What’s Your North Pond story? All of us who visit and love North Pond have at least one special memory, favorite place, or cherished activity inspired by this gem of nature in our fair city. I know I have plenty. As work at the pond took a breather this week ahead of one final push to project completion in October, I think it’s important to remember why we’re restoring North Pond. It’s our stories, individual and collective, that make North Pond so vital to preserve and protect. By preserving the Pond for the future, we can inspire other stories, both our own and those yet to come.
I have plenty of North Pond stories. Mine began over 25 years ago when I first moved to Chicago. My first job was as an educator at the Chicago Academy of Sciences, before its Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum was built on the Pond’s southeast shore. Prior to construction, we offered summer camps to build awareness and connection to the area that would become the museum’s new home. North Pond was a central part of that programming; we would do nature observation walks and water quality investigations using North Pond as our outdoor classroom and laboratory. When I first began my role as Executive Director of the Lincoln Park Conservancy, one thing (among many) that excited me was the potential of restoring North Pond to ensure its health and vibrancy for the future. Five years ago, that goal seemed a long way off.
Nearly three years ago to the day, we launched the Campaign for North Pond with a large $7 million goal, lots of great plans, and some uncertainty of how long it would take to reach our goal. That was October of 2019. Then COVID hit. Multiply the uncertainty by tenfold. But despite the tumultuousness of the last few years, one thing was constant: the generosity and commitment of the community to carry North Pond’s restoration to the finish line. Through the partnership and steadfastness of our supporters, we did it; raising over our $7.3 million goal from over 550 donors since 2019 and nearing project completion next month. And during COVID! What made this possible? You and your story, and those of hundreds of others with their own North Pond stories who want to ensure that their future stories and those of countless more continue to be written; and the stories of plants, birds, turtles, and the hundreds of other creatures who rely on North Pond for their health and longevity. For those beings who can’t speak with words and for all of us humans whose North Pond stories will continue and grow thanks to the restoration I say THANK YOU! You, our community, individually and collectively made North Pond’s restoration possible. THANK YOU.
If you have a North Pond story to share, send it along with any pictures to firstname.lastname@example.org. We will post some of them on the North Pond project page in the weeks to come. Stay tuned next week as we get back to project updates in the drive towards wrapping up the major portions of the project. To learn more, read our weekly blog series or visit our North Pond Restoration web page.