West Ridge Nature Preserve, Park Advisory Council (PAC)

Chicago Park District

Our Vision

Can you imagine embracing a native wilderness right in the midst of your city? Now you have the opportunity. The Education and Program Committee wants you to enjoy, experience, and learn at the new West Ridge Nature Preserve. While our educational programs and activities will involve all ages, we especially care about introducing young children to the joys of playing and learning within our urban oasis. Our ideas and plans for educational activities continue to evolve. 

What Are We Planning?

We will launch a few of the activities below at the opening of the preserve, expanding our offerings over time. Please stay tuned as we flesh out and introduce some of the following:

Self-directed and Guided Activities for All Ages: Quiet activities are the norm here -- nature walks, birding, tracking, plant & animal identification, I Spy nature hunts, communing with nature, and individual research projects

School Groups: In the near future, programs will be available for Pre-School through Junior High tailored to your curriculum. Call to schedule one of our ongoing activities with a trained Interpretive Guide. Topics include:

  1. Habitat comparison (wetland, woodland, savanna)
  2. Trees, wildflowers, insect, macro invertebrates, bird identifications
  3. Animal tracking
  4. Water/soil sampling
  5. Invasive species removal
  6. Program design assistance for teachers to tailor nature experiences to their students

StoryWalks: Self-directed and guided reading activity for families with young children -- large individual pages of a nature-related story book placed in consecutive order along one of the paths which will be changed seasonally

Nature Play Area: Designed with preschoolers in mind -- tree swings, balance logs, stepping path, mud play, climbing apparatus, teepee construction, digging zone, and maze

Adult Education Classes: Bird watching, creative writing, photography, fishing, yoga, and more to come

What Are the Volunteer Opportunities?

Help us make WRNP a great place to visit. We need interpretive guides, school group assistants, counselors, birders, wildlife trackers, nature guides, environmental stewards, invasive species removers, maintenance workers, gardeners, naturalists, and TEACHERS. Even if you have little or no experience in these areas, or only a couple hours of time to volunteer, call us for ways you can make a contribution.