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President's Letter: Reconnect with the Forest Preserves this Spring

April is a great month for the Forest Preserves of Cook County. Spring has finally sprung, flowers are blooming, birds are chirping and warmer days will follow soon. April is also when we celebrate Earth Day and the many beautiful gifts given to us by Mother Nature.

In this issue of the Forest Way, be sure to check out the article on different ways to celebrate Earth Day. With special events and programs at some of our Nature Centers, and numerous rewarding volunteer opportunities, the days surrounding Earth Day are the perfect time to reconnect with nature and enjoy the diverse habitats and amenities of the Forest Preserves.

Also in this issue, learn about the Centennial Volunteers initiative, which is expanding to four new sites. The initiative began in 2014 with a coalition of organizations, and has since attracted nearly 7,000 volunteers who have performed thousands of hours of work at sites along the Chicago and Calumet river basins.

Plants and animals of all kinds benefit from continued restoration efforts like those of the Centennial Volunteers initiative. One beneficiary of the work being done in the Forest Preserves is badgers. Be sure to read the article about the Forest Preserves’ recent collaboration with the Chicago Zoological Society to study a local badger.

Finally, do not forget that the Forest Preserves’ major initiative this year is Bird the Preserves. There are hundreds of opportunities for residents and visitors to get outdoors and experience this versatile activity. Also, make sure to take advantage of the different events to see wood ducks, this month’s Bird of the Month.

With nearly 70,000 acres of land and countless amenities including more than 300 miles of trails, several waterways, five new and revitalized campgrounds and more, there is so much to experience and enjoy this spring in the Forest Preserves!

See you in the Preserves!

Toni Preckwinkle, President
Forest Preserves of Cook County