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On March 23, Chicago Audubon will honor local conservation heroes at its biennial Awards Banquet and Program. The honorees are individuals who have dedicated themselves to help mend the earth and transform places, large and small, into safe havens for migratory birds and wildlife. They work in woodlands, meadows, wetlands and rivers both in Chicago and in the suburbs.

Evanstonians Jerry Herst and Julie Dorfman, stewards of Clark Street Beach Bird Sanctuary, will be honored as Protectors of the Enviroment (Avocation). They, along with many volunteers, turned the Clark Street Beach from a small remnant filled with non-native and invasive species into an impressive, well-designed, diverse habitat that attracts many migrant birds, large populations of butterflies and other insects.

Jerry Goldner, Chicago Audubon’s Photo Contest, Facebook group and page administrator, and Ted Jindrich and Alycia Kluenenberg, stewards of the Montrose Point Bird Sanctuary, will also be recognized.

The keynote speaker will be awardee Jerome McDonnell of WBEZ’s Worldview, who will talk about “How I Stopped Worrying and Learned to Love the Birds.”

Founded in 1971, the Chicago Audubon Society has a vision that all communities in our region understand, value and protect birds, other wildlife and habitat. Chicago Audubon Society connects people with birds and nature through educational programming, field trips, advocacy, stewardship and research.