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Waubonsee Recognized by The Conservation Foundation

Staff of The Conservation Foundation, Waubonsee administrators and board of trustees celebrate Waubonsee's recognition for conservation efforts at the Sugar Grove, Plano and Aurora campuses.

At its Sept. 16 board meeting, Waubonsee Community College was recognized for conservation efforts by Brook McDonald, President/CEO of The Conservation Foundation. Waubonsee recently earned Conservation@Work certification from The Conservation Foundation for making a positive environmental impact on its campuses.

The Conservation Foundation modeled the new program off of the original Conservation@Home program, which helps property owners turn their land into water-conserving havens for wildlife. Realizing that some of the largest landholders are businesses, schools and churches whose properties offer great opportunity for water quality and wildlife, The Conservation Foundation established a process by which businesses can apply for and earn Conservation@Work certification.

The criteria for the program requires that the property have native plants for the benefit of water conservation and wildlife; that there is clear evidence of stewardship of land; that water on the site is managed effectively to reduce runoff; that property along creeks, rivers or a pond is managed to reduce erosion and pollutants; and reduced use of chemicals is recommended. Once certified, businesses receive a sign recognizing their efforts and one-on-one advice about ways to make an even greater positive environmental impact on the property.

Combined, the foundation has helped nearly 1,000 land owners improve their properties through these programs.

McDonald said that as an educational institution, Waubonsee has lived up to its responsibility to demonstrate sustainable practices on its campuses so others can follow. The recognition is for work at the Sugar Grove, Plano and Aurora campuses.

“Their native landscaping is not only beautiful, but has functional value to improve drainage and water quality, and provide wildlife and pollinator species a haven so they can live and survive,” he said.

Waubonsee President Dr. Christine Sobek said that throughout its history, Waubonsee has had a natural connection to the environment thanks to its Sugar Grove Campus location that includes wetlands, prairie and oak savanna.

“Even when planning for growth, significant efforts are made at Waubonsee to consider the health of the local and global environment,” she said. “Sustainability is something we are committed to, and recognition such as this honors the work of our board of trustees and staff in fulfilling that priority.”

Dan Larsen, Director of Campus Operations, said recognition such as this affirms the work of his team, and is also a nod to the strong support his department receives from Waubonsee’s leadership.

“This recognizes all the support that Campus Operations has received to not only build and grow our campuses, but to do so in a way that respects our environment and allows us to be good stewards of our resources,” he said. “We have such beautiful campuses, and this reflects our mission to do right by that.”