In This Issue


Sunday, Mar 10 * 11 am-1:30 pm
Rolling Knolls - 11N260 Rohrssen Rd, Elgin
Learn how to create a sustainable garden using conservation practices and talk to local organizations about native landscaping and gardening. Conservation@Home presentation at 12:45 pm. Registration required.
Tuesday, Mar 26 * 10 am-1 pm
Rolling Knolls - 11N260 Rohrssen Rd, Elgin
In conjunction with Activate Elgin's March Into Health, thaw from the winter and play at this 56-acre nature preserve. Activities include a biodiversity hike, archery, pond fishing and nature obstacle course.
Wednesday & Thursday, Mar 27 & 28 * 9:30 am-Noon
Crabtree Nature Center, 3 Stover Rd, Barrington Hills
Learn to build like birds, bees, beavers and more of nature's master architects through games, crafts, and outdoor fun. Ages 7-10. $20/child. In-person registration required.

Sunday, Mar 17 * 11 am-3 pm
River Trail Nature Center, 3120 Milwaukee Ave, Northbrook
Celebrate the arrival of spring with a special day of activities including crafts, games, tree tapping and maple syrup history with syrup samples to taste.

One Earth Film Festival
Saturday, Mar 9 * 9 am, 11 am & 4 pm
Sunday, Mar 10 * 10 am
Thatcher Pavilion, 8030 Chicago Ave, River Forest  
Join us for free family films during the day and a special adult twilight program with a fee.  Discussions and other activities included. For festival details, visit

Wednesday, Mar 20 * 11 am-2 pm
Cummings Square - 536 N Harlem Ave, River Forest
Build and play with natural materials. Make a decorative terrarium, create a bird house and more.
Thursday, Mar 28 * Noon-3 pm
Thatcher Woods - Chicago Ave west of Thatcher Ave, River Forest
Enjoy time out of school with activities including animal encounters, nature play, hikes and more.
Friday, Mar 29 * 7 pm
Wolf Road Prairie - 31st St, west of Wolf Rd, Westchester
Watch the male woodcock bird as he calls, swirls and tumbles in the sky at dusk. Ages 8 & up. For registration and directions, call 708-366-6530.


Thursday, Mar 7 * 6:30 pm
Palos Park Recreation Center, 8901 W 123rd St, Palos Park
Efforts are underway for a healthier place for people and trees. Learn what you can do as a landowner to help the Oak Ecosystem Recovery Project.

Friday, Mar 22 * 4-6:30 pm
Rubio Woods - W Midlothian Turnpike east of S Ridgeland Ave
Learn the basics of archery. Ages 10 & up.
Wednesday, Mar 27 * 5:30-7:30 pm
Camp Sullivan, 14630 Oak Park Ave, Oak Forest
Free, hands-on workshop teaching basic camping skills to youth groups. Registration required. Email to register  .


Saturday, Mar 16 * 10 am
Jurgensen Woods - 183rd St, east of Cottage Grove Ave
Join this 7.5-mile hike and enjoy the natural beauty around you.

For details and a full event listing including all regular events at our six Nature Centers, visit our Events page.
Join Chicago Conservation Leadership Corps
Applications are being accepted now through March 22 for Chicago Conservation Leadership CorpsCCLC is a paid summer program in which students (who will be 15-19 years old by program start date and enrolled in high school or are a 2019 high school graduate) work together on a 10 to 12-member team to perform ecological restoration and trail maintenance projects in the Forest Preserves of Cook County. Apply at .

Become a Certified TreeKeeper
Openlands' TreeKeepers course is coming to the Palos forest preserves! TreeKeepers are trained volunteers dedicated to caring for trees across the entire Chicago region. The eight-day course will teach you all the fundamentals of planting and caring for trees, the impacts of climate change, and the best ways to get involved in your own community. The course is scheduled for Thursday evenings and Sundays from March 24 - April 18 at Little Red Schoolhouse Nature Center. Learn more and register  at


by Forest Preserves President Toni Preckwinkle

For Cook County's 5.2 million residents, there are myriad benefits to having nearly 70,000 acres of open Forest Preserves land. Natural lands help clean our air and water, protect a diversity of plants and animals, and provide endless opportunities for healthy recreation, as well as exciting educational outings. But our forest preserves also provide specialized opportunities for employment and job training across the county.
Eleven different summer and year-long Conservation Corps programs offer training, employment and exposure to conservation-related careers to youth and adults, including programs dedicated to serving individuals facing barriers to employment. The Forest Preserves works closely with partners such as the Housing Authority of Cook County, the Forest Preserve Foundation, Greencorps Chicago, Friends of the Forest Preserves and the Student Conservation Association to provide these paid, hands-on experiences.
Conservation Corps crew members learn valuable transferrable skills such as job readiness and team work, and adult programs provide professional development opportunities including advanced certification in chainsaw and herbicide use. Conservation Corps graduates have gone on to jobs with the Forest Preserves and other conservation organizations.
The restoration work performed by Conservation Corps crews is so important because it makes the land more hospitable to native plants and animals and it makes the Forest Preserves a more enjoyable experience for us all.
In this issue, readers will learn about three regional and national awards recognizing the Conservation Corps programs and partners. Also in this issue is a story about how residents can bring conservation close to home by creating "Forest Preserves Friendly" gardens at community schools and businesses.
In honor of Women's History Month, the issue also features insights from three women working to help nature in different ways, from on-the-ground restoration to introducing youth to nature to advocating for the incredible value of nature in our lives and in society.

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

Conservation Corps  was recognized recently with three national and regional awards celebrating this innovative and important program. Through strong partnerships with multiple organizations, Conservation Corps mobilizes youth and adults to help restore public lands. Conservation Corps is an essential program for the Forest Preserves, and aims to reconnect people and nature, diversify the Forest Preserves' workforce and engage people of all backgrounds in conservation careers.

Read on...

In honor of Women's History Month, we had three conversations with women who are advocates for nature and connected to the Forest Preserves to learn more about their inspiration, path and what advice they'd give to others.


Just two years since launching the Cook County  Conservation@Home  program, the Forest Preserves of Cook County and University of Illinois Extension have over 80 members who have certified home gardens or are working on certification. Conservation@Home gardens provide critical habitat for birds, insects and other wildlife. Now, the program is expanding to encourage schools to adopt environmentally friendly practices, as well.


The Forest Preserve Foundation recently announced a $225,000 grant to support continued restoration work of 120 acres in Cap Sauers Holding Nature Preserve, a site that encompasses a broad swath of wooded bluffs and ravines in the Palos Preserves. The donor, a local resident who wishes to remain anonymous, was inspired to make the gift after visiting Cap Sauers last summer and observing the coordinated work of Forest Preserves staff and volunteers, and hopes the gift will inspire others to support the ecological health and beauty of the Forest Preserves of Cook County.
Individuals and organizations can target their giving to a local or favorite Forest Preserves site through the Foundation's " I Love My Preserve" program. The funds will benefit restoration, trail maintenance, education and other initiatives at that site. Donors receive information about the preserve and how their support is making a difference. 


The March calendar photo of the month, "The Illusive One: A Mink Along the Shores of Sulky Pond" by Robert Fontana, features a stunning image of a mink peeking around some branches at Crabtree Nature Center's Sulky Pond. Did you know? Mink can be found in forested areas close to water. They eat a variety of small mammals, birds, fish and amphibians. Interested in learning more about local wildlife?  Plan a visit to a Forest Preserves nature center.
Get ready for spring's arrival 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...