During their annual awards ceremony on Saturday, Dec. 3, the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences’ Chicago Midwest Chapter honored the Forest Preserves of Cook County, WYCC PBS Chicago Television and Juneteenth Productions with an Emmy® award for “Outstanding Achievement for Informational/Instructional Programming – Program/Special/Series” for the documentary “Chicago’s True Nature: The Forest Preserves of Cook County.”
The hour-long documentary underwent blind judging from professionals in markets from Cleveland, Denver, Miami, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco and Texas. The film explores the vastness of the Forest Preserves through the eyes and experiences of the people who take care of it and those who enjoy it.
“The Forest Preserves were founded more than 100 years ago, and have provided innumerable benefits to not only the residents of Cook County, but to our County’s native plants and animals,” said Forest Preserves of Cook County Board President, Toni Preckwinkle. “The vision for the film was to create local and global awareness of the value of nature, and the health and well-being that the Preserves bring to people, animals, flora and fauna, and our nearly 70,000 acres of protected land.”
The Forest Preserves of Cook County is one of the oldest and largest forest preserve systems in the nation. With a long, rich history and extensive holdings that include nearly 70,000 acres of ancient prairies, pristine wetlands, marshes and forests, residents and visitors are provided with a wealth of environmental, recreational and educational opportunities.
“Receiving an Emmy from the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences is a unique recognition for a government agency,” said Arnold Randall, General Superintendent for the Forest Preserves. “An Emmy award-winning documentary about the Forest Preserves of Cook County carries a level of notoriety for which we can further showcase the value and beauty of nature to Cook County residents, and position the Forest Preserves as a leader in urban conservation.”
The Forest Preserves are well-known for picnic sites and bike trails, many are unaware of its vast biodiversity – the flora and fauna of urban preserves and the diversity of native plants that struggle to flourish against invasive species. Production crews spent more than a year capturing the sights and sounds of the Preserves. Those who view the film will see the passion and dedication involved in restoration and conservation efforts, as well as the enthusiasm experienced through Forest Preserves’ activities and programs.
Since its debut, “Chicago’s True Nature: The Forest Preserves of Cook County” has been screened on WYCC PBS TV, at Navy Pier’s IMAX Theater and several other venues. WYCC PBS TV screenings reached public television viewers in a four-state demographic market including Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Wisconsin.
The screenings and distribution is ongoing through the support of Forest Preserves partners including the Chicago Botanic Garden, Brookfield Zoo, local libraries, universities, colleges, schools, community groups and Forest Preserves employees. Public interested in viewing the documentary can check their local library; copies of the documentary are available at public libraries throughout Chicagoland.
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.