Mission: To restore Churchill Woods Forest Preserve to the community and for the community.

2017-2018 Restoration Saturdays (9AM-12PM):

November 4th, 2017
December 2nd, 2017
January 6th, 2018
February 3rd, 2018

Where to Park:
churchill woods entrance

Churchill Woods Site Steward Andrew Van Gorp in front of a giant cottonwood tree.

Hey There! I’m Andrew Van Gorp. I’m the DuPage County Forest Preserve’s Site Steward for Churchill Woods! I’m a volunteer just like you! 


The Churchill Woods Protectors are a group of Sustain DuPage volunteers who host restoration days at Churchill Woods Forest Preserve in Glen Ellyn/ Lombard, Illinois in collaboration with the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County. We post workday events on our Facebook and Meetup.

Restoration sometimes includes heavy labor like cutting brush, but we also have non-heavy days that include harvesting and spreading seed, river restoration, and more! We welcome volunteers of all ages, we ask that guardians supervise kiddos (with a 1:3 ratio of adults to kids!)

At our workdays we focus on many different challenges facing Churchill Woods.

We remove trash from the site and are working with the Village of Glen Ellyn to create a Fly-Dumping Ordinance to add extra penalties to those caught fly dumping within the Village of Glen Ellyn. It is our understanding that there is currently no agency keeping track of when or where fly-dumping occurs within the Village of Glen Ellyn. We also hope to work with local stakeholders to begin a process where these occurrences are tracked and compiled so that warning signage can be put up in the most-frequent-dumping zones, reminding potential fly-dumpers of fines associated with fly-dumping if they are caught.

Here’s a draft of the fly-dumping ordinance we wrote: flydumpingsurcharge-new

We work on clearing invasive species buckthorn and honeysuckle (pictured above) so that our ancient oak trees can get enough light at their roots to get their acorn on. Once invasive species are removed we replace them with native shrubs and wildflowers.

We focus on reducing erosion (pictured above) of the East Branch of the DuPage River with streambank stabilization practices.

A map of our goals of accessibility/ active transportation improvement for Churchill Woods Forest Preserve.

We hope to lobby local governments for improved accessibility, connectivity, safety, and signage for Churchill Woods and its historic landmarks. We also hope to ultimately write grant proposals to help achieve the funds for the projects we propose.

If you’re interested in receiving updates from us, don’t forget to sign up for our newsletter!

We provide: tools (gloves, loppers, saws, herbicide), water, (and sometimes snacks!)

See you soon!

If you plan on coming to a workday, here’s a great infographic on things you might need! 
1) You’re going to want a hat- not a hood. A hood lets in the wind and falls off as you work, which is annoying!
2) You’re going to want a 100% wool work sweater. This sweater will wick the moisture away from your body so when you sweat you won’t get cold.
3) You will want to wear pants you won’t mind ripped, dirtied, or covered in clingy seeds.
4) You will want 100% wool socks to keep your feet warm.
5) Some people don’t like the feeling wool on their skin and prefer to wear a long sleeved cotton undershirt under their sweater. This also cuts wind shear, but can get sweaty and make you cold. Your call!
6) Long underwear can help keep you warm on really cold days.
7) Work boots. We recommend you wear steel-toe if you have them. Definitely want boots that are water proof.
8) 100% wool scarf. Sometimes it’s nice to wear a scarf when you get too hot for your coat. It’s a perfect temperature regulator- keeping you hot where it counts- around your armpits, your neck, and your chest.
9) We will provide gloves, but it’s nice to have the kind of leather gloves with fluff on the inside to keep your hands warm too. The kind we get from the County don’t have lining, so they can get a bit chilly.
10) Handkerchief. Make it old school! In the cold weather our lungs need to pre-treat the air before it is inhaled by warming it and moistening it down our throats. When we exhale through our nose, water vapor can form in our nose- making it seem like it’s running. Handkerchiefs are a great way to save paper by wicking this water onto cloth instead of tissues. Super handy and it saves the planet!
11) A thermos is nice when it’s cold out to keep your beverage warm!
12) Bring a phone, fully charged. It’s fun to take photos for instagram, facebook, twitter, etc.
13) A jar full of water is important. Dehydration happens in the winter too- especially if you’re working hard.
14) If you have a wildlife book you like, feel free to bring it and teach us about nature!
15) Feel free to bring a treat to share!
16) Bring a reusable spoon in case of hot food!
17) Bring a reusable mug in case of hot beverages!
18) Bring a reusable bowl in case of hot food!
 See you under the oak boughs!


Our restoration workdays empower DuPagers with ecological understanding and consciousness. Our restoration efforts are instantly gratifying, and produce a feeling of pride in accomplishment. The activity is physically demanding, and so produces physical health in participants. Since certain elements of ecosystem restoration can also be time intensive, the periods of nature immersion are necessarily longer than average nature visits. This extended immersion bolsters eco-psychological wellbeing. The activity is usually team-oriented and works to strengthen bonds of reciprocity, communication, and communal trust. Risk management is required of many restoration activities, increasing a participants awareness of their physical self, their limits, and their need for interdependence.
Human beings have created great disturbance at Churchill Woods in the form of habitat fragmentation, fire suppression, chloride (salt) pollution, soil erosion, frequent flooding, water temperature increases, petroleum pollution, climate change, over-forage, animal grazing, deforestation, invasive introduction, predator elimination, sound pollution, ground-vibration pollution, light pollution, and foot-traffic disturbance. By working to restore the fire ecology of Churchill Woods we can begin to eliminate over-pressure from invasive species, restore the leaf litter layer of humus, re-introduce eliminated species, sequester carbon, reduce erosion, filter groundwater, open hunting space for predators, provide forage for remaining species, and so much more. We have nearly completely destroyed our entire regional ecosystem in DuPage County. The next 100 years should be devoted to restoring and conserving remnant greenspace/bluespace. We should also actively be working to de-fragment crucial habitats through the retirement of excessive infrastructure, re-wilding programs, and through the restoration of private properties to pro-environment stewardship practices. DuPagers have an obligation to protect our regional environment.
There is much research positively correlating the positive effect of natural areas on local economies. The more natural areas that we preserve and restore, the higher our home values will become. There is much potential in the creation of home goods from invasive specie biomass as a means of restoring balance to local ecosystems, creating local capital at the same time. By restoring natural areas to native habitat, we increase the availability of wild-forage foods. Ultimately, DuPage could pursue wild-forage licenses for native fiber, medicine, or dye plants as well as edible funguses as a means for capital creation benefiting local conservation efforts. A wild-forage license would also greatly reduce the instances of poaching that threaten native wildlife and would improve the District’s understanding of sustainable take limits on a regional level.