In the 20th Century, we preserved the land. In the 21st, let’s restore it.

The Commission

On February 4, 2013, Forest Preserves of Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle publicly announced the creation of the Next Century Conservation Plan Commission. This group included civic leaders from diverse backgrounds, professional disciplines, and geographic areas of the County, who contributed fresh perspectives to the long-term plan for the Forest Preserve. The Commission advised on the Project Team’s research findings and the formulation of the Plan. At the culmination of the planning process in January 2014, the Commission reviewed and recommended the draft Plan to President Preckwinkle.

The Commission adopted a set of commitments that described aspirational goals for the Plan and were developed in response to input from the Planning Team and Advisory Group.


John McCarter, President Emeritus, Field Museum
Wendy Paulson, Board Member, Openlands
Arthur R. Velasquez, Chair, Azteca Foods
Eric E. Whitaker, M.D., CEO, TWG Partners, LLC

Commission Members:
Lee Bey, Former Executive Director, Chicago Central Area Committee
Kathleen Brown, Former Chair of Investment Banking for the Midwest Region, Goldman Sachs & Co.
Frank M. Clark III, Founder and Managing Partner, Clark Enterprises Group, LLC
James Gay, Superintendent, Consolidated High School District 230
Joseph A. Gregoire, Former State Chair for Illinois Banking, PNC Bank
Terry Guen, FASLA, Principal Landscape Architect, Terry Guen Design Associates, Inc.
Lori Healey, CEO, Tur Partners LLC
Troy Henikoff, Managing Director, TechStars Chicago
Sylvia M. Jenkins, Ph.D., President, Moraine Valley Community College
Luis P. Nieto, President, Nieto Advisory LLC
Lisa Thornton, M.D., Medical Director of Pediatric and Adolescent Rehabilitation, Schwab Rehabilitation Hospital and LaRabida Children’s Hospital
Don A. Turner, President Emeritus, Chicago Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO

Ex Officio Members:
Arnold Randall, General Superintendent, Forest Preserves of Cook County
Sophia Siskel, President and CEO, Chicago Botanic Garden
Stuart D. Strahl, Ph.D., President and CEO, Chicago Zoological Society

Senior Advisors:
Gerald W. Adelmann, President and CEO, Openlands
Mary A. Laraia, Deputy Superintendent, Forest Preserves of Cook County
George Ranney, President and CEO, Metropolis Strategies
Victoria Ranney, Chairman, Liberty Prairie Foundation