Share exciting news about the Forest Preserves of Cook County's
Next Century Conservation Plan by .
Leading the Forest Preserves into the Next Century 

By Laurel Ross
Conservation and Policy Council member and Volunteer Steward

By Jane Balaban
Co-Chair FPCC Nature Committee & Volunteer Steward

It has been a year and a half since President Preckwinkle created the Forest Preserves' Conservation and Policy Council to advise the President, the Board of Commissioners and the General Superintendent as they implement the ambitious vision of the Next Century Conservation Plan (NCCP). Perhaps it is time for a brief report on our progress.

At the end of 2014, ten outstanding community leaders, including a college president, leaders in business, engineering, the not-for-profit sector, and outdoor recreation, attorneys with a variety of specialties, and a landscape architect, were appointed to the Council. We were asked to help strengthen the Forest Preserves by "increasing continuity from one administration to the next and ensuring that we remain true to our conservation mission, regardless of who is at the helm."

Read more >

New Directions for the Forest Preserves 

Check out this recent positive coverage on the Next Century Conservation Plan. The story was featured in Chicago Life, which appeared in last weekend's local editions of The New York Times and Wall Street Journal.

Download PDF >
Forest Preserves Documentary to Air on WYCC PBS Chicago 

The Forest Preserves of Cook County, in partnership with WYCC PBS Chicago and Juneteenth Productions, is proud to present "Chicago's True Nature: The Forest Preserves of Cook County." 

The hour-long documentary captures the sights and sounds within the Forest Preserves as it marked its 100th anniversary throughout 2015. Audiences will see and learn about the benefits of nature, the impact of open land to our quality of life and what lies ahead in the next century for the one of the oldest and largest forest preserve systems in the nation.

Like many natural wonders, the Forest Preserves of Cook County are "hidden in plain sight."  While the Preserves are well-known for picnic sites and bike trails, many are unaware of its vast biodiversity - the flora and fauna of the urban preserves and the diversity of native plants that struggle to flourish against invasive species.

Be sure to tune into WYCC PBS Chicago TV on Sunday, May 15 at 7 pm; encore presentations on Monday, May 16 at 9 pm; Saturday, May 21 at 7 pm; and Sunday, May 22 at 4 pm.

Preview the film here
Centennial Volunteers initiative expands to four new sites

Though the Forest Preserves of Cook County's Centennial Celebration ended in 2015, the impact of the 100-year milestone continues through the
Centennial Volunteers legacy initiative.

A partnership agreement with Friends of the Forest Preserves (FOTFP), who was recently awarded a grant through the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation's (NFWF) Chi-Cal Rivers Fund to continue to expand the Centennial Volunteers, was approved during the FPCC's Board of Commissioners February meeting.

The initiative was established in 2014 by a coalition of organizations including Friends of the Chicago River, Audubon Chicago Region, North Branch Restoration Project, FOTFP, and the FPCC, and created a network of stewards and volunteers who conduct ecological restoration projects in the Chicago and Calumet river basins. One of the main goals of the initiative is to engage 6,000 volunteers, inspiring individuals to become dedicated site stewards and volunteers for the Forest Preserves.

Centennial Volunteers hosted 352 volunteer workdays during Phase 1. Nearly 6,900 volunteers contributed more than 21,000 hours of volunteer time removing invasive plants, collecting native seeds, monitoring wildlife and more at Somme Woods East, Blue Star Memorial Woods, LaBagh Woods, Kickapoo Woods and Whistler Woods.

In Phase 2, Centennial Volunteers is extending restoration efforts to include four new sites: Beaubien Woods, River Oaks Woods, Clayton Smith Woods and Forest Glen Woods. The initiative also brings together new partners including the North Branch Restoration Project, the Chicago Ornithological Society, and The Field Museum.

Click here to learn more about getting involved with the growing Centennial Volunteers initiative. 

Collaboration is the Key to Success 

By Benjamin Cox,
Friends of the Forest Preserves

Buy the land, keep it from being developed, mission accomplished. Or so we thought. 

Now we know that our forest preserves need our help in order to be healthy. People brought plants and animals to the region from all over the planet for a variety of reasons. What we have learned in the last few decades is that some plants stay put, like many of the plants in our yards, while others are aggressive and invade our natural areas, shading out our native plants. 

Native plants provide food and breeding hosts for insects, which other plants rely on for pollination and animals rely on for food. Without the plants, the food chain starts breaking down and the system becomes out of balance.


Forest Preserve District of Cook County | 536 N. Harlem Avenue | River Forest | IL | 60305