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Lake County Forest Preserves | Preservation, Restoration, Education and Recreation

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Frequently Asked Questions

FAQ Categories

General FAQ

West Nile Virus FAQ

Jobs FAQ

Purchasing & Bids FAQ

Dog Parks FAQ

Cross-Country Skiing FAQ

Trails FAQ

Picnic Shelter Rentals FAQ

Summer Camps FAQ

Volunteer FAQ

Preservation Foundation-Green Gifts

Coyote FAQ


Questions & Answers

General FAQ

Q: When was the Lake County Forest Preserve created?

Our story begins in 1957, with Ethel Untermyer and her 3-year-old son Frank who wanted to go exploring in the woods. Learn more about our history and mission.

 

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Q: What is the mission of the Lake County Forest Preserves?

As principal guardian of Lake County’s open space and natural areas since 1958, we set the standard in nature and historic preservation, and in outdoor recreation and education. The guiding elements of our mission remain focused on preservation, restoration, education and recreation. 

 

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West Nile Virus FAQ

Q: What is your Mosquito Management Policy?

We follow a Mosquito Management Policy approved in 2003. The policy outlines how we control mosquitoes if they pose a significant health risk to preserve visitors or adjacent neighbors. We will not control nuisance mosquitoes that do not pose such a health risk. Instead, we will depend on natural ecosystem functions to keep mosquitoes in balance with the environment.

We provide information about the level of risk posed by WNV and what people can do to limit their exposure through public education, such as this website.

Our WNV Mosquito Management Technical Advisory Committee created the approved policy to guide future mosquito monitoring and management efforts in the preserves. This committee includes Federal, State and County public health, mosquito management, and conservation experts. Our policy also follows Centers for Disease Control recommendations.

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Q: How do you monitor and control mosquitoes?

We work with professional mosquito management consultants to identify sites where the types of mosquitoes capable of transmitting WNV may be breeding. We monitor mosquito populations at those sites, especially sites that receive high numbers of visitors or are located near areas with dense human populations.

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Q: What is larvicide, and how is it used to control mosquitoes?

Larvicide is an insecticide that is specifically targeted against the larval life stage of an insect. We apply larvicide to targeted areas where samples provided evidence of breeding Culex mosquitos. If applied, we use the most target-specific larvicide available. We currently use Bacillus sphaericus. This larvicide targets immature mosquitoes in breeding areas of standing water. Larvicide does not harm humans, birds or fish.

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Q: What is adulticide, and how is it used to control mosquitoes?

Adulticide is an insecticide that is specifically targeted against the mature adult life stage of an insect.Only in extreme circumstances do we consider spraying for adult mosquitoes due to questions about the effectiveness of spraying and the potential for ecological damage. Research on the effects of using adulticide is ongoing. This method is only used as a last resort and may be ineffective in a natural setting because the compound must come into contact with an insect to kill it. In natural areas, such as prairies or woodlands, mosquitoes often inhabit areas under leaves or in dense vegetation where they may escape contact. Ideally, adulticide is sprayed in open areas interspersed with roads or trails.

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Q: How can I protect myself from West Nile Virus?

Wear light-colored clothing with long sleeves, long pants and socks while outdoors for extended periods. In problem areas, spray clothing with repellents containing DEET or permethrin, avoid spraying these directly onto your skin. Some herbal repellents are effective; try different products to find one that works for you. Limit your time outdoors between dusk and dawn, which is peak mosquito time.

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Q: How can I reduce mosquito populations around my home?

Mosquitos require standing water to breed. Routinely empty water from your flowerpots, pet bowls, clogged rain gutters and other catch basins where mosquitoes will lay eggs. Frequently clean and refill birdbaths. Drill drainage holes in tires used in boat docks, landscaping or tire swings. 

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Q: How is West Nile Virus transmitted?

The main transmission of WNV involves certain types of mosquitoes, primarily Culex spp. andAedes spp.. Mosquitoes become infected with WNV when they feed on a bird carrying the virus in its blood. The virus circulates in a mosquito’s blood for a few days and the moves into the insect’s salivary glands, at which time the virus can be transmitted to another bird, human or other animal by bite. After a mosquito has injected WNV into a host, it can then replicate and may cause illness. However, even in areas where WNV is circulating, very few mosquitoes are infected with it. Unlike the common cold or flu, WNV is not transmitted through casual contact between people.

