Blog

Explore the Great Outdoors with Loved Ones

There are many great things happening throughout the Forest Preserves of Cook County this February. With Valentine’s Day on the horizon, consider spending time with loved ones out in nature. With both adults-themed and family-friendly programming at many of our Nature Centers, as well as myriad educational programs and volunteer opportunities, there are numerous ways to enjoy the company of family and friends in honor of this special day.

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Explore Dan Ryan Woods and the Major Taylor Trail

Dan Ryan Woods, one of the Forest Preserves of Cook County’s most popular sites, is home to numerous amenities and attractions. This 257-acre preserve has long offered visitors a scenic location to gather with family and friends while being surround by nature. The site offers year-round recreational opportunities including playfields, a 1.5-mile paved loop trail, 16 picnic groves, a 120-guest pavilion, and a system of historic aqueducts at Dan Ryan Woods South.

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Harms Flatwoods Named Illinois Nature Preserve

Located in northeastern Cook County, Harms Flatwoods offers visitors a somewhat rare glimpse of this limited habitat type. Even rarer than the ecosystem is the exceptional quality of Harms Flatwoods, which has recently garnered this plot designation as an Illinois Nature Preserve.

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Become a Cook County Master Naturalist

Do you love learning about the natural areas, plants and animals of Cook County? Are you interested in educating family, friends and the general public about the many ecological wonders of Cook County? Do you enjoy performing nature-related volunteer work? If you’ve answered “yes” to these questions, consider becoming a Cook County Master Naturalist!

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Beverly Lake: A Cross-Country Skiing Hidden Gem

Located in the northwestern part of Cook County, visitors can find themselves trekking through oak woodlands, oak savannas, and pine plantations that were once part of re-forestation efforts while exploring Beverly Lake. And with recently updated ski signage and remarked trails, cross-country skiers can traverse nearly 2.5 miles of marked trails and more while experiencing this favorite winter pastime.

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Resolve to Explore the Natural Beauty of Cook County in 2017

The New Year is finally upon us, with the promise of new experiences and opportunities ahead. If you’ve long imagined exploring different parts of the Forest Preserves of Cook County, the New Year is the perfect reason to get outside and try something new.

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Book Your 2017 Camping Excursion in the Forest Preserves

If you’ve never been camping in Cook County, make 2017 the year you experience the Forest Preserves of Cook County’s five campgrounds. Beginning January 3, all dates for 2017 camping are open for reservations.

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New Program, Volunteer Opportunity: Bluegrass Jams

Nature has long inspired artists of all mediums, from watercolor painters and sculptors to photographers and musicians. The Forest Preserves of Cook County enables the public to experience the peacefulness of wind blowing through the trees, the explosion of natural colors as seasons change, and the chorus of sounds generated by local wildlife. This undeniable connection between nature and the arts is the basis for one of the Forest Preserves newest volunteer and programming opportunities: Makin’ Music Bluegrass Jam!

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2017 Permit Sales Begin Jan. 3

Online and in-person permit sales for 2017 will begin at 8 am on Tuesday, Jan. 3. Visitors can apply for permits in person at the Forest Preserves General Headquarters, located at 536 N. Harlem in River Forest. The entrance to the parking lot is one block west of Harlem, off of Bonnie Brae. Remember: You can save time by booking online at fpdcc.com/permits.

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Winter Best Time to Start Large-Scale Restoration Projects

While most people want to stay indoors wrapped up in cozy blankets and sipping hot chocolate during the cold winter months, the Forest Preserves of Cook County prefers to be outside beginning large-scale restoration projects.   According to Troy Showerman, resource project manager for the Forest Preserves, there are two main reasons winter is a great time to begin restoration projects.

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How Does Cook County Wildlife Prepare For, Handle Winter?

When people think of animals and winter, a common scenario comes to mind: a bear hunkering down and sleeping the colder days away, re-emerging in spring well-rested and ready for the new season. And while some of Cook County’s mammals do hibernate through winter, the Forest Preserves is home to an abundance of wildlife, including mammals, fish and herps, each of which prepare for and react to winter differently.

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Public Invited to Participate in 117-Year-Old Holiday Tradition

Between the hustle and bustle of year-end holiday traditions enjoyed with family and friends, consider trying a new way to celebrate this magical time of year – the 117th Audubon Christmas Bird Count! This more-than-a-century-old free event will be hosted between December 14 and January 5, and birders of all skill levels are invited to join in.

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Forest Preserve Foundation Heads into 2017 with Fresh Logo, Messaging

The Forest Preserve Foundation is closing 2016 on a high note. Over the past 12 months, it began to implement its first strategic plan while elevating its visibility and brand with a new logo and strong messaging campaign developed by a pro bono creative team at Leo Burnett.

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Winter is Coming

Throughout Chicagoland, residents are preparing for winter. Parents are making sure children have gloves and hats, municipalities are ensuring the salt trucks are ready and homeowners are pulling out their shovels.

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Agencies, Conservation Corps, Volunteers Partner to Restore FPCC’s Palos Region

The Palos region is the Forest Preserves of Cook County’s largest contiguous area, with more than 14,000 acres of land. Within its boundaries, visitors will see a diversity of habitats, including wetlands, woodlands and prairies; a variety of plants, and abundant wildlife. There are also a number of special points of interest within the Palos region, including the Swallow Cliff stairs, two Nature Centers, Camp Bullfrog Lake, Saganashkee Slough and more.   With so much land, effective management often begins with partnerships, both with other organizations and dedicated volunteers. Fortunately, the Palos region is benefiting from both.

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