Winnebago County Education Center Gets A Monetary Boost

The Friends of Winnebago County Conservation Board announce that 3M and the Kinney-Lindstrom Foundation have pledged support toward the construction of the Winnebago County Environmental Education Center. The Foundation received an $27,000 Eco-Grant from 3M and a $25,000 grant from the Kinney-Lindstrom Foundation.

“We are grateful that both of these organizations believe in our mission,” said Bradley Huntington, Friends of Winnebago County Conservation board chair. “These grants provide significant momentum to our fundraising efforts.”

The proposed site for the education center is near the intersections of Highways 9 and 69, about two miles north of Leland. The 7,860 square-feet center will serve as a community focal point for educational programming as well as be a tourist destination. The new center will feature multiple spaces for programming, a variety of exhibits and a wrap-around observation porch to relax and take in the sights and sounds of nature. The center will be available for family reunions, meetings and community gatherings. The goal is to break ground in the spring of 2019 and open the center in the spring of 2020. Friends of the Winnebago County Conservation, a non-profit organization, has launched a capital campaign to raise $800,000 of $1.2 million needed via grants and private donations.

“3M was impressed by the environmental education work already done and believes that the new location provides an opportunity for significant growth in programming,” said Megan Welch, human resources supervisor for the 3M Distribution Center in Forest City. “3M has a long history of investing in initiatives that make our communities better to work and live in. This center is sure to do that and 3M is proud to support it” Welch concluded.

“The Kinney-Lindstrom Foundation has supported a number of Winnebago County environmental education projects over the years. This is the largest gift we have received and we are incredibly grateful for their pledge toward the education center,” said Robert Schwartz, county conservation board executive director.

Information about the new center and how the public can help support the fundraising efforts was mailed to all county residents last month. “The community response to the new center has been so positive and we appreciate the generous support,” concluded Huntington.