CHICAGO — Chicago's "backbone of bird conservation" said the city has a strong culture of recognizing the importance of urban conservation.
Judy Pollock this month earned the American Birding Association's Betty Petersen Award for Conservation and Community. Pollock, who among numerous conservation efforts helped start the city's Lights Out Program — to reduce light pollution during birds' spring and fall migration through the city — said winning the award "shows the strength of Chicago's local conservation community."
"I could listen to a lot of people's great ideas and make those ideas happen," Pollock said.
In her decades of conservation work, Pollock also launched Wild Indigo Natural Explorations, which introduces residents on the South and West sides to neighborhood forest preserves.
She's also a leader with the Bird Conservation Network, a coalition of 20-some different birding organizations. The network is currently partnering with the Chicago Park District and the Forest Preserves District of Cook County on the Chicago Urban Treaty Grant. Funds from that grant are leading to habitat enhancement at LaBagh Woods on the Northwest Side, plus at the Garfield Park Conservatory on the West Side, the Stephen Douglas Tomb on the South Side and other city spots.
"A lot of people think you have to go to South America or Central America to do important wildlife conservation work, but really you can do that in Chicago because we have all these migratory birds passing through," Pollock said. "I'm pleased we all got this award because it's a recognition of urban conservation and local conservation."