In This Issue


Sunday, Apr 14 * 1 pm
Crabtree Nature Center - 3 Stover Rd, Barrington Hills
Make a new mark on your sketchbook by using more than just a pencil in this mixed media sketching class. Taught by artist Karen Sako.
Saturday, Apr 20 * Noon-3 pm
Crabtree Nature Center - 3 Stover Rd, Barrington Hills
Play, plant, paint and pretend. 

Wed, Apr 11 * 5:30-7:30 pm
Camp Dan Beard - 200 Portwine Rd, Northbrook
Free, hands-on workshop teaching basic camping skills to youth groups. Registration required. Email to learn more.

Friday, Apr 12 * 10 am-Noon
River Trail Nature Center - 3120 Milwaukee Ave, Northbrook
Join University of Illinois Extension staff and volunteers to explore soil science in time for this growing season. Ages 18 & up. Registration required by 4/8.
Saturday, Apr 13 * 10 am-1 pm
Caldwell Woods - W Devon Ave & N Nagle Ave, Chicago
Learn about edible plants, weaving, shelter building, potable water, primitive fires and more. Ages 7 & up.  
Wednesday, Apr 17 * 6:30-8 am
Tower Road Boat Launch - Tower Rd, west of Forestway Dr, Northfield
Experience the sunrise while on water, and learn about coffee sustainability practices from The Coffee & Tea Exchange. Coffee provided by The Coffee & Tea Exchange. Registration required.

Saturday, Apr 27 * 7:30 am
LaBagh Woods - 5400 N Cicero Ave, Chicago
Join Jeff Skrentny and take advantage of his detailed knowledge of this premier Chicago birding hotspot. Wear boots. Email to register.

Sunday, Apr 28 * 12:30-3 pm
Erickson Woods - Willow Rd, east of I-94/Edens Expy, Winnetka
Join the BackYard Nature Center for an afternoon of service, learning, and fun. 

Sunday, Apr 7 * Noon-2 pm
Maywood Grove - Ohio St & Des Plaines Ave, Maywood
Learn the basics of archery. Ages 10 & up.

Saturday, Apr 13 * 7:30 am
Miller Meadow-South - 1st Ave, south of Roosevelt Rd, Forest Park
Explore with Chicago Ornithological Society in search of early spring migrants. Email for more info.

Saturday, Apr 20 * 11 am
Bemis Woods South - Grove 7, Ogden Ave, west of Wolf Rd, Western Springs
Join in a casual 1.7-mile hike while enjoying the natural beauty of a spring afternoon.
Saturday, Apr 27 * 8-10 am
Trailside Museum of Natural History - 736 Thatcher Ave, River Forest
Join the River Forest Park District in removing trash. Contact for details and to sign up.
Sunday, Apr 28 * 1pm
Thatcher Woods - Chicago Ave west of Thatcher Ave, River Forest
Join Roberta Jannsen for a forest therapy walk and experience nature in a healthy way. Call 708-366-6530 to register.


Saturday, Apr 13 * 8-11:30 am
Papoose Lake - McCarthy Rd, west of S La Grange Rd, Palos Park
Join us for spring fishing and fun.  Catch and release event; fishing license not needed. In partnership with the Village of Palos Park.
Sunday, Apr 14 * 1-3 pm
Camp Sullivan - 14630 Oak Park Ave, Oak Forest
Join us for fun-filled afternoon exploring our trails on foot and bike. Registration and adult supervision required. Email to learn more.

Friday, Apr 19 * 11 am-1 pm
Columbia Woods, Grove 1 - Willow Springs Rd & Corcoran Rd, Willow Springs
Spend your lunch hour fishing or canoeing the Des Plaines. Canoe instruction and fishing equipment provided. For information, call 312-533-5751.
Tuesday, Apr 23 * 5:30-7 pm
Camp Sullivan - 14630 Oak Park Ave, Oak Forest
Free, hands-on workshop teaching basic camping skills to youth groups. Registration required. Email to learn more.


Spring Breakout Adventures
Come out for archery, nature exploration, artmaking and more. All ages. Registration required for groups of 10+.
Saturday, Apr 20 * 10 am-3 pm
Sand Ridge Nature Center - 15891 Paxton, South Holland
Activities include art-making, puppet shows, hikes and Earth Day Jeopardy!
Saturday, Apr 27 * 9-1 pm
Beaubien Woods - I-94 & Doty, Chicago
Clean up the preserves with Friends of the Parks, with fun nature activities and snacks. Groups with 10+, register via email.
Saturday, Apr 27 * 10 am-Noon
Sand Ridge Nature Center - 15891 Paxton, South Holland
Join University of Illinois Extension staff and volunteers as we explore the soil science for native ornamental plantings in time for this growing season.
Sunday, Apr 28 * 7:30 am
Powderhorn Lake - S Brainerd Ave, east of S Burnham Ave, Burnham
Join us for a paddle as we observe and identify spring migrants. Canoes and binoculars provided. Ages 12 & up. Register at .

