WBEZ | Cook County Forest Preserve District http://www.wbez.org/tags/cook-county-forest-preserve-district Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Forest Preserves, a hundred years from today http://www.wbez.org/blogs/chris-bentley/2013-06/forest-preserves-hundred-years-today-107667 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/swanksalot/6628505003/lightbox/" target="_blank"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/6628505003_231cf19e0d_z.jpg" style="height: 436px; width: 610px;" title="Flickr/Seth Anderson" /></a></div><p>One hundred years after a small volunteer group set aside open spaces for the nation&rsquo;s first Forest Preserve, the <a href="http://www.wbez.org/tags/cook-county-forest-preserve-district" target="_blank">Forest Preserve District of Cook County</a> is redoubling its efforts to promote preservation and recreation across more than 100 square miles.</p><p>The District&rsquo;s centennial anniversary campaign officially began Wednesday with a minor name change (though still legally The Forest Preserve District of Cook County, the redesigned logo carries the admittedly less clunky Forest Preserves of Cook County) and a reiteration of <a href="http://www.nextcenturyconservationplan.org/" target="_blank">the Forest Preserves&rsquo; vision for conservation, habitat restoration and trails</a>.</p><p>New master plans in each of those areas &mdash; <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/chris-bentley/2013-01/forest-preserve-looks-revive-camping-cook-county-104972" target="_blank">as well as camping</a>, <a href="http://fpdcc.com/recreation-master-plan/" target="_blank">recreation</a> and <a href="http://fpdcc.com/downloads/FPDCC2012LandAcquisitionPlanFinal.pdf" target="_blank">land acquisition</a> &mdash; will keep the Preserves on track for the next century, its authors said. The urban sprawl foreseen by the organization&rsquo;s founders has come to pass, and <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/chris-bentley/2013-03/new-orland-grasslands-trail-stirs-environmental-concerns-106058" target="_blank">threatened to encroach</a> on lands that make up roughly 11 percent of Cook County, while <a href="http://www.wbez.org/tags/invasive-species" target="_blank">invasive species mount an existential risk</a> to biologically unique northeast Illinois. Governance, too, has faltered in the past. But <a href="http://www.suntimes.com/opinions/18051658-474/editorial-in-shakman-ruling-cook-county-forest-preserve-district-gives-patronage-the-pink-slip.html" target="_blank">the February dismissal of Shakman litigation</a>, which dealt with political patronage in hiring, was widely regarded as a vote of confidence in new management.</p><p>Toni Preckwinkle, whose <a href="http://www.suntimes.com/20159461-761/toni-preckwinkle-rips-emanuel-says-cps-closure-plan-weakens-our-public-schools.html" target="_blank">forthright criticism of controversial city programs</a> and <a href="http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2013-06-10/news/ct-met-cook-county-board-president-0611-20130611_1_preckwinkle-commissioner-john-fritchey-scott-kastrup" target="_blank">professionalization of county government</a> have earned her praise from within and outside the Forest Preserves, admitted she didn&rsquo;t realize her position included President of the District until after she had already begun her campaign for Cook County Board President. Her only encounters with the Forest Preserves before that, she said, were events that her predecessor Todd Stroger sometimes held in Sand Ridge at 159<sup>th</sup> and Torrance.</p><p>Emboldened by initial success in increasing visits to the Forest Preserves, Preckwinkle said Wednesday improving public access to those 69,000 acres remains a priority <a href="https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&amp;rct=j&amp;q=&amp;esrc=s&amp;source=web&amp;cd=1&amp;cad=rja&amp;ved=0CC8QFjAA&amp;url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wbez.org%2Fnews%2Fboard-president-preckwinkle-seek-second-term-107642&amp;ei=w-m4UcW7O8ONygGnqIGQDg&amp;usg=AFQjCNGKSsW9bVrA9X4PmgyBPYGiSJBtJA&amp;sig2=mIzMM_xu" target="_blank">as she gears up for reelection</a>. General Superintendent of the Forest Preserves Arnold Randall agreed.