In This Issue
Friday, Jan 10 * 6-8 pm
Rolling Knolls - 11N260 Rohrssen Rd, south of Bode Rd, Elgin
Join us for a winter art workshop as we explore the beauty of nature through watercolor painting. Materials provided. Ages 21+. BYOB (no glass). Registration required; call 708-386-4042.
Saturday, Jan 11 * 10 am-Noon
Rolling Knolls - 11N260 Rohrssen Rd, south of Bode Rd, Elgin
Enjoy a family fishing adventure through the ice. Build an ice-rod and discuss necessary tackle, bait, suitable locations and safety precautions. In partnership with the Elgin Chapter of the Izaak Walton League of America.
Sunday, Jan 12 * 11 am-2 pm
Camp Reinberg - 1801 N Quentin Rd, Palatine
Enjoy the Forest Preserves on snowshoes! Conditions permitting; 4" of hard snow required.
Saturday, Jan 25 * 7 pm
Crabtree Nature Center - 3 Stover Rd, Barrington Hills
View the constellations and hear their mythical tales while enjoying a treat around the campfire. Dress for the weather. Registration required; call 847-381-6592.


Saturday, Jan 25 * 11 am-2 pm
Caldwell Woods - W Devon Ave and N Nagle Ave, Chicago
Find your way using a compass, follow local animal tracks and more. Warm up by the indoor fire and make a s'more. Snowshoeing and sledding available weather permitting.


Saturday, Jan 11 * 9 am
Thatcher Woods Pavilion - Chicago Ave, west of Thatcher Ave, River Forest
Bring your mat and join us for an indoor yoga class surrounded by nature. Ages 12 & up. Registration required; call 708-366-6530.
Sunday, Jan 12 * 1 pm
Thatcher Woods Pavilion - Chicago Ave, west of Thatcher Ave, River Forest
Come play along or just listen at our indoor jam. Make a simple musical instrument or bring your own. All are welcome to these free events!
Sunday, Jan 19 * 1-2:30 pm
Trailside Museum of Natural History - 738 Thatcher Ave, River Forest
The whole family will enjoy being outdoors on a winter afternoon, hunting for signs of animals and plant life, followed by making s'mores and sipping hot chocolate around a campfire. $2/person.


Saturday, Jan 18 * 10 am
Yankee Woods - Central Ave, north of 167th St, near Tinley Park
Fitness hikes are for those looking to get some exercise outdoors. Fitness hikes will be faster paced with little to no stopping or interpretation. Total distance: 3.1 miles.
Saturday, Jan 18 * 10 am
Oak Forest Heritage Preserve-East - Fieldcrest Dr, southwest of Crawford Ave, Oak Forest
Walk & Talk hikes are for those who want to know more about the Forest Preserves and natural areas. These hikes will be led at a slower pace with frequent stopping and interpretation. Total distance: 1.7 miles.
Sunday, Jan 26 * 10 am
Country Lane Woods - 95th St, east of Flavin Rd/Willow Springs Rd
Faster-paced hike with little to no stopping or interpretation. Total distance: 5 miles on unpaved, rolling terrain.  


Saturday, Jan 4 * 10 am-1 pm
Beaubien Woods - W Doty Ave S, southeast of E 130th St & S Ellis Ave, Chicago
Help restore this unique ecosystem then enjoy a hike to explore winter animals. In partnership with the Field Museum.
Saturday, Jan 11 * 10 am-3 pm
Sand Ridge Nature Center - 15891 Paxton Ave, South Holland
Learn basic printmaking techniques using found materials.
Monday, Jan 20 * 12-3 pm
Dan Ryan Woods Visitor Center - S Western Ave & W 87th St, Chicago
Remove invasive plants while learning about efforts being made to maintain heathy habitats. Enjoy sledding (weather permitting) and winter activities.
Friday, Jan 24 * 7 pm
Camp Shabbona Woods - 15810 S Torrence Ave, South Holland
Enjoy a brisk walk through the woods and warm up around the campfire with s'mores and hot cocoa. Registration required; email to register.

For details and a full event listing including all regular events at our six nature centers,  visit our Events page .
Forest Preserve Foundation Releases 2019 Annual Report
The Forest Preserve Foundation released its 2019 Annual Report last month. It covers programs in the Forest Preserves that receive funding support from the Foundation. Over the last 12 months, the Foundation increased its investments in next-generation environmental leaders and key restoration projects in the Forest Preserves of Cook County. It is approaching nearly $2 million in lifetime grants. Download the report to read highlights from the past year.


by Forest Preserves President Toni Preckwinkle

With the start of a new year, many of us may be considering goals and resolutions to help us start the year on a positive note, from increasing physical wellbeing to being more motivated to try new things. Many common New Year's resolutions can be met while visiting the Forest Preserves of Cook County--and adding another, too: spending more time in nature.
Exercise More
With more than 350 miles of trails for walking, running and bike riding, it's easy to get some exercise in the Forest Preserves. With varying lengths and difficulties, a workout can be customized to meet individual needs. The Forest Preserves also has two locations with fitness stairs for a unique addition to a workout.
Spend More Time with Friends and Family
The Forest Preserves hosts more than 1000 events at our six nature centers and at forest preserves sites throughout the County. Whether you're looking for a family-friendly program or a special night out, there are ample opportunities to make fun memories with loved ones. And don't forget, there are five campgrounds in the Forest Preserves, where you can gather your friends and family around a campfire, roast marshmallows and enjoy each other's company.
Learn a New Skill or Hobby
Whether you're interested in photography, archery, gardening, painting or paddling, Forest Preserves programs can help you learn new skills or discover a new hobby. Our trained staff guides participants through various activities, answers questions and helps cultivate new interests.
Volunteering with the Forest Preserves is fun and meaningful. No matter your age or skill, there are opportunities for everyone from litter clean up to ecological stewardship and even citizen science work, too. Added benefits include joining a community of dedicated individuals, getting exercise outside and helping improve your local preserve. Visit our Volunteer Page to learn more about different opportunities.

We hope to see you in your forest preserves!
Toni Preckwinkle, President
Forest Preserves of Cook County
When Deloris Lucas started meeting staff from the Forest Preserves of Cook County at community meetings on Chicago's South Side a few years ago, she was already aware of nearby Beaubien Woods. The bike and wellness group she founded, We Keep You Rollin', included the preserve in some of their rides for local residents.
As the Forest Preserves began forging deeper connections with residents and organizations in the area through its Better Beaubien project it was clear that We Keep You Rollin' was a perfect fit. 
Photo courtesy of Friends of the Chicago River.
Native plants are back and ecological conditions have improved at Forest Preserves sites along the Chicago River that are being restored by Centennial Volunteers, according to data released in December by Friends of the Chicago River.
All of the locations measured saw double digit increase in the percentage of the site covered by native plants, as invasive species such as buckthorn and garlic mustard were removed by the volunteers. At Blue Star Memorial Woods in Glenview, for example, native coverage jumped to 66 percent from 36 percent before the work began.
Friends of the Chicago River also measured ecological conditions with a metric called the floristic quality index (FQI). All of the eight sites, which ranged from ten to 20 acres, also saw increases in the FQI, including notable gains at River Oaks Woods by the Sand Ridge Nature Center in South Holland and Beaubien Woods in Chicago. Read more about the study here.
Born in celebration of the Forest Preserves of Cook County's 100-year anniversary, the Centennial Volunteers program was created in 2014 by a coalition of organizations including Friends of the Chicago River, Audubon Great Lakes, North Branch Restoration Project, Friends of the Forest Preserves and the Forest Preserves of Cook County.
Volunteers in the program restore land along Chicago's rivers by removing invasive plants, collecting and spreading native seeds, and more-an effective strategy as evidenced by the Friends of the Chicago River evaluation.
Forest Preserves sites benefitting from Centennial Volunteers work include Clayton Smith Woods, Somme Woods, Blue Star Memorial Woods, Forest Glen Woods, Beaubien Woods, Whistler Woods, Kickapoo Woods and River Oaks Woods.

The Illinois state law legalizing recreational cannabis starting January 1, 2020 does not allow for consumption of cannabis ( also known as marijuana, pot or weed) in public. Smoking or consuming cannabis flower, concentrates and infused products is prohibited in the Forest Preserves. Anyone caught consuming cannabis in the Forest Preserves will be cited and may be subject to administrative or criminal penalties.
You may possess cannabis in the Forest Preserves, subject to the Illinois recreational cannabis possession limits. Anyone in violation of the Illinois recreational cannabis possession limits will be cited and may be subject to administrative or criminal penalties (unless they possess a valid Illinois medical cannabis registry identification card or a similar form of patient identification from another state where medical cannabis is legal).
The legal age for cannabis consumption and possession in Illinois is 21 years old. Anyone under 21 years old and in possession of any amount of cannabis will be cited and subject to administrative or criminal penalties (with medical registration exemptions). Anyone under 18 years old will have a parent or guardian notified of the citation.
In honor of Black History Month, the Forest Preserves of Cook County invites sixth through 12th grade students to submit an essay about their favorite African American leaders in conservation for the Little Red Schoolhouse Nature Center's Essay Contest.
The contest provides students the opportunity to learn about past and present African Americans who have impacted conservation and preservation. Nature Center Director Maritza Rocha said that youth need to see conservation and preservation leaders who look like them, their communities and culture to instill a sense of ownership and representation.
"We are really trying to promote youth advocates, stewardship, volunteerism, and it's important to make sure we are inclusive and including everyone," Rocha said. "It's critical that the next generation knows that all types of people have contributed to conservation."
Essay contest winners will be invited to read their essay and collect their prizes, which includes Forest Preserves gear and a certificate to take their family to a Family Campout program, at Little Red Schoolhouse Nature Center in February. The subjects of the winning essays will also be added to the nature center's Leaders of Conservation wall.
Photo by Kris DaPra.
The Forest Preserves supports your new year's resolutions of getting outside, getting active and giving back. Join us for restoration activities this month and all year long. There are opportunities throughout the County for people of all ages and experience levels.
The January photo of the month, "A Scenic Winter Afternoon Along the Des Plaines River," was taken by Christine Albrecht along the trail at River Trail Nature Center. Did you know? More than 7,000 acres of Forest Preserves land borders the Des Plaines River, highlighted by 28 miles of unpaved trails in the Des Plaines Trail System. Plan an outing using our Interactive Web Map.