West Ridge Nature Preserve, Park Advisory Council (PAC)

Chicago Park District

PAC Volunteers Offer 

Group Field Trips, Workshops and Recreational Activities

Several retired teachers, all members of our Park Advisory Council and its Education Committee, envisioned outreach to our community’s school, youth and neighborhood groups. Why not use our West Ridge Nature Preserve as a focus for educational field trips, workshops and recreational activities?

Our nature preserve, an urban oasis, draws people to the wonders of native flora and fauna in wetland, savanna, oak woods and pond environments. While less known, the West Ridge area features geology and history worth exploring. 

While the preserve is only in its third year, these volunteer educators and their assistants are already piloting their ideas. They are leading school groups on themed field trips, returning to the school for related writing and art projects. They are running wildly popular Kids Fishing Clinics and Family Nature Days. And last year, they arranged for a garden club picnic and presentation and sponsored a day for seniors.

In the table below are examples of our educational and recreational offerings for community groups. And don't forget, individuals and groups are always welcome to join our Citizen Science Center teams that monitor the various wildlife around the preserve.

You Can Schedule the Following . . .

Click to edit table header
  Animal Tracking
Use field guides to identify tracks in a woodland site readied for the activity.
  Bone Search
Use field guides to identify bones in a woodland site readied for the activity.
  Bird Walks
Walk around spotting birds following introductory lesson about binoculars, field guides and bird calls. 
  Plant Identification
Locate plant species ID stakes and identify and discuss various plant-life along the paths. Learn to use photos and Dichotomous Keys to ID trees.
 Geology and
 Roe’s Hill History
Discuss the evolution of the area, highlighting glaciation, Native American heritage, Rosehill Cemetery and recent conversion to a nature preserve
Arrange for children to take fishing lessons. Rods & reels supplied by the Illiois Department of Natural Resources  (IDNR)
  IDNR Resource Displays
Explore hands-on materials related to: IL Mammals, Aquatics, Fossils, Insects, Invasives, Prairies and Trees
  Creative Writing
Write about nature inspired themes with samples displayed on StoryWalk
  Arts and Crafts 
Create nature inspired drawings, painting, printings or collages with samples displayed on StoryWalk or make a nature-related craft project
  Water Quality Testing
Conduct pH, Nitrate, Phosphate, Dissolved Oxygen and CO₂, Turbidity tests  to determine water quality
  Water Quality Testing
Collect and identify macroinvertebrates that indicate water quality level by using hand lenses and microscopes

Please contact us with questions and/or to set up a fieldtrip, workshop or activity for your group. Our volunteers are eager to meet with you and help you design outdoor activities that will meet your needs. We do not charge, but certainly appreciate  tax-deductible donations.

Communicate your interest on the Contact Page under Education

Or email Gary Morrissey:  [email protected]