</p><p><a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/dharma_for_one/7390767964/" target="_blank"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/eagle.jpg" style="height: 381px; width: 235px; float: right;" title="Bald eagles, like this one seen in a Lake County Forest Preserve, recently returned to northeastern Illinois. (JanetandPhil via Flickr)" /></a></p><p>&ldquo;We want people to be as fiercely protective of the Forest Preserves as they are about the lakefront,&rdquo; he said.</p><p>As a massive network of nature preserves abutting one of the nation&rsquo;s largest cities, the Forest Preserves <a href="http://www.humansandnature.org/how-is-nature-critical-to-a-21st-century-urban-ethic--question-8.php" target="_blank">navigate a complex relationship between ecology and the built environment</a>.</p><p>To help strike that balance between use and preservation, Randall and Preckwinkle said improving access to and knowledge of the Preserves through <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/chris-bentley/2013-02/today%E2%80%99s-mighty-acorns-tomorrow%E2%80%99s-environmentalists-105347" target="_blank">environmental education</a>, transportation and other means would remain a priority, especially for the many Chicagoans who live their whole lives in the city without any idea of the Preserves.</p><p>&ldquo;We want everyone to experience the wonders of nature,&rdquo; Randall said, &ldquo;right here in our county.&rdquo;</p><p><em>Chris Bentley writes about the environment. Follow him on Twitter at <a href="http://twitter.com/Cementley" target="_blank">@Cementley</a>.</em></p><p><a href="https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1lSYZlpZ2eTm7sz2A88czySQ7QydUDtH7zdDRFccbvO8/viewform" target="_blank">Contribute your ideas for the Forest Preserves&#39; Next Century Conservation Plan here</a>, and watch a video from the Forest Preserves:</p><p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="343" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/WRHrEYlgOjk" width="610"></iframe></p></p> Wed, 12 Jun 2013 22:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/chris-bentley/2013-06/forest-preserves-hundred-years-today-107667 Keeping an aromatic invader at bay http://www.wbez.org/blogs/chris-bentley/2013-05/keeping-aromatic-invader-bay-107163 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/beaver-fell-610px.jpg" title="Linda Ruxton, left, and John Pastirik peer over a sea of Mayapples towards evidence of beaver activity in Eggers Grove. (WBEZ/Chris Bentley)" /></div><p>Each spring the &quot;<a href="http://niipp.net/?page_id=1534" target="_blank">Garlic Mustard Challenge</a>,&quot; <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Of5BdKZD5o" target="_blank">which sounds more like</a> competitive eating than conservation, enlists volunteers around the country for a blitz on <a href="http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/incredible-edible-weed" target="_blank">an invasive plant that has edged out native species from Maine to Oregon</a>.</p><p>In the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/question-answered-what-part-chicago-has-most-biodiversity-103725" target="_blank">relative hotbed of biodiversity</a>&nbsp;that is the northern Illinois-Indiana border, however, it only takes a couple faithful stewards to keep the aromatic invader at bay.</p><p>John Pastirik and Linda Ruxton live just blocks from Eggers Woods, the Forest Preserve site where they have led <a href="http://www.calumetstewardship.org/events/list/garlic-mustard-mondays-eggers-grove-forest-preserve-1#.UZHGTCuG3Os" target="_blank">weekly garlic mustard pulls</a> every spring for six years.</p><p>Pulling the white-flowered weed up from the roots, Ruxton explains how the plants quickly colonize new territory.</p><p>&ldquo;Every single one matters,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;Because they each make thousands of seeds.&rdquo;</p><p>Like most successful invaders, garlic mustard can weather many environmental conditions. It springs up sooner than other understory plants and grows quickly, gaining an edge for sunlight and space on the forest floor.</p><p><img alt="Alliaria petiolata: Garlic Mustard" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/garlic-mustard.jpg" style="height: 187px; width: 305px; float: left;" title="Garlic Mustard — Alliaria petiolata (Chris Bentley/WBEZ)" />But they only flower every other year, which gives conservationists a window to cut back the population.