Thousands of plants and animals—including over one hundred threatened and endangered species—depend on the natural areas in the Forest Preserves of Cook County.

On this page:

Preserve & Restore

Restoration in progress at Cranberry Slough. A trail runs down the center. To the left of the trail: restored, open woodland. To the right of trail: Woodland choked with invasive honeysuckle.

What is Restoration?

a savanna opening at Cap Sauers Holding Nature Preserve

Our Ecosystems

blazing star flowers in an open field at the Portwine restoration area in summer 2016.

Plans & Current Projects

early evening in the woods at Cap Sauers Holding Nature Preserve. Photo by Chad Reno.

Illinois Nature Preserves

the night sky over Maple Lake with the Maple Lake Boathouse lit up in the background

Dark Skies & Reducing Light Pollution

two wildlife biologists banding egrets at Baker's Lake



inside the exhibit area of Little Red Schoolhouse Nature Center's visitors center

Nature Centers

a group walks through a prairie

People & Nature


a group of people from the Student Conservation Association doing restoration work

Conservation Corps Programs

a garden with a Conservation@Home sign


looking up at a large bur oak tree

Champion Tree Register

prairie plants at Somme Prairie

Growing, Not Mowing

an illustration of animals riding a bus through the woods

Nature Express Bus