In This Issue

Events
NORTHWEST
 
Saturday, Jan 19 * 10-11:15am or 11:45am-1pm
Rolling Knolls - 11N260 Rohrssen Rd, Elgin
Come out build with invasive species! All equipment provided. Registration required.
 
Saturday, Jan 26 * 11am-2pm
Camp Dan Beard - 200 Potwine Rd, Northbook
Enjoy the Forest Preserves on snowshoes. Dependent on snow conditions; 4" of hard snow is required for snowshoeing. Free.


NORTH
   
Sunday, Jan 13 * 1-3pm
Camp Reinberg - 1801 N Quentin Rd, Palatine
Join us for a learning session on the connection between camping and the Forest Preserves of Cook County. Open to all. Refreshments provided.

Sunday, Jan 13 * 1:30pm
River Trail Nature Center - 3120 Milwaukee Ave, Northbrook
Learn how local wildlife must sleep, move or adapt in order to survive Chicago winters.


CENTRAL
 
Saturday, Jan 12 * 1pm
Trailside Museum of Natural History, 738 Thatcher Ave, River Forest
Don't let cold weather stop you from gardening; pruning trees and shrubs in winter has many benefits. Join University of Illinois Extension Master Gardeners to learn tricks of the trade.
 
Makin' Music Bluegrass Jam
Sunday, Jan 13 * 1pm
Thatcher Woods Pavilion - 8030 W Chicago Ave, River Forest
Make a simple musical instrument with us, or bring your own. Play or just listen - all are welcome!
 
Family Winter Scavenger Hunt and Campfire
Saturday, Jan 26 * 1-2:30pm
Trailside Museum of Natural History, 738 Thatcher Ave, River Forest
Enjoy a winter afternoon on a hunt for signs of animal activity and winter plant life. Warm up afterwards with s'mores and a hot drink by the fire. $2/person.
 
Wednesday, Jan 30 * 6-8pm
Thatcher Woods Pavilion - 8030 W Chicago Ave, River Forest Learn safe practices for fire building and containment, then make your own fire! Marshmallows to conclude our evening of fun. All ages.


SOUTHWEST
 
Cold Weather Creations
Friday, Jan 11 * 5-7:30pm
Swallow Cliff North Pavilion - Calumet Sag Rd, west of La Grange Rd, Palos Park
Make your own all-natural household and outdoor products using essential oils. Go on a hike, create land art, and more.
 
Hike the Preserves
Get some exercise and learn about local forest preserves. Fitness Hike: over 3.1 miles, less interpretation, faster pace. Interpretative Hike: under 3.1 miles, have interpretative theme, slower pace.

SOUTH

Saturday, Jan 12 * 12-3pm
Beaubien Woods - I-94 & Doty Ave, Chicago
Learn how to navigate using orienteering skills, use natural materials to create art projects, and discover the animals that make the Preserves their home during winter. Snow activities available weather permitting.
 
Monday, Jan 21 * 12-3pm
Dan Ryan Woods Pavilion - S Western Ave & W 87th St, Chicago
Join us for a day of stewardship. Help remove invasive plants while learning how we maintain healthy habitats. Warm up with a hot drink and brush pile burn while enjoying winter family-fun activities. All ages.
 
Saturday, Jan 24 * 10am
Sand Ridge Nature Center, 15891 Paxton Ave, South Holland
Join University of Illinois Extension Master Gardeners and Master Naturalists to learn how to support native pollinators in your garden year-round. Registration required.



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

SNOW BETTER TIME TO VISIT THE PRESERVES THAN THIS WINTER


 
 
by Forest Preserves President Toni Preckwinkle

When snow comes to Cook County, grab your sled or skates and head out to the Forest Preserves. Or if you're more interested in a quiet walk in the wintry woods, the Forest Preserves offers that, too. With more than 300 miles of trails, you can always find a new path to explore.
 
That includes cross-country skiing. All Forest Preserves trails are open to skiers, except for the golf courses and at the nature centers. And at the Sagawau Environmental Learning Center in Lemont, specially tracked and groomed trail loops offer beginners and experts a chance to cross-country ski across the preserve. And the site rents skis and offers lessons, too.
 
