View this email in your browser
Trail Watch Volunteers enjoyed an interpretive hike through Camp Pine Woods led by Site Steward Ken Schaefer, and a hot dog cookout as part of their quarterly meeting. Join Trail Watch, and you too can be a part of this awesome volunteer community!  Photo by: Kris DaPra

August 2019

People of the Preserves 

"My whole life I have loved animals and just being outside. I took an environmental studies class in high school and was like, ‘Wow, this makes a lot of sense’. I had a really passionate teacher who sort of pushed our whole class in that direction. When I went to college, I didn’t really know what to study, but I thought that I probably couldn’t go wrong with environmental studies. I’m a senior at Northeastern Illinois University now where I’m an environmental studies major and GIS minor. I’ve loved every minute of it.

"I found out about this internship opportunity through my advisor at school who recommended I reach out to Michele Mottlowitz, the Director of River Trail Nature Center. There had been some interns from Northeastern that had previously gone to River Trail and Michele herself went there for her degree. So, I reached out to her and she was more than happy to accommodate me.

"When I came here for my interview, I knew immediately that I wanted to complete my internship here. Everyone was just so warm and welcoming. So far I’m doing a lot of cleaning, gardening, doing some observing of animal feedings and interpretive programming. I’m helping out wherever I’m needed and just learning about all the things that River Trail offers and how to educate the public about it. There’s something new to learn every day. I love it. One thing I love is the amount of care that they put into all of their animals here. They’re very particular about how an animal is cared for and making sure that it’s very representative of, for example, how they would eat in the wild. And it’s that kind of attention to detail that I love. I know they’re making sure these animals can live their lives to the fullest. I think the bald eagle has been here for something like 17 years, so that just shows that animals can thrive here for a long time.

"Ideally, I would love to go into wildlife conservation and habitat restoration, maybe working for a [non-governmental organization]. I’d love to do my own research eventually, and get a Master's hopefully. There are a lot of unknowns, but I’m kind of just open to following whatever path I feel I’m being guided to."


"I took an AP Environmental Science class and one of the requirements was to complete service hours called 'field experience'. One of the options was to come out to the Forest Preserves. I thought this was an easier way to meet that requirement because we needed six hours and each workday is about three hours. It’s a lot easier than doing an hour here, an hour there. I’m attending Harper College this fall where I hope to study Biology. I want to continue coming out [to Poplar Creek] while I’m in school, and I’d like to establish some kind of environmental initiative at Harper, like maybe build a club.

"When I was a little kid, I really loved animals and then it just sort of progressed to being a love of everything else nature has to offer. You start seeing more things as living, and you start to appreciate that life. It’s important for me to be out here because I think we all try to do something meaningful in our lives, and for me, I find that meaning in helping the environment. That’s where I find my purpose. I think other people would find their purpose out here, too. It’s a very fulfilling thing to do. Stewardship might not be your cup of tea, but there are other ways you can help the environment. Try new things. Explore things you wouldn’t normally do. It’s a great way to become a better version of yourself and to understand the world a little bit better. Personally, I’m interested in local knowledge, like understanding the history of your specific area and where you live. We learn a lot on a worldly level, but it’s rare that we stop to appreciate what our local area has to offer. A lot of people want to leave, and it’s understandable to want to explore other places. I think one of the main causes behind wanting to leave is to find someplace that’s more exciting, but you can find excitement right at home if you just know where to look."


Volunteer Leadership Class 
Set your volunteer workdays up for success by unnderstanding the policies and procedures relevant to volunteer leadership in the FPCC. 
Sign Up
Brush Pile Building & Burning 
On your way to becoming a certified workday leader? This class, where you'll learn to safely build and burn brushpiles, is one that you'll need to check off your list. 
Sign Up
Nature Ambassador Training
Do you want to tell everyone you meet about the FPCC? Become a Nature Ambassador Outreach Volunteer and turn your boosterism into volunteer service. 
Sign Up
See All Volunteer Enrichment & Training


Sunday 9/8 Volunteer Opp!
It's time to bid farewell to monarch butterflies as they depart for warmer locales. Help send them off by spending the afternoon at Trailside Museum's annual event, Migrating Monarchs Celebration. Volunteers are needed from 11:30am to 3:30pm to help welcome event attendees and lead activities like arts & crafts. Can you be there?

Sunday 9/22
How do you steward the land when you have lots of deer? Attend this next Regional Ecology Gathering at the VRC Woodland, a little oasis right off busy Central Avenue, from 12:30pm to 2:15pm and learn how Site Steward Ken Schaefer does just that. Swap best practices and ask questions. Space is limited.

Sunday 9/22

Join volunteer stewards and bird monitors for an afternoon of presentations and discussion about management of local natural areas for both migratory and nesting birds. This Partnering for Birds Workshop will take place at the Volunteer Resource Center, 6100 N Central Avenue in Chicago, from 2:30pm to 4:30pm (after the Regional Ecology Gathering). All birders and restoration volunteers are welcome! Please register in advance. 



Volunteer While Recreating?! 

Looking for a way to get outside, get active, and give back this Fall? Check out some exciting volunteer opportunities with our South Zone Recreation Team. Do you walk miles and miles in the preserves for exercise? Consider becoming a Fitness Hike Guide and help keep others moving along some of your favorite trails in southern Cook County. If on your excursions you often stop to marvel at natural wonders, you can educate and inspire others on thematic hikes as an Interpretive Hike Guide. Do you prefer to spend time on the water? Become a Paddle Guide and help others safely enjoy our lakes and rivers. Or, channel your inner Robbin Hood and share your love of archery with children and adults. Sign up for the role or roles that speak to you, and have fun volunteering! 

Calling All Photogs! 

We're looking for your best snaps of birds, insects, plants, and FPCC landscapes for the 2020 calendar photo contest. This year’s winning photos will be showcased in the 2020 Forest Preserves of Cook County wall calendar and the Forest Preserves website and social media accounts. Winning photographers will receive 10 copies of the calendar as well as a Forest Preserves prize package...not to mention serious bragging rights! For official rules and submission requirements, please visit our website

Photo: "Black Swallowtail Butterfly" by Edward Boe - Crabtree Nature Center, Summer 2018. Cover photo from the 2019 Forest Preserves Wall Calendar.
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!

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

You are receiving this newsletter because you have a volunteer profile, or you've requested more information about volunteering with the FPCC.

Our mailing address is:
536 N. Harlem Avenue
River Forest, IL 60305

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.