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The Forest Way
Forest Preserves of Cook County Newsletter

April 2023

Eastern Chipmunk
Eastern Chipmunk (Tamias striatus), Photo by: Ken Olsen
A common mammal spotted in the Forest Preserves, chipmunks are the smallest member of the squirrel family. Eastern chipmunks are one of 24 chipmunk species found in the United States.

In this Issue:

  • Celebrate Earth Day with the Forest Preserves of Cook County
  • Sixth Forest Preserves Site Earns Land and Water Reserve Designation
  • Spend a Night Under the Stars in Cook County
  • Latest News: Become a Concessionaire in the Forest Preserves, Join Our Landscape Maintenance Team for the Season, Free Sustainability Lunch & Learn Webinar, Spring Lake Nature Preserve Receives Boost from Forest Preserve Foundation
  • Upcoming Events
  • Volunteer Opportunities
A family volunteering for Earth Day

Celebrate Earth Day with the Forest Preserves of Cook County

Cook County is home to nearly 70,000 acres of wild and wonderful forest preserves, which help clean our air and water and absorb carbon emissions and stormwater. The Forest Preserves of Cook County is hosting events across Cook County in celebration of Earth Day to encourage and inspire residents of all ages to give back to nature or just enjoy time outdoors! 

Celebrate Earth Day

Sixth Forest Preserves Site Earns Illinois Land and Water Reserve Designation

Located in northwestern Cook County, the Arthur L. Janura Forest Preserve offers visitors opportunities to explore beautifully restored prairies and wetlands and enjoy the cool shade of 300-year-old oak trees. Already home to the nine-acre, state-dedicated Shoe Factory Road Prairie Nature Preserve—a rare gravel hill prairie in the northwest corner of the preserve along Shoe Factory Road—this large swathe of natural land now boasts the Forest Preserves’ newest state designated parcel: the Poplar Creek Land and Water Reserve.

Read More
Five kids sitting inside a tent

Spend a Night Under the Stars in Cook County

Did you know that the Forest Preserves of Cook County operates five public campgrounds? Campers can pitch a tent, rent a cabin or bunkhouse, or book a spot for an RV for an immersive, round-the-clock nature experience. Each of the campgrounds offers a unique experience and features accessible campsite options and amenities.  
Our campgrounds are open seven days a week, and from Memorial Day through Labor Day, staff provide weekend programing at most locations. New to camping? We have you covered! The Forest Preserves leads hands-on Camping 101 programs for individuals interested in learning camping basics, and the campgrounds have gear rentals, too. 

Plan Your Camping Trip

Latest News 

Become a Concessionaire in the Forest Preserves

The Forest Preserves of Cook County welcomes an estimated 62 million visits each year to our sites and amenities. To enhance the convenience, enjoyment and recreational experience of visitors while supporting our mission, we’re seeking quality vending and service offerings. Whether you’re selling fully loaded hot dogs or delicious ice cream, offering on-the-spot bike repair services, or anything in between, there are single day, annual and even multi-year concession opportunities in the Forest Preserves of Cook County. 
Learn More

Join Our Landscape Maintenance Team for the Season

Do you enjoy working outdoors? Want to start a career where you support local nature? The Forest Preserves Landscape Maintenance Department is seeking applicants for seasonal workers. Check out our Jobs page to learn about these and other open positions and how to apply. 
View Jobs

Free Sustainability Lunch & Learn Webinar

From small, efficient upgrades to large home improvement projects, learn how the updated and expanded U.S. Department of Energy’s clean energy tax credits can save you money. Since the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act, updated tax credits are now available for home energy, heating, cooling and other upgrades that can make your home more efficient. Tune in to this free webinar at noon on Tuesday, April 18, to find out how to make sustainable decisions for your wallet and the environment. 
Register for Webinar

Spring Lake Nature Preserve Receives Boost from Forest Preserve Foundation

The Forest Preserve Foundation received a grant from the Oberweiler Foundation for restoration at Spring Lake Nature Preserve in Barrington. This preserve is known for having one of the most pristine streams in Northern Illinois and for its natural wilderness that hums with life. The funding will support the removal of invasive brush that has taken hold in some areas along Spring Creek. Removal of these invasive species will allow native wetland vegetation to grow along the banks, thereby improving water infiltration, decreasing soil erosion into the waterway, and providing habitat for native endangered species. 
Read more
white trout lily

Upcoming Events

Join our naturalists for fun, educational offerings in person and via Zoom! Learn about spring bird migration; participate in Earth Day-themed programs; or join guided fitness hikes, wellness walks, wildflower walks, nature play dates and more. Check out our online events calendar for a full schedule.

Learn More
A group of Adopt-A-Site Volunteers

Volunteer Opportunities: Adopt-A-Site

Make a commitment to a grove, river, lake, or trail and clean up litter at your adopted site from April through November. The Forest Preserves will help you choose a site and provide an Adopt-A-Site kit with everything you need for your cleanups.
The Forest Preserves will support your site by:

  • Installing an adoption sign at the site after you complete your 8 cleanups
  • Providing cleanup supplies and safety information 
  • Offering ongoing access to knowledgeable staff as a resource
  • Collecting and disposing of filled litter bags and other debris cleared from the adoption site

Just about anyone can take part: individuals, families, schools, youth groups, civic groups, clubs, organizations, fraternities, and faith groups. A coordinator will help connect you to an available site when you sign up for the opportunity.

Get Involved
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