In This Issue

Willow Road Dam, Winnetka
Saturday, May 5 * 9 - 11 am
Bring your canoe or kayak and celebrate the legacy of canoe legend Ralph Frese by paddling down the Chicago River. A free shuttle bus will be provided and will run from 8 am - 2 pm. Official launch at 9 am. The event is free and concludes with a celebration at Linne Woods where refreshments will be served.

LaBagh Woods, 5400 N Cicero Ave, Chicago
Saturday, May 19 * 9 - 11:30 am
Welcome back birds at this year's International Migratory Bird Day Celebration. Watch scientists band and release birds migrating from Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean. Enjoy crafts, snacks, bird walks and more.
Dam No. 2 Woods, 902 N Des Plaines River Rd, Mt Prospect
Sunday, May 20 * 8 am
Join the second oldest continual canoe race in the United States! Race begins at Oak Springs Road in Libertyville and ends at Dam #2 in Mount Prospect. Free for spectators. Race starts at 8 am, activities at Dam #2 starts at 11 am. To register, visit
Camp Dan Beard, 200 Portwine Rd, Northbrook
Tuesday, May 22 * 5:30 - 7:30 pm
Help members of your youth organization master the basicws of camping during this free, hands-on workshop for camping skills and teamwork. Registration and adult supervision required, space is limited. Email to register.

Rolling Knolls, 11N260 Rohrssen Rd, Elgin
Friday, May 4 * 5 - 7 pm
Follow along as an instructor leads you step by step in creating a Georgia O'Keefe-inspired painting of spring ephemeral flowers using a large tree slice as your canvas. All painting materials will be provided. Ages 21 & up. BYOB (no glass). Payment required upon registration. Call 708-386-4042 to register.
Deer Grove, 1650 N Quentin Rd, Palatine
Wednesday, May 16 * 4 - 6 pm
Learn proper technique from certified archery instructors, along with archery history and bow basics. Ages 10 & up. Registration required for groups of 10 or more. To register or for information, call 708-386-4042.

Camp Reinberg, 1801 N Quentin Rd, Palatine
Friday, May 18 * 6 - 8 pm
Learn how to make great tasting and easy meals over a fire using cast-iron and basic campfire cooking techniques. Ages 14 & up. Registration required, email to register.

Trailside Museum of Natural History, 738 Thatcher Ave, River Forest
Sunday, May 6 * 11 am - 3 pm
Celebrate spring with a day of activities for all ages, including animal encounters, kids' tree climb, guided wildflower walks, netting in the pond, seed planting, building a bird house to take home, and much more!
Trailside Museum of Natural History, 738 Thatcher Ave, River Forest
Friday, May 11 * 3 - 5 pm
Introductory class for new river kayakers. Technique and instruction provided prior to a short hands-on paddle. Registration required; call 312-533-5751.

Thatcher Woods Pavilion, 8030 W Chicago Ave, River Forest
Thursday, May 31 * 12 - 2 pm
Adults are invited to stay active and try their hand at a new or old pastime. Enjoy a brief nature hike on the trails while you wait for your next turn. Ages 18 & up.

Kickapoo Woods, 14498 S Halsted St, Riverdale
Saturday, May 12 * 9 am - Noon
Celebrate the 26th annual Chicago River Day with the Forest Preserves of Cook County on the Little Calumet River. Join us for river clean-up and land restoration. See for more information. All ages. Limited number of boats available. To register or for information, call 708-386-4042.

Eggers Grove, 11201 S Ave B, Chicago
Saturday, May 19 * 11 am - 3 pm
Discover the flora and fauna of the Calumet region and our urban forest preserves. Join us for restoration activities, nature walks, games, biking and more. All ages. Limited number of bikes available. Registration required for groups of 20 or more. To register or for information, call 708-386-4042.
Camp Sullivan, 14630 Oak Park Ave, Oak Forest
Saturday - Sunday, May 5-6
Gain the skills you need to confidently lead a camping trip for your school, community, scouting, or youth group. The CLIC Training is an overnight course that teaches camping equipment use and care, outdoor activities, teamwork, and nature-based education. Complete this course, then bring groups of up to 30 for overnight stays at Camp Sullivan. Training also qualifies you to access camping gear. For more information, inquire via e-mail.
Sagawau Environmental Learning Center, 12545 W 111th St, Lemont
Saturday, May 12 * 9 am - 2 pm
Celebrate and learn about one of the most important events in the Americas - bird migration! Join us for bird hikes, special exhibits, and learn how you can support bird conservation. All ages.

