May 22, 2014
Exelon Foundation Provides $300,000 To National Forest Foundation To Restore Tall Grass Prairie And Expand Youth Program
Support will expand successful youth corps program, restore native habitat at Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie
Missoula, MT (May 22, 2014) – The National Forest Foundation (NFF) is pleased to announce a three-year $300,000 grant from the Exelon Foundation to support a youth crew and restoration efforts at Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie in Joliet, IL.
The Exelon Foundation’s support will allow the NFF to expand its successful Youth Corps partnership with the North Lawndale College Preparatory High School in Chicago. The grant extends the youth corps program for three years, ensuring that the NFF can field two full-time youth crews for six weeks of job training and skills development at Midewin through 2017. For the past two summers, the NFF Youth Corps program at Midewin has brought eight students, two student mentors, and a faculty leader from the high school to Midewin for six weeks of hands-on restoration activities, job training, and mentorship.
“The National Forest Foundation’s program creates new opportunities for these young adults and help protect a fragile prairie ecosystem in a community we serve,” said Steve Solomon, president of the Exelon Foundation. “We are proud to support this effort as part of our commitment to environmental conservation and education. Midewin presents a rare opportunity for Chicago area residents to visit a tall grass prairie, and we are excited to be involved in its restoration.”
“As part of the National Forest Foundation’s Treasured Landscapes campaign, we have made it a priority to connect urban residents and youth to our spectacular National Forest System,” said NFF’s president, Bill Possiel. “Thanks to the Exelon Foundation, we can greatly expand this successful program and give high school students from the Chicago area the chance to help transform Midewin, while they gain a better appreciation for our forests and grasslands.”
Additional funds from the Exelon Foundation’s gift will be invested in direct on-the-ground restoration activities at Midewin, including restoring native tallgrass prairie plants, removing bunkers that once stored ammunition, and restoring the hydrology of the Prairie to its pre-settlement condition. Midewin is one of the NFF’s Treasured Landscapes conservation campaign sites. This national conservation campaign is addressing large-scale restoration and community engagement at 14 National Forest sites across the country.
Today’s Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie was yesterday’s Joliet Arsenal, a Department of Defense (DoD) site that manufactured munitions for decades beginning in World War II. In the 1990s the DoD transferred ownership of the land to the U.S Forest Service, which has managed it since that time. The NFF included Midewin in its Treasured Landscapes campaign in 2012.
The Youth Corps groups will begin working at Midewin this July. Crews will focus on planting native plants, improving recreational opportunities, and developing job and work skills that will help them long into the future.
“This experience has been great for me because I got to do hands-on activities with the environment and it opened my eyes to the beautiful wildlife,” said Joy Carpenter, a Youth Corps participant in 2012.
For more information about the NFF’s Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie conservation initiative, please visit www.nationalforests.org/treasured.
About the National Forest Foundation
Founded by Congress in 1991, the National Forest Foundation works to conserve, restore and enhance America’s 193-million-acre National Forest System. Through community-based strategies and public-private partnerships, the NFF enhances wildlife habitat, revitalizes wildfire-damaged landscapes, restores watersheds, and improves recreational resources for the benefit of all Americans. The NFF’s Treasured Landscapes, Unforgettable Experiences national conservation campaign is uniting public and private partners to conduct large-scale forest and watershed restoration and revitalize ecosystem resiliency in iconic National Forest System sites around the nation. Learn more at www.nationalforests.org.
Exelon Corporation (NYSE: EXC) is the nation’s leading competitive energy provider, with 2013 revenues of approximately $24.9 billion. Headquartered in Chicago, Exelon has operations and business activities in 47 states, the District of Columbia and Canada. Exelon is one of the largest competitive U.S. power generators, with approximately 35,000 megawatts of owned capacity comprising one of the nation’s cleanest and lowest-cost power generation fleets. The company’s Constellation business unit provides energy products and services to approximately 100,000 business and public sector customers and approximately 1 million residential customers. Exelon’s utilities deliver electricity and natural gas to more than 7.8 million customers in central Maryland (BGE), northern Illinois (ComEd) and southeastern Pennsylvania (PECO).
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