Celebrate National Public Lands Day’s 30th anniversary with fun outdoor events across Cook County: Funkadesi concert, Salsa dance, biking, birding, boating and more
“As the seasons turn, there’s even more to see and do in the Forest Preserves and that deserves a party,” says Forest Preserves General Superintendent Arnold Randall. “This year we are also marking the 30th anniversary of National Public Lands Day and the 60th anniversary of the Illinois Nature Preserves Commission. We have a lot to celebrate!”
Six big events—all free and open to all—will be held as part of this year’s Party for the Preserves:
- Bilingual Bird Migration Walk/Caminata Bilingüe Sobre la Migración de Aves: Sagawau Environmental Learning Center in Lemont at 8:30 a.m.
- Bike Ride: Party for the Preserves: Beaubien Woods in Chicago at 10 a.m.
- Salsa Dance: Thatcher Woods Pavilion in River Forest at 11 a.m.
- Party for the Preserves Program: Crabtree Nature Center in Barrington at 12 p.m.
- Fourth Annual Fall Nature Fest: LaBagh Woods, Foster and Cicero in Chicago at 12 p.m.
- Party for the Preserves: Includes paddling on the lake, food and more, to be followed by Funkadesi concert, ending with optional night walks and s’mores. Camp Bullfrog Lake in Willow Springs at 4 p.m.
Additional details on all six events are online at https://fpdcc.com/events/category/party or at each Preserve’s web pages. Fall events through the end of November are available in the Fall 2023 Guide.
What is the Party for the Preserves?
Since 1994, National Public Lands Day has mobilized volunteers on the fourth Saturday in September to celebrate and care for something we all share—our nation’s public lands. Nationwide, more than 70,000 participants are expected to join in trail maintenance, clean ups, tree planting, invasive species removal, as well as hikes and other fun activities.
Saturday’s Party for the Preserves events are focused on fun, but it’s important to note that much of Cook County’s 70,000 acres of forest preserves rely on volunteers to help make them healthier and better places to visit.
“Volunteers become advocates for the site and help us become better stewards because we can be in more places,” says Rebecca Collings, senior resource ecologist at the Cook County Forest Preserves. “But not everyone has to become a volunteer. The Forest Preserves belong to the people of Cook County, and we want everyone to be able to appreciate and enjoy these incredible public lands. If they want to also help, that’s great, too.”
The Forest Preserves are celebrating one more major milestone this season: the 60th anniversary of the Illinois Nature Preserves Commission. The commission oversees 60 natural sites considered to be the state’s most rare, natural areas, which are almost all that is left of the way the state looked in the early 1800s.
Of those sites, 27 are in Cook County, comprising nearly 11,000 acres of unspoiled natural heritage. This is the most of any local agency in the state.
Preserving nature, providing informative activities, and creating space for fun are all part of the mission of the Forest Preserves, Randall says: “With so much to celebrate, we hope people of all ages come out to join us September 23 and throughout the fall. Our mission is to help residents feel free to get outdoors.”
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.