The McHenry County Conservation District was honored by state legislators Friday for its excellence in environmental stewardship.
State Sen. Pam Althoff and state Rep. Michael Tryon presented the MCCD with a Gubernatorial Proclamation and proclaimed Oct. 29 as McHenry County Conservation District Day in the state of Illinois.
The MCCD was recognized for its role in working with the Department of the Interior for the creation of the Hackmatack National Wildlife Refuge, protecting and managing natural areas for their value as public spaces and environmental reserves, and for receiving the 2013 Barb King Environmental Stewardship Award from the National Recreation and Park Association.
The conservation district is one of only five agencies in the country to be named leaders in environmental stewardship by the National Recreation and Park Association, joining Mecklenburg County, Charlotte, N.C.; the city of Boulder, Colo.; the city of Phoenix, Ariz.; and the county of San Diego, Calif.
“It’s very rewarding see the work of our staff, and the collaborative work by our residents and partners, recognized,” said Elizabeth Kessler, executive director of the McHenry County Conservation District. “They are all part of the team that has led to this national recognition.”
Since 2007, the MCCD has opened 12 new sites to the public as well as 3.5 miles of regional trails. It has also made Americans with Disabilities Act improvements and added nature trails, picnic shelters, bike trails, fishing access, scenic outlooks and other public amenities.
Kessler said along with all the new improvements, the MCCD has made preserving resources, restoring land and providing green architecture a top priority.
“We know we have valuable natural resources,” Kessler said. “And they’re in great hands because there is a lot of care and concern from those who live here.”