TPL Honors John and Stephen Baird for Conservation Work

Chicago, IL., Nov 4, 2004: The Trust for Public Land will be hosting a special event on the evening of November 11th to honor two of its longtime supporters, John and Stephen Baird. The father and son team have contributed much of their life’s work and resources towards conservation in the Chicago Metropolitan region as well as nationally.

John Baird is on the Board of Baird & Warner, Inc., a 150-year-old Chicago real-estate firm that is the nation’s oldest independent real-estate company; his son Stephen is the firm’s president and chief executive officer.

“They are wonderful supporters of the full range of land conservation, and particularly urban lands: parks, playgrounds, community gardens and areas where children have the least access,” said Will Rogers, President of the Trust for Public Land. “They have shown deep commitment to this work through their long-term association with the Trust for Public Land and other local and national conservation organizations.”

John and Stephen believe that land conservation work not only enhances the communities in which their firm has offices, but also provides a wonderful legacy for generations to come. “Parks and gardens build strong communities,” says Stephen Baird, “and these are attractive in retaining businesses and residents.”

Since 1984, John has served on TPL’s National Board of Directors, where he has been a strong voice for urban parks throughout the nation. Stephen joined TPL’s Chicago Advisory Board in 2001. Together the Bairds have guided TPL in the creation of six Chicago parks, including the expansion of Ping Tom Memorial Park in Chinatown. For this park, TPL helped the Chicago Park District acquire five acres of abandoned railroad land to provide a spacious community park in a neighborhood that very much needed one.

In addition to their work with TPL, John and Stephen have served on the boards of a number of regional land conservation organizations, helping to save almost 14,000 acres of open space. Stephen is also an active member of the board of the Morton Arboretum.

Looking around them, the Bairds understand that TPL’s work in Chicago—and across the nation—is just beginning. “Unfortunately, many communities in Chicago still do not have sufficient parks,” says John Baird. “I believe it is our duty to help the city live up to its motto and ensure that all communities have places that nurture healthy families.”

The Trust for Public Land, established in 1972, specializes in conservation real estate, applying its expertise in negotiations, public finance, and law, to protect land for people to enjoy as parks, greenways, community gardens, urban playgrounds, and wilderness. In Chicago, TPL has protected ballparks in the West Lawn neighborhood, expanded Ping Tom Park and recycled a former brownfield as an addition to Senka Park. Nationwide, TPL has helped protect more than 1.6 million acres. The November 11th event will take place on Thursday, November 11, 2004, from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Plaza Club, 140 East Randolph, Chicago. Limited tickets are available for sale. To learn more about purchasing a ticket, please call Nancy Kaszak at 312-427-1979.