In This Issue

Saturday, Feb 10 * 11 am - 1 pm
River Trail Nature Center, 3120 Milwaukee Ave, Northbrook
Learn how to start your own native plants with less waste. University of Illinois Extension North Cook Master Gardeners will share tips for starting columbine and milkweed plants from seed this winter to add to your home garden in the spring. The demonstration will include a discussion of ideas to make this process more sustainable by recycling common household and garden items.

Saturday, Feb 10 * 11 am - 2 pm
Rolling Knolls, 11N260 Rohrssen Rd, Elgin
Come out, get active and enjoy the Forest Preserves on Snowshoes! This free program is open to the whole family and will include guided nature hikes, skins and skulls and a warm fire. Program will happen whether or not there is snow. No registration required. Call 708-386-4042 for details.
Sunday, Feb 11 * 1 pm
Thatcher Woods Pavilion, 8030 W Chicago Ave, River Forest
Make a simple musical instrument, then join the fun in a bluegrass jam circle! Bring your basses, fiddles, mandolins, guitars and banjos, too. All are welcome to join the jam.

Saturday, Feb 3 * 12 - 4 pm
Dan Ryan Woods Pavilion, S Western Ave & W 87th St, Chicago
Get active and explore the natural beauty of your local forest preserve this winter! Learn how to navigate using orienteering skills, create snowshoes and backpacks from natural materials, and track animals that make the Preserves their home during winter. Certain activities available weather permitting. For details, call 708-386-4042.
Monday, Feb 19 * 12 - 3 pm
Eggers Grove, 11201 S Avenue B, Chicago
Come out, get active and enjoy the Forest Preserves on Snowshoes! This free program is open to the whole family and will include guided nature hikes, skins and skulls and a warm fire. Program will happen whether or not there is snow. No registration required. Call 708-386-4042 for details.
Saturday, Feb 24 * 12 - 4 pm
North Creek Meadow, Glenwood-Lansing Rd & Torrence Ave, Chicago Heights
Bundle up the family and enjoy the 2018 Forest Preserves Winter Olympics! Put your physical skills to the test with winter-based sports and games. Challenge your mental skills with nature puzzles, bird quizzes and more. Participants and spectators of all ages welcome.
Sunday, Feb 25 * 11 am - 3 pm
Sand Ridge Nature Center, 15891 S Paxton Ave, South Holland
Join us to learn about Black History Month with an educational display and interactive history hike. An imaginary journey follows an Underground Railroad route used in Illinois in the mid-1800s.
Saturday, Feb 10 * 9 am - 3 pm
Sagawau Environmental Learning Center, 12545 W 111th St, Lemont
Don't let the weather get you down! Join the fun as we take a Polynesian spin on winter by skiing the "frozen wave" our winter storms leave in their wake. After skiing, relax and enjoy surfing videos and live updates on surf conditions from Oahu's North Shore. Dress Hawaiian and win a prize!
Saturday, Feb 17 * 9 am - 3 pm
Sagawau Environmental Learning Center, 12545 W 111th St, Lemont
How did an infant prince from the 12th century inspire the world's most famous Nordic ski race? Learn the history the Birkebeiner Ski Race and how it became "the greatest show on the snow." Ski with wood skies and wool knickers or dress like a Viking and win a prize!

For details and a full event listing including all regular events at our six Nature Centers, visit our Events page.
Show Some Love with Forest Preserve Foundation's "I Love My Preserve" Program

The Forest Preserve Foundation offers people the opportunity to honor a special person or occasion with a tribute gift to their favorite forest preserve or nature center. Click here to learn more about I Love My Preserve and other Forest Preserve Foundation giving opportunities.


by Forest Preserves President Toni Preckwinkle

Throughout the Forest Preserves of Cook County, residents and visitors have numerous opportunities to get outside and enjoy the season. Each of our Nature Centers offers fun and educational programming, and there are myriad hands-on and informative events and programs to learn about camping, try snowshoeing
and more.
In this issue of the Forest Way, readers will learn about our Resource Management Department's Wildlife Management Division. FPCC wildlife biologists work together with numerous other agencies to understand the various animals and insects found in the Forest Preserves.  This important research can help inform conservation decisions, as well as help us understand zoonotic diseases.
Also in this issue is a plant profile on red-osier dogwood. This woody shrub provides a stunning visual respite from winter's traditional neutral palette. The bark can remain a vibrant red throughout the season, making it easy to spot while enjoying a hike or visit in the Forest Preserves.
Finally, readers will also find information on various volunteer opportunities taking place throughout the Forest Preserves this month. The list is just a sampling of the different opportunities; many more stewardship and workday options can be found on our website at
Don't forget, Valentine's Day is on the horizon. If you're still looking for a special way to spend time with loved ones, consider joining in on one of the Nature Centers' themed events. Find a full list of events at

We hope to see you in the Preserves!
Toni Preckwinkle,
Forest Preserves of Cook County  

The Forest Preserves of Cook County boast nearly 70,000 acres of wild and wonderful, and are home to thousands of species of plants and animals.  The diverse natural systems found throughout the forest preserves - including savannas, prairies, woodlands and wetlands - serve as biological field stations for important scientific research.


Show your love for the Forest Preserves of Cook County this February by volunteering at a stewardship workday. Volunteer work is fun and meaningful, and our nearly 70,000 acres provides numerous ways to get involved. Consider joining a workday to help restore the native habitats where plants and animals can thrive in the wild.


The February photo of the month, taken by Robert Schwaan, features a serene sunset at the Tampier Lake Boating Center in Orland Park. Did you know Tampier Lake Boating Center is open from April through October, weather permitting, and offers canoe and row boat rentals? There is also a public boat ramp, and visitors can enjoy their personal non-gasoline powered boats, rowboats, canoes, kayaks, and approved inflatable boats on Tampier Lake. 

Throughout the landscape, wintertime weather is often augmented by a color palette dominated by varying shades of brown and gray.  And while many hikers enjoy viewing these winter landscapes with a light dusting of snow, others miss the lush greenery and vibrant colors typically seen throughout the forest preserves during spring and summer.  For this reason, spotting red-osier dogwood ( Cornus sericea ) can be a real treat throughout the season. Red-osier dogwood most notably offers
a welcome contrast to its surroundings because of the rich red color of the stems
in winter. 


Picnic permits for the 2019 season will go on sale beginning Thursday, November 15, 2018. Learn more about purchasing a picnic or special event permit in the Forest Preserves of Cook County at