The Forest Preserve Friends Foundation is a not-for-profit corporation organized for charitable and educational purposes. The Foundation supports the facilities, programs, services, goals and mission of the Champaign County Forest Preserve District. In turn, it generates grant support and collaborative relationships with other agenices.

Your contributions to the Foundation support the projects and activities at the Champaign County Forest Preserve District. Whether helping to acquire land, maintain natural and recreational areas, provide educational experiences, or preserve the County's natural and cultural resources, your gift will touch the lives of generations to come.

2017 Initiatives

Mabery Gelvin Botanical Garden 


For more than four decades, the beloved Mabery Gelvin Botanical Garden pond and waterfall at the Lake of the Woods Forest Preserve has been the center of family gatherings, big events, childhood explorations, and a romantic location to exchange vows. The pond and waterfall that created so many fond memories now need your attention. Donate now to help restore the area so that it can be enjoyed by generations to come. Plans include major renovations to rebuild the pond and waterfall, improving the habitat for fish and other aquatic wildlife, and making the site more accessible for persons with limited mobility, all while paying homage to the original design borrowed from a concept at the Chicago Botanic Garden.

Kickapoo Rail Trail


The first phase of the Kickapoo Rail Trail is now under construction. Work on the trail began in the spring of 2016. By July 2017, the 6.7 mile Urbana to St. Joseph trail segment is expected to open to the public for hiking, biking, and other non-motorized uses.

Your donations to the Kickapoo Rail Trail moved this project from vision to reality. More than two decades have passed since Heartland Pathways and the Champaign County Design and Conservation (CCDC) Foundation proposed a plan to convert the retired rail corridor to a hiking trail. Since that time, hundreds of dedicated individuals gave of their time, money, and expertise to make it happen.  

With Phase One nearing completion, the Forest Preserve Friends Foundation now turns its sights to the next phase, which will take the trail from St. Joseph eastward to the Vermilion County line. Two federal grants are in place for Phase Two, but a total of $75,000 in local match funding is needed.

Donations of any size are welcomed, and naming opportunities for major donations are still available. Contact (217) 586-3360 to inquire about naming opportunities. DONATE TODAY

To keep up to date on trail construction via email blasts, text "KRT Updates" to

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Click here for a printable form (133kb pdf)

By Phone

(217) 586-3360

Board Members

  • Meredith Mills, Treasurer
  • Bob Espeseth, Secretary
  • Joe Lamb, Vice President
  • Dan Noel, President
  • Tom Berns
  • Rod Beyers
  • Roger Laramee
  • Sarah Livesay
  • Terry Rathgeber
  • Will Timmons
  • Mary Ellen Wuellner, Interim Executive Director CCFPD