Latest News

Forest Preserve District Honors Area Science Fair Projects

May 2, 2012

 Fourteen local students awarded inaugural “Wild About Nature” award


CHICAGO – May 2, 2012 – More than a dozen students from area schools were recognized by the Forest Preserve District of Cook County today for science fair projects related to the Preserves as part of the first “Wild About Nature” Science Fair Award. Recipients received a certificate, letter of congratulations and recognition at a Forest Preserve District Board of Commissioner’s meeting on Wed., May 2, 2012.


The awards program honors students in grades six through 12 who completed outstanding projects that used research, monitoring, observation or data recorded on Forest Preserve District property; or were relevant to natural habitats and species found in the Forest Preserve District of Cook County.


Winners were selected from eligible entries at The Brookfield Zoo Science Fair; The Chicago Non-Public Schools Science Exposition; The Illinois Junior Academy of Science North Suburban Region 6 Science and Engineering Fair; The Illinois Junior Academy of Science South Suburban Region 9 Science and Engineering Fair; and The Chicago Public Schools Student Science Fair.


The 2012 “Wild About Nature” award recipients are:

  • Arriana Arroyo, St. Mary – Riverside School, Riverside – The Birds and the Bees…and the Butterflies
  • Theresa Mullen, St. Mary – Riverside School, Riverside – The Birds and the Bees…and the Butterflies
  • Anna Alvarez, St. Ferdinand School, Chicago – A Walk in the Park
  • Reena Patel, Niles North High School, Niles – The Effect of Solar Cell Positioning on the Amount of Voltage Generated
  • Ann Rajan, Plum Grove Junior High School, Rolling Meadows – Water Quality and Distance
  • Jordan Gregg, Quest Academy, Palatine – Griping about Grapes: Does Veggie Wash Remove Pesticides
  • Firdaus Boufath, Aqsa School, Bridgeview – To Salt or Not To Salt
  • Jason Paximadas, The Avery Coonley School, Downers Grove – Testing Water Quality with Daphnia
  • Daniel Fazio, Thayer J. Hill Middle School, Naperville – Slow Storm Water Pollution
  • Vanessa Gonzalez, Charles Allen Prosser Career Academy, Chicago – What pH do freshwater goldfish thrive in?
  • Natalie Bobrowska, Robert L. Grimes Elementary School, Chicago – Vibrant Solar Rays
  • Favio Saabedra, Adlai E. Stevenson Elementary School, Chicago – Does Color Affect Plant Growth?
  • Grace Law, Ray School, Chicago – Sight/Smell-Which Do Fruit Flies Use Most?
  • Kayla McAfee, University of Chicago Charter School, Chicago – The Effects of Vinegar on Fruit Flies


“By offering this award, we hope to inspire the next generation of people committed to understanding the intersection of science and nature by connecting students to relevant scientific research and inquiry-based activities that take place in the Preserves every day,” said Forest Preserve District President Toni Preckwinkle. “We commend this year’s winners and hope even more students are encouraged to take advantage of the incredible outdoor living classrooms available in our community.”


The Forest Preserve District manages lands for the purpose of protecting and preserving natural areas and open space. District field researchers and educators study diverse habitats and wildlife found throughout the Preserves by conducting extensive research.


In addition to conducting its own field work and research, notable work taking place on District lands is conducted by professional researchers and monitors, volunteers and student organizations. All studies aim to advance research, monitoring, and habitat restoration in our region’s natural areas.




Established in 1914, the Forest Preserve District of Cook County is the oldest and largest forest preserve system in the nation, maintaining more than 68,000 acres of open land for the education, pleasure and recreation of the public. The District strives to protect and restore the county’s diverse ecosystems, so all our unique native plants and animals can live and thrive. Each year, more than 40 million people use these lands and facilities to enjoy or study nature, bicycle, hike, fish, cross-country ski, picnic, golf, canoe, or simply relax in a large preserve that leaves urban life behind. For more information on the Forest Preserve District of Cook County, visit


# # #

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