Community-Based Conservation with Casa Michoacan

Happy spring! I hope you’re enjoying the buzz of the cicadas so far. I have a few at my house and there are thousands at McDonald Farm in Naperville. It’s a once in a lifetime natural event where both the 13-year and 17-year cicadas emerge in the same year, so take it all in!


I want to share a quick story of a new partnership for The Conservation Foundation. One of our priorities these past few years is to be more inclusive, impactful, and relevant to the people and communities we serve. The first step was learning what relevant and impactful look like.


Casa Michoacan event


We embarked on a year-long “Community Listening Tour” to uncover and understand barriers people have that prevent them from engaging with nature, and ways that our mission and programs may help breakdown those barriers. We centered our outreach to existing and potential partners in Bolingbrook and West Chicago, two very diverse and under-resourced communities. Many of these listening sessions have led to partnerships and projects with a wide range of community groups. One of the West Chicago partners is Casa Michoacan, which works to improve the life conditions of people from the Mexican state of Michoacan, along with many services for the broader Spanish-speaking community. Michoacan happens to be where the monarch butterflies return to each year and are an important cultural connection to life in Mexico. The Conservation Foundation and Casa Michoacan found common ground in creating habitat for pollinators, including monarchs, and launched a project to transform the area outside their community center into a native plant and vegetable garden.


It is also adjacent to an apartment building, and the residents assisted with the plantings and took home container herb gardens that they planted, along with materials about gardening in both English and Spanish that our bilingual staff provided. This was a nice extension of our popular Conservation@Home program.


This is just one of many similar examples that have emerged through our growing community-based conservation work and we’re excited to continue to grow relationships and projects like this with your support. Together we are creating new pathways for people to connect to nature in meaningful and impactful ways. Thank you for your continued support!


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