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These wonderful volunteers supported a very popular station, maple syrup sampling, at River Trail Nature Center's Maple Syrup Celebration on March 17th. Photo by Amanda Nieves

March 2019

People of the Preserves


“About four or five years ago, I was in a high school environmental science class and there was a requirement to volunteer 3 hours, so I came out one day just to get the requirement done and found that I liked it. It’s similar to the work I was doing with the Student Conservation Association prior to this. One day led to another and I’ve been volunteering now for a few years.

“The first day I was pretty nervous about coming out here to Kloempken. I didn’t know anyone and I didn’t know what to expect but right away, everyone was really friendly and quick to explain to me what we needed to get done. Everyone here always remembers me even though I only come by about once every six months since I’m away at school.

“When I get out here, at first it’s a little rough because I usually don’t stretch but once you get into the rhythm of it, it feels great. You come here and it’s this patch of disorganization and by the end of the day, everything is clean and you know where everything is. And when you leave you feel like you’ve actually done something positive for your community. Every time I leave it’s this excellent sense of satisfaction that I’ve done something I like and it’s helped the environment. So there’s that double benefit.”



“I got involved with a high school program with the Student Conservation Association when I was a sophomore in high school. I learned about it through my older sister who had done the program before. After that, I just continued to come back, typically over the summers and eventually managed to work with an adult crew with the Friends of the Forest Preserves. Also, last year I was part of the Student Conservation all women’s crew. It was self-identified women from all over the Chicagoland area from all types of backgrounds and income levels working alongside Chicago Park District. Our crew leaders and managers were all women. Everybody had a different story so it was really nice to work alongside them. It was a six month program and we focused mainly on the Calumet region.

“I really love doing restoration work. Working for the Chicago Park District I was in an urban area where you don’t get the isolation from the city as I do in the Forest Preserves. And actually, my third year of being with SCA I was an Assistant Crew Leader and I assisted here at Ted Stone so it’s nice to come back to the areas where I did work before and see, for example, these trenches that my crew built and they’re still standing. The trenches keep the water from causing erosion and it’s a safe pathway for people who want to come out and take advantage of the Preserves.

“Today I brought my little brother who is 12, my niece who is 15 and my 13 year old nephew. My hope is that my niece gets accepted into the Student Conservation program. I think it’s cool that they get to do work that I would do. It gets them away from their cell phones and stuff.

“For some reason a lot of people don’t know that we have these areas so close to us and they don’t come out and enjoy it, so I am thankful that my sister learned about it. My message to people is 'Live a little'. When you get stuck in the city, you don’t have to time to think to yourself. When you come out here, you remove yourself from all of that. You retreat and you have time to think. And we’re so lucky that we have such a large green space that other states or counties don’t have. Come out here and experience something different. Don’t be scared of something different.”




Bird Conservation Network (BCN) Survey Monitor
BCN conducts a breeding bird survey during the month of June throughout the  Chicagoland area. Birders are needed to help measure how our bird populations are doing.
Sign Up


Trail Watch Training
4/14, 5/2
Trail Watch volunteers make FPCC visitors feel safer and more welcome just by being a visible presence on their favorite trail. 
Sign Up

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
See All Volunteer Enrichment & Training


Saturday 4/13
Buds are swelling and sandhill cranes are passing overhead, unmistakable signs of spring. Palos Restoration Project, in the spirit of the season, is hosting a guided walking tour of Palos Park Woods South on Saturday April 13, at 10am. Please register in advance.   

Saturday 4/20 Volunteer Opp!
Lend a hand at Crabtree Nature Center's Earth Day Nature Play, an event full of planting, painting and pretending. Volunteers are needed from 11:30am until 3pm. 

Saturday 4/27 Volunteer Opp!
Join the dedicated Hofmann Dam River Rats in their semi-annual litter cleanup along the banks of the Des Plaines River. Enjoy wildlife and learn about the river while helping your local natural areas.

Sunday 5/5 Volunteer Opp!
Spring is officially here and Trailside Museum is celebrating! Share your love for the Preserves with the public at this family-friendly event by greeting attendees, leading a spring-themed craft, or helping with a very popular activity...pond dipping! The event runs from 11am to 3pm. 

Saturday 5/11 Volunteer Opp!
Save the date for our 2nd Annual Mother's Day weekend shoreline cleanup. Join in as an individual or bring your mom, grandma, aunt, or anyone else you love to Tampier Lake. We'll be working to clean up the litter that poses a threat to aquatic and avian wildlife. Supplies and refreshments will be provided!
Volunteers In Action
Check out this video of students with Moraine Valley Community College’s Go Green! Club and Muslim Student Association volunteering at Theodore Stone Forest Preserve in Hodgkins, Ill.
Riverside BioBlitz Seeking Scientists and Experts

Surrounded by the Des Plaines River and Cook County Forest Preserves, Riverside offers an interesting case study of a 150-year-old community with 40% green space and abundant wildlife. Almost two miles of trails along the Des Plaines River offer opportunities to conduct the community's first-ever baseline of species to help document Riverside’s current habitat. BioBlitz organizers are seeking scientists or group leaders in all branches of ecology and biology to help lead small groups through Riverside’s natural areas on May 10 and 11 to create a census of plants and animals using iNaturalist software. If you are interested in helping out, complete a short questionnaire and you will be contacted shortly thereafter.
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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River Forest, IL 60305

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