Toni Preckwinkle

Uncovering Cook County’s Past in the Preserves

By President Toni Preckwinkle   Summer is always a popular season at the Forest Preserves of Cook County. Our 300 miles of trails, free activities, six nature centers, three aquatic centers and new campgrounds offer something for everyone who wants to enjoy the outdoors. But this summer is also a time where we’ve literally rolled up our sleeves. Teams of archaeologists have been working across the county in search of clues to our cultural past.

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Why We Camp

This summer, as we head into the final stretch of our centennial celebration, we’re extremely proud to reintroduce camping to Cook County residents and visitors for the first time in more than half a century.   The first site to open, Camp Shabbona Woods in South Holland, will welcome campers beginning Memorial Day Weekend, Friday May 22, 2015. Additional sites in Willow Springs, Northbrook, Oak Forest and Palatine will open throughout the summer, offering tent campsites, RV campsites, small and large cabins for families, groups and couples of all ages and interests.

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Finding Nature in Early Childhood

by Forest Preserves President Toni Preckwinkle   I have many fond memories of hiking through the woods and paddling on lakes with my family as a young child growing up in Minnesota. Research shows that positive experiences such as these are essential to creating a love of nature later in life, and a dedication to protecting and sharing it with others.   The Forest Preserves of Cook County provide a place for children and families to explore nature, where they can feel welcome and safe. We’ve long been a leader in environmental education through our innovative nature centers.

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Our 100th Anniversary Board Meeting

by Forest Preserves President Toni Preckwinkle   February is here and with it comes the snow I hope many of you have been waiting for. Though we in Cook County often endure some tough winters, we are so lucky to be able to escape into the Forest Preserves to peacefully enjoy the season’s beauty or be adventuresome by trying out ice fishing or sledding at one of our many hills. We also offer cross-country skiing at Sagawau Environmental Learning Center in Lemont.

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A Big 2015 for the Preserves

by Forest Preserves President Toni Preckwinkle   As the year comes to a close, I’d like to thank everyone who supported the Forest Preserves in 2014. Whether you sweated to remove buckthorn from your favorite preserve, purchased a picnic permit, commented at an open house or joined a naturalist on a birding hike, we’re grateful to you for your participation.

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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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The Importance of Funding Restoration

by Forest Preserves President Toni Preckwinkle   In my 2015 proposed budget for the Forest Preserves of Cook County, which is currently available for review and public comment, I recommend the allocation of $6 million toward landscape restoration and related projects. This is by far the largest single line item in the budget, and it’s the second consecutive year we’ve allocated this amount to habitat restoration.

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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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VIDEO: Conserving Nature for the Next 100 Years

  In February, the Forest Preserves of Cook County and the Center for Humans and Nature held a “Conserving Nature for the Next 100 Years” event to explore thought-provoking questions and offer ideas critical to the future of our urban wilderness.

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Internships cultivate conservation

by Forest Preserves President Toni Preckwinkle   Most of us think of the Forest Preserves as a place for discovery, exercise and rejuvenation. But the Forest Preserves provides many other resources to Cook County residents. Some are not obvious to the general public, yet provide direct and long-lasting community benefits. Our paid internship program is a prime example.   The Forest Preserves funds more than 30 paid internships each year, both directly and through partners. Through our diverse programs, Cook County residents—students, young professionals and career changers—can develop critical professional and life skills.   Several intern positions are now open, many with applications due in early to mid-April, and more to come.

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