Invasive Species Workdays

Volunteers burn invasive plants and brush in LaBagh Woods in 2016.

Join Friends and our partners at Centennial Volunteers for upcoming workdays to remove invasive plants at Whistler, Kickapoo, and Beaubien Woods in the south suburbs near the Little Calumet River. Other locations and dates will be announced soon.

The removal of invasive plant and brush species, and re-seeding for native plant growth, is critical to help restore these unique prairie and woodland ecosystems with diverse wildlife, trees, shrubs, grasses and wildflowers. For example, the removal of invasive brush in Whistler Woods helps the sprouting of acorns from oak trees that are up to 300 years old. The re-seeding of native plants such as milkweed and goldenrod better supports butterflies and traps stormwater using natural flood and erosion control; improving the biodiversity and ecological health of the Chicago River system. Forest Preserve policy is to re-spread seeds from where they were harvested or appropriate nearby locations. The use of local seeds is a way to maintain genetic integrity.

Volunteers will work with trained leaders to learn how to identify plants that don't belong and how to safely use hand tools to remove them. Brush pile fires are safely used to dispose of invasive species that are cut. Sanitized hand tools will be provided to volunteers and face coverings are required.

Founded in 2014, Centennial Volunteers is a partnership between Friends of the Chicago River, the Forest Preserve District of Cook County, Friends of the Forest Preserves, and the Field Museum.