Party for the Preserves is full day of events Sept. 23

The annual Forest Preserves of Cook County's Party for the Preserves on Saturday, Sept. 23, checks a lot of boxes: it kicks off fall forest fun events that run through November, marks two historic anniversaries, and - most importantly - offers a full day of fun, from a bilingual bird walk at 8:30 a.m. to a Funkadesi concert followed by s'mores and night walks 12 hours later.

"As the seasons turn, there's even more to see and do in the Forest Preserves, and that deserves a party," says Forest Preserves General Superintendent Arnold Randall.

"This year we are also marking the 30th anniversary of National Public Lands Day and the 60th anniversary of the Illinois Nature Preserves Commission. We have a lot to celebrate."

Six events - all free and open to the public - will be held as part of this year's Party for the Preserves:

• Bilingual Bird Migration Walk/Caminata Bilingüe Sobre la Migración de Aves: 8:30 a.m. at Sagawau Environmental Learning Center in Lemont.

• Bike Ride: Party for the Preserves: 10 a.m. at Beaubien Woods in Chicago.

• Salsa Dance: 11 a.m. at Thatcher Woods Pavilion in River Forest.

• Party for the Preserves Program: noon at Crabtree Nature Center in Barrington.

• Fourth Annual Fall Nature Fest: noon at LaBagh Woods, Foster and Cicero in Chicago.

• Party for the Preserves: 4 p.m. at Camp Bullfrog Lake in Willow Springs. Includes paddling on the lake, food and more, to be followed by a Funkadesi concert, ending with optional night walks and s'mores.

Additional details on all six events are online at or at each preserve's web pages. Fall events through the end of November are available in the Fall 2023 Guide.

About Party for the Preserves

Since 1994, National Public Lands Day has mobilized volunteers on the fourth Saturday in September to celebrate and care for our nation's public lands. Nationwide, more than 70,000 participants are expected to join in trail maintenance, cleanups, tree planting, invasive species removal, as well as hikes and other activities.

Saturday's Party for the Preserves events are focused on fun, but it's important to note that much of Cook County's 70,000 acres of forest preserves rely on volunteers to help make them healthier and better places to visit.

"Volunteers become advocates for the site and help us become better stewards because we can be in more places," said Rebecca Collings, senior resource ecologist at the Cook County Forest Preserves.

"But not everyone has to become a volunteer. The Forest Preserves belong to the people of Cook County, and we want everyone to be able to appreciate and enjoy these incredible public lands. If they want to also help, that's great, too."

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