</p><p>Where Pastirik, Ruxton and other volunteers have cleared the garlic mustard, native plants and wildflowers flourish. Solomon&rsquo;s Seal, Jack in the Pulpit, and Wild Geranium dot an expanse of Mayapples spanning the forest floor between white, red and burr oaks.</p><p>Pastirik, 55, grew up and still lives in the East Side neighborhood where Eggers Grove sits. Pastirik said his five older brothers teased him for taking a census of the preserve&rsquo;s tree species while he was a Cub Scout, but it hasn&rsquo;t kept him out of the woods.</p><p>Eggers Grove is a series of lowland marshes and slightly raised ridges &mdash; remnants of Lake Michigan&rsquo;s shorelines in its ancient iterations. Severe flooding in recent years has drowned many of the oaks lower along the sloping gradients between ridges. But the high ground is also risky.</p><p>Gnawed oak trunks and stumps reveal the recent arrival of beavers. Pastirik says it might be possible to lure them away by planting Aspens or other desirable species nearby, but trapping may be the only way to keep them from chewing through the keystone species of this former oak savanna.</p><p>Human use also takes it toll on the preserve. ATVs and dirt bikes, although they are forbidden, have dug tread marks into the trail. Invasive species like garlic mustard latch onto that upturned soil.</p><p>&ldquo;The ruts act like furrows in a farm field,&rdquo; Pastirik said.</p><p>Farther along the trail, where volunteers have not visited lately, the weeds grow almost waist-high. Hoisting an empty fertilizer bag full of uprooted garlic mustard, Ruxton signals to Pastirik where he should bring the crew next week.</p><p><object height="458" width="610"><param name="flashvars" value="offsite=true&amp;lang=en-us&amp;page_show_url=%2Fphotos%2F34610267%40N05%2Fsets%2F72157633497847418%2Fshow%2F&amp;page_show_back_url=%2Fphotos%2F34610267%40N05%2Fsets%2F72157633497847418%2F&amp;set_id=72157633497847418&amp;jump_to=" /><param name="movie" value="http://www.flickr.com/apps/slideshow/show.swf?v=124984" /><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true" /><embed allowfullscreen="true" flashvars="offsite=true&amp;lang=en-us&amp;page_show_url=%2Fphotos%2F34610267%40N05%2Fsets%2F72157633497847418%2Fshow%2F&amp;page_show_back_url=%2Fphotos%2F34610267%40N05%2Fsets%2F72157633497847418%2F&amp;set_id=72157633497847418&amp;jump_to=" height="458" src="http://www.flickr.com/apps/slideshow/show.swf?v=124984" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="610"></embed></object></p><p><em>Chris Bentley writes about the environment. Follow him on Twitter at <a href="https://twitter.com/Cementley" target="_blank">@Cementley</a>.</em></p></p> Tue, 14 May 2013 15:12:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/chris-bentley/2013-05/keeping-aromatic-invader-bay-107163 New Orland Grasslands trail stirs environmental concerns http://www.wbez.org/blogs/chris-bentley/2013-03/new-orland-grasslands-trail-stirs-environmental-concerns-106058 <p><p><a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/usachicago/4890741791/" target="_blank"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/orland%20grassland%20by%20John%20W.%20Iwanski.jpg" title="Orland Grasslands (Flickr/John W. Iwanski)" /></a></p><p>The Forest Preserve District of Cook County released plans Monday for <a href="http://www.orlandgrasslandbiketrail.com/">a trail and bike path in Orland Grasslands</a>, but some environmentalists say the project could jeopardize the recovery of a fragile ecosystem by fragmenting land used by migratory birds.</p><p>Though site volunteers said they felt their concerns were largely acknowledged by the District&rsquo;s design team, they remain apprehensive about the trail&rsquo;s southeast segment, which bows around the west side of a large pond that fronts onto La Grange Road.</p><p>&ldquo;Every single inch matters,&rdquo; said Pat Hayes, Orland Grasslands&rsquo; site steward. &ldquo;What we&rsquo;re dealing with is not just a pretty place. This is sustenance for ecosystems and species that have nowhere else to go.&rdquo;</p><p>A letter from the Bird Conservation Network cited several bird species known to nest in the Grasslands &mdash; Henslow&rsquo;s Sparrow, Dickcissel, Grasshopper Sparrow and Bobolink &mdash; that could be affected, as well as shorebird species known to stopover on the site during their migration. Though small, a path separating the pond from the Grasslands&rsquo; interior could deter birds and turtles from critical mud flats along the water&rsquo;s edge.