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President's Letter: Restoration Throughout Forest Preserves Benefits Land, Animals and People

Throughout the Forest Preserves of Cook County, plants, animals and insects are preparing for colder months ahead. And while winter may mean hibernation for some, the Forest Preserves remain bustling with opportunities to enjoy nature. There are numerous special events and programs during November, as well as plenty of ways to get outside, including hiking, volunteering, camping and biking.

In this issue readers will hear from one of the Forest Preserves’ burn bosses, the leader of a crew during prescribed burn seasons. Elliot Medina, senior resource technician in the Resource Management Department, has been performing prescribed burns with the Forest Preserves for eight years. He talks about the variables that go into prescribed burning, and why this ecological management technique is so beneficial to the landscape.

Readers will also learn about a continued partnership between the Forest Preserves and Friends of the Chicago River, which has been restoring vital breeding habitats for turtles in the preserves. Last month representatives from Friends, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources and our Resource Management Department affixed transmitters to the shells of 20 stinkpot, snapping and painted turtles before they were released back into the wild. The transmitters allow researchers to track the turtles and understand if they’re using the restored lands.

Finally, read about the ribbon-cutting at our Deer Grove East Interpretive Trail. The trail was completed in partnership with Chicago-based Openlands and includes interpretive elements such as signage and seating at four nodes celebrating different nature themes. Be sure to plan a visit to Deer Grove to walk the trail.

Don’t forget that the Forest Preserves’ 2019 picnic and special event permits go on sale beginning November 15. The public can purchase permits online, or stop in the Forest Preserves’ General Headquarters or Dan Ryan Woods Visitor Center. Learn more on our Permits page.

We hope to see you in the Preserves!

Toni Preckwinkle, President
Forest Preserves of Cook County