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President's Letter: Join in on Forest Preserves’ National Public Lands Day Celebration

Throughout Cook County, residents and visitors are surrounded by thousands of acres of public land – nearly 70,000 acres to be exact. Our county is the most diverse in Illinois, and includes different habitats such as prairies, forest woodlands, savanna and wetlands. A vast amount of native and migrating animals can be spotted throughout the Preserves, as well as an abundance of rare plant species.

On Saturday, September 24, the Forest Preserves will be hosting Party for the Preserves, a series of events to celebrate these public lands in honor of National Public Lands Day. Each of the new and revitalized campgrounds will become “party central,” offering a variety of fun activities that highlight outdoor adventure, restoration, nature exploration and cultural discovery.

In this month’s Forest Way, be sure to check out the article on Party for the Preserves for information on what to expect. Each campground will be offering a different theme for the evening, as well as the option to purchase a dinner or camping and dinner package.

Also in this month’s newsletter is a story on recent improvements made at the Forest Preserves’ General Headquarters building. A new accessible entrance has been added, providing visitors with direct access to our Permits Department. We will be hosting a public ribbon-cutting for the new addition on Thursday, September 8 at 5 p.m., followed by the final installment of the Forest Jams series at 5:30 pm. Visitors who stick around after the ribbon-cutting can enjoy group jam sessions, learn about making instruments from natural and recycled materials, and enjoy a concert by local musicians.

Finally, this month’s Forest Way includes information on the annual photo contest. Submissions will be accepted through September 15, and winning photographs will be showcased in the 2017 Forest Preserves of Cook County Wall Calendar. We look forward to seeing the many great photography submissions highlighting the Forest Preserves.

Don’t forget, the Forest Preserves 2016 Fall Schedule begins this month. Be sure to visit our Events Page to view the many free or low-cost programs and events happening throughout the Preserves this season. Visitors can also download a copy of the brochure.

We hope to see you in the Preserves!

Toni Preckwinkle, President
Forest Preserves of Cook County