In its native range of Africa, West and Central Asia and the Middle East, there are occasional flare-ups of WNV-related illnesses. However, in most years there is not a widespread health concern. There is evidence indicating that people may develop immunity to the virus after exposure. Currently, WNV immunity and the potential for a vaccine are being researched.

Larvicide application

Larvicide is an insecticide that is specifically targeted against the larval life stage of an insect. We apply larvicide to reduce mosquito populations at targeted sites that are identified through our monitoring efforts. If applied, we use the most target-specific larvicide available. We currently use Bacillus sphaericus. This larvicide targets immature mosquitoes in breeding areas of standing water. Larvicide does not harm humans, birds or fish.

Adulticide application

Adulticide is an insecticide that is specifically targeted against the mature adult life stage of an insect.Only in extreme circumstances do we consider spraying for adult mosquitoes due to questions about the effectiveness of spraying and the potential for ecological damage. Research on the effects of using adulticide is ongoing. This method is only used as a last resort and may be ineffective in a natural setting because the compound must come into contact with an insect to kill it. In natural areas, such as prairies or woodlands, mosquitoes often inhabit areas under leaves or in dense vegetation where they may escape contact. Ideally, adulticide is sprayed in open areas interspersed with roads or trails.

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Q: What are the symptoms of WNV?

Most people with WNV do not develop symptoms. Some people may become ill three to 15 days after being bitten by an infected mosquito.

Mild illness, called West Nile Fever, may include headache, body ache, fever, and sometimes skin rash and swollen glands. Less than 1% of people who are bitten and become ill with West Nile Fever have it intensify into a severe illness known as West Nile Encephalitis. Encephalitis is an inflammation of the brain that may be marked by headache, high fever, stiff neck, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness and paralysis. A small number of cases have been fatal.

People are only at risk of becoming infected with WNV when they are in areas where the virus has been circulating among mosquito populations for a long period of time. Risk to humans is most prevalent in Illinois and other northern states during August and September. Those at greater risk of the milder illness, West Nile Fever, and the more serious West Nile Encephalitis include people 50 years of age and older, and those with existing respiratory or immune system problems.

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Jobs FAQ

Q: How do I apply for a job?

Interest in Forest Preserve employment can only be expressed by submitting a Forest Preserve Employment Application. Applications are accepted online at www.LCFPD.org. Applications are accepted only for posted positions.

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Q: What does the application deadline mean?

In order to be considered for an open position, all application materials must be received on or before the application deadline. Materials not submitted by the application deadline will be considered as late.

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Q: I submitted my application. What’s next?

If you have applied for a position, you will receive an email acknowledging receipt of your application.

Candidates selected for an interview can expect to receive a call within two or three weeks of the application deadline. If you are not selected for an interview, you will not receive additional information.

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Q: Is there an age requirement for employment?

Yes, you must be at least 16 years old in order to be considered for employment, however some positions do have specific age requirements. For example, you must be at least 18 years old to be considered for a Laborer, Golf Course Laborer, or Food and Beverage Attendant position.

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Q: What is the interview process?

If you are selected for an interview, you can expect to receive a call within two to three weeks of the application deadline. After the scheduled interviews are completed, we check a minimum of two work related references for each candidate of interest. If the position requires a college degree, you will be asked to supply a copy of your college transcripts. Offers of employment are extended contingent on the successful completion of a criminal background check and driver’s license verification, as well as a medical physical, lift test and drug screen.

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Q: Are there benefits?

Yes, but they vary based on the type of position. Benefits are reviewed with candidates during the interview process, and may include one or more of the following:

  • Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund Pension Program
  • Medical, Dental and Vision Insurance
  • Life Insurance
  • Flexible Spending Accounts
  • Deferred Compensation
  • Employee Assistance Program
  • Sick Leave
  • Vacation/Paid Holidays

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Q: Do I have to live in Lake County to be considered for employment?

No, we do not have a residency requirement.

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Q: Are you an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer?

Yes.

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Q: Other Information

Our History: The Lake County Forest Preserves was created in 1958 under Illinois law as a special purpose unit of government. Our mission is to preserve a dynamic and unique system of diverse natural and cultural resources, and to develop innovative educational, recreational and cultural opportunities of regional value that reflect a commitment to environmental and fiscal responsibility. Read more »

Living in Lake County:

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Purchasing & Bids FAQ

Q: What’s the difference between bids and RFPs?