</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/orland-grassland-trail_0311-610px.jpg" title="(Forest Preserve District of Cook County)" /></p><p>&ldquo;We understand their concerns and took this issue seriously,&rdquo; said the Forest Preserve District&rsquo;s Karen Vaughan. &ldquo;In this instance, there was no ideal alignment of the trail that would fully satisfy all everyone, so our challenge was to find the best possible balance. We think we&rsquo;ve done that with the current alignment.&rdquo;</p><p>Originally the trail&rsquo;s western leg along 104<sup>th</sup> Avenue also jogged inward along the interior edge of a large wetland. Revised plans from the District moved the trail closer to the site&rsquo;s perimeter at several points to minimize its impact on restored areas amid a tenuous recovery.</p><p>The District also agreed not to mow the trail after discussions with local environmentalists, who worried mowers would track in weeds and invasive species from other sites.</p><p>By tying in with <a href="http://www.orland-park.il.us/DocumentCenter/Home/View/735">bike path networks</a> in the Southwest <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/day-orland-park-105394">suburban communities of Orland Park</a> and <a href="http://www.wbez.org/tags/tinley-park">Tinley Park</a>, the Orland Grasslands trail is meant to draw more visitors into the site. Pat Hayes said contrary to popular opinion, environmentalists are in full agreement with the District about that.</p><p>&ldquo;Nature needs people,&rdquo; she said.</p><p>Public engagement could garner some new site volunteers, Hayes said, and generally improve the community&rsquo;s attitude toward natural areas. Signs and viewing points along the trail will direct visitors&rsquo; attention to the surrounding ecosystem.</p><p>The Orland Grasslands are <a href="http://fpdcc.com/preserves-and-trails/projects/orlandgrassland/">a vast preserve</a> spanning more than 1,000 acres, following <a href="http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2012-10-11/news/ct-met-orland-grassland-preserve-20121011_1_orland-grassland-forest-preserve-district-restoration-projects">an acquisition the District made last fall</a> in the midst of an ongoing restoration project aimed at rehabilitating prairie, wetland, oak savanna and oak woodlands ecosystems. Besides a small gravel parking lot in the northeast corner of the site, the trail will be the only developed access to the Grasslands&rsquo; interior.</p><p>The trail still needs to pass engineering and permitting hurdles, but a letter from the District&rsquo;s chief landscape architect indicates its design is unlikely to change significantly. The District expects to begin construction this fall.</p></p> Wed, 13 Mar 2013 05:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/chris-bentley/2013-03/new-orland-grasslands-trail-stirs-environmental-concerns-106058 Hacking back invasive species, and crime http://www.wbez.org/blogs/chris-bentley/2013-03/hacking-back-invasive-species-and-crime-105895 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/kickapoo610px.jpg" title="Members of the Calumet Invasive Species Conservation Corps toss sections of felled tress onto a fire in Kickapoo Woods. (WBEZ/Chris Bentley)" /></p><p>Brenda Elmore grew up in West Pullman, literally a stone&rsquo;s throw from the Whistler Preserve in Riverdale, Ill. Even though she has always lived within walking distance of some of the Forest Preserve District of Cook County&rsquo;s largest holdings, she learned from a young age to stay away from them.</p><p>&ldquo;I used to be scared to come anywhere near it,&rdquo; Elmore said.</p><p>She says her parents told her that Jason, the machete-wielding killer from the <em>Friday the 13<sup>th </sup></em>movies, lived in the Forest Preserves. In reality, they were worried about gangs. The far south side forest preserves&rsquo; seclusion and proximity to areas troubled by gang activity made them ideal <a href="http://articles.chicagotribune.com/1991-12-10/news/9104210097_1_decomposed-body-shallow-graves">dumping grounds for bodies</a>. And a dense underbrush of white poplar, buckthorn and purple loosestrife &mdash; all invasive species &mdash; obscured any view of the interior from the road.