Spring is an inspiring time to visit the Forest Preserves of Cook County. Throughout the season, visitors can witness the renewal of nature. As the weather continues to warm, soon we’ll see migrating birds, the reemergence of wildlife, and spring wildflowers accompanied by buzzing bees and flittering butterflies.
But to welcome back our native plants and animals, it is vital that Cook County’s natural lands provide the quality habitat needed to host the thousands of species that can be found in the Forest Preserves. It takes a lot of hard work to protect nearly 70,000 acres. Fortunately, the Forest Preserves benefits from hundreds of volunteers and site stewards who dedicate time to restoration; performing work such as cutting invasive buckthorn, collecting and spreading native seeds and picking up litter.
With Earth Day approaching, this is the perfect time to commit to caring for our natural lands. Stewardship and volunteer work ensures our native plants and animals thrive not only for us to enjoy today but so that future generations can experience and appreciate the benefits of nature. And there are so many benefits. Restored natural lands help clean our air and water, reduce flooding, encourage investments in our communities, and improve the health of people.
In this issue, you’ll learn about some of the different ways to celebrate Earth Day in the Forest Preserves. Nature Centers are hosting special events and programs, and there are numerous volunteer opportunities throughout the month. Consider gathering family and friends, and helping to restore our lands for Earth Day.
Also in this issue is news about our newest dedicated Illinois Nature Preserve, Wampum Lake; as well as information about our new fishing guide, a recently opening fishing lake, and more.
We hope to see you in the Preserves!
Toni Preckwinkle, President
Forest Preserves of Cook County