Bids are required for items over $20,000. Quotes are required for items under $20,000. Requests for proposals may be required for both processes depending on the project.

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Q: Where are bids advertised?

In the Lake County News-Sun.

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Q: Do I need to become a registered supplier?

Yes, registration is required if you wish to participate fully in our purchasing process, download documents, submit proposals or receive notifications or e-alerts.

If you only wish to view active bids and proposals then you do not need to register.

You can also obtain documents by calling our office at 847-968-3218 or 847-968-3219, or emailing us.

 

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Q: When are formal bids due?

Formal bids must be received on or before the date and time specified. Late bids will not be accepted.

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Q: Will late bids be accepted?

No.

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Q: When can I get bid results?

Bid results are available on our Purchasing & Bids web page the morning after the bid due date. RFP results are not published.

To obtain results for bids that are not posted, email or call us at 847-968-3218 or 847-968-3219.

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Q: Having trouble downloading or printing an item?

Email or call us at 847-968-3218 or 847-968-3219.

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Dog Parks FAQ

Q: Are there health and safety tips for visiting the Dog Parks?

For your dog's health and safety:

  1. Dogs must be at least four months old to visit.

  2. Determine if it's wise for your small dog or puppy to be off-leash with larger dogs.

  3. Dogs must have a current rabies vaccination tag and number, as required by state law. If your dog's vaccination is not current, please call your vet. Consult with your vet regarding other recommended vaccinations or preventives.

  4. The Lake County Health Department's low-cost pet vaccination clinics provide a convenient and affordable way to keep pets current with their shots and rabies tags.

  5. Leave sick dogs home. They are not allowed in the area when ill.

  6. Show your dog you care by asking your vet about visiting here.

  7. Learn about potential health issues, prevention, symptoms and treatment. The Lake County Health Department and the American Veterinary Medical Association offer information and other resources on environmental health and disease prevention.  

  8. Make sure your dog is healthy and properly vaccinated against parvovirus and other diseases.

  9. The soil throughout the eastern United States may contain spores that can cause blastomycosis. Chances are small that a dog will inhale them, but knowing symptoms gives time for treatment.

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Q: Can I get a refund if my dog does not like the park?

Refunds are not available but we do recommend purchasing a daily permit first to test the parks. They are good at all four parks, so start your day early and discover your favorite.

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Q: What if a dog is behaving overly aggressive toward my dog and I don’t see the owner?

Call 847-549-5200 and ask to speak to a Ranger.

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Q: Is my dog required to wear a Forest Preserve dog tag?


No. Owners must display the annual permit vehicle sticker or the daily permit receipt on their vehicle while at the park.

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Cross-Country Skiing FAQ

Q: What is a good location for beginning cross-country skiers?

For ease of movement and navigation, we recommend starting with a short loop on flat, open terrain.

Try circling the lake at Old School. Park in the lot with the playground. The lake is on the east of the main circle road.

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Q: What is the most challenging ski trail?

The 1-mile loop trail at Lakewood Forest Preserve’s Winter sports area offers a series of hills. The trail begins east of the sled hill.

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Q: Does the Lake County Forest Preserves rent skis?

No but rentals are available at several outdoor equipment stores in the county. Search online with the words “ski rental Lake County Illinois.”

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Trails FAQ

Q: What is the status of the Millennium Trail?

This planned 35-mile regional trail connects neighboring communities and forest preserves as it winds its way through western and northern Lake County. The trail will eventually link to the northern section of the Des Plaines River Trail in Wadsworth.

Today, more than 26.75 miles are complete and open for hiking, biking and cross-country skiing. The trail surface alternates from gravel to paved along various completed sections of the trail.

Horseback riding is permitted only along a 9.25-mile section of gravel trail from Lakewood north to the horse trailer parking area at Singing Hills Forest Preserve in Volo. From here, the trail surface changes from gravel to paved, and horses are not permitted on the paved section.

Open Trail Sections

Trail sections currently open include from the intersection of Hawley Street and Midlothian Road in Mundelein west and north through Lakewood and Singing Hills; north to Marl Flat Forest Preserve and from Litchfield Drive to Fairfield Road in Round Lake; along the Round Lake Bike Path; from Hook Drive east through Rollins Savanna Forest Preserve in Grayslake; and from Fourth Lake Forest Preserve in Lake Villa to McDonald Woods Forest Preserve in Lindenhurst.

