In the 20th Century, we preserved the land. In the 21st, let’s restore it.

...for discovery, renewal and fun.
...value the economic benefits
of protected lands.
...safeguard, expand and bring increased resources to the Forest Preserves.
ONE HUNDRED YEARS AGO,...CHICAGO leaders HAD THE WISDOM AND FORESIGHT TO LEAVE US AN EXTRAORDINARY GIFT: THE FOREST PRESERVES OF COOK COUNTY.

Celebrating 100 Years, Securing the Future

One hundred years ago, civic leaders had the foresight to leave us an extraordinary legacy – the Forest Preserves of Cook County, the first forest preserve district in the United States. The Forest Preserves’ unique habitats make it an ecological treasure. Today, as we face the challenges of urban sprawl and climate change, we need healthy habitats – wetlands, woodlands, and prairies – more than ever, but these precious resources are in dire need of restoration. The Next Century Conservation Plan for the Forest Preserves of Cook County is an ambitious blueprint for the future. The plan lays out a set of bold actions to make Cook County a national leader in urban conservation. The plan calls for massive restoration and expansion of protected lands, as well as a commitment to making the preserves more accessible to the diverse people of Cook County.


 

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DOWNLOAD THE PLAN

DOWNLOAD THE EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

 

The Plan

This ambitious plan lays out a set of bold actions to make Cook County a national leader in urban conservation. It highlights the preserves as one of the region’s greatest assets for the environment, the economy, and quality of life, but suggests that its fragile native ecosystems are at risk. The plan calls for the County to make a massive commitment to restoration, expand protected lands by at least 30%, and to make the preserves more accessible to the diverse people of Cook County.


 

IMPLEMENTATION

Upon completion of the plan, President Preckwinkle appointed the inaugural members of the Forest Preserves’ Conservation and Policy Council to guide its implementation and ensure the Forest Preserves remain true to our conservation mission. Each year the council will present to the President and the board an updated five year implementation strategy; this report represents the first submittal. The council will also review the Forest Preserves’ annual budget request and ensure it is aligned with the implementation strategy presented in this report.

 

DOWNLOAD THE FIVE YEAR IMPLEMENTATION STRATEGY


Meet the Conservation and Policy Council Members

Robert Castaneda

Executive Director, Beyond the Ball
Expertise: Outdoor recreation, health and wellness
ROBERT’S BIO

Michael DeSantiago

Founder, President & CEO, Primera Engineers, LTD.
Expertise: Conservation and management/business
MICHAEL’S BIO

Peter Ellis

Partner, ReedSmith LLP
Expertise: Management/business
PETER’S BIO

Terry Guen

President, Terry Guen Design Associates
Expertise: Conservation
TERRY’S BIO

Sylvia M. Jenkins, Ph.D.

President, Moraine Valley Community College
Expertise: Education/interpretation
SYLVIA’S BIO

Falona Joy

President, SNP Strategies
Expertise: Cultural resources, management/business, finance
FALONA’S BIO

Linda Mastandrea

Attorney at Law
Expertise: Outdoor recreation, public policy
LINDA’S BIO

Wendy Paulson

President, Bobolink Foundation
Expertise: Conservation, education/interpretation, volunteer management
WENDY’S BIO

Laurel Ross

Former Director of Urban Conservation, Field Museum
Expertise: Conservation, ecology, volunteer management, cultural resources
LAUREL’S BIO

Robert Steele

Cook County Commissioner
Expertise: Contract Compliance, Finance, Health, Hospitals and Environmental Control
ROBERT’S BIO

Mark N. Templeton

Director, Abrams Environmental Law Clinic at the University of Chicago
Expertise: Conservation, finance, management/business
MARK’S BIO


Meet the Plan’s Leaders

Jane Balaban

Co-chair Ecological Management Workgroup, North Branch Restoration Project
Nature Committee Co-Chair

JANE’S BIO

Rebeccah Sanders

Vice President and Executive Director of Audubon Chicago Region
People Committee Co-chair

REBECCAH’S BIO

Richard G. Gamble

Senior Vice President of Operations, Chicago Zoological Society-Brookfield Zoo
Economics Committee Co-chair

RICHARD’S BIO

Lenore Beyer-Clow

Director of Policy and Planning, Openlands
Leadership Committee Co-chair

LENORE’S BIO

John McCabe

Director of Resource Management, Forest Preserves of Cook County
Nature Committee Co-chair

JOHN’S BIO

Cynthia Moreno

Director of Conservation and Experiential Programming, Forest Preserves of Cook County
People Committee Co-chair

CYNTHIA’S BIO

Christopher Adas

Real Estate Agent, Forest Preserves of Cook County
Economics Committee Co-chair

CHRISTOPHER’S BIO

Troy Alim

Director of Budget & Management, Forest Preserves of Cook County
Leadership Committee Co-chair

TROY’S BIO