Centennial Volunteers

Centennial Volunteers Logo


Centennial Volunteers are a part of a community of like-minded individuals who are not afraid to get dirty, get some exercise and have fun outside.


Help restore the Chicago River system by joining the Centennial Volunteers. Volunteers will learn about our forest preserves, enjoy natural areas close to home and make a tangible difference to our environment. Volunteers will be trained by experts in restoration and resource management and be involved in regular volunteer days on the weekends throughout the year.


Celebrate our rivers and the 100th anniversary of the Forest Preserves of Cook County by volunteering at a site along the Chicago River system:

Beaubien Woods (Chicago)

Located on the Little Calumet River, just East of Altgeld Gardens, Beaubien Woods has been the subject of restoration work from volunteers and student groups working with The Field Museum for over a decade. Every first Saturday (except July and August), volunteers are out removing invasive species and planting natives, each year increasing the biodiversity of this historic site.

Details / Sign Up

Blue Star Memorial Woods (Glenview)

Join North Branch Restoration Project volunteers as we work to remove invasives such as buckthorn and garlic mustard, helping the rich understory of this ecosystem to thrive. Along with restoring the beautiful oak woodland and sedge meadow ecosystem, we are repairing gullies that carry excess stormwater to the Chicago River as well as contribute to sedimentation in the river

Details / Sign Up

Clayton Smith Woods (Niles)

Join the North Branch Restoration Project with the Centennial Volunteers to restore this oak woodland to its former beauty! This 76 acre site is new to restoration and will depend on the community of volunteers to remove invasive species, spread native seed, and much more. Large pin oaks are a unique feature of this preserve, which is also home to some beautiful spring ephemerals.

Details / Sign Up

Forest Glen (Chicago)

Forest Glen is a part of the Lower North Branch Preserves, and brand new to volunteer stewardship. This unique woodland, savanna, and floodplain ecosystem needs help from our volunteer community to remove invasive plants, collect and distribute native seeds, and reduce erosion issues.

Details / Sign Up

Kickapoo Woods (Riverdale)

Kickapoo Woods has over 70 acres under restoration. One workday a month is dedicated to a remnant prairie. Another focuses on improving the floodplain and banks of the Little Calumet River, threatened by stormwater and sediment.

Details / Sign Up

Labagh / Hernandez (Chicago)

Join the North Branch Restoration Project with the Centennial Volunteers and Chicago Ornithological Society as we remove buckthorn and other invasive species, protecting the native woodland, savanna and floodplain ecosystems. We are investing heavily in restoring the understory of the forest to provide much needed habitat for the over 168 species of birds who call LaBagh Woods home for part of the year.

Details / Sign Up

River Oaks Woods (South Holland)

This small preserve near Sand Ridge Nature Center contains a grassland, wetland, oak woodland, and floodplain along the Little Calumet. Once degraded by arson and illegal dumping, volunteers are helping revitalize it as part of a wildlife corridor.

Details / Sign Up

Somme Woods (Northbrook)

Somme Woods East, the furthest east of the Sommes, has bur and white oak woodlands with massive old oaks, open marshes, and ephemeral ponds. Rich with native plants and animals, they are being restored to their original beauty. Many rare plants and animals call this preserve home, and many more will join them in the years to come.

Details / Sign Up

Whistler Woods (Riverdale)

This preserve along the Little Calumet River is home to abundant deer, birds, frogs, bicyclists, and tugboats. With a working steel mill next door, it shows how industry and nature can coexist. A volunteer community has formed here to nurture flowers, fight erosion, and revitalize Whistler.

Details / Sign Up

Centennial Volunteers are a part of a larger network of volunteers for the Forest Preserves of Cook County. However, Centennial Volunteers will also work with four environmental, non-profit partner groups:


Friends of the Chicago River logoFriends of the Forest Preserves logoThe Field Museum logoChicago Ornithological Society logo

They will lead activities for the nine sites on volunteer days and other special events. If you are interested in developing a stronger role on one of these sites or choose another forest preserve site, you can be trained by the Forest Preserves of Cook County in invasive removal, pesticide application, and volunteer management. These training sessions are free of charge and offered regularly, throughout the year.

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