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Press Release: Kick Off Earth Month with a Trash Bash in the Forest Preserves of Cook County

an Earth Day banner at Sand Ridge Nature Center

Give back to nature and celebrate Earth Day with volunteer opportunities, themed games, tree planting and more

Cook County is home to nearly 70,000 acres of wild and wonderful forest preserves, which help clean our air and water and absorb carbon emissions and stormwater. In celebration of Earth Month, the Forest Preserves of Cook County is hosting events across Cook County beginning with the 2nd Annual Trash Bash from 10 am to 2 pm on April 6 at Miler Meadow-South in Maywood.

Cook County Board and Forest Preserves President Toni Preckwinkle will help kick off the celebratory events in the Forest Preserves at the Trash Bash at 10:30 am on Saturday, April 6. During the event, attendees can drop off unwanted and hard-to-recycle items, including electronics, prescription medication, bikes, instruments and more. The first 50 attendees will receive a Trash Bash T-shirt.

“The Forest Preserves are among the most important assets of Cook County. Ensuring that they thrive as a source of beauty, inspiration, economic vitality and health is critical to the success of our region,” said Cook County Board and Forest Preserves President Toni Preckwinkle. “Trash Bash is a unique opportunity for folks to bring a variety of hard-to-recycle items to one location, where our partners will help keep these things out of our waste stream—and out of the Forest Preserves as potential future fly-dumped materials.”

Trash Bash Partners

  • Cook County Department of Environment and Sustainability: Green giveaways and information.
  • Cook County Sheriff’s Office: Prescription Drug Take Back Program and electronic recycling.
  • Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago: Rain barrel raffle and green giveaways.
  • SCARCE: Collecting books, records, keys, holiday lights, bread tags, crayons, hearing aids, eyeglasses, Brita pitchers/filters and musical instruments.
  • Working Bikes: Accepting adult bikes in repairable condition, gently used children’s bikes, as well as bike parts, tools and bike accessories.
  • South Suburban College (SSC) CHaRM Center: Collecting household recycling, electronics and small appliances, clothing and textiles, Styrofoam and IPASS transponders.

Additionally, attendees can also participate in a litter clean-up, with bags, gloves and trash grabbers provided.

Give Back All Month & Beyond

Following Trash Bash, Earth Day special events and programs will be offered at nature centers and preserves across Cook County. In addition, individuals and families can give back to nature by checking out litter clean-up supplies at select Forest Preserves sites on Friday and Saturday, April 19-20.

“Celebrating Earth Day is an easy and meaningful way for folks to learn more about and enjoy the local habitats in the Forest Preserves, which are the home to millions of plants, animals and other living things. And participating in a cleanup is a great way to explore the Forest Preserves while renewing a commitment to the natural environment.”

Forest Preserves Interim General Superintendent Eileen Figel

Earth Day Programs and Events

  • Earth Day
    • Celebrate Earth Day with themed games, self-guided litter cleanup and more.
    • Saturday, April 20 * 10 am-12 pm
    • Sand Ridge Nature Center, 15891 Paxton Ave, South Holland
  • Celebrate Earth Day Activities
    • Plant a tree, make your own bird feeder, pick up litter, and more. Family program.
    • Saturday, April 20 * 10 am-12 pm
    • Trailside Museum of Natural History, 738 Thatcher Ave, River Forest
  • Earth Day Celebration
    • Art activities, scavenger hunts, food chain demonstrations, and free plant giveaways will delight visitors. Registration required; call 708-839-6897.
    • Saturday, April 20 * 11 am-1 pm
    • Little Red Schoolhouse Nature Center, 9800 Willow Springs Rd, Willow Springs
  • Earth Day Birthday
    • You can have your cake and eat it too! Celebrate planet Earth, play party games and better the environment.
    • Saturday, April 20 * 11 am-2 pm
    • Sauk Trail Woods-Central, Forest Preserve Dr, south of W 26th St, South Chicago Heights
  • Earth Day Nature Play
    • Play, plant, paint and pretend with family-fun activities.
    • Saturday, April 20 * 12-3 pm
    • Crabtree Nature Center, 3 Stover Rd, Barrington

Earth Day Cleanup Sites

  • Earth Day Cleanup
    • Friday, April 19 * 3-5 pm
    • Jerome Huppert Woods, N Thatcher Ave, south of W Fullerton Ave, River Grove
  • Earth Day
    • Saturday, April 20 * 9-11 am
    • Busse Lake Boating Center
  • Earth Day
    • Saturday, April 20 * 9-11 am
    • Caldwell Woods, W Devon Ave & N Nagle Ave, Chicago
  • Earth Day Cleanup
    • Saturday, April 20 * 12-2 pm
    • Miller Meadow-South, 1st Ave, south of Roosevelt Rd, Maywod

After Earth Day, anyone can commit to regularly volunteering in the Forest Preserves through the Select Organized Litter Obliterators (SOLO) program. SOLO volunteers can help by collecting litter on their own, or with a small group of family or friends, at one of our Litter Hotspots or any Forest Preserves location they choose. Explore even more opportunities to join our volunteer community at fpdcc.com/volunteer.

To learn more about Earth Day opportunities or to view the Forest Preserves’ full calendar of events, visit fpdcc.com/events.


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.