Why is it important to support forest preserves?

David Stang's relationship with the DuPage County Forest Preserve District began as he used the trails at Fullersburg Woods for his outdoor fitness endeavors.

"It's an area I've used for years for walking, running, biking and so forth," he said.

After volunteering at a workday at Fullersburg in December 2021, Stang said he learned of the need for a volunteer site steward - someone to coordinate regular efforts to keep the area safe from invasive species.

"It was something I had experience with," said Stang, who did similar work for the Cook County Forest Preserve. It was then that his relationship with the DuPage County Forest Preserve of grew beyond a user of the properties to site steward and then to a board member of the Friends of the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County.

It wasn't long after taking on the role of site steward that Stang learned of the need for members on the Friends board, a role he began in February with two other new members of the volunteer group.

Stang described the Friends' efforts as "the icing on the cake" of efforts made to maintain and enhance the nearly 27,000 acres of land within the forest district's purview. Through fundraising efforts, the nonprofit organization works on projects such as the restoration of the Willowbrook Wildlife Rehabilitation Center in Glen Ellyn.

"It's been decades since it's been modernized," Stang said.

Other current projects supported by the Friends include restoration of the Mayslake Peabody Estate's exterior, habitat restoration within the county's preserves and green energy initiatives such as solar panels, some of which the Friends have already helped to fund.

Stang, who holds an accounting degree from Notre Dame University and a master's in business administration in finance from Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management, is founder and president of Stang Capital Advisory LLC. He'll use his skills, knowledge and experience to help raise and manage money for the Friends organization.

When Stang launched his own business seven years ago, it was with the intention to allow more time to volunteer. Then a resident of the east side of Hinsdale, his efforts began with the Cook County Forest Preserve District, through which he became a master naturalist and led guided tours through some of the district's preserves.

Now, as a new member of the Friends board, he's learning more about the 60 preserves throughout DuPage, including the district's 166 miles of trails, 30 lakes and seven education centers.

"I hope my participation with the Friends will allow me to further my efforts to both improve the natural resources of DuPage County and expose more people to the benefits and importance of nature," Stang stated in a news release announcing his appointment to the board.

He said his business background and his interest in the outdoors make him a good fit for the Friends' board and the work of the organization.

"We only have one environment," he said.

By being both a volunteer and a member of the Friends board, he's trying to do his part to keep that environment healthy and enjoyable for all.

- by Sandy Illian Bosch

Author Bio

Sandy Illian Bosch is a contributing writer to The Hinsdalean