Nielson employees participate in a corporate workday, including team-building exercises.
Nielson employees participate in a corporate workday, including team-building exercises.

Corporate Team Building Days

The 69,000 acres of forest preserves in Cook County offer unrivaled physical, intellectual and creative team building experiences that invigorate company morale and performance. Employees renew a sense of partnership and determination as they work together to combat invasive species and return these ancient oak savannas, prairies and wetlands to their native, healthy state.

“Not only can you see your results, but working in the forest preserves gives me a chance to rub elbows with people from my company that I don’t normally see.” – Jeff Blackburn, Chairman of the Board of Assurance Agency, Ltd.

The Day

The day begins in the heart of one of the district’s woodlands with an overview of the state of the county forests. Participants learn that Cook County’s forests contain some of the most diverse ecosystems in the world, comparable to the rainforests of the Southern Hemisphere and include such rare fauna as the East Prairie White Fringe Orchid, River Otters, and Sandhill Cranes.

Led by trained conservation employees of the Friends of the Forest Preserves, teams use bow saws and loppers to remove invasive European buckthorn that are choking the life out of the native, 200-year-old oaks. Teams drag the trees over to roaring bonfires and witness the sunlight once again making its way to the preserve floor, nourishing native plants and animals. Teams then gather to spread seed of native plants. In the springtime, they remove weeds such as garlic mustard, another foreign species that can take over.

“It’s instant inspiration when you see all kinds of employees talking and interacting with each other. The employees are pretty blown away by the experience.” – Devon Brown, Conservation Corps Crew Leader

Four-Season Opportunity

Corporate Team Building Days are offered all year long. Winter is one of the more optimal times. No bugs – and the bonfires keep everyone toasty. Friends of the Forest Preserves’ Corporate Team Building Days are competitively priced and tax-deductible. Fees include large and small group activities, hands-on training, and a free permit to use the nearest picnic grove.

The Benefits of Team Building

We design the employee activities to promote discipline, problem solving and productivity. Specifically, the team building activities improve:

  • Decision-making –Working in close proximity toward a defined goal in a new situation with unfamiliar tools requires concentration and establishing priorities and objectives.
  • Communication – Because these are new tasks, team members must listen closely to one another. They discuss ideas and suggestions and brainstorm the best solution.
  • Motivation – Each member is committed to the success of the team. They support and encourage one another to reach shared goals.
  • Trust – Team members rely on each other in entirely new ways. This builds confidence and assurance about their shared and individual strengths.

A Chance to Give Back to the Community

Ecologists estimate that nearly two-thirds of the forest preserves in Cook County are overrun by non-native species such as buckthorn, honeysuckle, and multiflora rose. On the surface, the invasive species brought over from other continents look lush and green. But, in reality, they steal the sunlight and water from the native plants. Insects and animals suffer too. Fewer birds, butterflies and amphibians can survive.

Clearing the land of non-native species is expensive, labor intensive, and often misunderstood in the community. Holding a team building event in a forest preserve is a way for corporations and employees to spearhead the forest preservation efforts near their offices and homes while expanding their leadership and workplace skills.

“This is hands-on service work with excellent team building activities.” – Douglas Chien, Advocate’s Network Manager for the Friends of the Forest Preserves.

Conservation Corps Crew Leader Devon Brown understands how transformative working in the forests can be. Brown began as a summer intern for the Friends of the Forest Preserves at age 15, shortly after his older brother was involved in serious street violence on Chicago’s South Side.

“The forest gave me someplace to be that was positive. I knew from that point on, I wanted to be in forest preservation.” – Devon Brown, Conservation Corps Crew Leader

Recommended Schedule

Weekdays Education and Safety Orientation Team Building and Volunteering Lunch (Optional)
Morning 9 – 9:30 AM 9:30 AM –12 PM 12 – 1 PM
Afternoon 1 – 1:30 PM 1:30 – 4 PM 12 – 1 PM (Prior)

Pricing and Corporate Membership

$1,500 up to 25 employee participants
$2,500 26-50 employee participants
$5,000 51 to 100 employee participants

Learn more about Corporate Membership, which includes Corporate Team Building Days.


For further information contact Ilana Federman at or 312-356-9990.

Assurance employees participate in a Corporate Team Building Day.