With the start of a new year comes an increased feeling of abundant possibility. At the Forest Preserves of Cook County, we have been planning on how to achieve new goals and accomplish great work. Despite extraordinary circumstances due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and limited financial resources, the Forest Preserves will continue to focus on completing critical restoration work, engaging the public in educational programs and events, and providing numerous amenities for Cook County residents to enjoy.
Below are just a few of the projects the Forest Preserves has planned for this year:
- At Powderhorn Lake in the Calumet Region, we are installing a new water control system in partnership with Audubon Great Lakes that will help reestablish a vital marsh habitat, which will bolster local fish populations and provide habitat for many species of native and migrating birds.
- The Forest Preserves’ programming team will continue to provide a mix of virtual and in-person events and educational opportunities that open a gateway to our local natural world, with expanded efforts and partnerships to welcome and support people and communities that reflect the cultural and ethnic diversity of Cook County.
- An updated Sand Ridge Campus in South Holland will open in 2021, with new exhibits at Sand Ridge Nature Center, more information across the square mile of amenities, and an emphasis on new programming and community engagement.
- At Schuth’s Grove in the western suburbs, the Forest Preserves will build a new, accessible canoe and kayak launch, one of nine boat launches and landings on the Des Plaines River and one of nearly two dozen on lakes, creeks and rivers across the Forest Preserves.
And, of course, we will continue to do the work every day to keep the trails open and safe, the preserves clean and well-maintained, and our facilities in top condition. With each of these specific projects—and the plenty more planned throughout the year—we’re committed to applying a racial equity lens to our work.
We hope to see you in the Preserves!
Toni Preckwinkle, President