FPDCC Blog

Miami Woods Stewards Celebrate 40 Years of Nurturing Nature

With nearly 70,000 acres of public lands, managing diverse ecosystems comes with many challenges. A lot of resources are needed to successfully restore habitats, from money to actual people performing work. This is why volunteer stewardship is often a vital component to restoration efforts in the Forest Preserves of Cook County. In the case of Miami Woods, a 111-acre natural area consisting of prairie and woodland, the dedication of the public is the very reason for the efforts.

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Watch for Signs of Spring in the Forest Preserves of Cook County

Throughout the Forest Preserves of Cook County, visitors will begin seeing signs of spring. As the weather becomes warmer during daylight and remaining cold at night, maple trees will produce sap used to make maple syrup. Another sign of spring is the appearance of spring wildflowers. Visitors can watch for these beautiful flowers while walking on trails and visiting Nature Centers. Be sure to check out our events list at fpdcc.com/events for upcoming maple syrup and wildflower events and programming.

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Spend Time With Loved Ones Exploring the Forest Preserves of Cook County

Throughout the Forest Preserves of Cook County, residents and visitors have numerous opportunities to get outside and enjoy the season. Each of our Nature Centers offers fun and educational programming, and there are myriad hands-on and informative events and programs to learn about camping, try snowshoeing and more.

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February 2018 Volunteer Opportunities & Trainings

Show your love for the Forest Preserves of Cook County this February by volunteering at a stewardship workday. Volunteer work is fun and meaningful, and our nearly 70,000 acres provides numerous ways to get involved. Consider joining a workday to help restore the native habitats where plants and animals can thrive in the wild.

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Plant Profile: Red-osier Dogwood

Throughout the landscape, wintertime weather is often augmented by a color palette dominated by varying shades of brown and gray. And while many hikers enjoy viewing these winter landscapes with a light dusting of snow, others miss the lush greenery and vibrant colors typically seen throughout the forest preserves during spring and summer. For this reason, spotting red-osier dogwood (Cornus sericea) can be a real treat throughout the season. Red-osier dogwood most notably offers a welcome contrast to its surroundings because of the rich red color of the stems in winter.

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All About the Forest Preserves’ Wildlife Management Division

The Forest Preserves of Cook County boast nearly 70,000 acres of wild and wonderful, and are home to thousands of species of plants and animals. The diverse natural systems found throughout the forest preserves — including savannas, prairies, woodlands and wetlands — serve as biological field stations for important scientific research.

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Try Volunteering in Forest Preserves in 2018

With the New Year here, winter weather has also shown up, providing an abundance of exciting recreational opportunities in the Forest Preserves of Cook County. Throughout the County, visitors can enjoy snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, sledding, ice skating and more.

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FPCC General Superintendent Receives 2017 Excellence in Public Service Award

The Civic Federation and the Motorola Solutions Foundation awarded Forest Preserves of Cook County General Superintendent Arnold Randall with the 2017 Excellence in Public Service Award during the annual breakfast on Thursday, Dec. 7, 2017.

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Join a Nature-Themed Book Club

Is one of your New Year’s resolutions to read more? Are you passionate about nature? If you answered “yes” to either of these questions, consider joining Trailside Museum of Natural History and Chicago Audubon Society’s new nature-themed book club.

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January Volunteer Opportunities & Trainings

If giving back to the community is on your list of New Year’s resolutions, consider joining a restoration workday in the Forest Preserves of Cook County. There are opportunities all throughout the County, and are open to people of all experience levels. Please be sure to dress for the weather, including study footwear.

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#BirdThePreserves Big Month Results

This past October, the Forest Preserves of Cook County hosted a Bird the Preserves Big Month Birding Competition. Eighteen teams adopted a forest preserve for the month-long event, and collectively spotted nearly 170 bird species of the 283 species featured on the Forest Preserves’ birding checklist.

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December Volunteer Opportunities and Trainings

While some may think nature is self–sufficient, the truth is that ensuring our natural lands thrive takes work. A lot of work.   The Forest Preserves are fortunate to have dedicated stewards at sites throughout the county, each hosting numerous volunteer workdays during the year. If you’re looking for a fun and easy way to give back to nature, consider joining a workday:

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A Year in Review for the Forest Preserves of Cook County

Over the past year, the Forest Preserves of Cook County has been busy advancing its mission. From protecting the plants and animals that thrive in the wild, to offering ways for the public to create their own adventure in the Forest Preserves, there have been a number of significant contributions throughout the County. I’d like to share and reflect back on a couple of the Forest Preserves successes in 2017.

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A Note from the Forest Preserve Foundation

By Shelley Davis, Executive Director of Forest Preserve Foundation   Since its inception, the Forest Preserve Foundation has granted more than $980,000 to programs that support and enhance the Forest Preserves of Cook County. We help young people who work as paid interns in the Forest Preserves. We support restoration volunteers. And we fund programming for youth and families to have fun in nature.

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Chicago’s True Nature: The Forest Preserves of Cook County

Forest Preserves documentary now streaming online

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