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President's Letter: Celebrate, Support Our Public Lands

We are celebrating National Public Lands Day with our annual Party for the Preserves events on Saturday, September 25. Throughout the day-long celebration, folks can join guided hikes, meet some animal ambassadors, experience paddling, and participate in some volunteer work, too. 

The Forest Preserves of Cook County are an incredible public resource. Throughout the county, residents can take advantage of nearly 70,000 acres of natural land. In our forest preserves, residents can experience both physical and mental wellness benefits, with opportunities ranging from hiking and biking to wildlife watching and fishing.  

Beyond the benefits to people, our public lands also benefit plants and animals. Thousands of native species—including more than one hundred that are threatened and endangered—depend on the protected and restored natural areas in the Forest Preserves of Cook County. Our habitats range from wetlands and prairies to woodlands and savannas, with each ecosystem providing everything needed for these plants and animals to thrive.

What better way to show appreciation for nature than to experience all that is possible in the preserves, and give back, too? You may think that nature can thrive on its own, but the truth is that in this highly urbanized region, it needs our help. During Party for the Preserves, we’ll have cleanup supplies available at each of our six nature centers so that people of all ages can help care for our natural lands. 

Beyond National Public Lands Day, those interested in continuing to volunteer can check out all the opportunities available on our website. Whether folks are interested in becoming a community scientist and helping to collect information about plants and animals or joining our Trail Watch program to help create a welcoming environment by supporting community safety, there are plenty of ways to get involved.