Program Tracks

Below you will find the Program Tracks to help you schedule our your Special Park District Forum experience. There are three program track experiences available: Facilities & Operations, Natural Resources and Education & Recreation. You may follow only one program track, or jump in-between all three throughout the week. 

Each day will start with a breakfast including day of annoucements. Attendees will then be transported to their desired morning program track session location. After the first session, a lunch will be provided. Attendees will then be transported to their desired afternoon program track session location. Each evening will end with a social hour and dinner.

Please note each nights dinner will include ceremonies.

  • Monday: Welcome Reception
  • Tuesday: NACPRO Awards & Dinner
  • Wednesday: Lakewood Forest Preserve
  • Thursday: Closing Banquet


Facilities & Operations

Natural Resources

Education & Recreation

AM Options

ThunderHawk Golf Club

Spend the morning at one of the top ranked public golf courses in the Midwest. Here you will learn about this Audubon Signature Sanctuary golf course and the steps that are taken to care for the environment.  We will focus on what it takes to ensure water quality while using a variety of plant protectants, caring for environmentally sensitive areas and other green practices all the while following sound business practices and maintaining financial stability in a changing golf environment.

Mill Creek Restoration Project

Ethel’s Woods

Visit the restored North Mill Creek, impounded for decades and one of Lake County’s most impaired bodies of water, it was restored to its historic alignment. You will be visually guided (walking tour) through the restoration process from start to finish on this historic hydrological restoration.

Go With The Flow

PM Options

Independence Grove

All SPDF Participants will have an opportunity to explore LCFPD’s most popular preserve, Independence Grove. Independence Grove (IG) hosts over 500,000 annually, offering many active and passive recreation opportunities, including a Visitor’s Center, Beer Garden, Small craft marina, Children’s Grove Playground, demonstration native plant garden, a special event Pavilion, and over 7 miles of trails.


Facilities & Operations

Natural Resources

Education & Recreation

AM Options

Fox River

Exhale with us as we enjoy the fresh air and peaceful scenery of the Fox River.  Home to the Fox River Marina, with over 160 boat slips, come see the marina in action as we enjoy pontoon boat rides and hike along some of the prettiest scenery in the county.  Learn the history of how a sleepy river inlet became a hub of summertime activity and a favorite of water enthusiasts in Lake County. 

Southern Des Plaines River

Oak Woodland Restoration Project

Captain Daniel Wright Woods

The Southern Des Plaines River preserves (including Captain Daniel Wright Woods) represent some of the highest quality natural areas within the Lake County Forest Preserve system.  Monitoring of wildlife, reintroduction of fire, and removal of invasive species have improved the quality of these preserves.  Learn about restoration data and principles, as well as the communication plan that was implemented to educate staff, the public, and elected officials. 

Encouraging a New Generation of Oaks

Grassy Lake

Join us for a 1.5-mile guided walk stopping at four scenic overlooks of the Fox River.  Trails here wind through colorful sedge meadows and mature oak woodlands. District staff will highlight the collaborative efforts that created this preserve along with foundation and endowment practices.

PM Options


Come witness the grandeur of Lakewood and see how the LCFPD balances public access and safety with habitat restoration and education.  With facilities for cross country skiing, equestrian riding, hiking and a dog exercise area set alongside projects of habitat protection and restoration of natural hydrology this preserve is a shining example of what careful sustainable long term planning can achieve.   Tours of the new net-zero maintenance building, from which all 2,835 acres are cared for, will be a highlight of the day.

Reforestation, Restoration, Millennium Trail East:


Walking tour through recently restored Oak Woodland, Staff Ecologists will detail the process the District implements to restore / maintain our natural areas. Reforestation, Invasive Species Control, and Controlled burn program will all be discussed, as well as Grant programs the District uses to offset and defer expenses for the various programs.


An afternoon at Lakewood Forest Preserve will feature recreational opportunities as well as a discussion of the Master Plan process in updating the largest Preserve in our 31,000 acre system.  Experience some of the recreational opportunities offered by the district to the residents of Lake County. Relax and enjoy the scenery as you and fellow anglers reel in anything from Bluegills and Largemouth Bass to Rainbow Trout.  Go on a two-mile guided hiking tour at one of the district’s designated Winter Sports Areas. Highlighting a groomed/lighted cross-country ski trail, an outdoor ice-skating rink, a lite sledding hill and designated snowmobile trails.


Facilities & Operations

Natural Resources

Education & Recreation

AM Options

Operations & Public Safety Facility

A site of year-round activity, join us at the Operations and Public Safety facility.  Located at Fourth Lake Forest Preserve, this facility is the heart of the operations for numerous preserve locations. Come learn what it takes to ensure the care of over 31,000 acres of land and the safety of the guests that enjoy the various preserves.  Here you can tour the Lake County Forest Preserve Ranger Police headquarters and view demonstrations of personal safety with our officers.

Natural Resources and Hydrology

Fort Sheridan

The site of a former army base, Fort Sheridan Forest Preserve is one of only a few places in Lake County that offers free public access to the Lake Michigan shoreline.  Join Forest Preserve ecologists and landscape architects for a tour of the site’s important natural resources, hydrologic and ravine restoration projects, and an awe-inspiring lake overlook perched on a 70-foot high bluff.  A National Historic Landmark, Fort Sheridan is also on one of North America’s busiest flyways for migratory birds – over 140 species of birds follow the shoreline of Lake Michigan as they migrate in the spring and fall.

Two AM Options Available:


Limited to 20 participants.

This paddle down the Des Plaines River, will offer nature exploration and scenic views of the river and the 31 mile Des Plains River Trail bisecting the adjacent flat woods stretching from Wisconsin to Cook County. We will end our journey conveniently at the Lincolnshire Marriott Resort.  Please wear appropriate shoes and attire.

General Offices & Dunn Museum

Join us for a tour of the Lake County Forest Preserves General Offices. Centrally located in Libertyville, our tour will take you through our headquarters for Administration, Community Engagement & Partnerships, Education, Executive, Finance, Natural Resources, and Planning & Land Preservation departments.   Our General Offices is also home to the Dunn Museum. Come along with one of our Museum staff members to learn about the entwined stories of people, events and nature through our exhibitions. The Dunn Museum is among only five percent of museums nationally to have earned accreditation from the American Alliance of Museums, an industry mark of distinction.

PM Options

Ryerson Convervation Area

Join us at one of the District’s hubs for environmental education and the future site of our net-zero, PHIUS certified environmental education center. Tour our future net-zero building site, as well as learn the ins and outs of the sustainability features of the Welcome Center. Learn how we are planning to use this future net-zero building for education and how we are featuring sustainability in our programming.  Take a walk with one of our environmental educators to see rare species and exceptional natural areas. This preserve’s rich natural and cultural history is recognized as an Illinois Nature Preserve.

Green Approach to Architecture


Ryerson Convervation Area

The District’s hub for environmental education and our net-zero, PHIUS certified environmental education center currently under construction. Learn how the District approaches education. Experience firsthand how we bring the outside world into the classroom and help connect people with nature.