Spring 2022 Conservationist

News & Notes

Mayslake Hall to Temporarily Close for Major Exterior Restoration

mayslake hall

Historic Mayslake Hall in Oak Brook will close for up to a year beginning May 31 for a major exterior improvement project. The certified master plan project will repair structural deficiencies and other problems with the roof, masonry, wood, stucco, windows, doors, and foundation. It will also improve drainage and accessibility.

A $750,000 capital grant from the Public Museum Capital Grants Program, Illinois Department of Natural Resources, Illinois State Museum will help pay for the renovations. The Tudor Revival-style mansion is on the National Register of Historic Places and is one of the last remaining examples of the country estates that dotted DuPage between 1880 and 1924.

Although the 100-year-old mansion will temporarily close starting May 31, the surrounding forest preserve will remain open. First Folio Theatre will have a 2022 – 2023 season at the estate but one built around the construction schedule.

The Forest Preserve District is already planning new exhibits and programs for Mayslake Hall’s reopening in 2023, including an exhibit of Joel Sheesley’s paintings of the West Branch DuPage River.


Collections Corner

stone arrowhead

Over an extensive history of habitation, animals and humans have left traces of their existence in forest preserves across the county, and the Forest Preserve District is partnering with institutions, including the Illinois State Archaeological Survey, to advance the management of these significant finds.

An anthropology major with North Central College is inventorying the District’s collection at the college’s archaeology lab. When completed, the catalog will allow the District to better track and share artifacts with researchers for display or study, such as pieces currently on display through June 5 as part of the People of the Prairie: 12,000 Years in DuPage County exhibit at the Elmhurst History Museum.

Although artifact loans are a great start, future elements may include online exhibits and hands-on experiences to further connect DuPage residents to the land and its rich past.


Live and on Demand

headquarters building

Can’t make it to a board meeting? Find schedules and agendas and watch it live or on demand under “Our Board.” You can also link directly to live streaming video from the Forest Preserve District’s Facebook page at facebook.com/dupageforest.

Commission meetings and planning sessions are open to the public and held at Forest Preserve District headquarters at 3S580 Naperville Road in Wheaton. 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.


Visitor Services Saturday Phone Hours

This summer, the Forest Preserve District’s Visitor Services office is making it easier on Saturdays to get answers to questions about permits, reservations, programs, boat rentals, and more.

Our Visitor Services team will be available for phone calls, emails, and online chats Saturdays June – August (except July 2) 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. (The office is not open to walk-in visitors during these Saturdays.) To reach the office during these hours, call
630-933-7248, email permits@dupageforest.org, or chat online at dupageforest.org.


Floods Wash Out Bridge at Waterfall Glen

On Feb. 17 at Waterfall Glen flood waters washed out the pedestrian bridge over Sawmill Creek on the main loop trail between mile markers 5.5 and 6. While the Forest Preserve District works on plans to construct a new bridge, preserve visitors should avoid that stretch of the trail. For updates, visit dupageforest.org and click on “News” and “Upcoming Projects.”


New Accessible Kayak Launch at Blackwell

kayak launch at Silver Lake

In winter 2021 the Forest Preserve District installed an ADA-accessible launch for kayaks and canoes at Silver Lake at Blackwell. The launch features a boat slip and a transfer platform with handrails, which will allow individuals of all abilities to load and launch independently. An accessible path from the parking lot and a concrete sidewalk ramp to the launch area are also new additions to the site.

The launch, the first of its kind at a DuPage forest preserve, is also available to visitors who wish to rent kayaks on Silver Lake.

The Friends of the Forest Preserve District provided $15,000 in donations toward the $75,650 project. The Forest Preserve District plans to open the launch April 2 and to host a ribbon-cutting ceremony April 23.


District Earns AAA Rating from S&P


The Forest Preserve District earned a AAA rating from Standard & Poor’s Global Rating for its series 2022 general obligation limited-tax bonds, which will be used to pay for certified master plan projects without raising debt-servicing costs or increasing taxes.
S&P also affirmed its AAA rating on the Forest Preserve District’s general obligation debt outstanding. This is the highest rating of credit worthiness attainable by any agency in the financial industry. The District has maintained this rating since 1997.

