Officials Tour Beaubien Woods, See Success & Discuss Needs

Leaders from Friends of the Chicago River and environmental and civic groups co-hosted an informational meeting and tour in August with federal, state, and county officials at Beaubien Woods on the South Side of Chicago. The tour highlighted community action, updates on the water quality of the Little Calumet River, accessible open space, and ecosystem restoration. 

On the tour, lawmakers, and government officials saw successful habitat restoration, improved outdoor recreation access, and other conservation work underway. Ongoing needs at the site such as more roadway improvements and ways to grow community involvement and amenities were also discussed.

In a shaded grove alongside the Little Calumet, participants heard Friends’ Executive Director Margaret Frisbie present details about the current health of the Little Calumet River including water quality, habitat, and the osprey nesting platform Friends installed near the Beaubien Boat Launch. Frisbie also detailed stormwater impacts, and the value of nature-based solutions in stormwater management. Friends’ Director of Environment, Equity, and Engagement Joe Hinton also outlined Friends’ native aquatic habitat work in the Little Calumet River as well as health and wellness programming in the Calumet region through our Inside, Out & About initiative.

“An open dialogue with lawmakers and top officials about the important conservation work underway in the Calumet Region is vital for the betterment of the community,” said Frisbie. “We all listened and learned from each other to identify opportunities to better support each other and to grow programs and capabilities working alongside local residents.”   

Elected officials attending the event included State Sen. Elgie Sims, State Representatives Will Davis, Sonya Harper, and Nicholas Smith, Cook County Board President Toni President Preckwinkle, and Cook County Board Commissioner Donna Miller. Other officials included Cook County Forest Preserve Superintendent Arnold Randall, Angela Tovar, chief sustainability officer of the City of Chicago, and Jordan Henderson, district representative for U.S. Representative Robin Kelly.

Friends co-hosted the event with the Illinois Environmental Council, People for Community Recovery, Friends of the Chicago River, The Field Museum, Openlands, and the Forest Preserves of Cook County.

Learn more about Beaubien Woods by visiting our Inside, Out & About resources available in English and Spanish on Friends’ website and listen to our podcast featuring the site.