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President's Letter: Resolve to Explore the Natural Beauty of Cook County in 2017

The New Year is finally upon us, with the promise of new experiences and opportunities ahead. If you’ve long imagined exploring different parts of the Forest Preserves of Cook County, the New Year is the perfect reason to get outside and try something new.

For music lovers who are also interested in volunteering, considering joining in on one of the Forest Preserves’ newest volunteer opportunities—Bluegrass Jams! Volunteers will help children discover their inner musicians while learning about nature during these fun programs. Volunteers lead discussions and the creation of a simple instrument using invasive plant species. Attendees then form a bluegrass jam circle.

If you’ve never been camping in the Forest Preserves, make 2017 the year you #CampInCook. Reservations for all 2017 dates open today. Residents and visitors can still enjoy camping at Camps Reinberg, Sullivan and Bullfrog Lake throughout winter where there is limited availability of heated cabins at some campgrounds in addition to tent and RV camping.

Finally, if you have enjoyed skiing at Deer Grove West, consider venturing over to Beverly Lake – a skiing hidden gem. Beverly Lake, which once included farmland, is part of the Forest Preserves’ Spring Creek complex. Now, the site is restored woodland and grassland, and provides important habitat for grassland birds. Learn more about the site’s history in this month’s Forest Way article.

These are just a few ways to explore the Forest Preserves of Cook County in 2017 and beyond. Be sure to check out the Forest Preserves’ website and events list for more ideas on ways to spend time outside experiencing the amazing nature that is so close to home.

We hope to see you in the Preserves!

Toni Preckwinkle, President
Forest Preserves of Cook County