Planned Trail Sections

Elsewhere, new trail sections and tunnels are being engineered and constructed, and lands are being purchased to complete the route for the trail.

View Construction Alerts

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Q: Who manages the North Shore Path and McClory Trail?

The North Shore Path and the McClory Trail are managed by the Lake County Division of Transportation (LCDOT) and are open to hiking, biking and cross-country skiing.

You can use the McClory Trail/North Shore Path to connect to our Millennium Trail and Des Plaines River Trail systems. 

The Millennium Trail links to the roughly 11-mile North Shore Path along the edge of Hawley Street at Route 176. From here, it winds east through the streets of Mundelein and follows an old railroad bed through Libertyville where it connects to our Des Plaines River Trail. It then continues east through Lake Bluff where it meets the 20-mile McClory Trail at Sheridan Road where it runs north/south through the county. 

Find regional connections on LCDOT's bicycle map.

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Picnic Shelter Rentals FAQ

Q: How late does a shelter rental go?

The rental fee covers until sunset. 

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Q: Is alcohol permitted at a shelter rental event?

Yes, alcoholic beverages are permitted; must be 21 years of age. You may not consume any alcoholic beverage upon or within 100 feet of any parking area. Host liquor liability insurance is available but not mandatory.

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Q: Can I have a dunk tank, petting zoo or pony rides at my shelter rental?

No, these items are not allowed.

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Q: Can there be a band at the event?

Permission to have music varies by site. Check the web pages of each shelter to learn what is allowed at individual sites.

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Q: Does food require a permit?

Caterers must be licensed by the Forest Preserve. Food brought in by the renter, or delivered by a restaurant, does not require a licensed vendor if it is served by the renter.

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Summer Camps FAQ

Q: Registration

There are three easy ways to register:

Online: Browse camps by age, date, location or topic.
By phone: 847-968-3321
Mail: Send Emergency Contact, Health, Waiver and Release Form and Medication Dispensing Form to:
Lake County Forest Preserves
ATTN: Registrar—Confidential
1899 West Winchester Road
Libertyville, IL 60048

 

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Q: Essential Eligibility Criteria

All camp participants are required to meet Essential Eligibility Criteria (EEC) in order to register.

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Q: Special Needs

We want your child to have the best possible camp experience. Please let us know when you register if your child is physically challenged, or requires special assistance. Call us at 847-968-3321 to speak with a camp director.

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Q: Staff

All camp staff is first aid, CPR, AED, epi-pen, and asthma inhaler certified. Staff operating Forest Preserve vehicles have successfully completed a Defensive Driving course.  We pride ourselves on our professional staff and safety measures. Your camper’s safety is our number one priority.

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Q: Financial Assistance

Partial scholarships are available in the case of financial hardship. Complete an application for financial assistance and mail to:
Lake County Forest Preserves
ATTN: Registrar—Confidential
1899 West Winchester Road
Libertyville, IL 60048

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Q: Cancellation & Transfer Fees

Refunds are given upon request if received one week before the program, less a $10 service fee per child per session. In the rare instance that we must cancel a class, we issue a credit toward another program or provide a refund. In the case of a transfer from one camp session to another, there is a $10 service fee per child per session

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Q: Inclement Weather

Find out if your child’s camp has been adjusted or canceled due to weather by calling the Summer Camp Weather Hotline at 847-968-3150 (available 24 hours a day, updated by 8AM and as needed throughout the day during the camp season).

It’s rare, but due to the outdoor setting of many camps and the unpredictability of weather some sessions may be canceled when inclement weather strikes. Edward L. Ryerson Conservation Area, Greenbelt Cultural Center and Lakewood all have indoor facilities. Camps held at these locations are less likely to be canceled due to the weather.

