"That green bee is the coolest thing I've seen in my whole life!" shouted Brandon, an 8th grader, as he watched the bee land on the purple coneflower he just planted two minutes prior.
Brandon, like many children in southwestern Illinois, has had very few opportunities to see wildlife up close, let alone touch it. We watched as his eyes lit up, he smiled from ear to ear, and called to his friends to experience what he was seeing.
Brandon is a part of our Lots of Love program – an initiative to restore native habitat on vacant lots in city neighborhoods. Brandon's bee found a home at the lot in the Signal Hill neighborhood of Belleville – an open lot filled with grass and invasive plants is now on its way to becoming an Outdoor Pollinator Classroom filled with wildflowers, oaks, and milkweed. Here Brandon is learning about the importance of native bees and how they connect to our ecosystem.
This outdoor classroom is one of the many ways HeartLands Conservancy is creating the next generation of conservationists in our region. The future conservationists that will one day protect habitat and farmland and help communities build parks and bike trails in our region.
And we have only been able to do this with support and contributions from generous people like you.
Our donors have protected 8,760 acres of nature preserves and farmland over the past 28 years. Places for Brandon's bees to forage, our population to experience nature, and our impact to grow.
Unfortunately, the success of our programs is not guaranteed. We need to raise $25,000 by December 31 to ensure Brandon's green bee, and all the other critical species of our region, have a place to call home. Your donation will make an immediate difference on urgently needed resources that keep our programs running.
Please consider making a tax-deductible year-end gift and help us reach our goal before the year is over!
Thank you so much for your help.
Mary Vandevord, President & CEO