Last week, the Biden administration released its America The Beautiful Report.

In our community, the woodlands, prairies and streams, and all outdoor spaces are more than the backdrop of daily life—they bring us solace and inspire our joy. Like most of you, I have had the fortune to live in this corner of the world and have dedicated my work to helping make sure that our children and grandchildren can walk these same trails, breathe the same fresh air and have clean drinking water.

Conserving and restoring natural areas is an effective strategy to buffer against the worst impacts of climate change. Rockford depends on natural systems that provide our food, clean air, fresh drinking water, and are the source of our well-being and economic security. Additionally, the costs and impacts of the loss of nature and its benefits have fallen disproportionately on low-income communities and communities of color.

That is why I enthusiastically applaud the Biden Administration’s efforts to conserve 30 percent of U.S. lands, waters, and oceans by 2030—an effort called ‘30×30’.

This ambitious and inclusive vision for conservation is an opportunity to accelerate locally-driven conservation efforts in your community. More public open space would provide close-to-home opportunities to get into nature, improve access to outdoor spaces, and help bring life back to our remaining natural areas.

Please join me in applauding the Biden Administration’s efforts to ensure that nature’s benefits are accessible to everyone in your community.

Kerry Leigh, Executive Director

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