In This Issue

Sunday, Sept 9 * 11 am - 3 pm
Crabtree Nature Center, 3 Stover Rd, Barrington Hills
Celebrate creativity and color while trying different media and techniques to create art. Sculpt, paint, draw, weave and/or take a mini-class to hone your skills. All ages.
Saturday, Sept 29 * 8 am
Busse Woods South, Grove 20, Elk Grove Village
Benefiting Chicago's at-risk youth, this is a partner race featuring running, canoeing, and a variety of obstacles for teens and adults of all skill levels! Click here to register.

Saturday, Sept 29 * 1 - 9 pm
Deer Grove East & Camp Reinberg, 1599 Pepper Tree Dr, Palatine
In the morning, participate in a restorative bird hike, or stop by to purchase a native plant that will spruce up your "Forest Preserves friendly" yard. The fun continues in the afternoon with mountain biking demos, fishing games, nature play, and natural material building. Relax in the evening at Camp Reinberg with food, s'mores and music, then head back to Deer Grove East for stargazing with the Adler Planetarium.

Saturday, Sept 22 * 7 pm
Whealan Pool Aquatic Center - 6200 W Devon Ave, Chicago
Join us for an after-hours pool party movie event. Bring your favorite pool float or rent one of ours. Lay back and enjoy a splash and a movie. Movie begins at dusk. Film: Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (PG-13).

Tuesday, Sept 25 * 5:30 - 7 pm
Camp Dan Beard - 200 Portwine Rd, Northbrook
Free, hands-on workshop teaching basic camping skills to youth groups. Registration required. Inquire via email.

Friday, Sept 7 * 4 - 7 pm
Cummings Square, 536 N Harlem Ave, River Forest
Come and enjoy this "creative-reuse carnival" with carnival-themed games made out of repurposed materials! Win prizes, learn about local plants and animals, and more. All ages.
Sunday, Sept 9 * 12 - 3 pm
Trailside Museum of Natural History, 738 Thatcher Ave,
River Forest
Learn about this globe-trotting butterfly and trace its migration through fun activities, crafts and displays. See how monarchs are raised, tagged for tracking and watch butterflies being released.
Friday, Sept 14 * 4 - 7pm
Maywood Grove, Ohio St & Des Plaines Ave, Maywood
Kayak nearly 6 miles of the Des Plaines River from Maywood Grove to Plank Road Meadow. Instruction, equipment and kayaks provided. Prior experience a plus. Registration required, call 312-533-5751.
Tuesday, Sept 18 * 4:30 - 6pm
Trailside Museum parking lot, 738 Thatcher Ave, River Forest
Introduction provided prior to a short paddle along the Des Plaines River to Maywood Grove. Perfect for new kayakers. Registration required; call 312-533-5751.

Saturday - Sunday, Sept 8 - 9
Camp Sullivan, 14630 Oak Pak Ave, Oak Forest
For leaders of organized groups. This overnight course teaches essential camping skills so you can confidently lead a youth group camping trip. Complete the course, then bring groups of up to 30 for overnight stays at Camp Sullivan. Training required to access camping gear. Email for more information .
Saturday, Sept 8 * 10 am - 5 pm
Sunday, Sept 9 * 10 am - 4 pm
Columbia Woods, Willow Springs, Willow Springs Rd & Corcoran Rd, Willow Springs
Look back 200 years to frontier life and enjoy food, music, crafts, reenactments, canoe races, games and more. Park free at UPS parking lot at Willow Springs Rd and 75th St and take the shuttle bus to the event site.
Saturday, Sept 22 * 3 - 9 pm
Camp Sullivan, 14630 Oak Park Ave, Oak Forest
Join us for live music and dancing for our official kick-off to public lands week in the Forest Preserves!


Saturday - Sunday, Sept 8 - 9
Camp Shabbona Woods, 15810 S Torrence Ave, South Holland
Join Openlands and the Forest Preserves for a day of stewardship, paddling and camping!

Wed, Sept 12 * 4 - 6:30 pm
Open to all levels, learn proper techniques and bow basics from one-on-one instruction with our certified staff. Recommended for ages 10 & up.
Saturday, Sept 15 * 10 am - 3 pm
Sand Ridge Nature Center - 15891 Paxton Ave, South Holland
Join us for activities promoting a better understanding and appreciation of historic Native American culture. Enjoy archaeology displays, guided hikes, a traditional craft and more.

