Thank You BackYard Nature Center


December 15, 2020 – Much has changed since we began implementing our Next Century Conservation Plan five years ago. Today 15,000 acres across the Forest Preserves are under restoration or active management, more than 260,000 visitors have enjoyed the FPCC’s campgrounds, and organizational reforms have made the FPCC more transparent and accountable.  Equally important, partnerships with conservation advocates and other organizations are stronger than they have ever been. In total, more than 100 organizational partners have worked with the Forest Preserves to advance the plan’s ambitious goals. We are especially grateful to Backyard Nature Center for your commitment to this effort and we really appreciate the work you do to connect people to nature through your many activities at Skokie Lagoons.


This year people flocked to the preserves in record numbers to enjoy the opportunities for exercise, tranquility and connection to nature that the Forest Preserves provide, especially during these challenging times.  Trail Watch volunteers saw nearly twice as many trail users compared to last year, and counters along specific trails in north, central and south Cook County showed a 70% increase in foot traffic.  Visits to the Forest Preserves’ interactive web map increased more than 100% this summer, and Director of Resource Management John McCabe observed the highest level of visitors in his 26+ years at the Forest Preserves.


The progress made to date and the public’s growing appreciation of nature presents an historic opportunity to demonstrate the value of the forest preserves in people’s lives, and we will leverage this opportunity to propel the Forest Preserves forward during the second phase of NCCP implementation.


An analysis of progress made during the past five years and an overview of the next phase is included in the Annual Report of our Conservation and Policy Council. An acknowledgement of your support is included in section 6.  We are deeply grateful for your partnership.


Arnold Randall
General Superintendent
Forest Preserves of Cook County

Jacqui Ulrich
Deputy Director, Conservation & Experiential Programming
Forest Preserves of Cook County

Tim Mondl
Outdoor Recreation Program Coordinator (North Region)
Forest Preserves of Cook County

Partnership Letter from FPCC