West Ridge Nature Preserve, Park Advisory Council (PAC)

Chicago Park District


Tom and Gary Receive VIP Volunteer Award October 23rd

The Friends of the Park bestowed a distinct honor on two of our PAC volunteers. They are Tom Murphy, our Natural Area Site Steward and Environment Committee Co-chair, and Gary Morrissey, Education and Program Committee Chair. Gary also is a steward. Tom and Gary received their Volunteer in the Parks (VIP) award at a special ceremony on October 23.

Together, they serve as our preserve’s visionaries, planners, doers and recruiters. While fulfilling separate roles, they closely collaborate on environmental and educational endeavors. They also work diligently with the Chicago Park District on behalf of our preserve.

Tom Murphy

As the initiator of regular workdays, Tom manages and engages volunteers. Their ongoing labor includes clearing debris, removing invasive species, putting up protective fencing and making a new trail. He regular monitors the health of plantings and pond and has created educational posters on birds, flowers, trees and butterflies.

Gary Morrisey

Through creative programming, Gary has impacted more than 10,000 preserve visitors this year. After creating a “festival” style educational program for the preserve opening, he adapted it to a series of Family Nature Days. Other highlights include a nature play area, fishing clinics, story walks and customized field trips. His latest focus is on our Citizens Science Monitoring Program.