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Archive for the ‘Recreation’ Category

Hike it Baby – A Spooky Saturday on the Des Plaines River Trail

Posted: October 6th, 2017

11 am – 1 pm

Join us for our first Halloween-Hike it Baby-costume hike. Grab a comfortable costume and your hiking boots, and let’s explore. We will let the kids set the pace, and aim to hike out for 30-45 minutes, take a picnic break at the Fullerton Woods Family Picnic Area, and return to Sunset Grove Meadow.

We will meet in the parking lot of Sunset Bridge Meadow off of IL-64 North Avenue.

Des Plaines River Trail, Leyden Township
River Grove, IL 60171United States 
+ Google Map

Potential Baby or Child Hazard:

The trail can be busy with cyclists and runners so we will need to be on the look out for other users. The trail follows the Des Plaines River and is unpaved, crushed limestone. Late October can be chilly and/or wet. Be sure to dress for success. This event will go on rain or shine.

Gear Suggestion:

Please bring water and a picnic lunch (lunch optional…water not).

This event is free, but please register to help us plan for the day.

Questions? Contact Zach Taylor at Zach@fotfp.org.

The endurance of the midland brown snake

Posted: April 3rd, 2017

By Joey Cavataio, Amateur Herpetologist

It’s 1925. Somewhere in the vast-but-ever-shrinking prairie located northwest of downtown Chicago, a brand new batch of bungalows stands out against the tall grass and endless horizon to the west. A few years earlier, the beginnings of a subdivision were born, when rough roads and paved sidewalks were installed in anticipation of a new way of life for many – rural living in what was technically Chicago by that point. The development of all of the homes, roads, and sewers necessitated the destruction of prairie. Virtually all living things died; plants, invertebrates, amphibians, reptiles, and most mammals quickly vanished in short order in favor of human sprawl.

One species that endured the invasion of humans was Storeria dekayi, or the midland brown snake. This tiny, innocuous serpent, long as a nightcrawler and about as secretive, decided that it was going to use its adaptive nature to its advantage. Naturally a creature of open woodland, the edges of woodlands, savanna, and prairie, it handled the park-like environment well enough to persist. Craving slugs and worms, it never faced a shortage of its prey among the lawns and gardens it frequented. And giving birth to live babies, independent from birth, was a huge plus – eggs are sensitive to weather extremes, predators, and all sorts of human activities. It seemed destined to cling to its former haunts despite profound disturbance.

In my backyard, I have found these snakes a number of times over the last few years. I assumed there was a hibernaculum – a protected space where the snakes congregate during the winter months. I searched around my house and garage but never reached a conclusion. Today, I think I found the entrance to a hibernaculum, a small crevice which leads to the house’s foundation. Just outside the crevice was a young adult male brown snake, torpid, but slowly warming itself as it lay coiled underneath a flower planter I placed there two years ago with hope that I might someday discover just what I had discovered today.

I’ve searched high and low for reptiles and amphibians in every corner of this country and even abroad, and have found and studied rare and striking (no pun intended) taxa that may seem to deserve more mention than some small, plain looking snake. But I’m afflicted with this passion for a snake that ekes out a living in the streets of Chicago, contends with mesopredators such as skunks, and somehow survives living in and on surfaces contaminated with road salt and chemicals, all the while trying very hard to avoid detection. I have a ton of respect for these animals. And call me crazy, but I think I’m darn lucky to share my house with them, if even only during the winter. 

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Joey Cavataio found a midland brown snake warming itself underneath a flower planter at his home on the Northwest side of Chicago. Near the planter, Joey discovered what he believes to be a hibernaculum, a small crevice leading to the house’s foundation.

8th Annual Photo Contest Exhibit

Posted: March 31st, 2017

Please join Friends to celebrate the beauty of the forest preserves as seen through the lenses of photographers in our community.

Friday, May 12th, 2017
6 PM – 8 PM
Franklin Framing
13019 S. Western Ave.
Blue Island, IL 60406

Refreshments will be served.

This event is free. Donations will be accepted at the door.
You can make a donation in lieu of attending, on our website.

To RSVP email ilana@fotfp.org or call (312) 356-9990

Swing for Sustainability 2017

Posted: January 24th, 2017

Join us for our annual Swing for Sustainability Open!

