Long ago, in 1927, residents living in the area voted to create the Forest Preserve District of Will County. Three years later, the young organization purchased its first piece of land. It was 144 acres of the now 441-acre Messenger Woods Nature Preserve. Back then, the land was purchased for $125 per acre.
This year, the Forest Preserve District of Will County is celebrating its 95th anniversary. The organization has grown remarkably and now controls about 23,000 acres. It continuously works to restore land back to healthy habitats for the benefit of all the species that call those habitats home.
Having forest preserves benefits all of us humans too! Open natural spaces are necessary for our survival. Plus, they give us a place to relax and meditate and a spot to explore and have adventures. In honor of the Forest Preserve District’s 95th anniversary, the district is hosting a Spring Ninety-fiver Challenge.
To participate in the challenge, all you have to do is get outside in the preserves! Hike, bike or run on the lovely, scenic trails that crisscross the preserves. Log your miles, and if you can reach 95 miles between March 1 and June 30, you will receive a neoprene mini-wallet with a zipper pouch. This challenge began March 1 and ends June 30. That gives you four months, or 122 days, to complete 95 miles.
Did you know the average person walks a mile in 20 minutes? What is your pace? How about if you are on a bicycle or running? Start recording your time and distance and see if you can get faster by the end of the challenge.
You can also challenge yourself to slow down! This can be much harder than it sounds. We spend so much time rushing around from place to place, but when you are in a hurry you often miss what is right in front of you. So relax your pace … breathe … notice and enjoy all the wonders around you. Let’s be thankful our Will County ancestors were wise enough to vote yes to creating a forest preserve so long ago.
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