Awards Point to Progress

by Forest Preserves President Toni Preckwinkle   Over the past several years, the Forest Preserves has received a number of awards for high-quality work across its departments. Three recent awards point toward a promising trend, and are particularly worth talking about.

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Sign up for the Nature Express This Fall

As part of the ongoing effort to connect more people to their preserves, the Forest Preserves’ are once again offering the free “Nature Express” shuttle service from Forest Preserve headquarters in River Forest (536 N. Harlem Ave.) to some of this season’s most popular events in the preserves. Space on the bus is free, but must be reserved in advance. Forest Preserve headquarters are easily accessible by the Green Line, CTA Harlem Bus #90 or PACE Bus #307 or #305. The Nature Express is funded by the Forest Preserve Foundation.

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Third Annual Forest Preserves Photo Contest

Voting is open October 1 - 15! Click here to vote for finalists on our Facebook Page. To vote, simply "like" the photos you'd like to see in our 2015 Calendar. You can vote for as many (or as few) photos as you want. Voting closes October 15 at midnight.   It’s that time of year again! We’re looking for your very best photos of Forest Preserves landscapes, close-ups of plants, insects, birds and other wildlife, pictures that highlight the seasons and shots of people enjoying the outdoors or participating in our recreational offerings.   This year’s winning photos will be showcased in the 2015 Forest Preserves of Cook County Wall Calendar, on, on Forest Preserves social media accounts, in an exhibit displayed at the Cook County Building in downtown Chicago and in various suburban courthouses. Each winning photographer will also receive 10 copies of the calendar as well as a Forest Preserves prize package.

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Creative Platforms Breed Osprey Success

Watching an osprey soar overhead is a breathtaking experience. These grand birds can reach up to two feet in length and display a six-foot wingspan—a striking sight when silhouetted against a bright blue sky. While once scarce in the region, spotting these birds in Cook County is no longer a rare experience thanks to some repurposed electric poles and a little engineering.   Even with such remarkable proportions, ospreys were still vulnerable to the widespread use of DDT that began in the 1940s. The toxic effects of DDT and other pesticides resulted in many ospreys producing nonviable or infertile eggs, leading to a significant decline in osprey populations during the following decades.

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Enhancing Our Preserves for the Next 100 Years

If you’ve been out in the forest preserves lately, you may have encountered a sign that read: “Enhancing Our Preserves for the Next 100 Years.” As we celebrate our centennial, we are breaking ground on a number of projects throughout the preserves to help restore native ecosystems, enhance facilities and add exciting new possibilities.  

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