Reserve your spot today!
$150 individual / $600 foursome

At the Forest Preserves’ premier course:

George W. Dunne National Golf Course
16310 Central Ave., Oak Forest, Illinois 60452
Friday, June 9th, 2017
12:30 registration and range, 2 pm shotgun start, best ball

Reserve your spot today!
$150 individual / $600 foursome

Ticket includes:

  • Greens fees
  • Range balls
  • Lunch
  • On-the-course drinks
  • Open-bar reception
  • Dinner with awards

Sponsorship Opportunities

Drink Cart Sponsor – $1,250

  • Recognition, including logo placement in all promotional materials and on the drink cart day-of
  • Day-of verbal recognition

Long Drive Sponsor – $1,000

  • Recognition, including logo placement in all promotional materials and on day-of signage at one hole on the course
  • Day-of verbal recognition

Closest-to-the-Pin Sponsor – $1,000

  • Recognition, including logo placement in all promotional materials and on day-of signage at one hole on the course
  • Day-of verbal recognition

Hole-in-One Sponsor – $750

  • Recognition, including logo placement in all promotional materials and on day-of signage on hole 17
  • Day-of verbal recognition

Dinner Sponsor – $500

  • Recognition, including logo placement in all promotional materials and on day-of signage
  • Day-of verbal recognition

Hole Sponsor – $500

  • Recognition, including logo placement in all promotional materials and on day-of signage at one hole on the course
  • Day-of verbal recognition

Golf Ball Sponsor – $350

  • Recognition, including logo placement in all promotional materials and on day-of signage
  • Day-of verbal recognition

Lunch Sponsor – $250

  • Recognition, including logo placement in all promotional materials and on day-of signage
  • Day-of verbal recognition

Skill Prize Sponsor – $250

  • Recognition, including logo placement in all promotional materials and on day-of signage
  • Day-of verbal recognition

Please contact Ilana Federman at ilana@fotfp.org with questions or to become a sponsor.

All proceeds support Friends’ work to make the forest preserves better for you and generations to come!

Thank you to our sponsors:

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kleeslogo copyMorgan Stanley_Logo-13p0_KWest Monroe Logo_jpeg
logoq20_stacked_logo-02 (1)WLA LOGO-2
pendo website logoPalmer Logo

Busse Woods Night Ride 2017

Posted: January 24th, 2017

6:00PM – 11:00PM

The 3rd Annual Busse Woods Night Ride is bigger and better than ever!

Please join us for your one chance to ride through the forest preserves at night.

Busse Woods, Elk Grove, Illinois

New this year! Historical Wave, taking you to places of cultural and geographical significance. Led by Elk Grove expert Michael Stachnik, Program Director at the Elk Grove Historical Museum.  Leaves from the boathouse at 6pm and lasts approximately 1.5 hours.

Back by popular demand! Sunset Wave, leaves from the boathouse at 6:30pm and lasts approximately 1 hour.

Expanded this year! We are excited to offer two extended waves this year that take you on a 12- mile journey and lasts approximately 1.5 hours each.

All other regular waves are 8 miles and last approximately 1 hour.

With 15 waves to choose from, there’s something for everyone!

All riders will receive a special gift when you check in at the event. All attendees 21+ will receive two free beers courtesy of Church Street Brewing Company. And all participants will enjoy live music by The Jeff Parker Duo, live animal display, bonfires, s’mores, tacos by Pollo Negro (for purchase) and your one chance to be in the preserves after sunset!

Tickets are $40 (all waves except Historical and Extended)
Historical and Extended Waves are $45
Youth Rider (12-20) $20

Adult Spectator (21+) $15
Youth Spectator (5-20) $5
Age 4 and under free!

For safety and convenience, no trailers or tagalongs are allowed. All riders must have a helmet. All riders must have a front light attached to their bike or helmet. Lights will be available for purchase at the event.

Register Now! (To register, you must choose a ticket price AND specify the wave you want.)

