Summer 2020 Conservationist

News & Notes

Oh, Baby!


The Friends of the Forest Preserve District and Danada Equestrian Center are hosting an online “Oh, Baby! Shower” between Aug. 1 and Sept. 7 to raise $3,000 for Duke, the newest addition to the Danada herd. Money raised will help pay for the colt’s first year of care and training.

Each donor who gives $20 or more will receive a hand-drawn portrait capturing the personality of Duke or a Danada horse of choice, each created by a center volunteer or employee. For more information, visit

Born May 25, Duke is the first horse to be born at Danada in 10 years. Weather permitting, visitors can see the colt and his mother, Daisy, in the paddock each morning 8 – 8:30 a.m. (The grounds and surrounding forest preserve are open, but the barn and other buildings remain closed due to COVID-19.) They can also follow Duke’s antics at


Board of Commissioners Meetings

For the safety of visitors as well as staff, until further notice, all Board of Commissioners meetings will be online only. For details on how to watch meetings live, submit public comments, or watch recordings of previous meetings, visit and click “Our Board.” Links to agendas and minutes are posted there as well.

Normally, commission meetings are at 8 a.m. on the first and third Tuesdays of the month; planning sessions, 8 a.m. on the second and fourth Tuesdays. At both the board hears public comments and staff reports, discusses business, and votes on agenda items.


Daily Watercraft Permits Now Online


Daily private watercraft permits are now available online 24/7 and through Visitor Services weekdays 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. and Saturdays through Aug. 29 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. There are no longer steel lockboxes at the four private watercraft lakes.

To purchase a permit, click here. Detailed instructions are also posted at each lake.


A Closer Look at St. James Farm


A walk through St. James Farm offers a look at beautiful natural scenery, and this summer, special displays offer a look at some of the site’s cultural history, too.
Select buildings are open, and a few feature items from the property’s years as a working farm. In the milk house, for instance, visitors can see vintage pails and Bowman Dairy milk containers; a ball-bearing cream separator; and a show trunk used at one of the farm’s annual “Field Days,” which showcased the farm’s Guernsey cows.

The farm served as a benchmark for breeding Guernseys, and its owners, the McCormicks, shared their knowledge of the breed and the pasteurization process with area dairy farmers not only to enhance milk production but also to give back to their community.


Sign Up for Text Alerts


The Forest Preserve District has made making it even easier to get updates on the features you use and love the most. Simply text keywords WATERCRAFT, ARCHERY, DOGS, GOLF or EVENTS (one word per text) to 866-743-7332 to get messages on closures and conditions that affect private watercraft, the archery range, and off-leash dog areas and updates on golf courses and special events.

Message and data rates apply. See terms and conditions at


Collections Corner


Taking the next step in museum collections best practices, the Forest Preserve District has migrated its electronic artifacts records into a professional cloud-based collections storage system. This comprehensive register documents the objects the Forest Preserve District holds in public trust. The new software is a more secure environment and allows collections staff to bring mobile devices to artifacts for cataloging instead of carrying items to a desktop computer. This makes the overall process quicker and eliminates the need to handle artifacts, which can be fragile.

One exciting prospect is a public-facing feature the software company is developing that may allow the creation of online exhibits, bringing residents even closer to the cultural and natural history of their forest preserves.


Many Thanks 


The Forest Preserve District thanks the donors who contributed to its efforts between Nov. 1, 2019, and May 31, 2020. To learn how your financial support can benefit the District, visit To give to the 501(c)(3) nonprofit Friends of the Forest Preserve District, visit

Gifts of Note
Harold and Mary Bamford III
$2,000 — Willowbrook Wildlife Center

Nancy Mores
$2,000 — Willowbrook Wildlife Center

Edmund Pereira
$2,000 — Willowbrook Wildlife Center

Schuler Family Foundation
$2,000 — Willowbrook Wildlife Center

Judy Johnson
$1,000 — Willowbrook Wildlife Center

John Schroeder
$1,000 — Danada Equestrian Center

Joel Herning
$750 — Willowbrook Wildlife Center

Roux Associates Inc.
$500 — Willowbrook Wildlife Center

Gifts of Note to the Friends of the Forest Preserve District
Timberlake Civic Association
$50,000 — Land acquisition

Lori Brown Estate
$12,500 — Willowbrook Wildlife Center

Chamberlain Group LLC
$10,000 — Special Needs Adventure Day

$5,000 — Willowbrook Wildlife Center

Illinois Clean Air Community Foundation
$4,000 — West Chicago Prairie restoration

BP Foundation in recognition of Patricia Banaszak’s volunteer hours
$3,230 — Willowbrook Wildlife Center

Domtar Inc.
$3,000 — Natural resources and land management

Larry Larson
$3,000 — Greatest needs, Adopt a Blanding’s Turtle and natural resources

Michael Firman and Marilyn Schweitzer
$2,500 — Education, natural resources and Willowbrook Wildlife Center

Mike and Renie Wilson
$2,500 — Greatest needs

Tom and Ruth Cloonan
$2,000 — Willowbrook Wildlife Center

Michael Webb
$2,000 — Mayslake Peabody Estate and Willowbrook Wildlife Center

Seth Becker and Helen Nam
$1,615 — Willowbrook Wildlife Center in honor of Nathan Becker

Kriauciunas Family
$1,500 — Greatest needs

David and Arlene DeMotte
$1,000 — Greatest needs

David Ginther
$1,000 — Willowbrook Wildlife Center

Patrick and Mary Mauro
$1,000 — Mayslake Peabody Estate

Carol McGee
$1,000 — Mayslake Peabody Estate and Willowbrook Wildlife Center

Elaine Novak-Jans
$1,000 — Willowbrook Wildlife Center

Ranch Spur Charitable Trust
$1,000 — Greatest needs

Richard James McCann Foundation
$1,000 — Willowbrook Wildlife Center

Annette Thompson
$800 — Adopt a Blanding’s Turtle

Daniel and Cheryl Zinnen
$800 — Belleau Woods restoration and Mayslake Peabody Estate

Garden Club of Downers Grove
$700 — Willowbrook Wildlife Center and Mayslake Peabody Estate

Susan Reiker
$600 — Greatest needs

Theodore Utchen
$600 — Mayslake Peabody Estate

Brian and Kathleen Beggerow
$500 — Willowbrook Wildlife Center

PR Davis
$500 — Greatest needs in honor of Shannon Burns

Dennis and Debra Dean
$500 — Willowbrook Wildlife Center

Phil and Amy Gelber
$500 — Willowbrook Wildlife Center

Goldstein-McGrath Fund of the DuPage Foundation
$500 — Willowbrook Wildlife Center

David and Connie Hill
$500 — Mayslake Peabody Estate

Craig Holderness
$500 — Greatest needs

Kathy Isoda
$500 — Willowbrook Wildlife Center in honor of St. James Farm volunteers

Ann McGill-Wellborn
$500 — Greatest needs

Gary and Judy Montgomery
$500 — Mayslake Peabody Estate

Kathleen Murphy
$500 — Kline Creek Farm

Sinclair Siragusa
$500 — Willowbrook Wildlife Center

John and Marion Tableriou
$500 — Greatest needs

Peter and Danielle Tomczak
$500 — Greatest need