The ratings report notes many of the strengths of the District and states that the Forest Preserve District has “an extremely strong and stable credit supported by very strong management.” The full report can be found online.


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If You Care, Leave Them There

young robins in a nest

It’s baby animal season, and Willowbrook Wildlife Center is reminding residents it’s normal for wild animals to leave their young alone for several hours at a time. Human intervention may be helpful, though, if an animal is injured or truly abandoned.

If you have concerns about a wild animal, contact Willowbrook at 630-942-6200 or willowbrook@dupageforest.org for guidance. Calls are answered daily, and after-hours recordings provide general information.


Many Thanks

redbud trees

The Forest Preserve District thanks the donors who contributed to its efforts Nov. 1 – Dec. 31, 2021. To learn how your financial support can benefit the District, visit dupageforest.org/friends. To give to the 501(c)(3) nonprofit Friends of the Forest Preserve District, visit dupageforestgiving.org/donate.

Gifts of Note
Joel Herning
$1,000 — Willowbrook Wildlife Center

DuPage Birding Club
$500 — Willowbrook Wildlife Center

Howard Goldstein and Margaret McGrath
$500 — Willowbrook Wildlife Center


Gifts of Note to the Friends of the Forest Preserve District
Ellen Alekno Wier
$8,000 – Willowbrook Wildlife Center

Anonymous (2)
$5,500 – Greatest needs

G. Carl Ball Family Foundation
$5,000 – Greatest needs

Larry Larson
$3,000 – Greatest needs, Adopt a Blanding’s Turtle, Volunteer Services

Mary J. Demmon Private Foundation
$3,000 – Danada Equestrian Center

Ranch Spur Charitable Trust
$2,500 – Greatest needs

Harold and Mary Bamford III
$2,000 – Willowbrook Wildlife Center

Elaine Novak Jans
$2,000 – Greatest needs

Michael and Diane Webb
$2,000 – Mayslake Peabody Estate restoration, Willowbrook Wildlife Center

Seth Becker and Helen Nam
$1,605 – Willowbrook Wildlife Center

Carol Hughes
$1,500 – Greatest needs

David Light
$1500 – Greatest needs, Kline Creek Farm

Susan Carr
$1,000 – Willowbrook Wildlife Center

James and Valerie Carroll
$1,000 – Willowbrook Wildlife Center

David & Claudia D’Hooge
$1,000 – Willowbrook Wildlife Center

Domtar Paper Company
$1,000 – Greatest needs

David Ginther
$1,000 – Willowbrook Wildlife Center

Judith Grey
$1000 – Adopt a Blanding’s Turtle, Green Energy Endowment, Natural Resources habitat restoration

Mary Ann Mahoney
$1,000 – Greatest needs

Carol McGee
$1,000 – Willowbrook Wildlife Center

Coral Baran
$500 – Willowbrook Wildlife Center

Michael Firman and Marilyn Schweitzer
$500 – Willowbrook Wildlife Center, Adopt a Blanding’s Turtle

Corryn Greenwood
$500 – Willowbrook Wildlife Center

Chaney Kalinich
$500 – Willowbrook Wildlife Center in memory of Daniel Motel

Denise Kennedy
$500 – Preserve improvements in memory of James Kennedy

Tim Letizia
$500 – Greatest needs

Francine Manilow
$500 – Preserve improvements

Elaine McCluskey
$500 – Greatest needs

Carol O’Neal
$500 – Willowbrook Wildlife Center

John and Gloria Page
$500 – Willowbrook Wildlife Center

Pat Pappas
$500 – Fullersburg Woods

Edmond Pereira
$500 – Willowbrook Wildlife Center

Allison Riley
$500 – Greatest needs

John Schofield
$500 – Greatest needs

Alex Schut
$600 – Greatest needs

John and Marion Tableriou
$500 – Greatest needs

Heather and Mark Yeager
$500 – Willowbrook Wildlife Center

Douglas Zimmer
$500 – Mayslake Peabody Estate