West Ridge Nature Preserve, Park Advisory Council (PAC)

Chicago Park District


No Weather is Too Cold

If You Are Dressed for It.

Take Winter Walks on Your Own

And See What Your Can See.

New Friday Forest Play Group
Offers Young Children
Outdoor Experiences

Winter won't keep our new Forest Play Group from meeting. Designed for young children (birth - age 5), participants gather in the Nature Play Area on Friday mornings, 9:30 to 11:30. 

This is a drop-in program with a suggested weekly notification and donation.

Children, accompanied by their parents or caregivers, experience nature's beauty as the seasons change throughout the year. They also learn while playing and creating.

Emily Chiesa Klein and Karen Brennan, both trained early childhood teachers and friends of our nature preserve, lead this drop-in play group each Friday.

In addition to supporting free play, Emily and Karen offer a circle of songs, poems and a simple puppet play followed by a shared snack. And they set up a weekly nature-inspired craft. 

Most of all, they offer a chance for parents and caregivers to come together and support one another in the exciting journey of parenting/caregiving while enjoying the gifts of the forest!

To know how big of a snack to prepare, please RSVP each week by Thursday at:  sites.google.com/view/forestplaygroup-wrnp.

We suggest that you . . . 
  • Donate  $10 per family each week to cover the costs of food and supplies.
  • Bring a cup, bowl, and spoon for yourself and for your child(ren).
  • Dress in layers for the weather. 

Don’t hesitate to contact us at [email protected] with questions about RSVPing or anything else.

West Ridge Nature Preserve is located at 5801 N. Western Ave.  There is street parking. Enter at Ardmore and Western and follow the right path to the first path that you encounter on your left.  Follow that path to the nature play area.

We look forward to joining you in the forest!
Karen and Emily - Friends of West Ridge Nature Preserve
[email protected]

Enjoy a Cozy Sunday Afternoon
With Friends and Neighbors
 At Our Indoor Winter Gathering

To West Ridge Nature Preserve fans, nature lovers and those who'd just like to socialize and find out what's going on: Please join us for our first ever Friends and Neighbors Winter Gathering.


Date: Sunday, January 27

Place: Green Briar Park Field House

Time: 12:30 - 2:30 p.m.

Meet Michelle Baldwin, the new Green Briar Park Supervisor, who will welcome you to our gathering. 

Enjoy and learn as Liza Lehrer, Lincoln Park Zoo Urban Wildlife Institute, presents a lively talk about the institute's findings at the nature preserve and beyond. You might be surprised about "who" lives in your backyard.

Marvel at wildlife and scenic photos taken in the nature preserve as area photographers talk about and present their work.

Find out the latest from our Park Advisory Council (PAC) volunteers, including the state of the preserve, the Citizen Science Center, the Nature Play Area, birding highlights, and discussion of 2019 initiatives.

Also explore displays featuring neighborhood groups and nature preserve wildlife. And of course there will be refreshments. 

  Raise Your Hand for Continuing Support of Nature Play Area !

 You can contribute funds by 

1) clicking on the Donate button on the bottom of this page,

2) sending a check to our PAC treasurer, or 

3) going to https://www.crowdrise.com/o/en/campaign/wrnp-nature-play-area. 

Here's the Latest

  • Our PAC received enough funding for construction of Nature Play Area features.
  • The Chicago Park District will be working on the site this fall through 2020.
  • We continue to solicit donations for programming and site maintenance.

Read More about Our PAC Sponsored and Self-Directed Activities

Nature Preserve Flowers

You already can see flowers emerging all around the nature preserve. As the season progression, we expect to enjoy a full progression of colorful blooms.

Last fall and this spring, thanks to the Chicago Park District and volunteers, we planted approximately 2,000 wildflower plugs and another 1,200 plants throughout the preserve.

(See woodland flower samples)