Wave 1: 6:00-7:30 Historical Wave
Wave 2: 6:30-7:30 Sunset Wave
Wave 3: 7:00-8:00
Wave 4: 7:10-8:10
Wave 5: 7:20-8:20
Wave 6: 7:30-9:00 Extended Wave
Wave 7: 7:40-8:40
Wave 8: 7:50-8:50
Wave 9: 8:00-9:30 Extended Wave
Wave 10: 8:10-9:10
Wave 11: 8:20-9:20
Wave 12: 8:30-9:30
Wave 13: 8:40-9:40
Wave 14: 8:50-9:50
Wave 15: 9:00-10:00

In partnership with:

FCEG_Final_Logo_Large_Color FPCC Logo


Thank you to our wave sponsors:

Komatsu_logo  HomeAdvisorLogo 

HMH Logo

Thank you to our in-kind sponsors:

Church Street Museumlogo.sm

7MC_black RESIZE

If you are interested in sponsorship opportunities, please contact Ilana Federman at 312-356-9990 or ilana@fotfp.org.

Beer in the Woods

Posted: January 24th, 2017

1pm – 5pm

Tickets are now available!

Please join Friends of the Forest Preserves for our first ever Beer in the Woods event, a fundraiser featuring craft beer and cider. Come sip beer in LaBagh Woods, a haven for nature enthusiasts, on the north side of Chicago. Also enjoy a rare beer tent with rotating beers, live music, live animal displays, bird walks, home brewing demonstrations, and more! All proceeds will be used for Friends’ advocacy, Conservation Corps, and community building initiatives.

Buy your tickets now through Eventbrite!

Some of our participating breweries:

Goose-Island-LogoRed-LogoCMYKMiskatonic Combo 3
Virtue CiderFlossmoor logoBand of Bohemia JPG Logo
SOB-logo_large-page-001begyle_hop_logoOdell_Logo_Leaf wFortCollins_2Color (2) (1)
HTHLogo_SixPoint_RedPrairiekrafts LogoFR stacked brown
BurntCity_logoRavinia_full_logo_negativeBlueblood Brewing
OldIrvingBrewing_325-2 color®_One_Trick_Pony_Legal.Pad_6.2014Dovetail_Brandmark_RGB_1000
cahootslogoHalf AcreLogo Revised
Uinta-logo_Full-Red(1)mb_arthead_left_blackPW Final Logo invert

Participating food trucks:

Donermen_logo best versionBoo Coo Roux  

Music by:

Cloud of Shame logo


Big Run Wolf Ranch

FrogLady Presentations


Northern Illinois Raptor Rehab & Education

REI Co-op

Washtenaw Hops

Thank you to our generous VIP Pavilion Sponsor:

Thank you to our remarkable Event Sponsors:

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Somme Winter Solstice Bonfire & Celebration

Posted: December 1st, 2016

This annual tradition in the woods will include a GIANT bonfire and a bagpiper!

Please bring snacks to share.

Festivities start at 2pm at Somme Woods East and is completely FREE!

See map.

Contact Josh Coles at josh@fotfp.org for more information.

Birds and Bikes on the Major Taylor Trail

Posted: October 10th, 2016

Join us for a FREE guided bike ride from the oak woodlands of Dan Ryan Forest Preserve to the riverside savanna of Whistler Forest Preserve as we search for birds! Look for ducks as we cross the Little Calumet River or we might spot a Bald Eagle!

Meet at the 83rd St. parking lot in Dan Ryan Forest Preserve. The lot is on the north side of 83rd Street, just east of Western Ave.

Total biking distance is about 15.5 miles on a flat paved trail. Bring your own binoculars, water and a snack.

Attendance is limited to 25 riders, so register today!

Click Here to register.

This event is presented in partnership with Friends of the Forest Preserves, Friends of the Major Taylor Trail, Audubon Great Lakes, and The Field Museum.




Bike Glenview – Forest Preserves Bike Ride

Posted: June 1st, 2016

Bike from Blue Star Memorial Woods in Glenview to the Skokie Lagoons and back with Friends of the Forest Preserves! We will stop for a snack at the lagoons and chat about the ecology of the preserves we have just traveled through. Meet at the Blue Star Memorial parking lot for a prompt departure at 1pm. The ride will last about 1.5 to 2 hours round trip. This event is free, but you must register to attend. Please take a moment now to register in order to save your spot!

Nature Crafts Day at Whistler Woods

Posted: May 26th, 2016

Join us for a fun day of outdoor crafting! Artists and nature lovers of all ages welcome! FREE! 11:00 – 12:30pm at Whistler Woods, 678 W. 134th St., Riverdale. See map.