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Deer Grove Forest Preserve Habitat Restoration

Improving ecosystems to promote healthy native animal and plant communities

  • 185

    Acre Site

  • 8

    Year Project

  • Cook County, Illinois

    Cook County, Illinois

Revitalizing and restoring Cook County’s rich ecosystem

Since 1916, Deer Grove Forest Preserve has been a rich addition to the Cook County, Illinois, community. When our environmental team was brought in by Openlands, a non-profit conservation organization, we set out to provide ecosystem assessment and design, restoration implementation, and long-term monitoring and stewardship of this heavily used forest preserve. Most prominent are the oak ecosystems, which were degraded over many decades by invasive and weedy shrubs and trees, shading the ground and reducing oak reproduction.

Working in collaboration with the landowner, the Forest Preserves of Cook County, the team developed ecosystem restoration and enhancement management and monitoring plans. The goal? Revitalize the area’s oak ecosystems and associated streams, wetlands, and prairies. The invasive plants that crowded the ancient woodland habitats were removed to once again allow sunlight to reach the soil, resulting in renewed growth of colorful, varied native grasses, sedges, and wildflowers. Working alongside the Deer Grove Natural Area Volunteers, we’ve been contributing ecological stewardship—activities like invasive species management and controlled burns—to encourage ongoing recovery of healthy ecosystems.

Our extensive monitoring studies included annual vegetation surveys to evaluate the restoration and inform our adaptive management approach for this ongoing, long-term, collaborative effort. The result? Oak woodlands that are recovering and thriving, once again hosting grasses, sedges, and wildflowers—and the wildlife they support.

When vegetation matures, approximately 1,500 tons of carbon will be sequestered per year.

Meet Our Team

Josh Arrigoni, Senior Restoration Ecologist

I enjoy finding creative solutions that consider the role native plant communities play in nature-based design and green infrastructure.
Josh Arrigoni Senior Restoration Ecologist Read More

David Bart, Ecologist

By utilizing my knowledge and passion for ecological restoration, I provide clients with realistic, comprehensive land management solutions.

David Giblin, Senior GIS Analyst

GIS is important for every project. It allows us to analyze the spatial relationship between project elements and the rest of the world.

Dominic Kempson, Vice President, Environmental Services, Nature-based Solutions

We take pride in providing the best possible solutions to support the security and sustainability of the Nation, in both foreign and domestic environments.
Dominic Kempson Vice President, Environmental Services, Nature-based Solutions Read More

Aaron Feggestad, Senior Ecologist

I’m inspired by nature’s resiliency and recovery and the uniting of people and nature made possible by thoughtful restoration of ecosystems.

Josh Arrigoni

Senior Restoration Ecologist

David Bart


David Giblin

Senior GIS Analyst

Dominic Kempson

Vice President, Environmental Services, Nature-based Solutions

Aaron Feggestad

Senior Ecologist

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