What Is the West Ridge Nature Preserve?
Who knew such a jewel, undeveloped for 100 years, existed close to the busy intersection of Peterson and Western Avenues? Local residents have long seen it as a secret wilderness, that's who. They slipped in and out of the 20 acres of woods surrounding a 4-acre pond to watch hawks, herons and fox, spotting the occasional wood duck or coyote.
A decade ago plans were in the works to convert this wilderness into a retail area. In 2005, a congressional earmark funded the acquisition of this land from Rosehill Cemetery. The acquired land was transferred to the Chicago Park District in 2011. The park district's renovation has transformed this wilderness into the West Ridge Nature Preserve, an oasis of native flora and fauna.
The Mayor's Nature and Wildlife Advisory Committee declared "The site is important both for the conservation of biodiversity, in particular native birds, and also as a place for urban residents to experience nature. The pond and surrounding woodland are truly special for the feeling they give of a sanctuary from the busyness of city life".
We are grateful to President Barack Obama, Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Alderman Patrick O'Connor for preserving this special place for Chicagoans.
Be Responsible, Respectful StewardsPlease, to protect new plantings and encourage migrating birds to return, stay on the paths and leave your dogs at home. The Chicago Park District signs in the preserve clearly state these official preserve rules.
Look for PAC Events
Our Citizen Science Center begins this spring. We need you! To make a significant environmental contribution, join our volunteer corps of wildlife monitors, attend a training session or study group and become a citizen scientist.
Completed: Frog and butterfly study groups
Park Advisory Council Preserve Location (walk-in entrance on Ardmore; hours: sunrise to sunset)
Watching over the process is the West Ridge Nature Preserve Park Advisory Council (PAC). We are working with the Park District to enhance the preserve, making it accessible to us humans, including those who are physically challenged, while protecting this precious bit of ‘wilderness’ as a refuge for the wildlife that has found a home here.
The PAC meets at 7pm on the
second Thursday of odd-numbered months
at Green Briar Park, 2650 W. Peterson Ave.
All are welcome!