Blog

Forest Preserve Foundation Serves Communities While Serving the Preserves

As a relatively new organization, the Forest Preserve Foundation began with a big goal: to increase opportunities for everyone in Cook County to enjoy the many benefits of spending time in the preserves. By working with a variety of partners and aligning their mission with the Forest Preserves of Cook County, the foundation worked toward achieving their goal in a major way this year.

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Forest Preserve Foundation Participates in #GivingTuesday

The Forest Preserve Foundation is participating in Giving Tuesday. The foundation strives to connect people with nature, protect and restore the treasured natural habitats of the Forest Preserves of Cook County, and enhance the outdoor experiences of all communities.   This year, Forest Preserve Foundation donors have helped more than 3,000 people feel closer to nature through programs such as Student Conservation Association's Chicago Conservation Leadership Corps Program and the Forest Preserves’ Camping Leadership Immersion Course. Throughout 2015, nearly $250,000 has been awarded to several different organizations.   Giving Tuesday is an opportunity to help increase the number of people who benefit from the Forest Preserve Foundation and the programs the organization supports. To learn more about the foundation or how to donate for Giving Tuesday, visit their website at forestpreservefoundation.org.

Shedd Aquarium Expands Partnership with FPCC

More than 3,500 plant and animal species, and 36 million people, call the many habitats of the Great Lakes region home. The habitats include lakes, rivers, wetlands, dunes, prairies and forests, some of which need help with restoration and conservation. Shedd Aquarium, a global leader in aquatic animal health and medicine, recognized that need and launched a program called Great Lakes Action Days (GLAD).

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Volunteerism Vital Component to FPCC Mission

By President Toni Preckwinkle   This month’s Forest Way newsletter tells the stories of two volunteer groups making significant contributions to the Forest Preserves of Cook County. Major organizations and companies invite their staff to provide service to the preserves, and individuals throughout our local communities devote their free time, skills and enthusiasm to preserving and restoring nature.

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Experience Camping During Winter

With the opening of several campgrounds throughout the Forest Preserves of Cook County this summer, many visitors and residents have been able to enjoy the great outdoors in a new way. Although fall will slowly fade into winter, residents and visitors can still enjoy camping at Camps Reinberg, Sullivan and Bullfrog. Camp Dan Beard in Northbrook will also be open to large groups only.

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A Lesson in Trout Fishing

With the start of the inland trout fishing season on Saturday, October 17, the Forest Preserves of Cook County and the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) stocked nearly 7,000 pounds of rainbow trout in several of the preserves’ lakes (check here for details and locations). Mike Feldman, Fisheries technician, and Steve Silic, Fisheries biologist, shared some information about trout fishing and how to prepare and enjoy your catch!

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Volunteers Contribute to Deer Grove Restoration Efforts

As the Forest Preserves of Cook County’s first land acquisition back in 1916, Deer Grove is significant for numerous reasons. To some, it marks a momentous step in the FPCC’s efforts to succeed in their mission of acquiring, restoring and managing lands for the purpose of protecting and preserving public open space. To Deer Grove West volunteers, the acquisition has enabled them to contribute countless hours and many years of dedicated service, adding value to the preserve.   This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Deer Grove West volunteer group, an organization whose goal is to restore the natural communities of Deer Grove West to pre-European settlement conditions, and to enable them to support the native plant and animal communities historically found at Deer Grove. The group has seen many accomplishments during their time, including restoring approximately 70 acres of land, growing as an organization, and having volunteers become more knowledgeable in the work they’re doing.

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Get Up Close and Personal with Trailside Museum

Have you ever pet a turtle? Ever wonder how a hawk’s food is prepared? These are just a couple things visitors will be able to learn and experience during Trailside Museum of Natural History’s An Evening at Trailside event on Friday, November 6.

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Camping Challenge: WGN Morning News Visits Camp Bullfrog Lake

Last week we invited the early crew at WGN Morning News out to Camp Bullfrog Lake for a five-round camping challenge. Erin McElroy and Demetrius Ivory took on Marcus Leshock and Lourdes Duarte in archery, tent pitching, campfire building, canoe racing and tetherball. And it didn’t always go so well…

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Save the Prairie Society Celebrates 40 Years at Wolf Road Prairie

On September 19, Save the Prairie Society (STPS) marked 40 years of stewardship at Wolf Road Prairie with a celebration attended by over 200 supporters and volunteers.  Attendees looked back on the many stories and accomplishments that come with building a community of committed volunteers for close to half a century.

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New Amenities are for (Watching) the Birds

Orland Grassland, its companion site Orland South and Burnham Prairie are three preserves boasting new amenities that make them excellent spots for fall bird watching. All three sites feature rich and diverse habitats that are ripe for spotting a multitude of migrating birds.

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New Stories, Old Favorites at 2015 Fall Festival

Donate non-perishable food items and get free pumpkin painting and hay rides!   Want to hear a story? Visit Fall Festival at River Trail Nature Center on October 18 and you are likely to hear that question more than once.

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Trail Watch Program Looking For Volunteers

Thousands of friendly greetings expressed. Hundreds of expert directions given. Dozens of critical phone calls made to Forest Preserves Police. These are just some of the ways that Trail Watch volunteers have helped create positive visits for the more than 70,000 hikers, bikers and horseback riders they’ve encountered so far in 2015.   At its core, the Trail Watch program is a group of volunteers that patrol the preserves and act as extra eyes and ears for the Forest Preserves Police, reporting suspicious or illegal activity with a phone call. But it’s also so much more than that—for both volunteers and preserve visitors.

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Welcoming Fall in the Preserves

Before we welcome a new season, I want to thank everyone who participated in our 100 Years / 100 Events Centennial Celebration which wrapped up at the end of September. Throughout the entire week, we estimated nearly 10,000 visitors enjoyed more than 100 events and activities.   I want to encourage those who came to continue visiting the preserves. Autumn is upon us and there is still plenty to do and see in the Forest Preserves. 

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FPCC Police Receive Proactive Training in Procedural Justice

Former Chicago Police Lieutenant Bruce Lipman says it all comes down to respect. The former Chicago Police Officer says respect goes both ways, “We took a job to help people and we have to remember that.” Lipman recently spoke to a group of Forest Preserves of Cook County (FPCC) Police Officers at their headquarters in Hinsdale.   The group session was offered as part of a $5,000 Federal Just Assistance Grant (JAG) issued to the FPCC in 2015. Other than the Chicago Police Department, the FPCC is the only other police agency in Illinois to have offered and delivered this cutting edge training to all of their officers.

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