Winter 2021 Conservationist

News & Notes

West Branch Trail Reopens at Blackwell

West Branch DuPage River trail along Spring Brook Creek

The West Branch DuPage River Trail near Spring Brook Creek at Blackwell Forest Preserve in Warrenville has reopened as the bulk of work wraps up on the adjacent creek restoration project.

Visitors will see a rerouted trail moved to higher ground to prevent frequent flooding. Beautiful views of the meandered creek will feature colorful arrays of native wildflowers once warm weather returns.

Since April 2019 the District has worked along the Spring Brook Creek to improve water quality and wildlife habitat and connect the creek to the floodplain.


Board of Commissioners Meetings

Two hands operating a computer tablet

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..


Parking Improvements at Mayslake

Construction equipment on the parking lot at Mayslake

Work will wrap up this spring on the complete removal and replacement of the parking lot on the west side of Mayslake Hall at Mayslake Peabody Estate in Oak Brook. The replacement is a certified project of the Forest Preserve District’s latest master plan.

Over the years the integrity and durability of the parking lot has been an issue due to the insufficient depth of the aggregate base.

In addition to the new base and asphalt, the project is replacing select concrete curbs and sidewalks and addressing drainage issues along the lot and building.

The parking lot not only supports operations at Mayslake Peabody Estate but also serves as the location of the Forest Preserve District’s popular annual native plant sale.

The $306,947 project is funded through a combination of nonreferendum bond funds and yearly appropriated construction and development funds.


Summer Camp 2021

Monarch butterfly in the hands of a child

Although programs will look a bit different — smaller groups and an emphasis on social distancing, for instance — the Forest Preserve District is working to unroll a fun summer camp lineup for 2021. Camp descriptions will be posted online at on Feb. 1. Registration opens for DuPage residents Feb. 15 and for nonresidents
March 1, so mark your calendar and think summer!


Collections Corners

Mound at Winfield Mounds in fall

Our last column featured recent archaeological discoveries at Dunham Forest Preserve in Wayne, but in this edition the spotlight is on a site that’s been examined for nearly a century: Winfield Mounds in Winfield.

Roughly 1,000 years ago, Native Americans lived along the West Branch DuPage River on land that is today’s Winfield Mounds Forest Preserve. Some constructed “effigy mounds” at the site, hills of earth built in simple shapes for religious or other purposes.

Centuries later in the early 1900s, farmers rediscovered the mounds. Subsequent archaeological digs unearthed over 2,000 sherds of pottery and signs of human burials. (They’re the only documented account of burial mounds in DuPage.)

After decades of excavations and vandalism, though, the mounds were no longer intact, so in the 1990s the Forest Preserve District collaborated with the Illinois Prairie Path and other groups to reconstruct three low round mounds of earth to permanently mark the historically significant site.

Today, visitors can connect not only to nature but also to the county’s cultural past at Winfield Mounds. In fact, as the village of Winfield readies for its 2021 centennial year, the rediscovery of the mounds is planned to be a part of the celebration.


Many Thanks 

The Forest Preserve District thanks the donors who contributed to its efforts between Oct. 1 and Nov. 30, 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
Judith Anderson
$1,000 – Willowbrook Wildlife Center

Theodore Utchen
$600 – Mayslake Peabody Estate

Gifts of Note to the Friends of the Forest Preserve District
$5,526 — Danada Equestrian Center

Maryann Mahoney
$1,000 — Greatest needs

Kenneth McAfee
$1,000 — Willowbrook Wildlife Center

Ann McGill and Kate Welborn
$1,000 — Willowbrook Wildlife Center

Lisa Savegnago and Ronald Johnson
$1,000 — Greatest needs

Sebert Landscaping
$1,000 — Land Management in memory of Geronimo Bryant

John and Marion Tableriou
$1,000 — Greatest needs

Timothy Whelan
$1,000 — Greatest needs

Chester and Jeanette Wilczak
$1,000 — Mayslake Peabody Estate

Brian and Dana Battle
$500 — Greatest needs

Francine Manilow
$500 — Blackwell Forest Preserve

Annette Thompson
$500 — Adopt a Blanding’s Turtle

Julie Tumma
$500 — Greatest needs

Wheaton Lions Club
$500 — 2020 Duck Race Sponsor