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President's Letter: Explore the Great Outdoors with Loved Ones

There are many great things happening throughout the Forest Preserves of Cook County this February. With Valentine’s Day on the horizon, consider spending time with loved ones out in nature. With both adults-themed and family-friendly programming at many of our Nature Centers, as well as myriad educational programs and volunteer opportunities, there are numerous ways to enjoy the company of family and friends in honor of this special day.

In this issue of The Forest Way, readers will learn about University of Illinois Extension’s Master Naturalist program. Master Naturalists are highly skilled volunteers who have been trained in a specialized program from University of Illinois Extension, as well as through their volunteer work. Their education and training equips them to better share information about the natural world around us.

Also in this issue of The Forest Way is an article about Harms Flatwoods, the Forest Preserves’ newest Illinois Nature Preserve. This 107-acre site is one of the few remaining high-quality flatwoods in the state of Illinois, and has undergone years of restoration work by both dedicated volunteers and contractors.

Finally, readers will learn about Dan Ryan Woods and the Major Taylor Trail. Dan Ryan Woods is one of the Forest Preserves most popular sites, and one of the few located within Chicago city limits. Visitors can enjoy numerous amenities including picnic groves, a pavilion, seasonal bike rentals, and a paved loop trail. The Major Taylor Trail also begins at Dan Ryan Woods, and travels 7.6 miles south and east to Whistler Woods in Riverdale.

We hope to see you in the Preserves!

Toni Preckwinkle, President
Forest Preserves of Cook County