This week, the Forest Preserves of Cook County will hold special events and volunteer workdays to celebrate Earth Day 2014, which is today.
“The Forest Preserves of Cook County manages nearly 69,000 acres of beautiful preserves, perfect for hiking, biking, bird-watching, fishing, and many other healthy, family-friendly activities,” said Forest Preserves President Toni Preckwinkle. “Earth Day is an invitation to reaffirm our commitment to the natural environment and continue preserving habitat for the millions of plants, animals and other living things that call the forest preserves home.”
“The forest preserves are right there for us to enjoy,” said Arnold Randall, general superintendent of the Forest Preserves of Cook County. “We want more people to know about all the recreational and educational opportunities the Forest Preserves offers, almost all of which are free. Sometimes it just takes a guided hike or a morning with a group of friendly volunteers to find that first connection with nature.”
Some of the special events include:
The 25th annual Earth Day Parks & Preserves cleanup at Whistler Woods from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at Whistler Woods, 480 Acme Drive in Riverdale.
Join Randall to restore Whistler Woods and other nearby preserves. Help clean up the preserves in the morning, and then celebrate with fun activities, hikes, bike repairs, art projects and more. Drop off your unwanted textiles and electronics. In partnership with Friends of the Parks, the Cook County Department of Environment and the Youth Outdoor Ambassador program funded by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources’ Coastal Management program. Register at earthdaychicago.com.
At Sand Ridge Nature Center, 15891 Paxton Ave., in South Holland, celebrate Earth Day from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday. Activities include hikes, puppet shows, a craft and Earth Day Jeopardy. Learn more about other nature center offerings at fpdcc.com/events.
The Forest Preserve District of Cook County’s extensive volunteer program provides meaningful opportunities throughout the year for individuals and groups to enhance the health and beauty of the preserves.
On Saturday, there are many opportunities to volunteer at a forest preserve near you. Volunteer work includes removing invasive plant species, cleaning up litter, and cutting and piling brush. All tools and training are provided. Volunteers should dress for the weather.
Workdays are scheduled across the county, including at the following locations:
Orland Grassland, Orland Park
Bartel Grassland, Matteson
Paddock Woods, Palos Hills
For details and a complete list of volunteer workday opportunities, visit the district's volunteer page.