Third Annual Forest Preserves Photo Contest

It’s that time of year again! We’re looking for your very best photos of Forest Preserves landscapes, close-ups of plants, insects, birds and other wildlife, pictures that highlight the seasons and shots of people enjoying the outdoors or participating in our recreational offerings.   This year’s winning photos will be showcased in the 2015 Forest Preserves of Cook County Wall Calendar, on, on Forest Preserves social media accounts, in an exhibit displayed at the Cook County Building in downtown Chicago and in various suburban courthouses. Each winning photographer will also receive 10 copies of the calendar as well as a Forest Preserves prize package.

Read More

Creative Platforms Breed Osprey Success

Watching an osprey soar overhead is a breathtaking experience. These grand birds can reach up to two feet in length and display a six-foot wingspan—a striking sight when silhouetted against a bright blue sky. While once scarce in the region, spotting these birds in Cook County is no longer a rare experience thanks to some repurposed electric poles and a little engineering.   Even with such remarkable proportions, ospreys were still vulnerable to the widespread use of DDT that began in the 1940s. The toxic effects of DDT and other pesticides resulted in many ospreys producing nonviable or infertile eggs, leading to a significant decline in osprey populations during the following decades.

Read More

Enhancing Our Preserves for the Next 100 Years

If you’ve been out in the forest preserves lately, you may have encountered a sign that read: “Enhancing Our Preserves for the Next 100 Years.” As we celebrate our centennial, we are breaking ground on a number of projects throughout the preserves to help restore native ecosystems, enhance facilities and add exciting new possibilities.  

Read More

Powwow Celebrates the Native Culture Thriving in Cook County

Before you are close enough to see the dance or smell the food, you hear the drum. At every powwow, the steady beat of the drum creates the “Heartbeat of Mother Earth” for dancers and visitors alike. This year’s 61st Annual Chicago Powwow, held September 13 and 14 at Busse Woods, will be no different.   The American Indian Center (AIC) holds powwows from spring to fall each year, but their Annual Chicago Powwow is their largest, celebrating more than 150 tribes from across the U.S. and Canada. The event, which drew over 10,000 people last year, features dance exhibitions and competitions, an arts and crafts marketplace and one of your only chances to sample Native American food in Illinois.  

Read More

Preserves and Abandoned Pets an Unhealthy Mix

A pet store goldfish may not last long under the care of a young child, but it can often thrive in a local forest preserve pond. Goldfish are prolific reproducers and bottom feeders that can quickly disrupt an aquatic ecosystem.   Both state and county law prohibit residents from abandoning pets or releasing nuisance animals outside, but a variety of exotic species are still found in preserves each year. “A lot of people think they are setting these pets free to be in their natural environment. But the reality is, these animals don’t belong here,” said Forest Preserves fisheries biologist Steve Silic. “Animals purchased in pet stores typically are not native to this exact area, because it is illegal to sell wild, native animals in Illinois,” he explained.  

Read More
Visit two of the treasures of the Forest Preserves of Cook County