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Migration & Me Honored as Force of Nature Award Winner

Faith in Place's innovative Migration & Me Program was honored yesterday as a recipient of the Force of Nature Award presented by Chicago Wilderness.

Rev. Debra Williams, receives the Force of Nature Award from Chicago Wilderness

We are grateful to be one of the ten outstanding individuals/agencies that were recognized with The Force of Nature Award for efforts in conservation, restoration, advocacy, and/or educational activities that are inspirational examples for others.

Program Coordinator, Debra Williams, receives the Force of Nature Award from Chicago Wilderness presented to Faith in Place's Migration & Me Program

To read more about the Force of Nature Awards, please view this Press Release from Chicago Wilderness.

About Migration & Me

Migration & Me engages people of faith in sharing their personal migration stories and connecting these stories to the migration of Monarch butterflies, birds, and other species.

Beaubien Fest featured a Story Circle
Beaubien Fest featured a Story Circle

Everyone has a story of migration. It can be the story of moving down the block or across the world; one’s personal story or a story passed down from ancestors. The unique storytelling component of Migration & Me allows people to explore the sensory details of migration and reflect on their relationship with place. Because storytelling is personal and relatable, it helps people connect with other people, across generations, and across species.

Participants discover that humans and migratory species alike seek food and shelter along their journeys and at their final destinations. Through this connection, people learn of the importance of providing natural habitat for migrating species, and are provided with opportunities for land restoration. Faith communities are encouraged to extend land conservation efforts to their own land by planting pollinator friendly vegetable and native plant gardens.

Tomato Harvest! Yaretzi wears Monarch Butterfly wings
Tomato Harvest! Yaretzi wears Monarch Butterfly wings

The program intentionally emphasizes the Monarch butterfly. There are striking similarities between its migration from Mexico and the southern part of the US north to Canada, and The Great Migration of African Americans from the South and of Mexican-American immigrants to the US. By making this connection, the program focuses on engaging Black and Latino communities in outdoor recreation and land stewardship.

People of all ages participate in activities, which include story circles, educational nature outings, and land conservation service projects. Most importantly, participants are encouraged to have fun through outdoor activities such as canoeing, storytelling campfires, archery, nature walks, gardening and more.

In 2015, 1,419 people participated in 34 different nature outings and restored 35.27 acres to native and natural habitat. In 2016, the program expanded vegetable gardens or installed native plant gardens at 24 houses of worship and organized 38 different nature outings with both recreational and stewardship activities, racking up over 2000 volunteer stewardship hours.

Migration & Me is a “force of nature” that has created many enthusiastic participants who faithfully tend to butterfly and vegetable gardens, and consistently show up to nature outings (in all weather conditions) to gather seeds, plant milkweed and cut down buckthorn!

A volunteer cuts down invasive buckthorn trees.
A volunteer cuts down invasive buckthorn trees.

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