CITGO Lemont Refinery has been funding semiannual projects and working alongside local volunteers in the Heritage Quarries Recreation Area since 2014.
Through the CITGO Caring for Our Coast initiative, a program designed to boost ecological conservation, restoration and education, The Conservation Foundation (TCF) has been awarded a grant to continue its restoration work in the Heritage Quarries Recreation Area (HQRA) in Lemont.
In partnership with TCF and the Village of Lemont, the CITGO Lemont Refinery has been funding semiannual projects and working alongside local volunteers in the HQRA since the fall of 2014, removing invasive plant species and brush, and harvesting native species’ seeds for replanting.
Located half a mile east of downtown Lemont, the HQRA is situated among thousands of acres of forest preserves, which includes more than 65 miles of hiking and biking trails, as well as access to fishing and boating along the I & M Canal and the Consumers, Great Lakes and Icebox Quarries.
According to Scott LaMorte, senior advancement officer at TCF, the transformation of the HQRA, in just four years, has been remarkable.
“During a community workday last year, my group was assigned to clear a section near the picnic grove. After cutting out some of the weedy shrubs, we uncovered a pond that hadn’t been seen in decades! The ‘before’ and ‘after’ photos are just incredible,” said LaMorte.
Dennis Willig, Vice President and General Manager of the CITGO Lemont Refinery, describes the HQRA project as neighbors-serving-neighbors.
“We are proud to partner with the local community, because not only are natural resources being preserved, but residents will be able to enjoy the benefits of this outdoor recreational space for years to come,” said Willig.