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Big thanks to these volunteers from the Great Lakes Naval Station who supported a Spring Creek stewardship workday on May 18th. Photo by Kris DaPra

May 2019

People of the Preserves


"It’s so long ago that sometimes it’s hard for me to remember how I first heard about volunteering with the Forest Preserves. I knew about restoration work for years but when I was working, I didn’t really have any free time. I always thought in the back of my mind that this is something I’d like to be doing. I would see ads in the paper every now and then for volunteerism but it wasn’t until I retired that I went on a tour given by Friends of the Forest Preserves at a couple different preserves, and I just saw them in a different way. They talked about volunteer workdays during the tour so I thought ‘Hmm, maybe you should do that now’. I got started, enjoyed it, and have been coming back ever since. When I first started volunteering, I didn’t know anything about prairie plants. I’m more of a woodland type person and I still don’t know that much about prairie plants, but I know a whole lot more than I used to. I find them very appealing and interesting.

"Ted Stone is just one of several places that I go because I have so much fun. So it’s Ted on Friday, Sundown Meadow on Tuesday, wherever the workday is on Saturday, and occasionally on a Sunday if I still have any energy left over. But there is a tremendous need and it’s very rewarding for me. I initially just started with one workday per month and then realized that maybe I could do more. After a while, for me, it pretty much became addicting. But I mean, even three hours a week would be very helpful and a lot of fun for the person who’s doing it. You meet so many nice, like-minded people. It’s a lot of fun."



"I used to own property in Indiana where I did a lot of restoration work on my private land, but it just got to be too much to handle. It was like over 60 acres so I sold it a couple years ago. I kind of miss it so I thought volunteering here would be a good way to come back to doing some of the things I used to do on my property. I’m working full time but I’ve got some free time now on the weekends so I thought I would give back and do this. It’s one of my interests and hobbies so I plan on helping quite a bit in the future. I like the fresh air. I like the physical work. I like knowing that you’re making a difference even if it takes a while. But when people look back 50 years from now they’ll say, ‘Oh wow’. Every little bit helps. A lot of volunteers helped bring this back and it’ll look a lot different in the future than it does now; at least I hope it does. Our efforts live on into the future. I would encourage people to realize that the Midwest is a unique place and we have a really precious resource. You have to make efforts to preserve it, bring it back and restore it. I think we take it for granted that this is the way things used to be but it isn’t. Just get involved."



First Aid & CPR 
5/31, 6/6, 7/10
Do your summer plans include becoming certified in First Aid & CPR? Don't miss out on learning life saving skills that you can use at home and in the field. 
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


Trail Watch
Our July training date will be announced soon! Sign up for our Notification List to receive an alert and be well on your way to monitoring for troubling conditions on our trails. 
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See All Volunteer Enrichment & Training


Sunday, 6/2 Volunteer Opp! 

Crabtree Nature Center’s annual event, Explore the Forest, takes place this coming Sunday. Nature center staff would welcome your support, knowledge and warm smiles during a few hours of volunteering. This event is a celebration of all the fun things to do in the Forest Preserves of Cook County. Visitors can climb a tree, try archery, pet a fish, pitch a tent and more! There is one shift available, 11:30am until 4pm and lunch will be provided. Please sign up in advance.


Saturday, 6/22

Save the date for another "Discovery of Chicago" bus tour. Follow the route of Joliet and Marquette through the old Chicago Portage. Presented by Friends of the Chicago Portage and The Canal Corridor Association, this 4-hour tour (10am to 3pm) back into 17th century Chicago starts at the statue of Joliet & Marquette at the Chicago Portage Historic Site, and ends at Canal Origins Park. Purchase tickets online. Questions? Call Gary Mechanic between 8am and 8pm at 773-590-0710. 


You’re invited to a presentation and Q&A on how we can ensure that the Forest Preserves’ facilities are as bird-friendly as possible. Annette Prince from the Chicago Bird Collision Monitors and Ted Wolff from Wolff Landscape Architecture will present on best practices and innovative developments in bird-friendly design. The presentation will be tailored specifically to the Forest Preserves and will provide examples and suggestions on how we can retrofit existing buildings and improve operational procedures to better protect birds. 
Ensuring the long-term viability of the Forest Preserves’ natural areas and the plants and animals that depend on them is central to our mission. This presentation will ensure that our facilities and operations are model examples of a leading conservation agency and help each of us learn what we can do, both at work and at home, to better protect birds.
To learn more about the threats and challenges that migratory birds face, check out the recently released study from Cornell Lab of Ornithology. 
Event: Best Practices for Bird-Friendly Buildings
Date: Friday, June 7, 2019
Time: 10am-11:30am
Location: Thatcher Pavilion - 8030 Chicago Ave, River Forest, IL 60305
CLICK HERE to register for this presentation!

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!

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