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The Heritage Corridor Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) encompasses the communities and counties along the historic 97-mile Illinois and Michigan Canal National Heritage Corridor. The Heritage Corridor spans from the Chicago Portage Area just southwest of Chicago to LaSalle-Peru including the counties of Will, Grundy, LaSalle and Putnam. The region conveniently located along I-55 from Chicago to Joliet along I-80 west to LaSalle-Peru.

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Getting Closer to Nature with the Help of the Forest Preserve District of Will County

Welcome back to Around the Corridor with me, Mariah! This week’s travel led me to something that’s all around us every single day, and that’s nature. 

I went to go visit the Forest Preserve District of Will County headquarters to find out a little bit more information about what they do and why they do it. I met up with Cindy Cain, the Public Information Officer, and she was able to enlighten me with so much information. 

The Forest Preserve of Will County is dedicated to protecting, conserving, enhancing and promoting Will County’s natural heritage for the educational, recreational and environmental benefit of present and future generations. 


There’s so much to do at their many preserves, trails, and visitors centers to help you stay informed and connected with nature.  From hiking and running, wildlife viewing, biking, boating, camping dog exercising, sledding and so much more, there’s something for everyone! 

Not only are they promoting events to the public, but they are making themselves known within the schools. They have something called “Resource Loan Kits,” which are topic-themed kits for teachers and home school parents to use as educational material, in order to help students explore.

You can also check out their Nature Exploration Kits that are geared to all ages and is free to check out for a two-week period. These are geared toward natured-theme projects, tools and activities to do. 

Cindy let me know that they also do field trips into their different areas to give students that hands experience, as well as bringing their interpretive naturalist into the schools to teach classes. 

But what I really wanted to know was more about the action stuff and what kinds of creatures they handle. She shared with me one of her greatest memories while working at the Forest Preserves.   

It was when they received over 40 Blanding turtle hatchlings, which is an endangered species. They were able to help raise them until they were bigger and then released them into the wild. 

I thought that was really cool story because when I was younger, I owned a Red-eared slider turtle that was named Ziggy. I knew nothing about turtles at that time, or even been as close to one before him, but I was really excited to take him home and watch him grow. 

So, I felt really connected to that story and loved hearing that we have places like the Forest Preserve District of Will County to step in and create a safe place for creatures like Ziggy. 

Now, if you’re into to something less wet and prefer it has fur, then for all my dog-lovers out there they make sure to take care of you as well. 

They have six dog parks that you can take your pup to and let them run around in the fresh air. However, a permit is required for in order to use the park and can be found on their website to purchase,  you can pick one up at their selected visitor centers: Sugar Creek Administration Center Joliet, Isle a la Cache Museum Romeoville, and Plum Creek Nature Center Crete Township. Or you can mail in a Dog Park Permit Application with payment to Sugar Creek Administration Center. 

Like I said once before, there is something to do for everyone here at the Forest Preserve District of Will County. Get yourself more connected with nature. Even during the colder seasons there’s something you can get involved with, so check their website www.reconnectwithnature.org or keep up with them on their event on Facebook www.facebook.com/WillCoForests/



About the Writer: Mariah is from the city of Chicago, but enjoy nature and being outside whenever she can. She loves animals especially her pup Cassie. She likes to take long walks by the lake with her dog for great exercise for the both of them.