“Adopt the pace of nature. Her secret is patience." 
–Ralph Waldo Emerson
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Their breeding numbers are in decline, but the Swainson's Thrush, a relative of the Robin, is still common in our woodlands during spring migration. Though a bit elusive, you can listen for its reedy spiraling song and try to spot one! Photo by Kris DaPra

May 2020


People of the Preserves 


"I’ve always had pets—dogs, lizards, turtles, snakes, just everything. I love animals and have wanted to work with them forever. As for wildlife, I really like the American kestrel but all the birds of prey are really cool.  

"I used to come to River Trail Nature Center with friends and cousins growing up. I’ve always known this place and when I found out that you can volunteer here, I was really excited because it’s familiar and I know my way around. I’m going to be a junior at Buffalo Grove High School and this is an internship for college credit which is great because I want to go on to study animal care. 

"My supervisors give me tasks whether it’s cleaning, weeding, or animal care inside and outdoors. Recently, we’ve been focusing on the butterflies and caterpillars. Interns help wherever we’re needed. We’re getting exposure in the environmental field and learning a lot."


"Thirty years ago I called up the Nature Conservancy and asked if they needed help with anything and they directed me to volunteering with the Forest Preserves of Cook County. I always wanted to help the world and this is the way I do it. Through restoration.   

"Poplar Creek is a really wonderful site. The gravel hill prairie is probably the most unique because the gravel is left by the glaciers. The vegetation is what’s been growing here for 10,000 years and was never plowed. The other thing that’s special about this spot is the scale. You can stand on the hill and look out for a mile and see prairie and little stands of Oak trees which is what the original explorers of the area described. Also, the people that you meet here are the best people I’ve met in my life. Not only are they into nature, but they’re all devoting their time to the benefit of our planet."  

Did you enjoy meeting these volunteers? Take a look back at others we've featured in People of the Preserves by visiting the Volunteer News page on our website. Please note, these interviews were conducted long before the COVID-19 pandemic and the Governor's Stay at Home order. 


Friday 6/5
The Chicago Wilderness cafe series will feed your mind. Attend a live lunchtime Zoom session and connect with others to share ideas, pose questions and find out what's happening around the Chicago region.The June 5th topic is Conservation Advocacy in COVID-19. The event is free but registration is required. 

Happening Now
Even though Illinois is moving to Phase 3, you might still be looking for activities you can do from home. The Chicago Botanic Garden's project Budburst is a great way to engage the whole family in citizen science, contributing valuable data even from your backyard!  

Thursdays 6/18-7/30
On May 9th we celebrated World Migratory Bird Day but is one day really enough? If you still have birds on the brain, check out the World Migratory Bird Day in the Americas website to find all kinds of great ways to continue learning. You can access recorded presentations in English and Spanish, join the bird book club, or sign up the littles in your life for an 8-week virtual bird camp! Each session will include an activity and the opportunity to meet a bird expert. 

FPCC Police Bikes Ready to Ride Thanks to Volunteers 

Last fall, Commander Tony Rapacz of the FPCC Police force requested assistance with tuning up and repairing the fleet of bikes used by our officers for trail patrol. As usual, volunteers stepped up to the task!

Over the last few weeks, Ron Crawford worked on bikes in the North and Adam Zart worked in the south. Both volunteers, who are also part of Trail Watch, worked out of their homes and used their own tools to get 36 bikes in tip-top shape. Commander Rapacz said, "They did a great job and were very easy to work with. Thanks to them, our officers can ride with confidence." 

Share your story!
Whether it's an inspiring photo or a tale from the field, we want to hear from you.
We just might include it in a future Volunteer Ecosystem.
E-mail us!

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536 N. Harlem Avenue
River Forest, IL 60305

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