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President's Letter: Cook County’s forest preserves are a 70,000-Acre Classroom

Cook County Board and Forest Preserves President Toni Preckwinkle at an event.

The start of September signals the beginning of fall. As children and young adults are heading back to school, don’t forget that the Forest Preserves of Cook County offers a nearly 70,000-acre natural classroom to explore. Whether learning about our local ecology, cultural history, or just enjoying being outdoors, the Forest Preserves are where kids learn to love nature.

Throughout Cook County, each of the Forest Preserves’ six nature education centers has unique informational exhibits and geological features, as well as resident ambassador animals. Nature centers are free to visit, and expert naturalists on hand can answer questions, lead guided walks and programs, and serve as an interpreter of the amazing resource that is the Forest Preserves of Cook County.

The Preserves are an amazing resource for teachers as well. Educators can schedule field trips and classroom programs with nature center staff throughout the year at no cost. Get in touch with our nature center staff to arrange a visit of one hour or more, that can be customized to your curriculum goals and objectives. Can’t make it out of the classroom? The Forest Preserves will bring nature to your students. The Forest Preserves offers free science and nature programs for individual classrooms, aligned with teaching standards and featuring hands-on activities that may include real animal and plant specimens.

All our visitors can also take advantage hundreds of programs and events presented by the Forest Preserves’ programming team and partners all year round. From camping 101 to orienteering and survival skills to guided history hikes and bird walks, there’s always something new to learn.

We hope to see you in the Preserves!

Toni Preckwinkle, President
Forest Preserves of Cook County