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North Branch Trail Extension Completed

Woodland path links two major trail systems   On September 13, the Forest Preserves and Chicago Botanic Garden officially opened a new mile-long extension of the northern end of the North Branch Trail. The new path connects two major bike routes, the North Branch Trail and the Green Bay Trail.  

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Winter Fish Kills Take Toll

Tuma Lake opening delayed indefinitely   It’s hidden below the surface, but proof of last winter’s bitter weather is still on display in a handful of Forest Preserve lakes and ponds.

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Millennium Reserve Guide Now Available

Explore southeast Cook County and beyond   For those who aren’t from there, the Calumet region can be a bit of a mystery—a blur of industry, neighborhoods, wetlands and dunes viewed from the expressway. Now an exciting new guidebook, Explore the Millennium Reserve and Greater Calumet: A Natural and Cultural Guide to the Region from Bronzeville to the Indiana Dunes, provides new portals into this intriguing place.  

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Volunteer Spotlight: Seed Collecting

Every autumn, many native plants express their diversity through seed. Little bluestem seeds are bright white, and light as feathers. The seeds of Kalm’s brome hang from the stem, full and graceful. Rose hips are bright red and hard as stones.   And each autumn, many of these seeds find themselves the target of calmly obsessed volunteers, who collect them to aid habitat restoration efforts.  

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Centennial History Series: Aldo Leopold and the Forest Preserves

On the short list of great environmental thinkers, Aldo Leopold is near the top, next to John Muir and Henry David Thoreau. Leopold’s famous collection of essays, A Sand County Almanac, is heralded today as one of the seminal texts of twentieth century conservation. Less well known is that Leopold formed personal and professional relationships with Cook County forest preserve staff during the last decade of his life and had a direct influence on the structure and philosophy of the Forest Preserve District. Leopold passed away in 1948 and A Sand County Almanac was published posthumously in 1949.  

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