Weather Cancellations

  • Camp will not be cancelled due to rain. Rain gear is a must on rainy days, as activities will continue as planned.
  • In hot weather, children take regular water breaks and activities are modified and held in shady areas to reduce exposure.
  • Full day camps may be reduced to a half-day ending at noon if the heat index for the afternoon is projected to be above 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Parents will be notified the day prior to the modified schedule.
  • Camp will be cancelled only on days with a heat index of 110 degrees Fahrenheit or above. The decision to cancel camps due to heat index will follow the same procedure for severe weather: hotline updated by 8 am the same day or as conditions occur.
  • Camps will be cancelled in the event of severe weather, such as thunder and lightning, when no safe shelter is available.
  • If thunder and lighting occurs once the day's session has begun, you will be called and asked to pick up your child immediately. Exception: Camps held at sites where a lightning safe shelter is available will not be cancelled. These sites include Edward L. Ryerson Conservation Area, Greenbelt Cultural Center and Lakewood.
  • When cancellation occurs, camp staff will call by phone to notify the person listed as the emergency contact on the camper's health form. If we are unable to reach that person, we will begin contacting the other persons listed on the health form. Please inform your emergency contacts ahead of time that they may be called by Forest Preserve staff.

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Volunteer FAQ

Q: What is a Volunteer?

A volunteer is a person who contributes services for which there is no financial compensation. Services are to be given on a regular, scheduled basis under the supervision of a staff member.

Though financial compensation is not given, volunteer work should be considered similar to a part-time job in terms of the level of commitment, effort and interest expected. Service as a volunteer, however, does not imply any connection with potential future employment with the Forest Preserve District.

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Q: Orientation and Training

Volunteers receive a general orientation to the Lake County Forest Preserve District and training for their specific work. Volunteers are responsible for learning the information covered at all orientation sessions.

The length and amount of training varies for each job. At this time, volunteers may receive a vehicle sticker and other District-issued items specific to the job. Volunteers are expected to attend required training sessions prior to performing their job duties.

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Q: Performance Evaluation

Depending on the position, your performance may be observed, especially if it involves providing educational programs. If the performance fails to meet acceptable standards, or if services are no longer required, volunteers may be released of their responsibilities.

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Q: Required Forms

The following forms are required from all volunteers:

  • Volunteer interest form
  • Volunteer agreement and waiver
  • Background check

Background checks are required for most new volunteers. Similar background checks are required of Forest Preserve staff. Background checks have become the professional standard for anyone that handles money or may have contact with children in our programs, facilities and conservation activities.

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Q: Scheduling Commitments

Most positions require a minimum time commitment which is listed in the job description. If a volunteer cannot meet a scheduled commitment, one week’s notice should be given. It is important for volunteers to make every effort to meet scheduled commitments.

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Q: Recording Volunteer Hours

Maintaining an accurate record of volunteer hours is important to us as your time shows community support of our organization, and can be used in obtaining grants and donations for the Forest Preserves. We collect volunteer hours on a quarterly basis.

Be sure to include orientation and training hours but not driving time. Volunteer hours are tabulated on a quarterly basis and conveyed to the Lake County Forest Preserve District Board of Commissioners. Please be accurate and prompt with reporting your hours.

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Q: Inactivity and Departure

If a volunteer is inactive (no hours reported) for one year, the volunteer coordinator may review the status and based on the job description remove the volunteer from the position.

If a volunteer must terminate their service, the volunteer coordinator should be promptly notified.

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Q: Code of Conduct

As representatives of the Lake County Forest Preserve District, volunteers are trusted to be polite, helpful and informative when in contact with the public. They should be familiar with their job description and follow its guidelines. Volunteers should promote the Forest Preserve’s goals of education, restoration, preservation and recreation. They should encourage visitors to support the Forest Preserves by following policies. In general, they strive to leave visitors with a good feeling about Lake County Forest Preserves, its philosophies and with a desire to visit again.

Visitors who want to report an incident or accident that occurred in the Preserve may approach a volunteer. At no time should a volunteer make a statement of admission. The visitor should be directed to Ranger Police or Risk Management.

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Q: Dress Code

Check your volunteer job description for job specific uniform requirements.

While clothing requirements for each volunteer position vary, some positions require that a volunteer nametag be worn at all times while volunteering. Nametags are provided.

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Q: Protection of the Preserves

Volunteers, like the staff and visitors, are expected to follow the rules protecting the Lake County Forest Preserves that are outlined in the District’s regulations, brochures and signs. Lake County Forest Preserve District Rules and Regulation.

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Q: Restriction of Political Activities

District volunteers shall not engage in any political activities while representing the District. District volunteers shall not use their positions to solicit contributions or any other support for partisan political activities.

