This is the first crowdfunded campaign of this scale to support wildlife in the Chicago area, according to Chicago Wilderness.
All of the species are under stress due to habitat loss or impacts.
The 12 creatures highlighted for protection are: Blanding's turtle, blue-spotted salamander, bobolink, ellipse, Henslow's sparrow, little brown bat, monarch butterfly, mottled sculpin, red-headed woodpecker, regal fritillary, rusty patch bumblebee and smooth green snake.
The majority of these species can be found throughout the Forest Preserve District of Will County. For instance, Bobolinks bop as far south as Braidwood Dunes and Savanna Nature Preserve and as far north as Whalon Lake in Naperville. Little brown bats flit through McKinley Woods to the west in Channahon and Goodenow Grove Nature Preserve to the east in Crete Township. The red-headed woodpecker nests in the District’s oak ecosystems, and the blue-spotted salamander slithers through Will County woodlands.
So far, the campaign has raised $7,000, which is about 12 percent of the $60,000 goal. Donations will be allocated across all species. While individuals can donate on behalf of any of the deserving dozen, and fundraising totals are listed for each on the campaign website, donations will be split evenly across the species when the campaign concludes.
Chicago Wilderness, a regional environmental alliance, is championing these species in honor of its 20th anniversary as an agency. Donations will be used for research and habitat improvement projects specific to each species.
"These animal species and their habitats need you," according to information on the agency's "One Home" donation page. "While these critters may be small in size, they are massive in importance. From the red-headed woodpecker to the little brown bat, these animals and the lands they inhabit – our ecosystems – help keep our water clean and our air safe to breathe."