</p><p>As she cuts back invasive species with a chainsaw&nbsp;in Kickapoo Woods, it&rsquo;s clear Elmore, 50, has come a long way &mdash; and so have the Forest Preserves. She is part of the Calumet Invasive Species Conservation Corps, an EPA-funded program that hired workers from underrepresented areas of Chicago to restore at least 228 acres of wetland and wet prairieland in the Calumet region. Friends of the Forest Preserves co-administers the $518,467 federal grant, which is part of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, with the Student Conservation Association.</p><p>&ldquo;Our first time out here it was just an impenetrable mass,&rdquo; says Elmore, an alumna of the city&rsquo;s <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/chris-bentley/2013-01/greencorps-graduates-cultivate-citys-green-jobs-105042">Green Corps job training program</a>. &ldquo;We had to fight our way through it.&rdquo;</p><p>Prairie restoration in the Calumet, as in many places, is largely about <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/chris-bentley/2013-01/restoring-prairieland-calumets-industrial-corridor-104751">clearing invasives that have choked out native species</a> by blocking all the light. Dozens of species of bygone prairie grasses still have seeds lying dormant in the soil, and could take off once again if conservationists can help them establish a foothold.</p><p>A five-person crew hacked at ash trees and white poplars Monday, nearly one and a half years into their two-year stint with the program. Aerial photographs from 2007 and 2011 show how much progress they, along with volunteer groups and contractors, have made.</p><p>&ldquo;I always turn the group around on their way out of the site after a day&rsquo;s work,&rdquo; says group supervisor Brian Mann. &ldquo;So they can see the impact they have.&rdquo;</p><p>A <a href="http://thenatureniche.com/2011/10/11/construction-of-sandhill-cranes/">construction</a> of sandhill cranes flies overhead. They are migrating and looking for somewhere to stop off. Kickapoo probably doesn&rsquo;t have enough water to attract them, Mann says, but as biodiversity returns to the site it is likely to sustain species the area&#39;s stewards would have been lucky to spot decades ago.</p><p>For Mann, who came to this line of work from real estate and then plumbing, restoration is also about self-discovery.</p><p>&ldquo;I used to hate getting up in the morning,&rdquo; he says. &ldquo;Now I love my job.&rdquo;</p><p>It is a similar story for Elmore.</p><p>&ldquo;I didn&rsquo;t realize I liked being outside as much as I do,&rdquo; she says. At first Green Corps was &ldquo;just a job&rdquo; for her, she says, but she soon realized she liked the work. After the Calumet Invasive Species Conservation Corps program is complete, Elmore hopes to land a job that will keep her outside, working with nature.</p><p><object height="458" width="610"><param name="flashvars" value="offsite=true&amp;lang=en-us&amp;page_show_url=%2Fphotos%2F34610267%40N05%2Fsets%2F72157632920439174%2Fshow%2F&amp;page_show_back_url=%2Fphotos%2F34610267%40N05%2Fsets%2F72157632920439174%2F&amp;set_id=72157632920439174&amp;jump_to=" /><param name="movie" value="http://www.flickr.com/apps/slideshow/show.swf?v=124984" /><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true" /><embed allowfullscreen="true" flashvars="offsite=true&amp;lang=en-us&amp;page_show_url=%2Fphotos%2F34610267%40N05%2Fsets%2F72157632920439174%2Fshow%2F&amp;page_show_back_url=%2Fphotos%2F34610267%40N05%2Fsets%2F72157632920439174%2F&amp;set_id=72157632920439174&amp;jump_to=" height="458" src="http://www.flickr.com/apps/slideshow/show.swf?v=124984" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="610"></embed></object></p></p> Tue, 05 Mar 2013 05:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/chris-bentley/2013-03/hacking-back-invasive-species-and-crime-105895 Calumet restoration efforts get influx of cash from feds http://www.wbez.org/blogs/chris-bentley/2013-02/calumet-restoration-efforts-get-influx-cash-feds-105422 <p><p><a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/virtualphotographers/5129850054/" target="_blank"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/calumet.jpg" style="height: 456px; width: 610px;" title="In the Calumet region, Chicago's industrial and ecological histories are deeply intertwined. (virtualphotographers via Flickr)" /></a></p><p>The Forest Preserve District of Cook County announced Wednesday a $520,000 restoration project that will help knit together sensitive ecosystems in the Calumet region, where <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/grand-calumet-river%E2%80%99s-road-recovery-105164">a contaminated river</a> and <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/chris-bentley/2013-01/restoring-prairieland-calumets-industrial-corridor-104751">an abundance of invasive species</a> have long threatened <a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/question-answered-what-part-chicago-has-most-biodiversity-103725">biodiversity in the Chicago region</a>.