Challenge Grant: Harms Woods Restoration, We Need Your Support

Friends of the Chicago River is restoring 16 acres at Harms Woods and needs your help. Volunteers are restoring 11 of the acres, and contractors are working on the remainging five. The Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation has provided Friends with a challenge grant, where if we raise $7,000 for the restoration, they will match it 3:1 for an additional $21,000 gift. Donations must be from new donors, or in an amount greater than your previous year’s gift for returning donors.

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´╗┐Harms Woods, located near Skokie, is part of the Forest Preserves of Cook County and lies next to the North Branch of the Chicago River. In 2019, the State of Illinois designated a 169-acre portion of the site as an official state nature preserve.

The forest at Harms Woods benefits from deep, rich soils. Trees are red oak, bur oak, white oak, pin oak, basswood, sugar maple, elm, and cherry. The site has an abundance of spring wildflowers including white trout lily (Erythronium albidum), sharp-lobed hepatica (Hepatica acutiloba), bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis), and large flowered trillium (Trillium grandiflorum). These woodlands also are known for their diversity of sedges and native shrubs including wild sarsaparilla (Aralia nudicaulis), hazelnut (Corylus americana), witch hazel (Hamamelis virginiana), several species of viburnum (Viburnum spp.), and prickly ash (Xanthoxylum americanum). 

The final restoration will take place further inside the preserve than volunteers typically access, where a mix of native and invasive species means careful, time-intensive work from restoration professionals is needed. Your support is needed to complete this project. We hope you consider donating for the first time now, or more than your donation last year, as all new dollars help us achieve our match. Please, if you can, help Friends restoration work to improve ecosystems and donate today.