Party for the Preserves Events on September 23 Mark Big Day for Public Lands


Party for the Preserves Events on September 23 
Mark Big Day for Public Lands

Celebrate National Public Lands Day’s 30th anniversary with fun outdoor events across Cook County: Funkadesi concert, Salsa dance, biking, birding, boating and more

The annual Forest Preserves of Cook County’s Party for the Preserves on Saturday, September 23 checks a lot of boxes: it kicks off fall forest fun events that run through November, marks two historic anniversaries, and—most importantly—offers a full day of fun, from a bilingual bird walk at 8:30 a.m. to a Funkadesi concert followed by s’mores and night walks 12 hours later.

“As the seasons turn, there’s even more to see and do in the Forest Preserves and that deserves a party,” says Forest Preserves General Superintendent Arnold Randall. “This year we are also marking the 30th anniversary of National Public Lands Day and the 60th anniversary of the Illinois Nature Preserves Commission. We have a lot to celebrate!”

Six big events—all free and open to all—will be held as part of this year’s Party for the Preserves:

Sagawau Environmental Learning Center in Lemont at 8:30 a.m.

Beaubien Woods in Chicago at 10 a.m.

Thatcher Woods Pavilion in River Forest at 11 a.m.

Crabtree Nature Center in Barrington at 12 p.m.

LaBagh Woods, Foster and Cicero in Chicago at 12 p.m.

Includes paddling on the lake, food and more, to be followed by Funkadesi concert, ending with optional night walks and s’mores

Camp Bullfrog Lake in Willow Springs at 4 p.m.

Additional details on all six events are online at or at each Preserve’s web pages. Fall events through the end of November are available in the Fall 2023 Guide.
What is the Party for the Preserves? 
Since 1994, National Public Lands Day has mobilized volunteers on the fourth Saturday in September to celebrate and care for something we all share—our nation’s public lands. Nationwide, more than 70,000 participants are expected to join in trail maintenance, clean ups, tree planting, invasive species removal, as well as hikes and other fun activities.

Saturday’s Party for the Preserves events are focused on fun, but it’s important to note that much of Cook County’s 70,000 acres of forest preserves rely on volunteers to help make them healthier and better places to visit.

“Volunteers become advocates for the site and help us become better stewards because we can be in more places,” says Rebecca Collings, senior resource ecologist at the Cook County Forest Preserves. “But not everyone has to become a volunteer. The Forest Preserves belong to the people of Cook County, and we want everyone to be able to appreciate and enjoy these incredible public lands. If they want to also help, that’s great, too.”

The Forest Preserves are celebrating one more major milestone this season: the 60th anniversary of the Illinois Nature Preserves Commission. The commission oversees 60 natural sites considered to be the state’s most rare, natural areas, which are almost all that is left of the way the state looked in the early 1800s.
Of those sites, 27 are in Cook County, comprising nearly 11,000 acres of unspoiled natural heritage. This is the most of any local agency in the state.

Preserving nature, providing informative activities, and creating space for fun are all part of the mission of the Forest Preserves, Randall says: “With so much to celebrate, we hope people of all ages come out to join us September 23 and throughout the fall. Our mission is to help residents feel free to get outdoors.”

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