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posted: 4/29/2014 10:02 AM

Interactive tool helps visitors enjoy forest preserves

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DuPage Forest Preserve submission

The DuPage County Forest Preserve District is inviting nature enthusiasts, teachers and students to enrich their time outdoors this spring through an interactive tool on its website, Observe Your Preserve.

"Spring is a time when many people explore the outdoors after the cold of winter, and Observe Your Preserve is a great way for nature enthusiasts to find out where flowers are blooming and migrating birds are arriving and to share forest preserve experiences," says Marcy Rogge, the site's coordinator.

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The site, available on smartphones and desktop and tablet computers at dupageforest.org/observe, is a resource for information about nature in DuPage County's forest preserves. It offers photos and descriptions of hundreds of plant and animal species, profiles of habitats and educational tools, and allows registered users to post their own observations.

By accessing Observe Your Preserve on smartphones, users can search for sightings and species notes based on their location and share their own observations at the spot of the sighting.

Rogge notes that new and returning observers will find seasonal updates in the "Best to Observe Now" section and invites readers to check out posts from the district's naturalists in the "Nature Notes" section. Registered observers can even create unique checklists of their visits.

There are no age restrictions or fees to use the site or become a registered observer. Teachers who would like more details on Observe Your Preserve in the classroom should contact Rogge, outreach manager in the district's Office of Education, at (630) 933-7076 or mrogge@dupageforest.org.

The forest preserve district owns and manages 25,000 acres of prairies, woodlands and wetlands. Each year its 60 forest preserves, 145 miles of trails, five education centers and scores of programs welcome more than 4 million visitors.

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