top of page

Nell's Woodland

Ottawa, IL

We are fortunate to be involved in this very special project working from the beginning in partnership with The Nell’s Foundation to develop the Vision and Mission of the project are. 

The Mission of the Nell’s Woodland Foundation is to provide programs that support stewardship and personal growth in the areas of Ecology, Wellness, and the Arts. Using our 60-acre oak woodland preserve as an essential platform for our work, The Nell’s Foundation will offer programmatic gathering spaces, a diverse range of self-directed recreational and social activities, and opportunities to forge new ideas, relationships, and partnerships. The Architecture is intended to respond to connection between people and nature by giving flight and transparency to the structures while embracing the soft forms nature offers. As the masterplan is realized there is clear intent to make a connection between the facilities and woodland building upon the founding pricipals and strong connection between Ecology and Wellness.  

Spheres of Stewardship
The Foundation takes pride in being a steward of our inspiring 60 -acre nature preserve while providing the opportunity for our community to experience the peace and enchantment of the landscape. Our connectedness to nature is accomplished through our three spheres of stewardship: Ecology, Health & Wellness, and the Arts. 
Ecology Stewardship
The Foundation’s passion for ecology is rooted in our belief that appreciation, respect, and understanding of the elements that surround us will enhance the lands as well as our bodies and souls. It’s with this belief that we want to connect our community to the Woodlands through education, observation and engagement. 

At the Woodlands we:
•    Encourage our guests to discover the wonders of the natural world through experiential and educational activities.  Whether this is a serene walk through the grounds or a class with one of our experts, experiencing and learning about the natural elements is the goal.
•    Focus on the restoration and awakening of the biodiversity of the preserve ecosystem. The LaSalle County landscape was originally home to a myriad of indigenous wildlife and it is the Foundation’s honor to help restore and cultivate the ecosystem that is native to the area.
•    Collaborate with a coalition of interdisciplinary individuals, organizations, and community members to assist in the ongoing protection and preservation of the wildlife and ecology in our community. Our network of passionate experts and community aficionados is what helps drive our continual growth and improvement.

Health & Wellness Stewardship
We believe that connecting with nature is beneficial for the well-being of both humans and the natural world. It’s been shown to lower stress, blood pressure and heart rate, while encouraging physical activity and buoying mood and mental health. Some research even suggests that green space is associated with a lower risk of developing psychiatric disorders — all findings that doctors are increasingly taking seriously and relaying to their patients. A study published in the International Journal of Environmental Health Research adds to the evidence and shows just how little time it takes to get the benefits of being outside. Spending just 20 minutes in a park — even if you don’t exercise while you’re there — is enough to improve well-being, according to the research. Personal wellness education better positions people of all ages to develop and achieve their goals, develop healthy lifestyle habits, make healthy and informed decisions, and contributes to overall happiness. 

Its with this belief that the Foundation is committed to comprehensive health education that promotes healthy habits and healthy relationships. We plan to offer this through classes, seminars, and local resources.

Arts Stewardship
Art at the Woodlands encourages a strong reciprocal relationship between people and the landscape as expressed through their artform of choice whether it be in the Fine Arts or Performing Arts arena. Nature has the capacity to inspire, promote curiosity, and generate creative ways of thinking and its our belief that the Woodlands will be an exceptional place of inspiration for our artists. 

We will convene artists across a myriad of disciplines, helping our guests and participants explore subjects through an inquiry-based collaborative approach. 
Our Commitment to Sustainability

The Nell’s Woodland Foundation’s Commitment to


Sustainability unites the efforts of our team and stakeholders to support, enlighten, and encourage practices at the Woodlands and in our community that sustains, preserves, regenerates, and protects our natural resources and the environment. Ongoing operational efforts will employ Sustainability as a priority.

Our work is in progress. We are working with diligence to be ready for a  2022 opening and will be providing updates on our developments.

bottom of page