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


by Forest Preserves President Toni Preckwinkle and General Superintendent Arnold Randall

The Forest Preserves of Cook County are an incredible public resource. Throughout the County, residents and visitors can take advantage of nearly 70,000 acres of natural land. Our preserves offer opportunities to enjoy myriad recreational activities including hiking, biking, picnicking and more. Residents and visitors can also view natural exhibits and resident wildlife at six Nature Centers, experience more than 20 designated nature preserves, or spend a night under the stars at five campgrounds.
For these reasons and many more, we are celebrating National Public Lands Day with two Party for the Preserves events. On Saturday, September 22 at Camp Sullivan in Oak Forest, and on Saturday, September 29 at Deer Grove East in Palatine, residents and visitors are invited to join us for two days full of activities. Attendees can enjoy nature-based crafts, archery, night hikes, stargazing, birding and more. Learn more about these special events in this month's newsletter.
Forest Way readers will also learn about prairies in this month's newsletter. Prairies once covered Illinois, but the lands were turned into sites used primarily for agriculture. Be sure to check out some of the stunning prairie wildflower photos in the article, and plan a visit to a prairie to see some of the wildflowers in bloom.
Also in this issue of the Forest Way is a link to learn more about the Forest Preserve Foundation's support for Chicago Conservation Leadership Corps. The program, hosted in partnership with Friends of the Forest Preserves and Student Conservation Association, is a six-week hands-on summer paid work experience in which dozens of Cook County youth learn about local ecology, network with conservation professionals, and receive extensive and specialized conservation training.
Finally, this month's Forest Way includes information on our annual photo contest. Submissions will be accepted through September 15, and winning photographs will be showcased in the 2019 Forest Preserves of Cook County Wall Calendar. We look forward to seeing the many great photography submissions highlighting some of the Forest Preserves' beautiful landscapes, plants, insects, birds and more.
We hope to see you in the Preserves!
Toni Preckwinkle, President
Forest Preserves of Cook County

It's that time of year again! We're looking for your very best photos of Forest Preserves landscapes, close-ups of plants, insects, birds and other wildlife, pictures that highlight the seasons and shots of people enjoying the outdoors or participating in our recreational offerings.

This year's winning photos will be showcased in the 2019 Forest Preserves of Cook County Wall Calendar, on and on Forest Preserves social media accounts. Each winning photographer will also receive 10 copies of the calendar as well as a Forest Preserves prize package.


Throughout Cook County, residents and visitors can enjoy nearly 70,000 acres of wild and wonderful in the Forest Preserves of Cook County. These public lands are available for numerous activities including hiking, biking, fishing and camping.
In honor of National Public Lands Day, the Forest Preserves will be hosting two weekend Party for the Preserves events on Saturdays, September 22 and 29. At Camp Sullivan in Oak Forest and Deer Grove East in Palatine, visitors of all ages can enjoy a variety of activities including live music, a bird walk, stewardship work, nature play, stargazing and more.
Party for the Preserves

We will also be hosting a Native Plant Sale with Taylor Creek Nursery at the Deer Grove East Party for the Preserves event on Saturday, Sept 29.  The deadline for pre-orders is Sept 21. Orders must be picked up at the event. Questions? Contact Taylor Creek at  or (608)897-8641 ext 1033. Click here to download the order form.
Learn more...

The September Calendar Photo of the Month, "A Hummingbird and Bee" by Brian Bochenk, features a hummingbird and a bee mid-flight at Sagawau Environmental Learning Center in Lemont. Did you know? Ruby-throated hummingbirds can beat their wings dozens of times per second, creating a humming noise. Most ruby-throated hummingbirds spend winter in Central Mexico and Central America. During migration, some will cross the Gulf of Mexico in a single flight (the shortest route across is 500 miles).

As the summer season winds down, late-blooming prairie wildflowers are providing a striking natural display throughout the Forest Preserves of Cook County.
A prairie, French for "meadow," is an open grassland with no trees. Prairies feature a colorful variety of grasses and forbs (wildflowers). Did you know? Illinois is known as the "prairie state" because much of the state's landscape was once prairie habitat. Today, prairies are one of the rarest types of habitat due to extensive human intervention, mainly agriculture. In order to create row crop agriculture, machines churned the prairie's nutrient rich soil and destroyed its structure.


Each summer, dozens of Cook County's youth come together to participate in Chicago Conservation Leadership Corps (CCLC) to help protect plants and animals while learning about local nature, networking with conservation leaders, and making new friends. This year, along with the Forest Preserve Experience program, youth conservation corps programming saw more than 150 participants graduate.
The program, hosted in partnership with Friends of the Forest Preserves and Student Conservation Association, is a six-week hands-on summer paid work experience in which participants receive extensive and specialized conservation training from highly skilled field leaders. Work performed by CCLC members includes fence building, invasive species removal, trail construction and gardening.
CCLC receives generous support from the Forest Preserve Foundation, which underwrote one of this season's crews. Check out this blog from Forest Preserve Foundation to learn more about some of the participants' experiences.

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


Enjoy the final days of summer while giving back to nature. Consider joining a volunteer workday in the Forest Preserves of Cook County. There are opportunities throughout the county for people of all ages and experience levels.