In This Issue

Sat., June 3 * 10 am - 2:30 pm
Kickapoo Woods Boat Launch, 144th & Halsted, Riverdale
Help clean the river (either on shore or on the water) and/or take a canoeing or kayaking lesson. Learn how you can make a difference in terms of the health of the river and life it supports. Clean up tools, and lunch will be provided. All ages, but participants must be at least five to go in a boat. Groups welcome. Click here to register. 
Sunday, June 4 * Noon - 4 pm
Crabtree Nature Center, 3 Stover Rd., Barrington Hills
Celebrate the Forest Preserves of Cook County. Climb a tree, touch a fish, check out the restoration equipment, pitch a tent and try archery. See the many ways to enjoy the Forest Preserves. Come and meet Nature Cat at this Leave No Child Inside event.

Wed., June 7 * 10 am - 2 pm
Little Red Schoolhouse Nature Center, 9800 Willow Springs Rd., Willow Springs
Visitors of all abilities are invited to celebrate nature through accessible activities.

Saturday, June 10 * 11 am - 3 pm
I-94 & Doty Ave, Chicago
Enjoy this annual family event held in partnership with Fishin' Buddies and the Calumet Stewardship Initiative. Fish, explore, canoe and more. Canoe slots are limited; groups welcome. Click here to register. 
Sunday, June 11 * Noon - 3 pm
Trailside Museum of Natural History, 738 Thatcher Ave, River Forest
Celebrate 85 years of nature education and programming at Trailside Museum. Enjoy an ice cream social, join in a bluegrass music jam, participate in family-friendly historical activities, meet some of our animals and much more.

Tuesday, June 13 * 10 am - 2 pm
Daley Plaza, 50 W Washington St, Chicago
Join the FPCC as we take over Daley Plaza. Attendees can see live animals and get information on all things Forest Preserves.

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.
Thursday, June 15 * 6:30 pm
Thatcher Woods, 8030 Chicago Avenue, River Forest
Join us for movie nights. Different feature films with a nature connection will be presented along with family-friendly activities based on the film. Pack a picnic dinner and enjoy an evening of fun and entertainment at scenic preserve venues. For more information, call 312-415-2970 or inquire via email.
Saturday, June 17 * 10 am - 3 pm
Sand Ridge Nature Center, 15891 Paxton, South Holland
Join us as we celebrate freedom, family and country with our historical Underground Railroad program and history displays, including interactive interpretive hikes, traditional music, a wild edibles display, period recipe samples, a craft and more.
Head out to our summer concert series and participate in group jam sessions, learn about making instruments from natural and recycled materials and enjoy concerts by local musicians.  For more information, call 312-415-2970 or inquire via email.
Pre-activities start at 5:30 pm. Concert runs from 6:30 - 8 pm.
Conservation@Home Events
Conservation@Home: Native Bee Nests
Saturday, June 17 * 1 pm
Sagawau Environmental Learning Center, 12545 W 111th St, Lemont
How social are native bees? Native bee species are often solitary nesters in wood or soil. Learn ways to attract these pollinators to your backyard. Registration required. Adults and interested teens.

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

Double Bird Blitz in the Palos & Sag Valley Preserves
Join birders of all levels as they scout the hilly woods and prairies for songbirds, raptors and waterfowl. Birding will start early and go until countdown lunch at 11 am. Come to one or both dates, and bring friends - our goal is to count every bird in the Palos & Sag Valley Preserves! Click here to learn more and register, or call (773) 539-6793.
Permits Available at Dan Ryan Visitor Center
Forest Preserves picnic permits are now available for purchase at the Dan Ryan Visitor Center, located at the corner of Western Avenue and 87th Street in Chicago. Now through Labor Day, the visitor center is open from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and from 9 am to 2 pm on Saturdays. Click here for more information on permits.
Take the Pace Brookfield Zoo Express
Cook County residents can now take advantage of a stress-free travel option when planning their visit to Brookfield Zoo by using the Pace Brookfield Zoo Express weekend bus service, which connects several CTA train stations directly to the world-class zoo. Pace Brookfield Zoo Express routes 770 and 771 are now operating on Saturdays and Sundays. Route 772 is now operating on Saturdays, and route 778 will operate on certain Saturdays beginning June 17. Visit for more information.