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Q: Use of District Property and Facilities

District equipment, supplies or tools shall be used only for the purposes of conducting District business and projects. Volunteers must promptly inform the volunteer coordinator of any safety concerns or needed repairs. Employees will be responsible for the care and conservation of District equipment, supplies or tools and shall report promptly accidents, breakdowns or malfunctions so prompt repairs can be made.

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Q: Contributions and Expenses

Reimbursable Expenses

The District may reimburse approved purchases made to complete volunteer tasks. Purchases must have prior approval from the volunteer coordinator and receipts must be provided.

IRS Charitable Contributions

Contact the Internal Revenue Service for details on eligibility and record keeping for potential deductions. Volunteers may be able to deduct the cost and upkeep of uniforms that are not suitable for everyday use, but that must be worn while volunteering. Volunteers may also deduct actual car expenses, such as expenditures for gas, oil and tolls. General repair and maintenance expenses may not be deductible, nor are depreciation or insurance expenses. In the past, volunteer hour record sheets could be used in support of tax deduction claims. Keep track of your hours.

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Q: Recognition

We recognize volunteers through a variety of means, which may include years of service pins, gifts, recognition events and occasional social gatherings. Volunteers with twenty years of service are recognized at a fall Lake County Forest Preserve Board of Commissioners meeting.

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Q: Volunteer Insurance

Volunteers are covered by the Park District Risk Management Agency (PDRMA), an intergovernmental membership organization which provides for the risk management needs of our agency. If you have any questions about this subject matter, don’t hesitate to call the volunteer coordinator.

Are volunteers covered by the District’s Liability Policy? Volunteers are afforded the same liability protection through PDRMA as are District employees. In order for that coverage to apply, volunteers must be acting within the scope of their authorized volunteer duties outlined on the job description.

Are volunteers covered under the Illinois Workers’ Compensation statutes? The Illinois Supreme Court ruled that persons not receiving pay for their services are not employees within the meaning of the Workers’ Compensation Act and are therefore not covered.

What if a volunteer is injured while performing volunteer duties outlined on the Volunteer Job Description? The claim should first be processed through any health insurance or Medicare coverage the volunteer may have. If you have no insurance or your insurance does not pay all expenses, PDRMA will provide Volunteer Medical Accident Insurance within certain limits.

What coverage is provided by the Volunteer Medical Accident Policy? The policy provides $5,000 in medical expense payments for injuries incurred while the volunteers are performing their volunteer duties. There is no coverage for lost wages from another job. The coverage is in excess over all other insurance the volunteer may have. The volunteer will be required to sign an affidavit attesting to what other insurance they may have, and provide bills and copies of explanations of benefits before this policy will cover any outstanding bills of out-of-pocket expenses.

Am I covered under the Medical Accident Policy? All District volunteers are automatically covered.

How is a claim reported? The District Incident or Accident Report Form should be filled out immediately and reported to:

Lake County Forest Preserves
Risk Management
1899 West Winchester Road
Libertyville, IL 60048
847-968-3242

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Q: Media Communication

Volunteers may answer questions from the media regarding their specific job duties and responsibilities, e.g., a Nature Guide leading a maple syrup program may address information about the maple syrup production process, or a Site Steward may address issues regarding why they are involved in particular land management practices. When feasible, volunteers will be notified in advance that members of the media may show up at their activities.

To provide the most accurate information possible to the media, questions about actions of the Lake County Forest Preserve Board of Commissioners, matters in litigation, land acquisitions, and other subjects designated as warranting special attention should be referred to the Executive Director or Public Affairs office.

When a volunteer is approached by the media regarding a topic they are not authorized or comfortable addressing, they should refer the media representative to the appropriate Director or the Public Affairs office.

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Preservation Foundation-Green Gifts

Q: Is my gift tax-deductible?

YES! All gifts to the Preservation Foundation, the charitable partner of the Lake County Forest Preserves, are tax-deductible.

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Q: Where can I install my gift?

Gifts are usually placed along our existing trails, or in areas that our staff determines are accessible for general maintenance. Locations will be chosen during an on-site consultation with staff, who provide placement suggestions that fit both the donor’s interests and the Forest Preserve’s needs. Please contact Katherine Hart at 847-968-3438 or khart@LCFPD.org to schedule a consultation at your preferred preserve.

