Blog

Try This: Phenology

Since the dawn of time, people have been keeping track of natural phenomena. They looked for signs of when to plant crops, when large food animals would migrate and when trees would bear fruit.   This was some of the earliest phenology, or the study of the timing of biological phenomena in nature (not to be confused with phrenology, the discredited 18th- and 19th-century practice of studying the shape of people’s heads).   Today, people practice phenology in both casual and serious ways. Those eager for the arrival of spring, may keep an eye out for the first robin or singing cardinal. Naturalists record the first blooms of spring wildflowers and the first migrating waterfowl to land on open water.

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Finding Nature in Early Childhood

by Forest Preserves President Toni Preckwinkle   I have many fond memories of hiking through the woods and paddling on lakes with my family as a young child growing up in Minnesota. Research shows that positive experiences such as these are essential to creating a love of nature later in life, and a dedication to protecting and sharing it with others.   The Forest Preserves of Cook County provide a place for children and families to explore nature, where they can feel welcome and safe. We’ve long been a leader in environmental education through our innovative nature centers.

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New Skier Learns Lessons the Hard Way at Sagawau

  We sent one of our staff members out to the groomed trails of Sagawau Environmental Learning Center in Lemont to try cross-county skiing for the first time… it wasn’t pretty, but it was fun!

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Green Since 1915—And Going Greener

The Forest Preserves of Cook County has always had sustainability at the core of its mission, but for our centennial we’re taking a fresh look.

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Did You Know? Some Trees Hold Their Dead Leaves Through Winter

Each autumn, the leaves of trees throughout the Forest Preserves transition from shades of green to a tapestry of bold oranges, reds and yellows. But as quickly as the leaves change color, they tumble to the ground, creating a landscape of bare trees.

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Our 100th Anniversary Board Meeting

by Forest Preserves President Toni Preckwinkle   February is here and with it comes the snow I hope many of you have been waiting for. Though we in Cook County often endure some tough winters, we are so lucky to be able to escape into the Forest Preserves to peacefully enjoy the season’s beauty or be adventuresome by trying out ice fishing or sledding at one of our many hills. We also offer cross-country skiing at Sagawau Environmental Learning Center in Lemont.

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Behind FPD 365

One woman’s bid to take a forest preserve photo every day in 2014.   Readers of the Forest Way may have noticed the colorful images of nature gracing the sidebar of this e-newsletter since last January. Ranging from bird close-ups to landscapes, they are the fruits of FPD 365, one woman’s bid to take a photo of the Forest Preserves of Cook County every day in 2014.

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Dam #1 Woods Habitat Restoration

Major project to expand meadow openings will continue through winter.   In December, the Forest Preserves started a new phase of work to restore 259 acres of forest preserve land near northwest suburban Wheeling.

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A Big 2015 for the Preserves

by Forest Preserves President Toni Preckwinkle   As the year comes to a close, I’d like to thank everyone who supported the Forest Preserves in 2014. Whether you sweated to remove buckthorn from your favorite preserve, purchased a picnic permit, commented at an open house or joined a naturalist on a birding hike, we’re grateful to you for your participation.

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Bluff Spring Fen Goes Platinum

Chicago Wilderness gives top award for ecological restoration.   On December 11, the Chicago Wilderness alliance recognized the work of the Forest Preserves of Cook County and its conservation partners by giving Bluff Spring Fen Nature Preserve, in Elgin, its Excellence in Ecological Restoration Platinum accreditation, the highest achievement recognized by the alliance.

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Try This: Photo Meet-Ups

Get off the couch and into the wilderness! Join us for the next Photo Meet-Up on Saturday, January 24, at Crabtree Nature Center in Barrington Hills. Join fellow photographers of all skill levels on a nature tour guided by one of our naturalists. Take your best shot at capturing some of the preserves’ most scenic vistas! All cameras are suitable, from professional SLRs to smartphones. Our monthly Photo Meet-Ups offer something for everyone.

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Did You Know? The Forest Preserves purchased almost a fifth of its holdings in its first two years of acquisition

By August 1918, only two years after the Forest Preserves began purchasing land, it had acquired 12,575 acres, more than 18 percent of its current holdings.

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INFOGRAPHIC: Winter’s Here!

Enjoy the preserves all season long, no matter what winter throws our way   As forecasters predict another polar vortex this winter (or not), we thought it was a fitting time to look at what it really took to keep the preserves open and safe during last year's record-setting winter.

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Opening Day For 2015 Picnic Permits is January 2

Be first in line by going online   Avoid the lines at our General Headquarters this year by reserving your favorite picnic grove online—from the comfort of your own home.   Online and in-person sales start at 8 am on Friday, January 2. The doors at our General Headquarters, 536 N. Harlem Ave., River Forest, IL 60305, will open at 7 am.  We look forward to serving you!   PRO TIP: Create your online account now (if you don’t already have one) to be ready to reserve your favorite picnic grove on Opening Day!

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