Aug 31st, 2023

Summer 2023 Newsletter

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Summer 2023 Newsletter
Our New Partnership with Orvis

BYNC is excited to announce that outdoor apparel and gear retailer Orvis, which opened a new location in Wilmette this year, selected BYNC as their nonprofit partner! We are grateful for Orvis’ support and look forward to the future of this partnership. Already, Orvis employees have provided their time and expertise as part of BYNC’s programs. Orvis’ initial Grand Opening donation will allow us to further our mission, including through the purchase of new work gloves and safely goggles for volunteers who come out to remove invasive buckthorn at the Skokie Lagoons.

During the month of September, receive a 10% discount on in-store purchases in Wilmette when you donate $10 or more to BYNC as a part of Orvis’ Great Giveback Days campaign.

Changes at BYNC

BYNC is grateful to Audrey Peterson, who joined the BYNC team this year, and is concentrating on updating our social media presence! Her enthusiasm really shows when working with the many students coming to our programs.

We also welcomed longtime team member Ben Keller as a new board member. Diane O’Donnell stepped away from our board, and we are grateful that she has continued in her role as resident photographer.

We are always looking for more volunteers! Please reach out to Linn Carey at to explore opportunities.

Highlights from the Spring and Summer
Earth Day
BYNC supported a Forest Preserves of Cook County Earth Day celebration at Linne Woods with 200-plus Park View School students. As part of the event, BYNC and volunteers, including Master Naturalist Jim Hanna and Orvis Fishing Manager Ben Hanrahan, led students in trash pick-up, nature hikes, and removing invasive garlic mustard.

Exploring Crow Island Woods with Winnetka Kindergarten
BYNC spent another week at Crow Island Woods this year with 208 Winnetka kindergarteners. Volunteers Jeff, John, Lisa, Stephanie, Kathy, Bill, Tom, Audrey, and Frank joined Linn and Gary to lead nature walks and supervise our latest pop-up nature play. The five-year olds were very knowledgeable regarding plant and animal species and taught us a lot. They were especially excited about the many birds and could name quite a few. One downside of this year’s visits was that there were no American Toads or their tadpoles to greet us.


Let’s Play! Nature Exploration at Erickson Woods
We joined forces with The Alliance for Early Childhood and the Forest Preserves of Cook County on June 5 for Let’s Play! Nature Exploration at Erickson Woods. Youngsters and their parents participated in outdoor games, creative role-playing with animal costumes, child-directed nature play, and nature walks.


REACH visits Erickson Woods
June and July
This was another successful year teaming with the Refugee Education and Adventure Challenge program. We met twice with groups of young people at Erickson Woods to help them prepare for their overnight camping program. BYNC volunteers provided attendees from over a dozen countries across the globe with guidance in restoration activities, nature walks, and a fishing clinic. The best thing about this program is that many of those who attend the first session come back to help the new kids the next time around. The girl who took ‘Best Angler’ honors in June, catching 10 fish in under an hour, turned out to be one of our best assistant fishing guides in July.

Upcoming Events and Volunteer Opportunities
A new event with Project: VISION
Skokie Lagoons
BYNC is excited to partner with Project: VISION to support the nonprofit’s goal to provide service learning opportunities. We look forward to a fall event at the Lagoons, where 30 middle school kids will collect seeds and remove invasive buckthorn.


Forest Preserves of Cook County Fall Paddle Festival
Oct. 14, noon-4 p.m. (rain date Oct. 22)
Tower Road Boat Launch
All ages are invited to participate in a variety of activities at this annual event.


We encourage everyone to get outdoors and experience nature. Visit for ideas, activities, and to see more photos from BYNC events!

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