by Forest Preserves President Toni Preckwinkle

Just as quickly as spring arrived, summer is now on the horizon. The Forest Preserves of Cook County are bustling with activity and opportunity. From our Films in the Forest and Forest Jams series to biking and boating, there are endless ways to enjoy the great outdoors close to home.
While the Forest Preserves offer an array of options in terms of recreation, a vitally important facet of our work is research and conservation. Recently, one of the FPCC wildlife biologists, Laura Rericha-Anchor, published a comprehensive book on the plants of the Chicago region. The book, "Flora of the Chicago Region," was co-authored by Dr. Gerould Wilhelm, and provides an in-depth look at plants, pollinators and the environment. Learn more in this issue of the Forest Way.
Also in this issue is a story on one of the Forest Preserves' newest programs, the Artist in Residence. In an effort to connect more visitors to nature through art, the FPCC is working with longtime volunteer and artist Kathleen Garness. The public will be able to view her work daily. Watch our Facebook page for images of the artwork she creates while staying in the Forest Preserves.
Finally, this issue of the Forest Way includes ideas on how to spend an hour, a day or even a night exploring the Forest Preserves' South Zone, as well as information on the 85th anniversary of Trailside Museum of Natural History. We hope you'll join us as we celebrate this incredible milestone in nature education.

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

From beginning to end, Forest Preserves of Cook County Wildlife Biologist Laura Rericha-Anchor spent more than 15 years working on her new book "Flora of the Chicago Region: A Floristic And Ecological Synthesis." Co-authored with Dr. Gerould Wilhelm, director of research at The Conservation Research Institute, the book is a thorough look at the plant communities within Chicagoland and beyond, detailing nearly 3,200 plant species and documenting the delicate, yet powerful world of plants, their pollinators, and the environment.
Rericha-Anchor has worked for the Forest Preserves since 1997, and in that time, she has served an important role in protecting and preserving the plants and animals of the Forest Preserves. Through exploration, research and documentation, her contribution to the Forest Preserves' restoration efforts and the health of the region's plant and animal communities is invaluable.

Summertime often brings visions of leisurely boating on lakes and fishing from a shady shoreline. It also noticeably brings new growth of aquatic vegetation. While it's easy to think this vegetation is a nuisance, it also serves an important role in the ecosystem. To help manage the amount of vegetation growing on water bodies, the Forest Preserves' Fisheries staff has been conducting an aquatic vegetation management program on FPCC water bodies since the 1960s.

The June calendar photo of the month, taken by Jerry Janicki, features a great spangled fritillary ( Speyeria cybele) atop a purple cone flower ( Echinacea purpurea) at Sagawau Environmental Learning Center Did you know Sagawau Environmental Learning Center is home to Cook County's only canyon, as well as the banding program of the Chicagoland Bird Observatory? Click here to plan your visit.

Join the Forest Preserves of Cook County at Trailside Museum of Natural History on Sunday, June 11, to celebrate 85 years of nature education and programming at the museum.
Attendees can enjoy an ice cream social, join in a bluegrass jam, participate in family-friendly historical activities, meet some of Trailside's animals, view local history displays, make an animal craft and more.

Learn more about Trailside Museum's anniversary...

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. 


Each year, up to 45 Chicago residents receive hands-on training in the environmental industry through Greencorps Chicago. Crew members gain experience and preparedness for careers in horticulture, urban agriculture, tree care, landscaping, carpentry, ecological restoration and more. Through the nine-month paid program, participants work at a variety sites including locations within the Chicago Park District, the Forest Preserves of Cook County, and other community partners.


Spending time in nature can be both relaxing and inspiring, creating an urgency for those with creative flair to, well, create. With nearly 70,000 acres of wild and wonderful scenery throughout Cook County, the Forest Preserves provide beautiful spaces to escape to for much needed rest, rejuvenation and artistic inspiration.
To help showcase just how influential nature can be in the creative process, as well as use art to connect more people to nature, the Forest Preserves is pleased to announce Kathleen Garness, volunteer stewardship workday leader and winner of last year's Illinois Association of Park District's Volunteer of the Year, as the first ever Artist in Residence for the Forest Preserves of Cook County.