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Press Release: Celebration of 100 Events Marks the Centennial Anniversary of the Forest Preserves of Cook County

The public is invited to a week-long, County-wide extravaganza marking a once-in-a-lifetime milestone of the Forest Preserves of Cook County (FPCC). “100 Years / 100 Events” begins Sunday September 20 and runs through September 27. All that can be enjoyed within the Forest Preserves of Cook County can be experienced during this celebration, which is being hosted at various forest preserves sites featuring more than 100 events and activities for all ages, groups and interests.

“This is an extraordinary moment in the history of the preserves,” said Toni Preckwinkle, President of the Forest Preserves of Cook County. “There is no better way to celebrate than with an open invitation to all residents and non-residents of Cook County to come out and connect with nature and one another. The preserves are an extraordinary asset to us all. From forest woodlands to wetlands and prairies, our 69,000 acres are a natural treasure to be protected and enjoyed. I invite everyone to come out at least once, or even several times this week, and join in the fun.”

President Preckwinkle will kick off the week of festivities at the Art In Nature Event at the Crab Tree Nature Center in Barrington Hills, followed by dozens of events throughout the week culminating in the “100 Years / 100 Events” finale with the County’s Largest Tree Hug at Caldwell Woods on Chicago’s northwest side.

“This is an exciting time at the FPCC,” said Arnold Randall, General Superintendent of the Forest Preserves of Cook County. “ ‘100 Years / 100 Events’ is a way to get residents involved in all we have to offer while helping us celebrate the amazing gift our visionary leaders established for us a century ago.”

Most of what can be experienced as part of the celebration are   organized events hosted by forest preserve staff as well as nearly 65 partner agencies. Activities include archery, nature hikes, birding, fishing derby, guided equestrian rides, group night bike rides, treasure hunts, an REI Run series, fossil hunts, camping and many other exciting and educational offerings.

Volunteer groups that work with the forest preserves year-round are also hosting restoration workshops as ways to engage with new people about the mission of the preserves, which is restoring areas to their natural states. Stewardship activities include seed collecting, brush and bush cutting, and burning.

Events are organized by geographic zones in the North, Northwest, Central, South and Southwest regions of Cook County. Multiple Activity Hubs with on-site staff who can also be reached by phone, will be manning information booths within each zone September 26-27:

Activity Hub Locations:

CENTRAL ZONE (224) 501-6633

  • Trailside Museum, River Forest
  • Thatcher Woods, River Forest
  • Portage Woods, Lyons
  • Miller Meadow South, Forest Park

NORTH ZONE (312) 415-2970

  • River Trail Nature Center, Northbrook
  • Camp Dan Beard, Northbrook
  • Caldwell Woods, Chicago

NORTHWEST ZONE (224) 501-6632

  • Crabtree Nature Center, Barrington Hills
  • Busse Woods, Groves #4 & #25, Elk Grove Village
  • Camp Reinberg, Palatine

SOUTH ZONE (312) 533-5751

  • Sand Ridge Nature Center, South Holland
  • Camp Shabbona Woods, South Holland
  • Kickapoo Woods, Riverdale
  • Dan Ryan Woods, Chicago
  • Eggers Woods, Chicago

SOUTHWEST ZONE (224) 501-6631

  • Little Red School House Nature Center, Willow Springs
  • Sagawau Environmental Learning Center, Lemont
  • Camp Bullfrog Lake, Willow Springs
  • Camp Sullivan, Oak Forest

A complete listing of events as well as a descriptions and exact locations can be viewed and downloaded at www.fpdcc.com/100events. Printed event guides are also available at local city and village offices throughout the county, as well as the Forest Preserves of Cook County Headquarters located at 536 N. Harlem Avenue in River Forest.

While many residents are just a short car ride from many of the forest preserve locations, special FREE buses will travel within each zone to make it easier to attend events. The Nature Express! Bus, supported by the Forest Preserve Foundation, will operate September 26-27 and will make various stops within each zone:

Nature Express! Locations & Routes:

Saturday Schedule (Sept. 26)

  • CENTRAL ZONE ROUTE (8 a.m. – 4 p.m.) stops at Thatcher Pavilion, Miller Meadow South, Portage Historical Site, Trailside Museum & Zoo Woods.
  • NORTH ZONE ROUTE (9 a.m. – 5 p.m.) stops at Erickson Woods, Chicago Botanic Garden, Camp Dan Beard, River Trail Nature Center & Somme Woods (1-3 p.m.)
  • NORTHWEST ZONE ROUTE (10 a.m. – 6 p.m.) stops at Crabtree Nature Center, Camp Reinberg & Deer Grove East.
  • BUSSE WOODS ROUTE (11 a.m. – 2 p.m.) between Groves #4 & #25
  • SOUTH ZONE ROUTE (9 a.m. – 7 p.m.) stops at Camp Bullfrog Lake, Sagauwa Environmental Learning Center, Papoose Lake (9 a.m. – 3 p.m. only), Morrill Meadow (10 a.m. – 2 p.m. only), Little Red Schoolhouse Nature Center.

Sunday Schedule (Sept. 27)

  • SOUTH ZONE ROUTE (8 a.m. – 2 p.m.) Sand Ridge Nature Center/Camp Shabbona Woods, Eggers Woods.
  • NORTH ZONE ROUTE (10 a.m. – 2 p.m.) Camp Dan Beard, River Trail Nature Center

The Nature Express! can also be taken to the “100 Years / 100 Events” Finale. The FPCC is hoping to count as many people as possible in the County’s Largest Tree Hug. Free transportation to Caldwell Woods will leave from the following locations at 2 p.m., Sunday September 27 and will be returning at 6 p.m. On-line registration is required for this event only.

In addition to the more than 100 staffed and organized events, visitors are welcome to simply enjoy the Forest Preserves of Cook County on their own during “100 Years / 100 Events.” The Forest Preserves of Cook County has more than 300 miles of trails for hiking, biking, walking and running. We encourage everyone, year-round to visit the preserves, and to also fish, picnic, golf, enjoy and study nature, or simply relax and leave urban life behind.

As you help us celebrate remember to share your experiences on our social platforms with the hashtag #100events, and encourage your friends and family to join the fun.

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About the Forest Preserves of Cook County
Don’t you sometimes just want to escape? Explore the natural beauty of Cook County for an hour, a day or even a night. When you’re surrounded by 70,000 acres of wild and wonderful there’s no better place to feel free.