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Start 'em young! These volunteers helped at a workday at Deer Grove East on April 13th. With parental supervision, children can get involved in select stewardship activities at various sites across the County. Photo by Kris DaPra

April 2019

People of the Preserves


"Our Girl Scout troop is working on our Silver Award which is a way that we can affect our community in a positive way. So, we wanted to give back and do something positive and we thought the Forest Preserves was a beautiful opportunity for us to do that. Today is our first time volunteering here at Bemis Woods.

"Today we’ve cut down a lot of brush, collected the sticks and brought them over to the fire to burn. In addition to that, we’ve been stuck several times on some of those little red thorny stems but that’s ok.

"This is a wonderful way in which you can impact your community and the preserves. It’s such a beautiful place of nature not only for the animals but for people as well, so we want to make sure we help preserve it, and you can also get some great volunteer hours. We would do this again."



"In May 2006 my wife was looking for an activity for a group of home schooled boys who were all brothers. She wanted to find the boys activities to keep them social and occupied and she was looking around at various sites where they could do restoration. I don’t know exactly how she happened upon Ted Stone workdays, but when she called George and Barbara Birmingham, their response simply was ‘Come on out.’ George in particular has a way of engaging young people and teaching them how to safely use tools. Of course, young boys and cutting down trees is a match made in heaven.

"A couple years later George and Barbara asked me to become a co-steward and that side, that sort of stewardship engagement side, has occupied more and more of my time. I got very interested in the flora at first. Barbara and I did a plant class that was restricted to the site but of course there was plenty of variety between the prairies, and the woodlands and the wetlands to make an effective class. We did that for, I think, four seasons. One day, just before we set off on the plant class, my daughter and I were just checking to see what was up in the woods—I believe it was early June—and there we spotted for the first time on the site, fire pink, Silene virginica. We had only started burning the woods a couple years before that. Seeing that plant was kind of a validation that restoration activity brings back conservative plants and that was a pretty exciting moment.

"I am now a part of the Illinois Native Plant Society Northeast Chapter that’s being reinvigorated. I serve as Vice President on the board of that. I’ve started my third year on Key Stewards. I try and make it up to North Branch workdays once every couple of months because I have a lot of friends up there. So, I’ve been engaged more and more in the Cook County Forest Preserves. I think people need to appreciate our natural resources as something of inherent value. Not just maintaining our air quality, or water quality but maintaining our emotional quality, too, because to me there’s nothing more uplifting than to walk through a natural area and marvel at all the wonders you see."



Illinois Butterfly Monitoring Network: Beyond Beginner's Checklist
This training workshop is for butterfly monitors looking to advance beyond the beginner's checklist and those needing to review protocol and identification.
Sign Up


Tool Doctor 
Learn how to get dulled or broken tools back into good working order and into the hands of volunteers performing important restoration work. 
Sign Up


Singing Insects Monitor Training & Night Hike
6/26, 6/27
Learn the monitoring protocol of the Singing Insects Monitoring Project and practice recording songs with your smartphone or a digital recorder.
Sign Up
See All Volunteer Enrichment & Training


Check out all the great things to do on Saturday, May 11th! 

Chicago River Day 
Register by May 5th to join Friends of the Chicago River's 40th Annual event, Chicago River Day, bringing about long-term improvements to the health of the Chicago River. 

Tampier Lake Shoreline Cleanup
Tampier Lake needs our help. Join in our cleanup efforts to tackle trash along the shoreline that poses a threat to birds and fish. Cleanup supplies and refreshments will be provided. 

World Migratory Bird Day
Come out to Sagawau Environmental Learning Center for a fun opportunity to welcome birds back to our region. Take a guided bird hike, see bird-banding demos and help pick up litter that poses a threat to our feathered friends.  

Join in historic Riverside’s first-ever BioBlitz!  Several sessions are offered – spend a few hours or the whole day and help create a baseline of biological data for one of the oldest communities near the major metropolis of Chicago.


Volunteers Needed: Must Love to Fish 

Grab your rod and reel and help provide a meaningful and enjoyable fishing experience for our local youth by becoming a Youth Fishing Guide. Working alongside the Forest Preserves of Cook County and Chicago Park District staff, you will assist youth ages 5-16, some for the first time, with education elements such as:

* Angler ethics
* Basic baiting, casting, and catching techniques 
* Fish identification
* Troubleshooting rod and reel repairs
* Water safety
* And more

Hey you! Yes, you! 
Send over an inspiring photo or tell us something good. We want to hear from you!
We just might include it in a future Volunteer Ecosystem.
E-mail us!

Copyright © 2019 Forest Preserves of Cook County, all rights reserved.

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536 N. Harlem Avenue
River Forest, IL 60305

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