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Add Joy to Summer by Volunteering for Family Nature Days

Family Nature Days will occur the last Saturday of each month, March through October, 10 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. Each month will feature a new theme. Sign up under education on the Contact page and express your interest in setting up, helping with activities, leading an activity, or other ideas you may have.

Community Minded Girl Scouts Help

Spruce-Up the Preserve for Spring

Four community minded girl scouts carried out a clean-up mission at West Ridge Nature Preserve on Sunday, February 28. Anika, Josephine, Sharmila, and Inaya - along with family members - removed trash from the southwest corner of the preserve.

Working for about an hour and a half, they filled an entire city garbage cart with debris, consisting mostly of plastic bags. However, the girls also found auto parts, bottles, and chunks of cement. 

We greatly appreciate the effort of these girls who represent Troup 20273, Immaculate Conception Grade School, Old Town.

Thank You for Past and Continuing Support

✪Mayor’s Nature & Wildlife Advisory Committee. “We are pleased that the Park District has acquired this important site and [is] making it accessible to the public. We think that an important priority should be to preserve that sense of sanctuary which is so very rare in the urban setting and which draws so many to natural areas. Another priority is to allow for a refuge for the bird species that will inspire awe and wonder in visitors.”

✪Audubon Chicago Region. “The pond and surrounding woodland are truly special for the feeling they give of a sanctuary from the busyness of city life. The walk through a wood… to the pond allows for a transition into an enchanted space.”

✪Chicago Ornithological Society(COS). "Native habitats are beautiful to both human visitors and wild creatures, and the COS urges...the restoration for West Ridge Nature Preserve to transform a neglected park into a true nature preserve. The site has long been known to birdwatchers as an important stopover site, providing food, water and shelter to migrating birds, as well as a secluded urban refuge for nesting and wintering birds." 

✪Andersonville Chamber of Commerce. Community surveys indicate that “Andersonville is missing a green space. Along with our general environmental ethic, we are excited about the planned nature preserve...less than a mile from downtown Andersonville. The West Ridge Nature Preserve Park Advisory Council's principles are are in keeping with our own in terms of the environmental integrity of the preserve and the desire of area residents for an area that truly feels like nature."

✪Ebenezer Lutheran Church. “The West Ridge Nature Preserve presents a unique opportunity for our beautiful north Chicago communities to realize a unique feature for urban life: A true nature preserve that balances accessibility to the community with a landscape that offers a refuge to animals and people alike… Our faith community values the diversity of parks, public spaces, urban spaces, and cultural options in the area. "

✪Edgewater Environment Sustainability Project. “The EESP is supportive of providing better access to the …West Ridge Nature Preserve, and urges [focusing] on passive-use activities in developing the city’s newest dedicated natural area. This site has long been known to nature lovers and to birdwatchers as an important wildlife area, providing food, water and shelter for migrating birds, as well as a secluded urban refuge for a myriad of wildlife species."

Be Among the First to Volunteer

For Our First Clean-up Workday

Meet us at West Ridge Nature Preserve's gate on Western and Ardmore -- Saturday, June 18, 10 a.m. Our stewards will guide you on a two-hour adventure gathering all kinds of debris and removing invasive plants.

We will provide sunscreen and insect repellant. You should provide your own gloves.

For more information, contact Steward Tom Murphy at We want and appreciate your help.

We Need On-site Monitors

Imagine a pleasant walk around a peaceful pond and though an oak woods. At the same time, you can contribute to the preservation and restoration of the West Ridge Nature Preserve as an official on-site monitor. While strolling along the paths, all you need to do is fill in and return our observation checklist. 

To volunteer as a monitor, please provide the requested information under Education Volunteer on the Contact Page. One of our members will get back to you with additional information and instructions. You can download and print the following Site Visit and Observation Checklist.

Download and print as .docx or .pdf

In Praise of Community Collaboration

On October 3, PAC members and Bowmanville Community Organization (BCO) volunteers collectively tackled the sidewalk mess along the West Ridge Nature Preserve. Stewart Weiss, of BCO, marshaled the troops who arrived early in the morning with brooms, shovels, dustpans and trash bags.

According to Gary Morrisey, PAC Education and Program Committee Chairman, "Our thanks go out to BCO for helping beautify our preserve. It is great when organizations can come together for the benefit of the community."

"We look forward to future community collaborations with and especially appreciate the efforts of Stewart and the BMO."

✪Neighbors of Edgewater West (NEW). "We are very excited that the City has purchased twenty acres from Rosehill cemetery to create a nature area that we are able to easily walk to and enjoy. The West Ridge Nature Preserve...should be maintained primarily to preserve wildlife habitat for viewing, nature appreciation and education, while preserving and enhancing maximum native biodiversity."

✪Neighbors of Elmdale & Thorndale (NET) Block Club. “We are very excited that the City has purchased twenty acres from the Rosehill cemetery to create a nature park that we are able to easily walk to and enjoy. There are no other passive nature parks within walking distance for our families.”

✪West Anderson Neighbors Together (WANT). “Given our close proximity, we are some of the Chicago citizens who would most greatly benefit from increased access to the Preserve. We believe, however, that the necessity of limiting human activities in order to promote the Preserve as a wildlife refuge outweighs any recreational needs. The primary purpose of the reserve should be to promote biodiversity and to support wildlife.”

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