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Q: Where do you plant? What types of trees do you plant?

Trees are planted in spring (April and May) and fall (August and September). However, consultations are conducted all year and installations are scheduled for the appropriate planting time.

The Green Gifts program has different species of trees available. Staff will make recommendations based upon the chosen location and the needs for the preserve. 

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Q: What happens if my tree dies?

Your donation is guaranteed for ten years. If your tree dies within ten years of your purchase, we will replace your tree at no cost to you.

Our staff watches these young trees carefully to make sure they are thriving. Green Gift trees are mulched (which adds nutrients to the soil), and we weed around them so they aren’t choked out by grass or weeds. We water them as needed. As trees grow larger, they are better able to survive and thrive; however, we encourage donors to contact us if they suspect something is wrong with their tree so that our staff can conduct an assessment.

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Q: What if my bench is vandalized, or needs repair?

We encourage donors to contact us immediately. Staff will conduct an assessment to determine the next steps for repair, or replacement, if necessary.

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Q: Do I have to pay all at once?

No. Donors have the option to make a down payment toward their gift and pay the balance over two years. Installation will begin after the initial payment is received; however, we reserve the right to remove your commemorative plaque if the balance is not paid during the agreed upon timeframe.

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Q: What is the character limit on the plaques?

There is no character limit on plaques. Please keep in mind that our maintenance on the plaques is limited. They are designed to age naturally, and over time, small text will become difficult to read. Staff can provide examples of plaque designs and show you examples in the field during your consultation.

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Coyote FAQ

Q: What do coyotes look like?

The coyote, Canis latrans, is a member of the dog family, similar in appearance to a medium size shepherd. They typically weigh 25‐35 pounds, but can weigh up to 55 pounds. They often appear larger than they actually are because of their thick fur. Coyotes have pointed ears and a narrow muzzle.

Males tend to be larger than females. Pelts are usually grayish‐brown, but occasionally black, often with a patch of white chest hair. Their bushy tail usually has a black tip and is held down between the hind legs when running.

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Q: What do coyote tracks look like?

Coyote tracks are narrower and more elongated than dog tracks. However, it is very difficult to distinguish coyote tracks from dog tracks because dog tracks vary so much in size. Generally, it is the spacing and pattern of the individual prints that distinguishes a coyote track from a dog track. Coyotes are referred to as ”perfect steppers.” This means that their front and rear paws land in the same spot when the coyote is traveling in stride.

FAQ-coyote-tracks

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Q: What do coyotes eat?

Coyotes are opportunistic predators and feed on a wide variety of food. A coyote’s favorite food items are small mammals, such as rabbits, mice, voles and shrews. Coyotes will also eat birds, frogs, skunks, berries, insects, occasionally beaver, and carrion, especially road‐killed deer. Here in the Chicago region it has been found that coyotes have taken advantage of two other abundant food sources: Canada goose eggs and deer fawns.

Coyotes raid the goose nests, taking as many as 20 eggs from a group of nests in a single evening. They then dig caches, or hiding spots, nearby to store the eggs. Coyotes return later to eat the eggs, sometimes as many as three weeks after they were cached.

As deer populations grow in the Chicago region, coyotes have been taking advantage of deer fawns as a food source. Coyotes almost always hunt alone or in pairs, and cannot kill a healthy adult deer. Although coyotes will feed upon the remains of deer, adult deer are usually not killed by coyotes unless injured. Coyotes, like other wildlife, also take advantage of food that people leave out, such as messy garbage cans, bird seed and even cat and dog food left out for pets. Coyotes will also eat feral and free‐roaming cats. The only way to keep your cat safe from coyotes is to keep it indoors.

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Q: Are coyotes dangerous to people?

Coyotes are rarely dangerous to people. The key to living with coyotes is remembering that they are naturally afraid of people. The most effective way to prevent a bad encounter with a coyote is to reinforce this natural fear through your behavior.

If a coyote is seen in its natural habitat, it is fine to watch it from a distance. Coyotes are often seen in neighborhoods near natural areas. Never approach a coyote, let your dog approach it, or feed it. If you are approached by a coyote, or it comes into your yard, scare it away by shouting at it and waving your arms over your head. These actions will reinforce the coyote’s natural fear of people and teach it that your yard is not available territory.

