Stewardship Spreading

Friends of the Chicago River welcomes a new statewide stewardship group devoted to Illinois Nature Preserves, Friends of Illinois Nature Preserves, which amplifies our advocacy about the important role of volunteer stewards in the management of public lands and waterways.

Effective stewardship relies on volunteers who work to improve habitat and biodiversity by removing invasive vegetation, collecting native seeds, wildlife monitoring projects, and burning brush in controlled piles. In 2014, Friends helped establish a successful stewardship program called Centennial Volunteers with the Forest Preserves of Cook County, Friends of the Forest Preserves, and the Field Museum. The program also inspires individuals, and offers training, to become dedicated site stewards for the Forest Preserves.

“Volunteer stewardship is vital in maximizing successful management of public lands and waterways,” said Margaret Frisbie, executive director of Friends of the Chicago River. “Stewardship serves as catalyst of community engagement, inspiring friends, family, and neighbors to take a hands-on role for the benefit of people and wildlife; it’s rewarding work.”

One veteran Centennial Volunteer site steward at the Somme Preserves in Northbrook is Eriko Kojima; she is highlighted in a news story about Friends of the Illinois Nature Preserves removing invasive species at a workday at Goose Lake Prairie in Grundy County. There are 596 officially designated Nature Preserves in Illinois.

Learn more about Centennial Volunteer opportunities at the Forest Preserves of Cook County website