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Brigit Holt
Program Coordinator, Master Naturalist
University of Illinois Extension
4747 Lincoln Mall Drive
Suite 601
Matteson, IL 60443
Phone: 708-679-6889
FAX: 708-679-6855

Master Naturalists in Cook County

Master Naturalists in Cook County

3. About Master Naturalist Partners

The Cook County Master Naturalist program is sponsored by University of Illinois Extension Cook County and Forest Preserves of Cook County. These organizations fund Cook County Master Naturalists in order to educate and train adult volunteers to help disseminate natural resource information to the public and to assist with conservation activities in Cook County.

University of Illinois Extension, Cook County

University of Illinois Extension is the flagship outreach effort of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, offering educational programs to residents of Illinois. U of I Extension's programs are aimed at making life better, healthier, safer and more profitable for individuals and their communities. U of I Extension IN Cook County offers educational programs related to healthy society, food safety, environmental stewardship, sustainable and profitable food production, SNAP education, and enhancing family and community well-being.

The Cook County Unit directly services Cook County and sponsors Cook County Master Naturalists.

Branch Office (Cook County)
University of Illinois Extension
4747 Lincoln Mall Drive STE 601
Matteson, IL 60443
Phone: 708-679-6889
FAX: 708-679-6855
Hours: Monday - Friday 8 am to 4 pm


Current Cook County Extension Program Areas include (but are not limited to):

  • Ag and Natural Resources
  • Community and Economic Development Children, Families, and Seniors
  • Horticulture and Environment
  • Money Management
  • Nutrition and Health
  • Online education


Forest Preserves of Cook County

The Forest Preserve District of Cook County, with more than 69,000-acres, is the largest forest preserve district in the United States. It receives an estimated 40 million visits each year, providing an escape into a world teeming with wildlife and rich with outdoor recreation and environmental education opportunities. Within its boundaries are rare habitats that offer plant and animal diversity on par with the rainforests of the world. This natural heritage offers something for everyone:


      Oak woodlands and savannas

      Tallgrass prairies

      Native wetlands

      Migratory fly-ways that afford spectacular birding

      22 dedicated nature preserves

       40 managed lakes and ponds

       7 major waterways that can be canoed or kayaked and offer glimpses of waterflow and shorebirds

      300 miles of marked trails for hiking, biking, horseback riding, and cross country skiing

       Scenic spots for painting, photography or quiet reflection

Current volunteer openings are posted on the Forest Preserve of Cook County Volunteer  website. Volunteer opportunities include trail stewardship, work days to maintain natural areas, and assistance with both historical and environmental education programs.

Trail Stewardship

For nature lovers trail stewarding is the perfect activity. You can do it on your own time (the commitment is once a month for a year), with family, friends, and pets, and the only "work" involved enhances your hand-eye coordination. You see trash, you pick it up. You find branches on the trail, you toss them into the woods. You find large trees across the trail, you report them. When you find large infestations of those same exotics, you report them. If you find something odd or unusual or interesting, you report it. The report is very streamlined (paper or online). For more information about the Cook County Forest Preserve District, please visit their website at: