In This Issue


Sunday, Feb 17 * 1 pm
Crabtree Nature Center - 3 Stover Rd, Barrington Hills
Join University of Illinois Extension Master Gardeners and Master Naturalists to learn how to support native pollinators year-round. A make and take bug hotel for the first 15 participants.

Saturday, Feb 23 * 10 am-1 pm
Caldwell Woods Warming Shelter - W Devon Ave & N Nagle Ave, Chicago
Join us for a winter art workshop as we explore the beauty of nature through watercolor painting. All materials provided. Registration required.

Nature Book Club
Thursday, Feb 7 * 7 pm
Trailside Museum of Natural History - 738 Thatcher Ave, River Forest
Adults and teens are invited to a lively discussion of "Overstory" by Richard Powers.
Saturday, Feb 9 * Noon-3 pm
Thatcher Woods Pavilion - Chicago Ave, west of Thatcher Ave, River Forest
Learn to navigate using new-found orienteering skills, create snowshoes, and track animals that make the Preserves home during winter. Snowshoeing and sledding, conditions permitting.

Sunday, Feb 10 * 1-3 pm
Camp Sullivan - 14630 Oak Park Ave, Oak Forest
Join us for a learning session on the connection between camping and the Forest Preserves of Cook County. Open to all. Refreshments provided.

Conservation@Home: Winter Pruning
Saturday, Feb 16 * 10 am
Little Red Schoolhouse Nature Center - 9800 Willow Springs Rd, Willow Springs
Proper pruning can greatly improve the appearance and health of woody plants. Join University of Illinois Extension Master Gardeners to learn tricks to pruning trees and shrubs.
Saturday, Feb 16 * 10 am
St. Mihiel Woods East - Central Ave south of 167th, Tinley Park
Get some exercise and learn about local forest preserves during this roughly 3-mile interpretive hike.
Birch Leggings and the Birkie
Saturday, Feb 16 * 1 pm
Sagawau Environmental Learning Center - 12545 W 111th St, Lemont
How did an infant prince from the 12th century inspire the world's most famous Nordic ski race? Learn the history of the Birkebeiner Ski Race and how it became the "greatest show on snow." Ski with wood skies and wool knickers or dress like a Viking and win a prize! Event will take place only if ski trails are open.
Saturday, Feb 23 * 9 am-3 pm
Sagawau Environmental Learning Center - 12545 W 111th St, Lemont
Watch a livestream of American Birkebeiner race and get race results as they are posted.
Saturday, Feb 23 * 11 am-2 pm
Camp Bullfrog Lake - 9600 Wolf Rd, Willow Springs
Enjoy the Forest Preserves on snowshoes. Dependent on snow conditions; 4" of hard snow is required for snowshoeing. Free.


Saturday, Feb 9 * 1:30 pm
Camp Shabbona Woods - 15810 S Torrence Ave, South Holland
Restore lost prairie habitat as we restore ourselves. No experience necessary. Registration required, call 708-386-4042.
Saturday, Feb 16 * 10 am
Joe Orr Woods - E Joe Orr Rd, east of S Halsted St, Chicago Heights
Get some exercise and learn about local forest preserves during this roughly 8-mile fitness hike.
Monday, Feb 18 * 11 am-2 pm
Whistler Woods - Forest View Ave, east of S Harlem Ave, Riverdale
Learn how to stay warm this winter with fire building, shelter building, DIY projects and more.
Saturday, Feb 23 * Hikes at 11 am & 2 pm
Sand Ridge Nature Center - 15891 Paxton Ave, South Holland
Join us on an imaginary journey that follows an Underground Railroad route used in Illinois in the mid-1800s.

For details and a full event listing including all regular events at our six Nature Centers, visit our Events page.
Remembering Craig Stettner
It is with heavy hearts that we bid farewell to an incredible environmental champion who passed away recently.
Craig Stettner was a dedicated conservation leader and educator. Through his experiential teaching, he has inspired countless individuals to care for the natural world. Learn more about Craig Stettner.

Show Some Love: I Love My Preserve
The Forest Preserve Foundation offers people the opportunity to honor a special person or occasion with a tribute gift to their favorite forest preserve or nature center. Click here to learn more about I Love My Preserve and other Forest Preserve Foundation giving opportunities.


by Forest Preserves President Toni Preckwinkle

By February, Cook County residents have already experienced months of cold weather. The falling snow and dropping temperatures may have you feeling "cabin fever." The cure? Plan a trip out into the Forest Preserves of Cook County.
Throughout winter, there are plenty of ways to enjoy the Forest Preserves and get a little healthier, too. Within Cook County's nearly 70,000 acres of natural lands, you can change up your winter exercise routine while enjoying the mental health benefits of being out in a peaceful landscape.
When there is ample snow, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing are great options of exploring the preserves. A run or a casual hike along a trail offers fresh air, exercise and a chance to relax. Or join the workout enthusiasts who use the Swallow Cliff limestone stairs to get their heart pumping.
Although it may not seem like it yet, spring and summer are just around the corner. Read in this issue about how group leaders can plan ahead and learn how to lead kayaking excursions. Through the Forest Preserves' Greater Maywood Paddling Program, individuals are trained on kayaking, use and care of kayaking gear, and how to lead a trip on the Des Plaines River.
This issue also covers efforts to protect oak habitat through the Oak Ecosystem Recovery Plan. Oak trees support a vast number of insect and animal species, while also providing many benefits to other plants. The Forest Preserves is proud to work with partners to help private landowners protect and support their oak trees.
We hope to see you in the preserves!
Toni Preckwinkle, President
Forest Preserves of Cook County

The Forest Preserves is part of a new regional initiative to protect critical oak ecosystems, an effort that will produce ecological benefits far beyond the oaks themselves. Through the Chicago Wilderness Oak Ecosystem Recovery Plan, the Forest Preserves and other conservation partners identified key oak ecosystems, are in the process of restoring oak ecosystems on Forest Preserves land, and reaching out to homeowners and others who can protect their oaks, as well.


A decades-long partnership between the Field Museum and the Forest Preserves was honored during last month's Forest Preserves Board of Commissioners meeting. Since the early 1990s, The Field Museum has worked with the Forest Preserves to conserve and restore our region's natural communities and provide programs and resources to connect people to nature.

Read on...

Earlier this month, the Forest Preserves of Cook County Board of Commissioners adopted a resolution committing the Forest Preserves to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.
The resolution is a joint effort between Cook County government and the Forest Preserves in response to the United Nations International Panel on Climate Change report, which explains that the consequences of manmade climate change will become irreversible in 12 years if global carbon emissions are not immediately and dramatically reduced.
The Forest Preserves resolution positions the District to be a leader in the fight against climate change. In addition to moving the emissions reduction goal to net-zero, the resolution positions the Forest Preserves to reduce facility emissions by 45 percent by 2030, and develop a 100 percent renewable energy plan within one year emphasizing renewable generation.


The Forest Preserves of Cook County is looking for community organizations, agencies and schools to participate in the Greater Maywood Paddling Program, which includes Maywood and surrounding communities.
The program provides opportunities for organized groups to connect to nature and water through kayaking experiences. Group leaders are presented a series of trainings on kayaking by Forest Preserves staff members. Upon completion, certified leaders will be able to access the Kayak Gear Lending Library to take their group members on paddling trips at Thatcher Glen Pond or along the 5.5-mile stretch of the Des Plaines River, starting at Maywood Grove and ending at Plank Road Meadow Boat Launch in Lyons.
Interested in bringing your community members or students on paddling trips? Training begins in April. Contact  to learn more.

A photo featuring a breathtaking winter scene in Busse Woods took home first place in the Nature/Landscape category of the Illinois Association of Park Districts' annual "Give Us Your Best Shot" photo contest. The photo, "Winter Reflection," was taken by FPCC stewardship aide, Kris DaPra, and helped share the beauty of the Forest Preserves with a wider audience. Winning photographs are published in Illinois Parks & Recreation magazine and displayed as part of a special showcase at a statewide conference. Winning entries were also announced in the IAPD e-News and on IAPD's website.
Photo by Deer Grove Volunteers
Looking for a way to get out of the house and enjoy some fresh air? 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 February calendar photo of the month, "White-tailed Deer Enjoying the Fresh Snow" by Deep Shah, features a beautiful image of two white-tailed deer with snow-covered snouts in Schiller Woods. Did you know? Deer have a lot of different names depending on gender, age and size. A male deer is known as a buck, while a large male deer is called a stag. A female deer is referred to as a doe, and a young deer is called a fawn. Interested in learning more about local wildlife? Plan a visit to a Forest Preserves nature center.