The Openlands 2019 Annual Luncheon

Save the Date for the Openlands 2019 Annual Luncheon!

Thursday, October 31, 2019

Hilton Chicago

Reception: 10:30am
Luncheon: 12pm

The Openlands Annual Luncheon serves as the largest gathering of conservation leaders in the Chicago region. This fall, Openlands will present the 2019 Conservation Leadership Award to Stephen Packard. The Keynote Speaker will be Wendy Paulson.

Openlands 2019 Annual Luncheon Sponsorship Information

For more information, please contact Jessica Smasal at jsmasal@openlands.org or 312.863.6263.


Conservation Leadership Award Recipient: Stephen Packard

Openlands is proud to present the 2019 Conservation Leadership Award to Stephen Packard for his commitment to fostering a culture of conservation through which people and nature can re-establish mutually nourishing relationships in a changing world.

Over 40 years ago, Stephen Packard initiated the North Branch Restoration Project, which has become a world-renowned model of volunteerism.

Packard is the former Director of Science and Stewardship for the Illinois Nature Conservancy and Founding Director of Audubon Chicago Region. He initiated and guided the Volunteer Stewardship Network. With thousands of volunteers working at hundreds of sites, these collaborations served as models for the creation of similar projects that are now commonplace at varied organizations.


Keynote Speaker: Wendy Paulson

WendyA long-time member of the Openlands Board of Directors, Wendy Paulson is an environmental educator and activist with decades of hands-on experience in nature-based education, habitat restoration and community-based conservation.

She has dedicated much of her life to teaching, beginning in the Boston Public Schools and later at The Potomac School in McLean, VA, in the Barrington Public Schools as “The Nature Lady,” and as Director of Education for Citizens for Conservation, a community conservation group in Barrington. She helped start and teaches for Birds in My Neighborhood, a program of Openlands and Audubon Great Lakes in the Chicago Public Schools.

Paulson is Chairman of the Bobolink Foundation and has held leadership positions with international conservation organizations including Rare, the Illinois, New York and global boards of The Nature Conservancy, BirdLife International, as well as with many national and local groups.

Through her varied conservation experiences, she has come to see the central importance of an engaged constituency for nature and believes that empowered volunteer leaders are nature’s ultimate sustainability plan.