerous national and international advisory committees related to environmental science and policy. She has been designated as a National Science Foundation Presidential Faculty Fellow, a National Academy of Sciences Education Fellow in the Life Sciences, and was recently elected a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.