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Merchandise line expands to include new T-shirt designs and water bottles

A mascot wearing a dam it beaver shirt

The Forest Preserve District's online merchandise line is growing to include new T-shirt designs with expanded sizes and water bottles. 

A "be a pelican not a pelican't" T-shirt is now available in heather blue. Visit the online store to order one or stop by Pelican Watch on Saturday, Sept. 23, to buy one in person. 

The pelican T-shirt joins the other new design, "It's owl good," which comes in both a woman's cut and a unisex cut. And more Forest Preserve T-shirts are being offered in 3x sizes. Additional T-shirts feature a raccoon (stay trashy), a opossum (I fake my own death), a hummingbird (keep the drinks coming), a beaver (dam it) and a Canada goose (not all Canadians are nice). 

Also new is a teal stainless steel water bottle to keep your beverages cold while hiking Forest Preserve trails. It includes a carabiner so you can easily attach it to your bag or belt loop. Online, the water bottle can only be purchased in combination with a hummingbird shirt for a discounted price of $30. (T-shirts are $20 and the water bottle is $13 when sold separately at events.)

The merchandise lineup includes onesies and matching bib combo designs that say, "Keep the drinks coming" with a picture of a hummingbird and, "If I was a bird, I know who I would poop on," with an illustration of a bird on a branch. 

Other Forest Preserve items for sale online include hats, magnets with a unique nature flare and stylish bandanas. These items also are for sale at the District's six visitor centers: 

T-shirts and onesies and bibs are only available online, and a Take It Outside ceramic camping mug is only available at the visitor centers. However, all of these items are available at District events when merchandise is sold.

The online store was inspired by the District's yearlong Take It Outside Challenge.

"The interest in creating an online store first began when challenge participants found out we were offering a Take It Outside T-shirt as part of a prize pack we give away monthly to a few lucky winners," explained Laura Kiran, the Forest Preserve's director of Marketing and Communications. "Once word of that got out, the requests starting coming in asking if they could buy one. So, of course, once the store became a reality the first item we included was the sought-after Take It Outside tee. From there, ideas for other items just started to grow."


Not only are all items exclusive to the Forest Preserve, but all proceeds from the sales support The Nature Foundation of Will County, which helps fund a variety of initiatives for the Forest Preserve District. In 2022, the Foundation provided $425,000 to support a number of projects, including "The Buzz" nature show, the Willy's Wilderness website, Woods Walk, special exhibitions, construction of the All-Persons Trail at Four Rivers Environmental Education Center and improvements across the District.

"Each item we've selected is truly unique, fun to wear, and they make great gifts for other nature lovers you may know," Kiran said.

Orders purchased from the online store will be shipped twice each week. For questions about orders that have been placed, email [email protected].

The yearlong Take It Outside Challenge began in January and to date has more than 1,200 participants, with more than 80,000 total missions completed. And don't worry if you haven't joined in yet, because the fun is far from over. New missions are posted weekly, and the challenge doesn't conclude until Dec. 31.

To participate, download the free Goosechase app on your smartphone and start completing nature-themed missions to earn points and prizes. Part of a larger Take It Outside Campaign, the challenge is sponsored by The Nature Foundation.


Yes, there really are pelicans in Will County; see for yourself at Pelican Watch!


The annual Pelican Watch celebrating the return of the migratory birds to Will County waters will take place on Saturday, Sept. 23, at Four Rivers Environmental Education Center in Channahon. Learn more about the American white pelican and its habits at this free, family-friendly event!

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The fall Recycle Your Bicycle program is set for Sept. 16 through Oct. 1 at two locations: Hidden Oaks Nature Center in Bolingbrook and Monee Reservoir in Monee Township. Donated bikes are given to those in need locally and around the world. 

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