Take It Outside

We want you to Take It Outside 
again in 2024!

There’s a great big world out there to explore, and the forest preserves are a great place to start. Whether you’re looking for an active or leisurely pursuit, you’ll find your happy place in the preserves. Whatever you do, make sure to make time to immerse yourself in nature. 

Need a little motivation? Go on a wild goose chase through our interactive challenge. Be sure to read the rules so you don't disqualify yourself from winning any of our incredible prizes.

Looking to try something new this year? Or maybe you need a new place to explore? Check out these recreation ideas to get you moving: 

After Spring Fling concludes on Saturday, June 15, there will two more seasonal competitions:

  • Summer Soiree: Sunday, June 30, through Saturday, Sept. 21 (join code BD13J5)
  • Fall Frolic: Sunday, Oct. 6, through Saturday, Dec. 14 (join code ED7MGP)


An award plaque is seen outside with a blue sky in the background.

Challenge earns statewide program award

The Take It Outside Challenge has received an Outstanding Environmental Education Program Award from the Illinois Parks and Recreation Association.

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Next up, get ready for our Spring Fling

Spring has sprung, and we are encouraging people to get out and explore every part of the county with our next edition of the Take It Outside Challenge. 

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We want to see you at our meetup events

Want to meet other Goosechasers? Attend our Take It Outside meetups. Our summer meetups will be July 13 at Goodenow Grove and Aug. 13 at Hadley Valley.

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Register for our next Take It Outside hike

This year, we will be leading guided hikes in each season as part of the Take It Outside challenge. The summer hike will be June 9 at Kankakee Sands Preserve.

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Take It Outside merch on sale now

Want to show your support for our Take It Outside campaign? We've got T-shirts, hats and bandanas that you — or your dog — can proudly sport on your next trip to the preserves.

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The best places to hike in Will County

Walking is one of the easiest forms of exercise, and there are miles and miles of scenic trails to explore in the preserves.

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While you're out, listen to all the birds sing

You’re already taking it outside, so listen to the birds all around you to see if you can up your skills when it comes to birding by ear.

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Enjoy a wildflower hike with us this spring

Our ephemeral wildflowers only bloom for a brief time each spring. Join us for spring hikes at various preserves to see what is in bloom and what is still to come. 

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McKinley Woods: Where spring really shines

Forests are the place to be in the spring because that’s where the wildflowers are. McKinley Woods — Frederick’s Grove won’t disappoint, with natural surface trails taking you into the heart of forest, where these ephemeral beauties shine. Most spring blooms last just a few weeks, but they are soon replaced by something new, making every visit a unique experience. The trails will also bring you to the water, with the Des Plaines River forming the preserve boundary and the I&M Canal cutting through it. 

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O'Hara Woods: A hotspot for bluebells

When it comes to bluebells, it’s hard to beat O’Hara Woods. The blooms truly carpet the forest floor, creating breathtaking views that you won’t soon forget. You’ll see plenty of other sights and sounds of spring too.

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Messenger Woods: Spring's full bounty

Our oldest preserve doesn’t disappoint in spring. The forest comes alive, and any hike is sure to be full of wonders. Look down for pops of color from ephemeral wildflowers and look up for flashes of our migratory and resident birds.

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Funding for this campaign is provided by The Nature Foundation of Will County. Additional prizes are furnished by Wild Birds Unlimited in Joliet.(Opens in a new window).