Our initiatives support the Forest Preserve District's education, conservation and recreation efforts and strive to enhance their programs and services in the areas of land stewardship, nature education, arts and interpretation, and recreation.
Supporting Land Stewardship
The Restore Will County Small Grants Program
Passionate and purposeful in their work, Volunteer Stewards adopt a forest preserve, often within their own community, and collect and distribute seed from native plants, cut brush, and control non-native weeds so that our native plants and animals have a chance to thrive. They work to restore the land and re-establish the natural ecological relationships and keep a close eye on our rare and endangered plants and animals. Last year, the Stewards donated over 3,200 hours taking care of the natural landscapes and plants and animals we all enjoy! They often pay for their own supplies, equipment, protective gear, native seeds and plant plugs, and even herbicide to control weeds and non-native shrubs. The Restore Will County small grants help Volunteer Stewards purchase what they need, whether it be plant material, seed, personal protective equipment, herbicide, small tools or supplies to aid in monitoring activities, or organizing a community workday.
Bringing Nature Home Initiative
Inspired by Douglas W. Tallamy, professor and author of "Bringing Nature Home: How Native Plants Sustain Wildlife in Our Gardens," the Bringing Nature Home Initiative supports homeowners that want to transform their yards into an oasis for wildlife. Each year, we host the Bringing Nature Home Native Plant Sale in May with over 100 native plants, trees, and shrubs that support our nesting birds, butterflies, bees, and a host of other wildlife. Shoppers also have an opportunity to talk with native plant experts and organizations to learn more about native plants and nature-friendly conservation practices. Prior to the plant sale, we offer a series of free native plant seminars to give homeowners practical tips and techniques for using native plants.
Supporting Nature Education, Arts & Interpretation
Help Keep Nature Educations Program Free!
Each year, the Forest Preserve District of Will County provides nature education programs to over 15,000 public school students. However, due to participation costs many students are not able to take part in these wonderful programs. In a bold effort to reduce barriers and increase participation in nature education programs, the Forest Preserve District's Board of Commissioners eliminated field trip fees for students; fees that helped to offset the District's costs of materials and equipment for its nature education programs. This initiative provides support to purchase the necessary materials and equipment to help students discover our local ponds and streams, learn about forest ecology, participate in direct experiences with nature, and become better stewards of our natural areas while keeping programs free.
Supporting Recreation in the Forest Preserves
Drinking Fountain at Hammel Woods DuPage Access Preserve & Shade Shelter at Hammel Woods Dog Park
Located on Black Road, west of I-55 in Shorewood, the 445-acre Hammel Woods was acquired by the Forest Preserve between 1930 and 2011. The preserve is part of the DuPage River preservation system, which conserves more than 1,500 acres of land. Amenities at the preserve include 2.18 miles of natural surface trail, access to a 3.7-mile, paved segment of the DuPage River Trail, a fenced 8.5-acre off-leash dog park and numerous opportunities for camping, fishing, canoeing, kayaking, biking, hiking, running, and other recreational activities. The Forest Preserve is planning several enhancement projects at Hammel Woods in 2017. In conjunction with these improvements, The Nature Foundation of Will County has launched a fundraising campaign to raise support for a drinking fountain at the preserve as well as a shade shelter at the dog park.