For details and a full event listing including all regular events at our six Nature Centers, visit our Events page.
Show your love for local outdoors--with help from REI
The Forest Preserve Foundation is one of three organizations that REI members can "vote" for at check-out when making in-store purchases, through Monday, April 8. The Foundation can receive up to $25,000 toward restoration work in the Palos Preserves. Learn more.


by Forest Preserves President Toni Preckwinkle

Spring is an inspiring time to visit the Forest Preserves of Cook County. Throughout the season, visitors can witness the renewal of nature. As the weather continues to warm, soon we'll see migrating birds, the reemergence of wildlife, and spring wildflowers accompanied by buzzing bees and flittering butterflies.
But to welcome back our native plants and animals, it is vital that Cook County's natural lands provide the quality habitat needed to host the thousands of species that can be found in the Forest Preserves. It takes a lot of hard work to protect nearly 70,000 acres. Fortunately, the Forest Preserves benefits from hundreds of volunteers and site stewards who dedicate time to restoration; performing work such as cutting invasive buckthorn, collecting and spreading native seeds and picking up litter.
With Earth Day approaching, this is the perfect time to commit to caring for our natural lands. Stewardship and volunteer work ensures our native plants and animals thrive not only for us to enjoy today but so that future generations can experience and appreciate the benefits of nature. And there are so many benefits. Restored natural lands help clean our air and water, reduce flooding, encourage investments in our communities, and improve the health of people.
In this issue, you'll learn about some of the different ways to celebrate Earth Day in the Forest Preserves. Nature Centers are hosting special events and programs, and there are numerous volunteer opportunities throughout the month. Consider gathering family and friends, and helping to restore our lands for Earth Day.
Also in this issue is news about our newest dedicated Illinois Nature Preserve, Wampum Lake; as well as information about our new fishing guide, a recently opening fishing lake, and more.

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

Wampum Lake Woods has long been a favorite site for visitors of all ages looking for a beautiful setting in south suburban Cook County to come together with friends and family. With nearly 1 mile of shoreline, the lake itself offers excellent year-round fishing opportunities, and the 412-acre site has shady picnic groves and large open spaces to play catch. Thanks to continued restoration efforts, Wampum Lake is now also a place to see high-quality natural habitats.

Learn more about Wampum Lake Nature Preserve...

Join the Forest Preserves of Cook County as we celebrate Earth Day with volunteer opportunities, educational programs and fun events, Saturday, April 20-Sunday, April 28.
Celebrating Earth Day is a great way to explore the Forest Preserves while renewing our commitment to the natural environment. It's also an opportunity to continue preserving habitat for the millions of plants, animals and other living things that thrive in the Forest Preserves.


Check out our updated fishing guide (PDF)! The Forest Preserves of Cook County Fishing Guide includes information on lakes and waters open to public fishing, accessible fishing areas, rules, fishing and boating regulations, as well as site specific details such as water depths, principle fish species and more. Guides can be downloaded from the Forest Preserves website (PDF)  or picked up at any of our six nature centers, the Forest Preserves' general headquarters (536 N Harlem Ave. in River Forest), or the Dan Ryan Woods Visitor Center.

After rebuilding and years of stocking, Tuma Lake is now open to the public!
Tuma Lake, a rustic fishing spot in the heart of Palos, closed in the 1980s after the earthen dam that forms the lake broke open and caused the water to drain. Following an extensive rebuilding project in 2007/08, the lake was reestablished. Work included recontouring the lake bottom as well as adding a new bentonite layer seal, water control structure and culvert, and emergency spillway. Underwater structures were also placed in Tuma Lake to create healthy aquatic habitat.


The April calendar photo of the month, "Curious Eastern Chipmunk" by Tarah Leigh, was captured at Little Red Schoolhouse Nature Center in Willow Springs. Did you know? Most eastern chipmunks dig elaborate underground burrows with a hidden entrance, leaf-lined nests, food storage areas and even drainage tunnels to prevent flooding. These tiny mammals prefer woodland habitat, and can be spotted scurrying across trails and along the edges of wooded areas at most of the Forest Preserves' nature centers.
Enjoy spring in the Forest Preserves of Cook County. Consider joining a workday, where volunteers remove invasive brush and often conduct brush pile burns. There are opportunities throughout the county for people of all ages and experience levels.

Check out upcoming volunteer workdays...

The Bemis Woods  Go Ape Treetop Adventure and Treetop Journey Courses  are now open for the season! The courses, built and operated by Go Ape, offer guests exciting treks through the forest canopy. While exploring the forest from the treetops, visitors experience thrilling zip lines and unique obstacles.