News Release

Forest Preserve District Awarded Grant to Restore Woodland at Blackwell

Partnership to restore woodland understory will benefit birds

(Nov. 1, 2022) — The Forest Preserve District of DuPage County and the DuPage Birding Club jointly announce that the club awarded a $2,000 grant to the 501(c)(3) Friends of the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County to fund the planting of nearly 100 native tree saplings and shrubs near McKee Marsh at Blackwell Forest Preserve in Warrenville.

The grant will advance a restoration project already begun at the site, which included the removal of nonnative buckthorn and honeysuckle shrubs. Newly planted native trees and shrubs will increase the habitat’s biodiversity, provide needed vegetative structure, and restore resources for native and migratory birds that nest and forage in the woodland’s understory.

In addition to funding the purchase, DuPage Birding Club members will plant the saplings and shrubs on Saturday, Nov. 5, at 8:30 a.m. at the site. Members will also tend to and water the new plants through the fall and install small fencing to protect the new plants from animal browse.

“The woodland understory is extremely important to bird species such as the ovenbird, veery, and wood thrush,” said DuPage Birding Club president Natalie McFaul. “Restoring this small woodland area will improve bird habitat. It will also provide the Forest Preserve District with insight about how birds use the newly restored habitat and information that can be used to guide its future management of DuPage forest preserve woodlands.”

The restoration project and grant are an example of an ongoing partnership between the Forest Preserve District and the DuPage Birding Club.

“DuPage Birding Club members are ideal partners for this project because they are knowledgeable about the avian species that live and nest in our forest preserves,” said Forest Preserve District chief partnership and philanthropy officer Jeannine Kannegiesser. “They understand birds’ needs and are actively engaged in monitoring bird species and stewarding bird habitat in our natural areas.”

The Forest Preserve District indicated it will take several years for the saplings and shrubs to reach maturity before the habitat provides the conditions required by understory-nesting birds.

DuPage Birding Club and Forest Preserve District volunteers will monitor bird species’ presence and use of the area in the years following the project.

“We look forward to seeing the understory flourish with new plant growth and learning about how the birds will use the restored area at the preserve,” said Forest Preserve District stewardship program coordinator Cindy Hedges. “The Forest Preserve District will use the data collected by the volunteers to help evaluate the project’s success.”

The DuPage Birding Club promotes and supports birdwatching and birding in DuPage County. With over 400 members, the club runs more than 80 field trips a year, hosts regional and national speakers at regular meetings, and offers educational opportunities for its members and the public. The club also provides grants and donations to groups and individuals involved in avian research, conservation, and education. Learn more at

The Forest Preserve District of DuPage County has been connecting people to nature for more than 100 years. More than 6.2 million people visit its 60 forest preserves, 166 miles of trails, six education centers, and scores of programs each year. For information, call 630-933-7200 or visit, where you can also link to the District’s e-newsletter, blog, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and TikTok pages.

The Friends of the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County 501©(3) nonprofit advances the vision of the Forest Preserve District through philanthropic endeavors. To donate or volunteer, visit For information, contact 630-871-6400 or


The Forest Preserve District offers a monthly e-newsletter that includes timely information about projects, programs and events in our DuPage forest preserves. Subscribe to our e-newsletter, and get the latest nature news straight to your inbox.