One of the greatest benefits of the Forest Preserves of Cook County is how they protect our natural and cultural heritage.
Our County is home to a unique confluence of natural communities, with hundreds of diverse species of plants and wildlife. Within our Preserves, you can explore woodlands, prairies, savannas and wetlands. Visit Sand Ridge Nature Center and nearby preserves in southeast Cook County to learn about dune-and-swale landscapes that were created by the receding glacial Lake Chicago. In northeast Cook County, remnants of what was once called the “Big Woods” can still be found at Harms Woods and Perkins Woods. Check out our Ecosystems Page to learn more about the many different natural communities in Cook County.
Did you know there is evidence of humans living in Cook County for the past 10,000 years? In forest preserves all throughout the County, the Illinois State Archaeological Survey works with the Forest Preserves to uncover and learn the stories of the people and communities who lived or traveled through this area. Interested in learning more about our cultural history? Plan a visit to our nature centers or Oak Forest Heritage Preserve.
This season—and all year long—I am grateful the Forest Preserves helps protect our area’s history so that people today and for generations to come can explore and experience the many wonders of our natural and cultural heritage.
In this issue, you’ll learn about our 25th Illinois Nature Preserve—the most dedicated Illinois Nature Preserves for any land management agency in the state. There is also a piece on how small actions can help turn around the dramatic decline in bird populations, as well as tips on how to peacefully coexist with native wildlife throughout the winter season.
We hope to see you in the Preserves!
Toni Preckwinkle, President
Forest Preserves of Cook County