College of Science and Health > About > Centers & Institutes > Institute for Nature and Culture > About > Partners


In addition to partnerships we develop on a project-by-project basis, the Institute develops more formal relationships with organizations on behalf of long-term collaboration related to a shared mission. We currently have two such partners:

McHenry County Conservation District

McHenry County Conservation District is a public agency that owns and manages 20,000 acres of land for the citizens of McHenry County. Our goal is the ecological restoration of these lands to their condition prior to European settlement in the early 19th century. Collaboration with the Institute for Nature and Culture and the New Academy for Nature and Culture on the Restoration Retreat Program is helping MCCD to refine our understanding of restoration techniques and how we can best communicate the importance of restoration to the public. We see this program as both a source of ideas and as a laboratory for trying out the ideas developed by our academic partners.

McHenry County Conservation District Main Office
18410 U.S. Highway 14
Woodstock, IL 60098
Phone: 815.338.6223
Fax: 815.334.2877

The New Academy for Nature and Culture

The New Academy for Nature and Culture is a Chicago-based, not-for-profit organization that brings land managers, researchers and citizens together in a unique program of research, education and public outreach in support of ecological restoration.

The New Academy's mission is to develop restoration as the basis for a gracious, sustainable relationship between people and natural ecosystems, and as a key element in a new environmentalism.

Behind this mission is a vision of an environmentalism that is not only ecologically sound, but also psychologically satisfying, philosophically coherent, politically effective, positive in spirit, and friendly to humans and human economies as well as the economy of nature.

The New Academy's goals are:

  • to develop conceptual foundations for ecological restoration as a conservation strategy and as a context for cultivating a healthy relationship between humans and the natural environment

  • to learn and help others learn to derive full value from the practice of restoration through the development of model projects in the field

  • to provide a constructive critique of environmental thinking and practice from the perspective provided by the work of restoration and our broadly inclusive discussions of this work

  • to develop a positive vision for environmentalism and to articulate this vision in a broadly compelling way

The New Academy works toward these goals by fostering a broadly inclusive discussion that brings together researchers, conservation practitioners, decision makers, educators and lay citizens in a lively exploration of ideas and practices at the leading edge of environmentalism.

It raises questions, then seeks out and brings together the people and organizations best suited to answer them through relevant research, education and public outreach. In addition to work undertaken in-house, the New Academy works extensively through collaborations, partnerships and consultancies with schools, agencies and other organizations whose work provides opportunities to achieve its mission.

This bears fruit in two ways: first, as an ongoing, multi-organizational regional forum for investigation and for the development and exchange of ideas and secondly as a series of publications, basically a short shelf of books, both paper and electronic, that will provide foundations for the development of restoration, both as a discipline and as the basis for a new kind of relationship with the natural environment.

The New Academy and its partners include regionally and nationally recognized leaders in the areas of restoration and urban ecology.

Director William R. Jordan III

Called by writer Michael Pollan “the leading visionary of ecological restoration,” Dr. Jordan has been in the forefront of thinking about restoration for more than a quarter of a century. Among the first to draw attention to the value of restoration as a conservation technique and context for negotiating a healthy relationship between humans and the rest of nature, Dr. Jordan was a founding member of the International Society for Ecological Restoration and founding editor of "Ecological Restoration," the first journal in the field.

He also played a key role in drawing attention to the value of restoration as a technique for basic ecological research, coining the term "restoration ecology" to refer to this, and acting as senior editor of the first book to explore this idea systematically “Restoration Ecology: A Synthetic Approach to Ecological Research,” Cambridge, 1987. As publications manager at the University of Wisconsin Arboretum, Jordan was responsible for creation of the Arboretum's restoration-based education and public outreach program and developed the plan for the first professorship in the field, the Aldo Leopold Chair in Restoration Ecology.

He is currently director of the New Academy for Nature and Culture and co-director of DePaul's Institute for Nature and Culture. His book “The Sunflower Forest: Ecological Restoration and the New Communion with Nature,” was published by the University of California Press in 2003.

The New Academy's Board of Directors is made up of prominent administrators, educators and conservation leaders from the non-profit, academic, private and government sectors in and beyond the Chicago area.

Stephen Christy, Landscape Architect, Chicago, IL
Liam Heneghan, Professor of Environmental Studies, DePaul University, Chicago, IL
William R. Jordan III, Director, Woodstock, IL
Arthur Sacks, Associate Vice President for Academic and Faculty Affairs, Colorado School of Mines, Golden, CO
John Santucci, Co-founder, Tellabs, Inc., Naperville and trustee emeritus, Illinois Nature Conservancy, Barrington, IL

The New Academy's principle partners are DePaul University Institute for Nature and Culture and the McHenry County Conservation District.

Contact Information
The New Academy for Nature and Culture
1260 Wood Drive
Woodstock, IL 60098
Phone: 815.337.6896