Mission: To support the Forest Preserve’s mission by connecting people to nature through educational and outdoor recreation activities through collaborative efforts.
The Department of Conservation and Experiential Programming (CEP) is comprised of the following functional areas:
- Outdoor Recreation
- Special Events
- Community Outreach and Engagement
CEP’s primary goal for 2014 is to ensure that all public programming—education, outdoor recreation and special events—attract participation from residents throughout Cook County. Our programs will include an educational component to develop an awareness of the wonders of nature and the need to preserve, restore and conserve our beautiful preserves.
Six nature centers introduce visitors to the beauty and complexity of our natural environment. Each center offers displays focused on the plants, animals, and communities of the region, and most have live animal exhibits. Programs for children, families and the general public are presented throughout the year, including seasonal special events.
Youth Outdoor Ambassador (YOA) Program
The Youth Outdoor Ambassador Program is a new offering at the Forest Preserves of Cook County (FPCC) that strives to address how teens and other young people become the next generation of advocates, stewards and conservationists of the environment and of the Preserves’ important natural areas. Six local Ambassadors are surveying their peers and FPCC staffs to identify how young people can become inspired to become lifelong advocates for nature. The Ambassadors will also assist with other special projects and activities that further the mission of the Forest Preserves of Cook County.
Citizen Scientists in Action!
The Citizen Scientist in Action! program educates youth on the importance of environmental stewardship and introduces them to potential careers in science through participation in plant monitoring programs. The program is designed to accommodate youth ages 13 to 18, allowing the Forest Preserves to serve a wide number of community agencies and schools. Students learn skills needed to conduct on-the-ground field research and gain insight into important ecological concepts.
It’s Cooler in the Forest
A special field trip opportunity offers fun and engaging outdoor adventure experiences and valuable education opportunities at three of the Forest Preserves grove sites and Nature Centers for day camp groups during the summer. All campers and group members will participate in outdoor adventure activities such as shelter building, archery, scavenger hunts and teambuilding games.Campers will also explore our Nature Centers’ educational displays, hike through wooded landscapes near rivers and lakes and learn about coyotes, hawks, snakes and other forest inhabitants in the live animal exhibits.