Since its founding in 2012, the Foundation has granted more than $1.5 million in support of programs that ease youth and family access to the wonders of the Forest Preserves of Cook County and to innovative educational programming. We believe that these experiences improve the health of the community and the Preserves.​​

Priority Programs

Youth Conservation Corps

Youth who have meaningful connections to the natural world, especially under the guidance of role models, form strong connections to nature and feel empowered to make a difference as stewards of their environment.  They also gain the many benefits of actively playing, exploring and/or working outside.

Conservation Corps programs accomplish habitat restoration goals while providing teens with employment experience, science education, and a self-esteem enriching experience.

Chicago Conservation Leadership Corps program
The 2018 Dan Ryan Woods Conservation Leadership Corps crew.

Forest Preserve Foundation priority programs include:

  • Conservation Corps
  • Public Art
  • Nature Play
  • Memorial Gifts
  • Bird the Preserves

2019 grants awarded

Restoration of Cap Sauers Holding ‐ $225,000

Restoration at Galloping Hill Fen ‐ $10,000

Conservation@Home ‐ $4,500

Planting at Brookfield Woods Forest Preserve ‐ $135

2018 grants awarded

Forest Preserve Experience Program — $75,000

Student Conservation Association (SCA) — $50,000

Developing the Next Generation of Outdoor Leaders: Curriculum and Training in Public Engagement — $27,500

2017 grants awarded

Forest Preserve Experience/Conservation Corps — $50,000

Restoration of Cranberry Slough — $48,690

Volunteer Recognition Program — $950

Marriott Employee Workday Supplies — $360

Public art installation at Trailside Museum
Public art installation at Trailside Museum
Models of student-designed art pieces.
Models of student-designed art pieces.

Public art

A $70,000 grant from the Foundation and CSX is funding a public art project that will be installed this summer at the Forest Preserve General Headquarters, Thatcher Woods Pavilion and Trailside Museum, all in River Forest.

A dozen Oak Park River Forest High School art students designed the sculptures that are being constructed from materials taken largely from nature.

The art pieces are meant to celebrate the role the Forest Preserves plays in the local community. Specifications outlined by the Preserves’ Conservation and Experiential Programming Department call for the art pieces to be semi-permanent and constructed of  materials that will naturally decay over time and become part of the landscape.

Read more about the public art grant and project here.

Interested in getting involved?

Email Shelley A. Davis, President, to discuss ways you can get involved in helping preserve, protect and educate others about all the Forest Preserve of Cook County has to offer.

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