The site navigation utilizes arrow, enter, escape, and space bar key commands. Left and right arrows move across top level links and expand / close menus in sub levels. Up and Down arrows will open main level menus and toggle through sub tier links. Enter and space open menus and escape closes them as well. Tab will move on to the next part of the site rather than go through menu items.

Current Headlines

Partners honored for Volunteer Efforts

Photo for: Partners honored for Volunteer Efforts

From left: Paul Yost, Xylem branch manager; Matt Johnson, Xylem application engineer; Ralph Schultz, Forest Preserve chief operating officer; and Suzanne Hart, Forest Preserve Board president (Photo by Glenn P. Knoblock)


A Mokena company and a Joliet college received Appreciation of Partners awards during the Forest Preserve's February 8 Board of Commissioners meeting.

Forest Preserve Board President Suzanne Hart presented the awards to Xylem Inc. and the University of St. Francis for volunteer work performed in 2017.

Xylem is a global corporation involved in wastewater treatment with offices around the world. Matt Johnson, an application engineer at Xylem's Mokena office, said the company encourages its employees to give back to their local communities. As a result, Johnson approached the District seeking volunteer opportunities that involved water resources. Xylem employees from the Mokena office subsequently helped with clean-up efforts at the Forest Preserve's Monee Reservoir and Rock Run Rookery Preserve.

"Our company has a global initiative called Watermark, and the mission statement is to protect and preserve water resources across the globe," he said.

The Forest Preserve District provided several opportunities for the Xylem group to do just that, he added.

"It's been a great experience for us," he said. "And it's really brought our office closer together."

Hart encouraged Xylem employees to continue the program this year.

"The group was fantastic to work with and exceeded our expectations," she said.

The award presented to the University of St. Francis was earned by the school's Recreation Sports Management Team under the leadership of professor Sydney Sklar.

"The collaboration allowed us to participate in a freshman orientation program in 2017 where 125 students helped remove invasive plant material on four consecutive high school workdays," Hart said. "This enabled the high school students to get their community service credits."

But the push for volunteerism goes beyond incoming freshman, said Sister Mary Elizabeth Imler, USF vice president for mission integration and ministry, who accepted the award along with the Rev. Terry Deffenbaugh, university chaplain.

"At the university, our mission really is about helping our students to be transformed into leaders who will be of service in their community," she said.

While students get credit for volunteer work as freshmen, by the time they are seniors, they are contributing because of an intrinsic desire to help, she explained.

"Our hope is that they really would go forth with values that are related to care for creation and peacemaking," she said. "And so, the Forest Preserve District gives them an opportunity for both of those."

Deffenbaugh said USF has been running the program for two years.

"And we're starting it and kicking it off again this year, and we're happy to be back at it," he said.

From left: Ralph Schultz, Forest Preserve chief operating officer; Sister Mary Elizabeth Imler, University of St. Francis vice president for mission integration and ministry; the Rev. Terry Deffenbaugh, University of St. Francis chaplain; and Suzanne Hart, Forest Preserve Board president (Photo by Glenn P. Knoblock)


Injured Pelican Rescued by Good Samaritans and Forest Preserve Staff


The bird was injured when it became tangled in discarded fishing line at McKinley Woods.

Read More

Five Fun Forest Preserve Activities to Brighten Up Your Spring Break


Time away from school can be time learning or having fun in nature; check out all the options!

Read More

Register Your Dog for Annual Easter Egg Hunt


Take a selfie with the Easter bunny, enter raffles and contests and help your canine companion hunt for Easter eggs.

Read More

The Citizen Newsletter

Sign up for our newsletter for the latest updates