Take It Outside

We want you to Take It Outside!

The days are getting cooler and the sun is setting earlier, but there’s still plenty of time for exploring the great outdoors. Love fall color? Head to the forests to be immersed in the yellows, oranges and reds that will soon start painting the season. But don’t sleep on the prairies and grasslands. They have yet to sing their final notes of the season, and you can still see pops of color as the grasses and wildflowers sway in the breeze. Looking to try a new activity or learn more about the world around you? Check out our event calendar to find a program that appeals to you. 

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.

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: 


Double dip your time outdoors with Woods Walk hiking challenge

Cant' get enough of the trails and preserves with the Take It Outside challenge? Join our Woods Walk hiking challenge for more outdoor fun.

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Step back in time at these preserves

You may think of the preserves as places to connect with nature, but some preserves are also great locations to learn about our local history.

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Map out a plan to rocket up leaderboard

It’s not too late to start, and we’re happy to help you outline a plan of attack for seeing your name rise on up the leaderboard.

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Recipe for success 
for dazzling fall color

If you love vivid and bright fall colors, hope the coming weeks bring us warm, sunny days and cool, crisp nights.

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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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Silent walking is the latest fitness trend

Keep your earbuds in your pocket for your next stroll through the woods or spin around the block. Silent walking is the latest fitness trend, and it couldn't be easier to try for yourself

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10 reasons to appreciate our forests and trees

Can’t see the forest for the trees? The trees in these forests are vital to our existence, but we often take them for granted.

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Head out and listen to nature. It's good for you

Your time outdoors doesn’t have to be active to be beneficial for your mind, body and spirit. Even taking some time to sit and listen to nature is good for you.

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McKinley Woods: A migration hotspot

With its location where the Des Plaines, DuPage and Kankakee rivers meet to form the Illinois River, McKinley Woods — Kerry Sheridan Grove is a great place for birding, whether you are looking for tiny songbirds or big, bold American white pelicans.  

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Joliet Iron Works: Explore the city's past

Here you can explore the region’s industrial past in the ruins of an old iron-manufacturing facility. A 0.59-mile paved trail at the site provides a self-guided interpretive tour of the site’s historical significance. 

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Lake Renwick: Miles of trails to explore

Lace up your walking shoes or hop on your bike to explore this preserve, which includes a variety of habitats. The preserve’s lakes are a popular spot for viewing migratory birds and waterfowl.

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Funding for this campaign is provided by The Nature Foundation of Will County