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!

Celebrate the Solstice

In celebration of the upcoming winter solstice, the Forest Preserves is hosting three separate events centered around the year’s shortest day. The winter solstice, officially December 21 this year, has for millennia been a significant part of culture throughout the world. And away from the fire, out in the cold and darkness of the wild, coyotes have always hunted for voles under the snow while snakes, turtles, woodchucks and bees take an extended rest.  

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Get Your 2015 Wall Calendar

Our 2015 Wall Calendar is better than ever and will soon be available. This great stocking stuffer will inspire you all year long to explore our woods and prairies.

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Winter Workdays by the River

Beat cabin fever by becoming a Centennial Volunteer   This winter, join an inspiring movement of Centennial Volunteers helping to restore five special sites along the Chicago and Calumet Rivers. As a Centennial Volunteer, you’ll learn what it takes to restore diverse wildlife to our preserves and river systems. Volunteer days often include removing invasive plants, collecting native seeds, monitoring wildlife and more.

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Our New Conservation and Policy Council

by Forest Preserves President Toni Preckwinkle   At our November board meeting, I was pleased to appoint the inaugural members of the Forest Preserves’ new Conservation and Policy Council.   These ten distinguished men and women, from a variety of backgrounds, are all leaders in their respective fields. They will change the way this agency operates in some important respects, including increasing continuity from one administration to the next and ensuring that we remain true to our conservation mission, regardless of who is at the helm.

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Did You Know?

LaBagh Woods is named after Ella LaBagh, a "long-time resident of Chicago, a prominent member of the Irving Park Woman's Club and a stalwart worker in the movement to establish the Forest Preserve District of Cook County," according to the Forest Preserves archives.   Located north of Foster Avenue and east of Cicero Avenue in northwest Chicago, the site was formerly called Snell's Woods, after the owner of the land when the Forest Preserve District purchased it in 1920.

Young Philanthropists for the Woods

Two friends use creativity to raise funds for their favorite preserve   Inspired by many hours spent at Thatcher Woods with their families, Maeve Mascarenhas of Forest Park and Carl Faust of River Forest, both 11, have chosen this River Forest site for their annual "Giving Project."   The two friends have been selling hand-made projects for the past five years to benefit animals and the environment. This year, they have produced postcards featuring their own nature photographs to raise money for the Forest Preserve Foundation. The funds will be directed toward the purchase of restoration equipment to be used by site stewards and Conservation Corps workers.   Anyone inspired by these caring young individuals may purchase their artwork by contacting or match their efforts with a gift to the Forest Preserve Foundation.

Happy Canoe Year!

Event Cancelled Happy Canoe Year has been cancelled due to ice and dangerous temperatures. Please join us for our Canoe Season Kickoff (and make-up event) on March 21. Same route, warmer weather. Details coming soon. Ring in the New Year with a paddling trip down the North Branch of the Chicago River  

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The Preserves Go Underground

Prairies and herons take over pedway beneath Daley Plaza

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Two More Des Plaines Dams Removed

Only three to go before Upper Des Plaines River flows free   With each passing year, the Des Plaines River flows more freely.

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Five Things You (Probably) Didn’t Know About Prescribed Burns

Each spring and fall Resource Management crews prepare to maintain diverse habitats throughout the forest preserves with one of the most effective tools available—fire. (Burn season officially started this past weekend, with crews out at several locations across the county.)   Understanding how fire behaves and its ecological role in our natural landscape is critical to a successful burn season. Here are five things you may not know about prescribed burns:

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Trailside Museum Reopens

Closed over the summer, the River Forest landmark has a new parking lot, exhibits, amenities

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