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President's Letter: Feeling the Love for the Forest Preserves

February, the month of Valentine’s Day, is commonly associated with feelings of love and appreciation toward special people in our lives. Whether it be a parent, child, friend, spouse or significant other, many people enjoy taking advantage of the opportunity to show their affection this month. But what about those special places in our lives?

The Forest Preserves of Cook County are full of such special places. They provide us endless opportunities to spend time with our loved ones, experience new adventures and participate in healthy recreational activities. So why not show a little love for the places that give us so much?

In this edition for the Forest Way, you will learn about some of our monitoring opportunities. These “citizen science” programs help ecologists identify where to focus conservation and restoration efforts for a variety of habitats, positively impacting birds, frogs, butterflies and more. There are numerous upcoming training opportunities, with the first one taking place later this month.

Be sure to also check out the article on the Forest Preserves’ upcoming birding competition. This year, we are hosting a “Big Year” competition in which teams will compete to see which group can spot the most birds in their favorite preserve, as well as which team can engage the most new birders. The competition is a great way to challenge yourself and explore a local preserve while making new friends, as well as helping ecologists learn more about the birding habitats in the Forest Preserves.

There are always new and exciting ways to experience the Forest Preserves, including visiting your favorite special forest preserve, trying out a new activity or volunteering. While you reflect upon the people in your lives that mean so much, I urge you to also consider the symbiotic relationship each of us have with nature and the Forest Preserves.

See you in the Preserves!

Toni Preckwinkle, President
Forest Preserves of Cook County