If a coyote becomes aggressive, will not be scared away by you, or approaches you aggressively, these are signs that it has lost its fear of people. This is often a result of someone feeding it. If this occurs, the individual coyote may need to be trapped and killed. Another coyote will take its place, but this new coyote will have a fear of people and will not exhibit aggressive behavior.

If you or one of your pets has been bitten by a coyote, or if you see a coyote that is injured or seriously ill, you should contact Lake County Animal Control at 847‐949‐9925. There may be an animal control contact number for your municipality. Contact your local town or village hall for this information.

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Q: Are coyotes dangerous to pets?

Coyotes cannot tell the difference between their natural prey and pets. Therefore, they have been known to occasionally prey on cats. They will only attack another dog if they perceive it to be a threat to their territory, mate, or young. Coyotes view dogs as competition, not as prey. In addition, coyotes, like all dogs, are territorial animals. If an unfamiliar animal enters their territory, a small group of coyotes will often investigate together. This is why people may see three to four adult coyotes approach their dog or horse.

Remember that coyotes are simply curious about you or the animal and are not organizing to hunt. Research has shown that the majority of coyotes in this region live in family groups, but some live as lone animals. Family groups work together to bring food back to a nursing mother, and to protect their territory, but they do not hunt in packs like wolves do. A coyote’s primary prey is small mammals, and it only takes one coyote, or a pair, to kill a mouse.

Coyotes are protective of their den sites in the early summer and will aggressively chase, or attack, any animal that gets too close to their young. Coyotes, which are dogs themselves, do not think of dogs as prey and usually will not attack a dog for food. However, coyotes do view dogs as competition for territory, food and mates. Coyotes protect their territory just like a dog will protect a yard. Therefore, if a dog, or any animal, enters a coyote’s territory, the coyotes will chase it off, or attack it if it won’t be chased away.

This can also happen when dogs are walked off‐leash in natural areas. Coyotes are most protective of their territory when they are mating, January through March, and when they have pups, May through June.

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Q: What can be done to prevent any unwanted contact and protect pets and coyotes?

By keeping dogs on a leash and staying on designated trails, contact with coyotes can generally be avoided. Always supervise your dog closely in areas where coyotes are present, even your backyard. Coyotes are not afraid of your dog, but they are afraid of you. If a coyote approaches your dog, scare away the coyote.

If there are food sources around your house or neighboring houses (e.g. bird feed, untidy garbage cans, food left out for pets), a coyote will take advantage of it when people are not around. These types of food sources are unnatural and will teach the coyote that if it risks coming close to humans it will be rewarded with food. It is very important to keep the area around your house free of these food sources.

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Q: Have coyotes always been present in Illinois?

The coyote was present in Illinois before European settlers arrived. Their numbers increased when settlers moved to Illinois and the removal of timber began. Journals kept by settlers suggest that coyotes, then referred to as prairie wolves, were abundant in Illinois in the early 1800s, but by the mid‐1800s their populations were dwindling. This trend was linked to the decrease in prey populations caused by habitat loss and over harvest.

When settlers began raising livestock on Illinois prairies in the mid‐1800s, programs were created to eliminate all rivals for range land, including coyotes, bison and wolves. By the late 1800s millions of coyotes had been killed. By the 1950s coyotes were considered rare and programs began to stop their removal. Coyotes started to move across the country filling the niche once filled by cougars and wolves, becoming the top predator. During this time the development of land created edges where rodents and rabbits lived, supplying ample food for the coyote. The coyote, with its adaptable behavior, now lives throughout much of North America, despite decades of persecution by people.

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Q: How can I learn more about coyotes?

• Request a copy of our Lake County Guide to Coyotes brochure by contacting our Public Affairs staff at 847-367-6640 or via email.

• Homeowners groups and other Lake County organizations can book a free informational presentation
about coyotes by contacting our Public Affairs staff at 847-367-6640 or via email.

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Q: How do I report an encounter?

To report an encounter or concern regarding coyotes in the Lake County Forest Preserves call our General Offices at 847-367-6640 weekdays from 8 am–4:30 pm.

On evenings or weekends, call 847-549-5200 and ask to speak to a Lake County Forest Preserve Ranger.

Encounters outside of Forest Preserve property should be reported to the local law enforcement agency where the encounter occurred.

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