West Ridge Nature Preserve, Park Advisory Council (PAC)

Chicago Park District

A Place for YOU:
Help, Plan, Belong

Environment Advocacy

Do you have a passion for environmental issues? Or are you a hands-on person who likes to clear, weed and plant? This committee provides opportunities for both. You can advocate for urban natural areas, especially ours. And you can help enhance and protect our native wildlife habitat. Promoting environmentally sensitive use of the preserve takes continuous vigilance and effort. We partner with and support the Chicago Park District’s designated Steward in this his work, including workdays. Because a healthy, biodiverse environment is the foundation for our many activities, we are looking for environmentally committed people to infuse new energy into this committee. Join us in this effort by signing up on the Contact Page under Environment.

Citizen Science

Do you enjoy observing nature? Would you like to collect useful wildlife data? The data our citizen scientists collect relate to how well certain species are doing – information useful to our stewards and to regional, state and national environmentalist. Here are some of the species you will help track: calling frogs and toads (late spring, early summer); butterflies, dragonflies, and damsel flies (throughout the summer); singing insects (late summer and early fall); and bats (summer into fall). The data you collect flows into larger databases. No science background is needed; on- the-job training from experienced monitors is provided. You will learn how to listen, observe and record. To contribute to the citizen scientist movement, express your interest on the Contact Page  under Environment.

Education Outreach

Can you envision helping others embrace our urban wilderness? This committee creates and oversees activities, programs and events that promote knowledge about natural habitats, especially ours. Maybe you care about introducing children to the joys of experiencing and learning in nature. Maybe you care about adult learning. Many opportunities exist for involvement with our events, activities, and partnership programs as well as in the development of new outreach efforts. We also need people to solicit and guide teacher groups, school field trips and nature organization outings. This committee launched Our Hello to Summer festival this June and oversees such popular programs as the Kids Fishing Clinics. Go to the Contact Page under Education and communicate your interest.


Play Space Stewardship

Do you believe that outdoor nature play helps children thrive physically, mentally and creatively? Members of our Nature Play Space Committee do. And research backs them up. Now that the play space construction is complete, this committee not only encourages free exploration and play but also assumes oversight and programming responsibilities. What fun to be the first to launch activities specifically for the new play space. The round tree-cookie tables are conducive to arts and crafts. A small stage is perfect for bringing in performers such as story tellers, puppeteers, musicians and actors. The possibilities are endless. And, of course, free play and planned activities need to take place within an environment that is safe, respectful, and clean. Write a few sentences on the Contact Page under Education to let us know that you are interested.

Media Publicity

How about those of you who love connecting with others – creating and sharing information, encouraging participation and involvement, keeping everyone in the loop? This committee informs PAC members, nature preserve friends, community groups, the press, and key governmental agencies of our activities and volunteer needs. Help us identify new people to contact and new ways to spread the word. Contribute to one of our existing communication vehicles: e-blasts, website, Facebook page, newsletters, flyers, banners and on-site kiosk. Coordination of information and consistency of message are priorities. Communicate your interest on the Contact Page under Promotion, Publicity & Communication.

Resource Development

Are you someone who likes to search for resources and loves to write? We are looking for people who will identify and pursue funding sources that meet our PAC's plans, goals and needs  While we receive some help from the Chicago Park District, our PAC raises its own money for programs and improvements. Help us identify grant opportunities along with corporate and business possibilities.. Maybe try your hand at writing a grant or developing a rationale for why the local community should support us. Or join other PAC members in soliciting funds. We invite your to sign up on the Contact Page under Resource and Development.