The Forest Preserve District of Cook County was created, in part, to carry out the Burnham Plan’s call for protecting valuable natural areas for future generations. The very first land acquired in 1916 was 500 acres of the west side of Deer Grove Forest Preserve. By the time of the Plan’s Centennial in 2009, the Preserve had expanded to include 1,800 acres of mixed upland savanna, grassland and wooded wetlands. Also in 2009, the west side of Deer Grove – in recognition of its important contribution to the preservation of biodiversity – received the highest level of state protection when it was dedicated as the 500th site in the Illinois Nature Preserve system.
The history of this site, from the original preserve to the addition of more land to the east and now to a comprehensive restoration project reflects the evolution of our understanding of conservation in the past century. Today, protection is only the first step; restoration of native species and processes and continued land management are critical to realizing the potential of a place like Deer Grove. The improvement of the habitat for many rare native plant and animal species will contribute greatly to our regional ecological health. At Deer Grove a new sustainable ecological restoration project involving volunteers and wetlands technology will soon be underway.
For a print-friendly fact sheet on the Deer Grove Preserve, click here.
Forest Preserve District of Cook County
Contact: Cathy Geraghty, firstname.lastname@example.org, 708.771.1097