Restoring Wetlands in Chicagoland
In 2018, Illinois soybean farmers joined forces with urban conservationists and Chicago-area volunteers during the Calumet Wetlands Planting Day at Indian Ridge Marsh on Chicago’s South Side. The Illinois Soybean Association (ISA) checkoff program, Audubon Great Lakes, The Wetlands Initiative and the Chicago Park District hosted the planting day to help restore local wetlands, protect native wildlife and beautify the region for Chicagoans to once again enjoy.
More than 90 volunteers helped plant approximately 4,000 seedlings while learning about the importance and history of the wetlands. The Calumet region was once one of the most biologically diverse areas in North America but, due to 19th century industrialization, it has been reduced to a patchwork of remnant wetlands. The rural-urban coalition worked together to educate the community about the importance of environmental stewardship and provide an opportunity for Chicagoans to plug into nature right in the city.
“This event is a great opportunity to share my experiences in agriculture and showcase what farmers do every day – care for the land,” says Jim Martin, ISA director and farmer from Pontiac, Illinois. “Farming is more than just growing soybeans. It requires work, care and passionate people. A lot like this effort at Calumet.”
The Illinois Soybean Association continues to support wetland restoration to improve water quality, preserve wildlife habitat and ensure a better quality of life for Chicagoans.