Local Conservation - Protect & Preserve Our Environment

The NWCCG helps preserve our environment by sponsoring several conservation workdays a year to restore native ecosystems. Some of the ways participants have helped our efforts is by cutting Buckthorn, an invasive shrub which crowds out native plants, or by planting native wildflowers. There are many opportunities in need of volunteers. Please check this section often for new workdays

Cool Cities

Cool cities pix

Cool Cities have played a major role in creating local solutions to climate change and fashioning more sustainable communities.  What is a Cool City and what role does Sierra Club play in helping them write climate action plans and achieving greenhouse gas reductions.  Join us to find out how many Cool Cities there are in the Northwest Cook area, what they've accomplished and how they will move forward in 2013.

Visit for more information and to find out if your community is a cool city.

Deer Grove East Volunteers NeededDGEFriends of Deer Grove East is a diverse groups of volunteers who will lead tours, gather seeds, pull weeds, organize kids programs, cut brush (and burn it on bonfires all winter), maintain a website – and generally do what we think will most help conserve Deer Grove East – and help people to benefit from it. more info here





Deer Grove West - Natural Areas Volunteers -
1st & 3rd Saturday Each Month
Work days run from 9am until noon on the first and third Saturdays of each month.
To meet up at our normal site, use the main entrance off Quentin Road between Dundee and Lake-Cook Roads in Palatine. Turn right at the first stop sign and continue straight from the second stop sign. Continue past parking along the left side to the first available parking along the right side of the road just past a large trail map sign.

We work as long as it isn't raining (at least not too hard) or too cold (below 15 degrees especially if there is a wind) so dress warmly for cold weather with good work shoes for walking in uneven terrain. Layering is always good so you can shed a layer as you warm up from working. Long sleeve shirts and pants are preferred even in warm weather to avoid mosquitoes, briars, and the occasional poison ivy patch. Bring insect repellent if you are sensitive.

Work gloves and tools (loppers and saws) are provided but feel free to bring water and anything else you might want while working. Bathroom facilities are poor at Deer Grove and do not exist in the remote areas that we usually work in. Contact Co-Stewards: Ron Vargason 847-398-1853 or Pete Jackson 847-577-4438 for more information or go to the Deer Grove Natural Areas Volunteers website

Join us on our next weed scouting missionWeed Scouting 101 - which is really a search and destroy mission, took place at Spring Creek Forest Preserve in Barrington Hills this summer. The goal; to walk a specific area in a grid formation and hunt for: leafy spurge, reed canary grass, teasel, wild parsnip, phragmites, sweet clover, crown vetch, bird’s foot trefoil, purple loostrife and cattails.

Once identified, we ID the location and type of weed with a GPS. Luckily they bloom at different times, making it a slight bit easier to detect and remove (clip, pull.) Weed scouting is not an easy task, as the invasive species are not easy to identify.

wildflowersAlthough plants such as purple loosetrife (above left) are pleasing to the eye, they are non-native and a threat to ecosystem diversity. Purple loosetrife, in particular, has the ability to severely decrease biodiversity wherever it grows due to its ability to displace many native plants. This not only affects the native plants themselves, but also any animal species which feed, nest, or take cover in wetland plants. The purple loosestrife forms such dense thickets that it is impossible for the animals to enter or use them. Many of the animals, mostly birds, are highly affected and their disappearance is noticeable.(1)

– by Donna Hriljac

– Wildflower Photos by Kim Fishburn & Minnesota Forestry Service

1. from Minnesota Forestry Service

More info is available on invasive species in illinois at the Illinois Natural History Survey site.















Upcoming Workdays


Deer Grove West Natural Areas Volunteers
Work days run from 9am until noon on the 1st and 3rd Saturdays of each month



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