Saganashkee Slough Boat Launch, 11672 W 107th St, Willow Springs
Tuesday, May 15 * 11 am - 1 pm
What better way to spend your lunch hour than dropping in a fishing line or canoeing around Saganashkee Slough? Instruction and equipment provided, with our friends from Village of Palos Park going through a 'how-to' on proper fishing techniques. Beginners welcome. Call 312-533-5751 for information.
Camp Bullfrog Lake, 9600 Wolf Rd, Willow Springs
Thurs., May 17 * 5:30 - 7:30 pm
Learn tent set-up, campfire building, dressing for camping, camping etiquette and more. Perfect for families and novice campers. Not appropriate for youth groups. Parents required to be present with children 16 and younger. 
Little Red Schoolhouse Nature Center, 9800 Willow Springs Rd, Willow Springs
Wed., May 23 * 10 am - 2 pm
Visitors of all abilities are invited to celebrate nature through accessible activities.

For details and a full event listing including all regular events at our six Nature Centers, visit our Events page.
Learn about arachnids at Brookfield Zoo's New Exhibit

From May 26 through September 3, discover the marvels of eight-legged critters at Brookfield Zoo's new temporary exhibit-Amazing Arachnids-that will explore human-arachnid cultural connections. Guests will have the opportunity to get up close to 100 live arachnids displayed in three themed areas that highlight their unique characteristics and importance in several genres, including medical research, music, literature, film, conservation, folklore, and mythology. Learn more at


by Forest Preserves President Toni Preckwinkle

With the arrival of warmer weather, residents will find numerous ways to get outdoors and enjoy spring in the Forest Preserves of Cook County. From hiking and biking to camping and kayaking, residents can truly create their own adventure in the Preserves.
Did you know about the abundant opportunities to volunteer in the Forest Preserves? Volunteering is an excellent way to enjoy the season while giving back to nature. The Forest Preserves is hosting a targeted shoreline cleanup at Maple Lake  on Saturday, May 12, and there are a wide variety of volunteer opportunities at
In this issue of the Forest Way, readers will learn about a recent restoration project in the Spring Creek Preserves. Galloping Hill Fen, a tiny but ecologically important site, suffered from invasive plant encroachment. A grant enabled restoration work to be completed, improving the site's habitat for insects, birds and other wildlife.
Also in this issue of the Forest Way is information on a new informal canoe and kayak launch site installed in Maywood Grove. The location is significant because it fills an extensive gap between the Irving Park and Lyons launch sites for paddlers, a distance of 11 miles. Learn more about paddling in the Forest Preserves at
The Forest Preserves has been featured in a number of exciting and educational news pieces throughout April. Be sure to check out these stories to learn about the Forest Preserves' Next Century Conservation Plan, the book " Flora of the Chicago Region," and more.
Finally, programs and events abound in the Forest Preserves of Cook County. This month, visitors can enjoy exceptional birding opportunities during a variety of International Migratory Bird Day events. There are also a number of paddling opportunities, as well as educational camping workshops. Visit the events page at for a full list of events and programs.
We hope to see you in the Preserves!
Toni Preckwinkle, President
Forest Preserves of Cook County

Cook County paddlers can now begin or end canoe and kayak excursions from a new informal paddling launch site, installed along the Des Plaines River in the Forest Preserves of Cook County's Maywood Grove. The launch site was selected with community input and support from the Village of Maywood.
In addition to the new launch site, the Forest Preserves of Cook County recently kicked off a new community paddling initiative, the Greater Maywood Paddling Program and Kayak Gear Library, which provides opportunities for organized groups within the Maywood community to connect to nature and water through kayaking experiences.
The new launch and paddling program are supported by Cook County Department of Public Health (CCDPH) and in alignment with the aim of its Healthy Hotspot initiative to increase the number of places that make healthy living easier in and around suburban Cook County.


Mother's Day weekend calls for doing something nice for everyone's mom- Mother Nature! Enjoy the peaceful setting of Maple Lake while you tackle trash along the shoreline, improving the health of the environment. Make this shoreline cleanup a part of your own Mother's Day celebration. Everyone is welcome but space is limited so please  sign up  in advance. Refreshments will be provided and volunteers will go home with a special giveaway from our friends at  Gotham Greens  and  Method .


The May photo of the month, taken by Josh Feeny at Busse Woods, features three barred owl chicks peeking through some leaves. Did you know? The barred owl is named after the bars on its chest. These large birds live in forested areas and create nests in the cavities of trees, or take over the nests of other birds. Learn more: Interested in going birding in the Forest Preserves? Visit to find nearby events, guided bird walks and more.

From researching thousands of native plants to planning for the future of incredible local nature, the Forest Preserves is committed to protecting and restoring the county's diverse ecosystems so all our unique native plants and animals can thrive in the wild. The Forest Preserves manages nearly 70,000 acres, which provides hundreds of opportunities for public education, pleasure and recreation. 


Tucked away in Barrington's 4,000-acre Spring Creek preserves is the tiny, but ecologically significant, Galloping Hill Fen. This 0.125-acre habitat and surrounding area recently benefitted from restoration work thanks to a grant from the Forest Preserve Foundation and Oberweiler Foundation.


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

Slather on some sunscreen and enjoy warmer spring weather by heading out to the Forest Preserves of Cook County to participate in a volunteer restoration workday. Volunteering is fun and meaningful, and there are opportunities for people of all ages and experience levels.