The Preserves have five sledding hills open until sunset and another four with lights for fun into the evening. There are 22 lakes and ponds where you can go ice fishing and six for ice skating. For more ideas-and hours, locations and rules-go to  fpdcc.com/recreation/winter/.
 
Even when there isn't any snow on the ground, there's plenty to do in the Preserves. Winter is an excellent time to stop by one of the Preserves' six nature centers to learn more about our native wildlife from a naturalist on staff or to join a scheduled event. This month there is everything from a winter wonderland walk to guided birding opportunities. Read more in this issue about the latest from the Preserves.
 
Winter also offers better conditions for the Forest Preserves to start large restoration projects, like at Somme Prairie Nature Preserve. It's also the ideal time for birdwatchers to spot bald eagles. Finally, if giving back to your community was one of your New Year's resolutions, take a look at some of our upcoming volunteer workdays or come out on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, when the Preserves will hold its annual service day of stewardship and family-fun activities in Dan Ryan Woods. View the full list of opportunities at fpdcc.com/volunteer.
 
We hope to see you in the Preserves!
 
Toni Preckwinkle, President
Forest Preserves of Cook County
RESTORATION STARTED BY VOLUNTEERS REACHES NEXT STAGE IN SOMME PRAIRIE NATURE PRESERVE

Tucked away among Cook County's northeastern forest preserves is an example of what an Illinois prairie looked like millennia ago. Somme Prairie Nature Preserve, home to a small remnant of original prairie, is host to an incredible diversity of prairie plants and insects, including species on federal and state threatened and endangered lists. After decades of dedicated volunteer stewardship, the site is now undergoing an expanded 21-acre grant-funded restoration project.

JANUARY 2019 VOLUNTEER  AND TRAINING OPPORTUNITIES

Resolve to give back to nature this year! 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.

Read on for upcoming volunteer workdays...
WINTER WONDERLAND OF BIRDS

This is a great time of year for birdwatching. Throughout the Forest Preserves of Cook County, approximately 120 species bird species have been recorded during winter, including 57 migrants and 63 resident birds.

HEAD OUT AND LOOK UP: WATCH FOR EAGLES IN THE FOREST PRESERVES
Photo by Jeff Nelson

There are multiple sites in the Forest Preserves of Cook County to spot bald eagles. Beginning in 2012 , a pair of bald eagles began nesting near Tampier Lake. Thanks to healthy habitat, eagles have returned to the site ever since, while other pairs have found nesting sites in different Cook County forest preserves. Read more about why January is a particularly good time to see eagles in a recent article from the Daily Southtown: https://trib.in/2ApiaV6 
HELP TEST OUR NEW WEBSITE

The Forest Preserves is launching a new and improved website in 2019 and we need your help.
 
Take a two-minute online test: https://app.usabilityhub.com/do/c618981254bb/bae7
 
In-person testing session: Volunteer for a 20-minute in-person user testing session at a Forest Preserves facility near you (to be scheduled in early 2019). Participants will receive Forest Preserves swag-and help us build a better website! Details and sign up here: https://goo.gl/forms/DXYIQpHgJvWHTVA32 
FOREST PRESERVES WALL CALENDARS NOW AVAILABLE

The Forest Preserves of Cook County's 2019 Wall Calendars are now available. The calendars feature beautiful photographs taken throughout the preserves that highlight some of the breathtaking animals, plants and landscapes that thrive locally. Calendars are available to the public on a first come, first served basis at each FPCC nature center.
CALENDAR PHOTO OF THE MONTH: JANUARY

The January photo of the month, "River Otter" by Jeff Nelson, features a North American river otter enjoying a brisk swim in the Forest Preserves' Spring Lake Forest Preserve. Did you know? River otters returned to Cook County nearly 100 years after extirpation. Biologists are now studying otters' behavior to understand how this apex predator interacts with local habitats. Learn more here:  fpdcc.com/the-return-of-urban-otters/.