By 2000, nature was in steep decline in Spring Creek Forest Preserves. Woodlands were choked by invasive brush and meadows filled with weeds. Wildflowers, butterflies and birds were vanishing.
The local community and partner organizations responded and remarkable results followed.
What have the stewards accomplished so far?
- Spring Creek has now been recognized as an Illinois Important Bird Area (IBA) due to the large numbers of rare birds that depend on it for raising their young.
- Spring Creek is now being considered for global IBA status.
- Following eight years of concerted effort, in one area, rare bobolinks increased by 950%. Henslow’s sparrows, meadowlarks, grasshopper and savannah sparrows all are making impressive gains, year after year.
- Liberated an oak woodland from decades of illegal dumping. Over 15 tons of metal refuse was recycled.
- Organized major brush clearing events with the Northwest Cook Sierra Club on Earth Day and Public Lands Day.
- Integrated the use of the preserves into the curriculum of Harper Community College and Elk Grove High School.
- Raised awareness of the value of the Preserves among neighbors and preserve users through meetings, educational tours and publications.
- Virtually every weekend since then has seen a volunteer workday at Spring Creek.
Spring Creek Preserves is managed by the Forest Preserve District of Cook County, with additional partners in the management and restoration of the preserves.