</p><p>&ldquo;What is great about this project,&rdquo; said Forest Preserve District Resource Ecologist Dan Spencer, &ldquo;is it takes elements of projects that other agencies have done in the past and puts them into a cohesive whole.&rdquo;</p><p>The targeted sites &mdash; Sand Ridge Nature Preserve,&nbsp;Jurgensen Woods and Green Lake Savanna &mdash; are all within three miles of one another. In addition to clearing out invasive species, the restoration will focus on education. Audubon and Fuller Park Community Development will encourage local conservationists to engage with the site, although details are still being worked out.</p><p>&ldquo;We&rsquo;ve wanted to work at Jurgensen woods for a while but never had the funds to do it,&rdquo; Spencer said. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service awarded the bulk of the money, which come from the Obama Administration&rsquo;s <a href="http://www.glri.us/">Great Lakes Restoration Initiative</a>. Cook County is contributing $160,000, while Audubon will kick in $10,000.</p><p>The four sites span more than 1,000 acres of vulnerable &ldquo;dune and swale&rdquo; ecosystems, composed of interwoven strings of wetlands and dry, sandy ridges.</p><p>When ancient glaciers covering much of the Midwest receded hundreds of thousands of years ago, they dumped their water into Lake Michigan&rsquo;s ancestor, Lake Chicago. The Calumet region&rsquo;s sandy ridges are the geological remains of ancient beaches.</p><p>Work will start in the spring, Spencer said, and the funds must be spent by October of 2014.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/GreenLakeSavBrush2012.jpg" style="height: 471px; width: 610px;" title="Green Lake Savanna" /></div><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/JurgensenWds%282%292012.jpg" style="height: 471px; width: 610px;" title="Jurgensen Woods" /></div><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/SRNP_Total_CalumetProject13.jpg" style="height: 471px; width: 610px;" title="Sand Ridge Nature Preserve" /></div><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/SRNC_TotalCalumet13.jpg" style="height: 789px; width: 610px;" title="Sand Ridge Nature Center" /></div></div><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Fri, 08 Feb 2013 06:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/chris-bentley/2013-02/calumet-restoration-efforts-get-influx-cash-feds-105422 Cook County Forest Preserve head hopes to lead district out of the woods http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-10-17/cook-county-forest-preserve-head-hopes-lead-district-out-woods-93186 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/segment/photo/2011-October/2011-10-17/IMG_1433_0.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>The <a href="http://fpdcc.com/">Cook County Forest Preserve</a> includes 68,000 acres of public prairies, forests and wetlands. Depending on the location, visitors can do many things in the preserves, from horseback riding to bird watching. But an <a href="http://fpdcc.com/downloads/desk-audit-report.pdf" target="_blank">independent audit</a> that was released last week revealed some serious problems at the Forest Preserve District. Many of the district’s more than 400 employees reported issues ranging from outdated technology to safety concerns. Cook County Forest Preserve General Superintendent <a href="http://fpdcc.com/general-superintendents-blog" target="_blank">Arnold Randall</a> discussed the findings with <em>Eight Forty-Eight</em>.</p><p><em>Music Button: Wooden Shjips, "Rising" from West (Thrill Jockey)</em></p></p> Mon, 17 Oct 2011 14:28:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-10-17/cook-county-forest-preserve-head-hopes-lead-district-out-woods-93186