The campaign's initial challenge – to raise $2,000 by December 31 – includes a match by an anonymous donor that will turn the $2,000 into $4,000.
Funds raised by the campaign will help outfit the many forest preserve volunteer stewards who give more than 3,000 hours of their time every year collecting seeds, cutting brush, controlling nonnative plant species, hosting public workdays and monitoring rare and endangered species in the preserves.
Once the fundraising effort reaches its $7,000 goal, stewards will receive small grants to purchase the equipment and supplies they need to perform their volunteer activities. In the past, volunteers have paid for their own supplies, including plant plugs and seed.
"Your tax-deductible donation will provide funding for the stewards to help them purchase what they need, whether it is in the form of plant material, seed, personal protective equipment, herbicide, small tools or supplies to aid in monitoring activities or organizing a community workday," said foundation executive director Cynthia Harn.
"These volunteers clearly show how a small group of dedicated and passionate people can, and do, make a difference; how each of us working collectively toward a common goal can have a so much more of an impact than any of us could have on our own," Harn said. "The Forest Preserve District could not accomplish this work without the tireless efforts of these dedicated individuals."