BRIDGEPORT — Vast are the plans for the Millennium Reserve, a sweeping statewide conservation effort that aims to expand and conserve the amount of Illinois public land starting with the Calumet Core, an area ranging from parts of the lakefront to the south suburbs.
Already in the pipeline are projects that will restore Lake Michigan shoreline, eradicate invasive species from Cook County Forest Preserves, increase the number of rain barrels in municipalities and offer green job training.
For Bridgeport web designer Gina Hutchings, the challenge was to boil all of those elements down and create one little logo, something to capture the theme of the initiative, billed by Gov. Pat Quinn as "largest open space project in the country."
One of her submissions — the silhouette of a Bittern Heron perched in front of a railroad bridge with the city skyline in the background — was selected by Quinn’s office this week. The logo will displayed on signage that'll be placed in parks, trails and public land throughout the project.
“Designing a logo is like turning a novel into a haiku poem. You need to be able to say something quickly, effectively and to the point. It’s very hard to put all of that into a little icon,” she said.
For Hutchings, 38, the motivation to submit her work was a mix of two of her pursuits — design and ecological conservation.
Recently, she helped organize a cleanup of Bubbly Creek, the stretch of the Chicago River’s South Branch located right outside her studio space at the Bridgeport Art Center, 1200 W. 35th St.
“I focus my business on green business models and people trying to help the environment, so this was perfect,” she said.
The Calumet Core stretches from River North to south suburban Sauk Village. Federal, state and local leaders say the area will be the first zone of focus for the statewide Millennium Reserve project, which encompasses 140,000 acres.