Growing up on a farm, Ed learned the importance of nature and sustainability. When he became President of the Swansea Rotary, he knew he wanted to continue those ideals by naturalizing an area of the Clinton Hills Conservation Park into a place for butterflies, and by serendipity, they joined forces with HeartLands Conservancy and the Exploration Garden. Just one look at the park today and anyone can tell the Garden is a success, but we have much more to do. “We were able to get involved and stay involved. It’s been a terrific partnership,” said Ed.

Sustaining nature makes Ed and his friends – ranging from golfers to hunters – happy. “Perhaps naturalists?” ponders Ed. “They might not call themselves that, but they are very much about sustaining nature. It’s kind of a byproduct of wanting their kids and grandkids to be able to enjoy the same things they did. So if there aren’t butterflies, if there aren’t bees, if there aren’t plants that take care of them, that isn’t going to work.”

When I hear that phrase, I think of our HLC supporters. They really live that phrase!

Along with Ed, Cynthia is another example of a happy HLC’er. “I very much need to be outdoors, and I think everybody does to restore their connection with nature. HeartLands gives people who are more introverted like me the opportunity to contribute in a significant way.”

Someone once asked Cynthia, “What do you value most?” It didn’t take her long to reply, “Natural resources. The environment. That refreshes me and replenishes me.”

Donors like you are helping to promote happiness in the southwestern Illinois region.

“It’s the altruistic part that I very much enjoy volunteering and for me there’s no other issue that’s more important to be working on that.” –Cynthia.

Donors like you make outdoor programs available for nature-minded people to enjoy.

HeartLands Conservancy offers a variety of ways to find your happiness in nature. From nature hikes to volunteering, paddle treks to pulling invasive weeds and all in between – what makes you happy?

Take it from Ed, “Just go out there and experience nature for yourself, and then show up and help out and you’ll get addicted pretty quickly.”

With your donation today, more people can be exposed to the delights of nature and experience happiness in many ways through programs offered by HLC.

We love hearing stories of HLC’ers enjoying nature. Tell us yours! Young and old, introverted and extroverted, people who can identify a bare tree to people that love trees just as they are – we welcome all. Donate today and keep the happiness going!

I thank you for your commitment to HeartLands Conservancy.  Find some happiness with HLC!