West Ridge Nature Park Advisory Council (PAC)

Chicago Park District

PAC Volunteers Offer

Group Field Trips, Workshops and Recreational Activities

Several retired teachers, all members of our Park Advisory Council and its Education Committee, envisioned outreach to our community’s school, youth and neighborhood groups. Why not use our West Ridge Nature Preserve as a focus for educational field trips, workshops and recreational activities?

Our nature preserve, an urban oasis, draws people to the wonders of native flora and fauna in wetland, savanna, oak woods and pond environments. While less known, the West Ridge area features geology and history worth exploring. 

While the preserve is only in its third year, these volunteer educators and their assistants are already piloting their ideas. They are leading school groups on themed field trips, returning to the school for related writing and art projects. They are running wildly popular Kids Fishing Clinics and Family Nature Days. And last year, they arranged for a garden club picnic and presentation and sponsored a day for seniors.

In the table below are examples of our educational and recreational offerings for community groups. And don't forget, individuals and groups are always welcome to join our Citizen Science Center teams that monitor the various wildlife around the preserve.

You Can Schedule the Following . . .



Animal Tracking

Use field guides to identify tracks in a woodland site readied for the activity.

Bone Search

Use field guides to identify bones in a woodland site readied for the activity.

Bird Walks

Walk around spotting birds following introductory lesson about binoculars, field guides and bird calls.

Plant Identification

Locate plant species ID stakes and identify and discuss various plant-life along the paths. Learn to use photos and Dichotomous Keys to ID trees.

Geology and

Roe’s Hill History

Discuss the evolution of the area, highlighting glaciation, Native American heritage, Rosehill Cemetery and recent conversion to a nature preserve


Arrange for children to take fishing lessons. Rods & reels supplied by the Illiois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR)

IDNR Resource Displays

Explore hands-on materials related to: IL Mammals, Aquatics, Fossils, Insects, Invasives, Prairies and Trees

Creative Writing

Write about nature inspired themes with samples displayed on StoryWalk

Arts and Crafts

Create nature inspired drawings, painting, printings or collages with samples displayed on StoryWalk or make a nature-related craft project

Water Quality Testing


Conduct pH, Nitrate, Phosphate, Dissolved Oxygen and CO₂, Turbidity tests to determine water quality

Water Quality Testing


Collect and identify macroinvertebrates that indicate water quality level by using hand lenses and microscopes

Please contact us with questions and/or to set up a fieldtrip, workshop or activity for your group. Our volunteers are eager to meet with you and help you design outdoor activities that will meet your needs. We do not charge, but certainly appreciate tax-deductible donations.

Communicate your interest on the Contact Page under Education

Or email Gary Morrissey: [email protected]