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

First Round of Grants Awarded in Early Action Seed Funding

How do you maintain the energy necessary to implement ambitious goals that will take many, many years to fulfill?  In July 2015, the Forest Preserves decided to try something new and established an Early Action Seed Fund. The idea is modeled on a successful program developed by the non-profit agency LISC (Local Initiatives Support Corporation).

To launch projects, build momentum and strengthen partnerships, the Fund empowered the NCCP implementation committees to award grants of up to $10,000 each to help partners develop pilot projects and initiatives.  The projects must address a specific gap in implementation efforts and produce results within one year. The first round of grants totaled $40,865 in awards, and partners matched those dollars with an additional $108,005.

Grants were awarded to the following projects and partners:

Volunteer E-Newsletter

The Nature Conservancy

If you are a volunteer with the Forest Preserves of Cook County, coming soon to your inbox will be the first ever volunteer e-newsletter. This monthly e-newsletter will be reflective of the volunteer community and the collaborative work of the forest preserve staff, volunteers, partners and local experts. It will be an important platform to inspire and share information and best practices across the county with an overall goal to build a stronger, more informed network of volunteers all contributing to the shared vision within the Next Century of Conservation Plan.

Spanish Language Bird Guides

Chicago Audubon Society

An introductory guide to Chicago area birds in Spanish, Aves de Chicago: Una introducción a las especies comunes de la región de Chicago will provide an entry point for Spanish speakers into the world of birds. The guides are currently being printed and expected to be ready in May.

Mapping Conservation Corps Impact

Friends of the Forest Preserves

FOTFP was recently awarded an Early Action SEED Grant from the Forest Preserves of Cook County.  This grant award will help us track the efforts of our Conservation Corps members as they restore critical habitat in the forest preserves.  The funds will equip our field teams with training, GPS receivers, and mapping software.  The equipment will help us map our impact and contributions to the Next Century Conservation Plan, as well as, share important project information with FPCC staff, volunteer stewards, and other organizations.  Friends’ staff, in collaboration with FPCC experts, are currently researching software applications and hardware options.

Birding Together

Audubon Chicago Region

Audubon Chicago Region will host three birding activities that are accessible to people with mobility, hearing, and visual disabilities in the spring and early summer of 2016. Audubon’s Birding Together initiative will lay the groundwork for a wider variety of future programs that engage people with disabilities in experiencing nature in the heart of Cook County.

Path to Stewardship Immersion Camp

Audubon Chicago Region

The Path to Stewardship Immersion Camp, a partnership between Forest Preserves of Cook County, Audubon Chicago Region, Forest Preserves of Cook County Volunteer Stewards, The Field Museum, The Nature Conservancy, and University of Illinois Master Naturalists, seeks to boost the number of certified Workday Leaders and Stewards by offering a weekend-long, immersive program that drastically cuts down on the amount of time it takes to get certified. By using two new Forest Preserves of Cook County Camping sites, we hope to engage both new and existing volunteers and build regional identity by linking our “Campers” with nearby sites and stewards.

  • Camp Reinberg: May 20-22
  • Camp Sullivan: August 26-28

Walking Green: Developing an evidence-base for nature prescriptions

Northwestern University

This study aims to document psychological and physiological changes resulting from repeated walks; the types of activity needed to produce changes in health and well-being.  This information is needed to recruit health-care providers who base their practices on “evidence-based medicine” to participate in a Nature Prescription program. We will implement this project this spring at Harms Woods.  Walkers will assemble in the Grove 5 parking lot, then either walk on the Forest Preserve trail and cross the bridge over the river and deeper into the forest or along Old Orchard Road.