Strategic Plan

Habitat Restoration

Robert Betz Internship

 Ecological Research

Outreach Events

The Fermilab Natural Areas Strategic Plan 2014-2016

Elements of FNA’s Strategic Plan:

The strategic plan is centered around Conservation, Restoration and Research goals, which are supported by the Engagement, Communications, and Fundraising goals. This plan will be periodically reviewed by the FNA Board of Directors to ensure that the actions of FNA are meeting the specific critical goals of the organization in a targeted time frame.

  • Mission

    To conserve, restore and study the natural areas within Fermilab while encouraging employees and neighbors to experience and enjoy Fermilab’s natural beauty.

  • Vision

    We envision a future:

    Where our natural areas and ecosystems are rich in biodiversity

    Where conservation and restoration are sustainable activities

    Where we are a regional leader in natural areas research

    Where Fermilab’s open spaces contribute to a high quality of life for the community

  • Conservation & Restoration























    Supplement Fermilab’s prescribed burning program and fully utilize opportunities during the burn season

    Expand the prescribed burning program to include trained FNA volunteers

    Provide resources for training to committed FNA volunteers

    Use volunteers to fulfill non-critical, day-of-burn duties

    Supply additional equipment and resource needs to Fermilab


    To focus our weed management efforts where we can have the greatest effect on invasive plant populations

    Reduce invasive plant populations threatening natural areas biodiversity

    Reduce the infestation of white sweet clover in prairies

    Control reed canary grass monocultures in wetlands

    Remove invasive shrubs in woodlands

    Control the spread of stinging nettle in Big Woods

    Enhance shrubland and grassland bird nesting areas


    To increase the diversity of native species

    Establish rare species of plants and animals within our natural areas

    Provide resources for seasonal planting events (trees, shrubs, plants, seeds)

    Supply funding or materials for animal reintroduction projects


    Conserve and restore oak savannas at Fermilab

    Increase native plant diversity in Main Ring Savanna

    Provide material and funding to continue working within the shrub layer and herbaceous layer


  • Research






















    Promote the use of Fermilab’s natural areas as potential research sites

    Provide financial support to research projects and monitoring programs

    Support a graduate student research project stipend

    Support our volunteer monitoring program engagement


    To increase educational programs and community outreach efforts to create more support for involvement in our ecological land management goals

    Engage members and non-members in events, volunteer opportunities, and educational programs

    Develop and run multiple Discovery Day programs annually

    Participate in select conferences, “green” events, volunteer fairs and internal programs to increase FNA visibility

    Host educational tours and talks


     Enhance the FNA Membership Program

    Host 3 FNA member meetings during the year

    Recruit new members through partnerships, on-line programs and solicitation

    Connect member resources with opportunities for FNA events and functions

    Host social (and educational) gatherings to foster relationships between volunteers and FNA


    Expand the FNA Stewardship program capacity to support conservation goals

    Develop a marketing highlight brochure to be included on website

    Develop a short video of program to add to website content

    Recruit volunteers through social media and strategic advertising (e.g., Chicago Environmental Network & Volunteer Match)

    Provide consistent mentoring and training

    Use informal evaluations to monitor the Stewardship program

    Create and host community stewardship events; seasonal education and social gatherings


  • Communication




    Increase the visibility of FNA for the broader community to better understand our conservation goals and support our work

    Build a stronger web-based community that attracts and engages our members and non-members

    Update FNA website

    Re-design layout and content to deliver consistent image, branding and messages between website and social media

    Enhance website with resources and information that will engage our audience

    Continue to develop and deliver FNA newsletter on a bi-monthly basis

    Increase distribution of newsletter to public and on-line channels

    Print and maintain inventory of FNA newsletter at Wilson Hall, Education Center and other heavy traffic areas


  • Fundraising



    Diversify and expand funding base to improve financial stability

    Develop and execute fundraising campaign to meet conservation goals

    Maintain consistent fundraising programs on FNA website, Facebook and membership renewal solicitations

    Identify and solicit donors, corporations and foundations for funds to support conservation goals

