Summer 2021 Conservationist

News & Notes

Pavilion Work Update at St. James Farm

pavilion at St. James Farm

This summer renovation work will be wrapping up on the 1985 pavilion at St. James Farm. The renovations are part of the Forest Preserve District’s continuing efforts to support the site’s master plan.

As part of the project, the Forest Preserve District needed to completely rebuild the breezeway between the north and south pavilions (shown above). The uncovered breezeway was open to the elements so the existing wood structure was much more degraded than the rest of the pavilion. Crews will then power wash the rest of the structure and seal the woodwork to make the new and old match more closely.

The renovated pavilion will also feature a new roof as well as a patio and grill, accessible paths, plantings, and an elevated area for lawn games with benches and an overlook over the pond to the west.


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. You can link directly to live streaming video from the Forest Preserve District’s Facebook page at and from

Details on how to submit public comments or watch recordings of previous meetings and links to agendas and minutes are under “Our Board.”

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.


ADA-Compliant Kayak Launch Coming to Silver Lake

blackwell-canoeThe Forest Preserve District is installing a dock with a transfer platform and handrails at Silver Lake at Blackwell that will allow individuals of all ages and abilities to launch a kayak without assistance. The structure, the District’s fist, will meet ADA requirements and should be ready for use by the end of the year.

The $75,650 project will be funded in part by $15,000 in private donations through the nonprofit Friends of the Forest Preserve District, which identified the dock as a priority project. The remainder will be funded through the Forest Preserve District’s yearly appropriated construction and development funds.


Collections Corner


Throughout the pandemic as we used tools like Zoom and FaceTime to feel closer to family and friends, we experienced a deep-seated human need also felt by past residents of DuPage, such as the Kline family: the need to stay connected.

Because the telephone wasn’t prevalent until the 1900s, the writing desk allowed 1890s families to keep in touch. It served not only as a desk but also as a library with shelves for often-used books. This multipurpose piece of furniture, quite similar to modern designs, helped the Kline family write letters and stay informed by perusing available books. The desk also had a mirror so family members could check their reflections (as many of us selfconsciously glance at our own images in Zoom).

Kline Creek Farm’s writing desk is currently undergoing restoration to refinish the wood and repair a broken writing surface, but when farmhouse tours begin again this summer you’ll be able to see this communication tool from the past.


Many Thanks 

The Forest Preserve District thanks the donors who contributed to its efforts Feb. 1 – April 30. 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
Frances Holbrook
$500 — Willowbrook Wildlife Center

Gary Ulfig
$500 – Willowbrook Wildlife Center

Gifts of Note to the Friends of the Forest Preserve District
Friends of Mariann Falco
$4,500 — Meacham Grove in memory of Mariann Falco

Michael Firman and Marilyn Schweitzer
$3,000 — Education, Natural Resources and Willowbrook Wildlife Center

Mateo’s Kids, Inc.
$3,000 — Timber Ridge in memory of Mateo Rotger

Domtar Paper Company
$2,500 — Natural Resources and Willowbrook Wildlife Center

Ranch Spur Charitable Trust
$2,500 — Greatest needs

Sandy Youngstrom
$1,250 — Willowbrook Wildlife Center Adopt an Animal

John and Maria Shalanko
$1,025 — Willowbrook Wildlife Center Adopt an Animal

Anna Ball
$1,000 — Willowbrook Wildlife Center Adopt an Animal

$1,000 — Greatest needs

Susan Johansen
$1,000 — Willowbrook Wildlife Center Adopt an Animal

Jacqueline Lindahl
$700 — Willowbrook Wildlife Center Adopt an Animal

Wednesday Walkers and Friends
$545 — Adopt a Blanding’s Turtle in memory of Steve Sentoff

John and Diane Fiore
$500 — Willowbrook Wildlife Center Adopt an Animal

Michelle Geoga
$500 — Willowbrook Wildlife Center Adopt an Animal

Staley Krause
$500 – Willowbrook Wildlife Center in honor of Dr. Sarah Reich

Adam and Melissa Schmitz
$500 – Natural Resources

Patricia Sczygiel
$500 – Natural Resources and Willowbrook Wildlife Center

Debra Sparling
$500 — Willowbrook Wildlife Center Adopt an Animal

Deborah Yatka
$500 – Danada Equestrian Center