Since 1996, Brook McDonald has been the President and Chief Executive Officer for The Conservation Foundation, a private not-for-profit land and watershed conservation group based in Naperville, Illinois. The Conservation Foundation focuses on land preservation and watershed protection in the outlying Chicago counties of DuPage, Kane, Kendall, and Will.

In 1997, The Conservation Foundation launched a series of campaigns throughout our region to promote the public acquisition of open space. These campaigns helped raise public funds for open space preservation in DuPage, Kane, Kendall, Will, and DeKalb Counties through the passage of bond referenda. To date, Mr. McDonald has organized 14 successful referenda campaigns that have raised more than $750 million, preserving 30,000 acres of land in these counties.

Mr. McDonald has also been involved in protecting the DuPage River since 1989. He chaired the DuPage River Coalition from 1989 to 1995, and is the past chairman of the DuPage River Watershed Ecosystem Partnership. Mr. McDonald is also a founding board member for the Friends of the Fox River. Mr. McDonald is the principal author of Illinois’ first citizens stream monitoring manual published in 1990.

Mr. McDonald served on the Warrenville Planning Commission and Zoning Board of Appeals from 1993-1996, and sat on the Board of Directors for the National Association for Interpretation from 1994 to 1998. He also served on the board of the Illinois Environmental Council from 1998 to 2001, served as a member of the Kendall County Extension Unit’s Advisory Council, and is a past member of the board for the Campaign for Sensible Growth. He also served for more than 10 years as an appointed member of the DuPage Environmental Commission, served as chairman of the DuPage County Trails Maintenance Task Force, and as chairman of the DuPage Green Government Council. He also served on the board for the Prairie State Conservation Coalition, a state-wide association of conservation land trusts, and served as its president for five years.

In 2007, Mr. McDonald was named as one of the top ten most influential environmentalists in DuPage County by the Daily Herald newspaper, and in 2010 was named as a Lincolnland Legend by the Dollars for Scholars Program in Springfield for being a role model for youth. In 2015, Mr. McDonald was awarded the Not-for-Profit Executive of the Year by the West Suburban Philanthropic Network and recognized with the Paul Harris Award from the Rotary Club of Naperville.

Mr. McDonald received his M.S. from The Ohio State University in Natural Resources and his B.S. from Otterbein College, Westerville, Ohio in Life Sciences, graduating with Distinction and a member of the Science Honorary.

Mr. McDonald has worked for the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County (IL) as the Public Affairs Director, Wheaton Park District (IL) as the Manager of Interpretation and Natural Resources, Metro Parks of Columbus & Franklin County (OH) as a naturalist, and Ohio Department of Natural Resources as a Stream Monitoring Coordinator for the Ohio Scenic Rivers Program.

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