Having grown up in and now residing in Naperville as an adult, Dr. Mimi Cowan has known of The Conservation Foundation for decades, but during her service to the Will County Board and as a Forest Preserve Commissioner she’s become very connected to our mission.


Mimi has extensive experience in the environmental and political realms, having recently worked as Chief of Staff for an Illinois State Senator, serving in the aforementioned elected official roles, and providing independent campaign consulting services to help organizations throughout the Chicago Metro area with campaign strategy, communications, budgeting, and event management. “I love that The Conservation Foundation is a regional organization,” says Mimi. “We work best when we work together! I’m hoping I can add to The Conservation Foundation’s connections in Will County, and with my experience in politics and communications I’d love to be involved in any referenda campaigns that arise.”


While life has circled back to where it began for Mimi and she is lending her time and expertise to causes close to her roots, she is a worldly soul! She holds a B.S. in Music and Communications from North Central College right here in Naperville, but her graduate work took her abroad where she earned a M.A. in Irish Studies at the National University of Ireland. She returned stateside to complete a PhD in American History at Boston College, and spent several years as a History Professor at Lake Forest College and back at her alma mater North Central College.


This regard for history and her love of nature combined draw Mimi particularly to the restored natural areas of our region. “Having served as a Forest Preserve Commissioner in Will County I’ve had an opportunity to learn first-hand how fortunate we are to have so many amazing natural spaces in Illinois,” Mimi reflected. “One of my favorites in Naperville is Springbrook Prairie. I love that we can go to a place that looks just like it did 200 years ago, right in the middle of Naperville.” Mimi is also very fond of her annual porch garden and loves picking tomatoes and other produce at our McDonald Farm.