    Identify donor/prospect database

    Create and maintain donor/prospect database

    Develop marketing plan by January

    Implement marketing plan by the end of the first quarter of the year

    Focus efforts on donor cultivation through consistent strategic communication

    Monitor results and report progress to FNA members

    Research and identify granting opportunities that support FNA initiatives

    Evaluate resources for grant application(s)

    Apply for grant(s) that support FNA goals

    Monitor application process and results

    Report results to FNA members


Who would have thought that a particle physics laboratory in suburban Chicago is also a place teeming with wildlife, high-quality aquatic habitats, rare orchids, and even nesting Osprey!


Fermilab Natural Areas was founded to provide support to a large variety of conservation and restoration projects at Fermilab.  Grant-funds, corporate and private donations as well as membership dues allow us to accomplish these goals.

Habitat Restoration

  • Oak Savanna Restoration

    Widely spaced oak trees make up a rare Midwestern ecosystem called the oak savanna.  These trees and the associated flora and fauna that live in or migrate through them are precious.  Fermilab has three distinct oak savannas and FNA is seeking funds to assist in their restoration and management.  Thanks go to The DuPage Community Foundation and the Weist Foundation for past support of this project.

  • Invasive Species Control

    Invasive plant species ruin the biological health and integrity of prairie grasslands, woodlands and wetlands.  FNA is helping to reverse that trend by providing funding and support to volunteers for invasive species control.  We are now watching woodlands once choked with invasive brush become lush, diverse places where many native species call home.  Thank you to the Boeing Employee Community Fund for previous support of this project.

  • Expanding the Prescribed Burning Program

    As we increase efforts to restore and manage many types of habitats, we must also provide supplemental support to Fermilab so these fire-dependent ecosystems can thrive well into the future.  FNA is seeking to build a better partnership with the various stakeholders involved in the Fermilab Prescribed Burning Program.

  • Arbor Day and Earth Day at Fermilab

    Fermilab Natural Areas partners each year with Fermilab to host Arbor Day and Earth Day events.  We all take pride in planting native trees and shrubs, and transplanting rare species into the various habitats found at Fermilab.

  • Annual Fall Prairie Seed Harvest

    This event has been a mainstay at Fermilab since 1975 in support of the tallgrass prairie restoration project started by Dr. Robert F. Betz.  FNA now co-hosts two prairie seed harvest events.  Well over 100 volunteers come to each event to help collect ripe seeds from uncommon native plants that Fermilab then spreads across the nearly 1,000 acres of recreated prairie.  Typically held the first weekend in October and November.  See the calendar for event details.


Robert F. Betz Internship

Dr. Robert F. Betz was a pioneer of tallgrass prairie conservation and restoration throughout the Chicago region and beyond.  He led one of the planet’s largest prairie restoration projects at Fermilab beginning in 1975.  Today, we honor his legacy by supporting young ecologists with an internship bearing his name.

Robert F. Betz

Supporting Ecological Research

A significant aspect of the FNA Strategic Plan is to provide research opportunities for all levels of ecology. We will offer small grants to college undergraduates, graduate students and ecological professionals who are pursuing an ecology research program that would benefit from study of the natural areas at Fermilab. These grants are competitive, requiring potential recipients to propose a project, which will be evaluated and possibly funded by the FNA Research Committee.


Fermilab Natural Areas provides conservation and preservation education on the biodiversity of local and regional flora and fauna (flowers and wildlife). Public programs are scheduled throughout the year and are listed on the Calendar page.  You may also check out our FNA newsletter to learn more about the fun, informative events. We hope you join us to help restore, maintain and preserve our Illinois landscapes.


Seasonal events include FNA Discovery Days programs: Hawk Talk, Winter Tree Identification, Spring Wildflower Hike, Earth Day Celebrations, Butterfly Walks, Fermilab Open House & Science Fair, Sunset on the Prairie and Fall Prairie Seed Harvests.



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Fermilab Natural Areas

P. O. Box 500, MS 444

Batavia, Illinois 60510