In This Issue

Navigation Unplugged
Learn the basics of orienteering (using a map and compass), then put your skills to the test with orienteering courses on the trail. Appropriate for ages 8 & up. Call 312-415-2970 for more information.
Tuesday, April 11 * 10 am - 2 pm
Dan Ryan Woods Pavilion, 87th & Western Ave, Chicago
Spring Breakout Adventures offer the chance to practice archery, explore the bountiful wildlife and plant species as well as improve your navigation skills. All ages. No registration required. For general information or available bussing for groups of 25 or more, call  312-415-2970.
Camping 101 is a hands-on workshop series designed to teach basic camping skills. Learn tent set-up, campfire cooking, camping fun, dressing for camping, camping etiquette and more. No registration required.
Saturday, April 15 * 8 - 11:30 am
Papoose Lake, 9823-10357 W 123rd St, Palos Park (west of LaGrange Road)
In partnership with the Village of Palos Park.  Join us for a Spring Fishing Derby. Registration begins at 8 am. Fishing is from 8:30 - 11 am. Prizes will be awarded to the largest fish caught in different age groups. Catch and release. Fish license exempt for today.
Saturday, April 22 * 9 am - 1 pm
Kickapoo Woods, 14498 S Halsted St, Riverdale
Clean up the Preserves in partnership with Friends of the Parks and enjoy activities and snacks too. Groups with 10 or more people, please email to register.
Saturday, April 22 * 10 am - 3 pm
Sand Ridge Nature Center, 15891 S Paxton Ave, South Holland
Join us for a day set aside as a reminder to be good stewards of our planet every day. Activities include hikes, puppet shows, a craft and Earth Day Jeopardy!
Wed., April 26 * 6:30 - 8 am
Skokie Lagoons, Tower Road Boat Launch, Winnetka
For rookie or advanced birders! Increase your identification skills with a morning of birding on the Skokie Lagoons. Forest Preserves staff will teach paddling instruction as well as provide birding expertise during the program. Limited number of boats; please reserve a space.
Saturday, April 29 * Noon - 4 pm
Bunker Hill, 6800 N Caldwell, Chicago
Celebrate the grandeur of trees and learn why they're vital to our community and our world. Enjoy tree planting, tree climbing, tree ID hikes and more. Call 312-415-2970 for more information.

Conservation@Home Events
Saturday, April 8 * 10 am
Sagawau Environmental Learning Center, 12545 W 111th St, Lemont
Learn where to begin with installing native plants in terms of selection and care. Ages 15 & up. Registration required by 4/5. Minimum 10 people.
Sunday, April 23 * 1 pm
Crabtree Nature Center, 3 Stover Rd, Barrington Hills
Learn how to landscape using easy-care native plants that support pollinators. Presented by U of I Extension Master Gardeners. Adults only. Registration required.

For details and a full event listing including all regular events at our six Nature Centers, visit our Events page.

Congratulations to Judy Pollock
Congratulations to Judy Pollock, a local bird conservationist, for receiving the American Birding Association's Betty Petersen Award for Conservation and Community. Judy has played an integral role in various programs and initiatives geared toward bird education and conservation, including the Forest Preserve's Bird the Preserves campaign. Click here to learn more.
Go Ape Zip Line Course, Bike the Preserves Now Open
The Bemis Woods Go Ape Treetop Adventure and Zip Line Course and most Forest Preserves bike rentals are now open! Explore the forest from the treetops, or while pedaling along the North Branch Trail  on a rented bicycle . Dan Ryan Woods bike rentals will begin soon.
Community Meeting Planned for Dan Ryan Woods Major Taylor Trail Corridor
Join the Forest Preserves of Cook County at Wild Blossom Meadery, 9030 S. Hermitage Ave. in Chicago, from 6 - 8 pm on Wednesday, April 26, for a kick-off meeting for the corridor study of the Major Taylor Trail along Dan Ryan Woods. The meeting will have a presentation showing existing conditions and opportunities for improvements along the trail, followed by an interactive exercise to allow attendees to give feedback and discuss opportunities to enhance trail connections, increase safety and identify trail amenities. Click here to RSVP, or email Kindy Kruller  for questions or more information. 

