Friends of the Forest Preserves (FOTFP) is an independent non-profit organization advocating for responsible management of the forest preserves of Cook County. Through advocacy, internships, and ecological restoration we promote responsible management of the more than 68,000 acres of forest preserve land including those in the Calumet Region. Reviving ecological stewardship at Calumet area forest preserves has been on Friends’ agenda for many years. We have an active volunteer group that meets regularly for workdays to help these special places. There are volunteer days happening every Saturday of the month.
FOTFP collaborates closely with the Calumet Stewardship Initiative to recruit volunteers and promote recreational opportunities for the forest preserves of the Calumet Region. FOTFP also partners with CSI members to implement large scale ecological restoration projects in the region. Activities for these projects include invasive species removal and prescribed burns.
Friends was formed to help solve serious problems in the forest preserves of Cook County. As an independent non-profit, Friends provides oversight by attending all Forest Preserve District board meetings, making policy and budget recommendations, and fending off land grabs. We also believe that in order for the Forest Preserve District to properly function, it needs an independent board of forest preserve commissioners.
For many years, the forest preserves weren’t getting the attention they deserve – invasive brush turned thousands of acres into impassible thorn thickets, preserve land was sold, and trash littered the landscape. Friends works to restore the preserves in many ways.
1. We advocate for support from the Forest Preserve District for all volunteers working in the forest preserves.
2. Our internship programs are among the most important work we do. Friends interns plant seeds as well as remove the invasive species that are the cancer of our ecosystems. They earn stipends while restoring woods and prairies and learn about careers in the conservation field.
3. Government and foundation funding allows us to hire contractors for large-scale, on-the-ground restoration projects such as removing invasive species, restoring hydrology, and conducting controlled burns.
Contact Information: (312) 356-9990 or via email at [email protected]