The program got a boost in July from a $6,075 grant awarded by American Water, the nation’s largest publicly traded water and wastewater utility company.
The goal of the project is to engage and educate volunteers for the Arboretum’s Woodland Stewardship Training Program to help with the removal of a quarter mile of underground clay tile pipes that were interfering with natural drainage for the Crowley Marsh wetlands on the Arboretum’s East Side.
It also is designed to help educate the public, says Kurt Dreisilker, Manager of Natural Resources for The Morton Arboretum.
“Today, few natural areas across Illinois and the Great Lakes Region realize their potential ecological value, diversity, and long-term sustainability,” says Dreisilker. "This project helps us demonstrate how improving natural areas increases biodiversity, or the variety of organisms in a given region, and contributes to the health of the environment.”
Stakeholders in the project include the American Water Environmental Grant and Huddleston McBride Drainage Co. of St. Charles, a contractor removing drainage tiles.
Established in 2005, American Water’s Environmental Grant Program offers funds for innovative, community-based environmental projects that improve, restore or protect the watersheds, surface water and/or groundwater supplies in the communities. The Morton Arboretum grant is one of six totaling $25,766 awarded to organizations throughout the country.