Adopt Your Favorite FPCC Site
Adopt-A-Site volunteers make a commitment to visit their favorite grove, river, lake or trail eight times between April and November to clean litter, paying special attention to the summer months when people are out in larger numbers. Because Adopt-A-Site volunteers determine when they make their site visits based on their schedules, this is a flexible volunteer opportunity. Once three site visits have been recorded, the volunteer is eligible to have a sign installed recognizing that they've adopted the site.  Click here to learn more about Adopt-A-Site.


by Forest Preserves President Toni Preckwinkle

It's officially spring, and that means there are new and exciting ways to get outside and explore the Forest Preserves of Cook County. Throughout the season, consider attending a bird or spring wildflower walk, or simply taking a stroll along our trails.
In this issue of the Forest Way, readers will learn about different ways to celebrate Earth Day in the Forest Preserves. Some of our Nature Centers are hosting special events and programs, and there are numerous volunteer opportunities throughout the month in honor of this special day. Consider gathering family and friends, and helping to restore our lands for Earth Day.
Readers will also learn about the Cook County Department of Public Health's Go the Distance-Cook County initiative, which encourages residents to walk more. Major components of the campaign include exploring communities and connecting with loved ones. What better place to enjoy a walk with family and friends than the Forest Preserves?
Also in this issue of the Forest Way is a story about Chicago Voyagers, an organization striving to connect youth to meaningful and educational experiences outdoors. Many of their excursions take place in the Forest Preserves and provide youth the opportunity to learn about the local environment as well as participate in volunteer work.
Finally, throughout April, many of the Forest Preserves' seasonal amenities and programs get under way, including bicycle rentals along the North Branch Trail and at Dan Ryan Woods, the Go Ape Treetop Adventure Course, canoe and kayak rentals, and Adopt-A-Site. Learn more about these great opportunities and more by visiting our website,
We hope to see you in the Preserves!
Toni Preckwinkle, President
Forest Preserves of Cook County

Looking for motivation to increase time spent walking? Consider joining the Cook County Department of Public Health's (CCDPH) Go the Distance, Cook County initiative! The campaign asks participants to commit to increasing the amount of time spent walking, while encouraging people to invite family and friends to join them in their efforts.
According to CCDPH, walking is an excellent way to lift your mood, improve learning and concentration, explore your community, and build strong bodies while building friendships.

Did you know there are bald eagles nesting in the Forest Preserves of Cook County? Or that a century after extirpation and decades after reintroduction, river otters are making their return to the area? Cook County's natural areas serve as habitat to numerous species of plants and animals, and restoration efforts are improving these environments and encouraging diverse animal species to return. Check out these recent news stories to learn more about the amazing wildlife the calls Cook County home:

The April calendar photo of the month, Sunset taken by Robert Schwaan, highlights the warm oranges and yellows and cool, deep violets and blues of a sunset over Willow Springs' Saganashkee Slough. Did you know that Saganashkee Slough is one of the Forest Preserves' largest bodies of waters? With 4 miles of shoreline and covering nearly 400 acres, visitors can enjoy a variety of activities, including watching a breathtaking sunset, at this southwestern Cook County site. 

On a sunny, warm day in March, nine children from a local school spent their afternoon learning about nature and giving back to their community during a visit at Trailside Museum of Natural History. The experience, which included a guided nature walk and a litter clean-up, was directed by Chicago Voyagers, a youth development program that uses experiential adventure-based programs and activities to help foster the development, responsibility and leadership in Chicagoland youth.

Learn more about Chicago Voyagers...

From boating and biking to birdwatching and fishing, there are numerous ways to experience the great outdoors in the Forest Preserves of Cook County. With nearly 70,000 acres of wild and wonderful, Cook County residents and visitors can find ways to explore the Forest Preserves for an hour, a day, or even a night. 


Registration for the Forest Preserves Nature Center day camps is now open! At most the FPCC Nature Centers, children of all ages can join in on fun, educational day camps to learn about a range of nature-related topics including fishing, gardening, animals and more while participating in hands-on activities, hikes, crafts and outdoor play. 


Throughout the Forest Preserves of Cook County, visitors can join in on celebrations and restoration work days in honor of Earth Day. Celebrating Earth Day is a great way to explore the Forest Preserves while making an impact on our local natural areas. It's also an opportunity to continue preserving habitat for the millions of plants, animals and other living things that call the Forest Preserves home.