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The Chicago Park District invited 20 volunteer partners to create 20 Fairy Houses that will be installed at 20 Natural Areas.
The Chicago Park District invited 20 volunteer partners to create 20 Fairy Houses that will be installed at 20 Natural Areas.
Photo: Chicago Park District

Special Fairy Houses join naturally enchanting wildlife, prairies, wetlands at select Natural Areas 

CHICAGO (June 8, 2021) – On June 25, a charming window into the magic of nature opens through a series of enchanting Fairy Houses at select Chicago Park District Natural Areas. These mystical wooden structures, created by partners from local communities, will charm adventurous visitors throughout the city.

The Chicago Park District (CPD), in partnership with The Nature Conservancy of Illinois (TNC), is showcasing the Fairy Houses this summer to celebrate the 20th anniversary of CPD Natural Areas and the establishment of the Community Stewardship Program. CPD invited 20 volunteer partners to create 20 Fairy Houses that will be installed at 20 Natural Areas. Each whimsical Fairy House dazzles with creativity, combining natural items such as branches, plants, feathers, rocks and more with unique special touches.

There are currently more than 75 Natural Areas throughout the city, totaling 1,890 acres of wetlands teeming with frogs and turtles, prairies buzzing with small birds, savannas filled with butterflies and wildflowers, and more. 

The Natural Areas’ mission is “to develop and maintain habitats that are dedicated to the cultivation and enrichment of ecological diversity, nature exploration, learning, and the enlivening of the human spirit,” and they reveal the richness and beauty of nature in the city to residents and visitors alike. The Natural Areas Community Stewardship Program is comprised of dedicated volunteers that protect and care for these natural oases while also connecting people to nature.

“Nature provides so many ecological and social benefits to society, and it just so happened that nature is much closer than people may think,” said Matthew Freer, assistant director of landscape at the Chicago Park District who manages the Natural Areas. “The Natural Areas are located across the entire city and provide communities with places to explore, learn, gather, and reflect, while the native plants within offer essential resources for wildlife.” 

The Community Stewardship Program has grown exponentially since 2015, when a partnership between the Chicago Park District and The Nature Conservancy was formed to support the program. 

In just two decades, the Natural Areas have achieved significant milestones, including designating additional Natural Areas to the original group, approximately 30 of which have active stewardship programs. CPD Natural Areas benefit from the caring hands of people who pull weeds, pick up litter, collect seeds, mulch trails, and install plants.

“These Natural Areas are sanctuaries of calm and relaxation in the bustle of the nation’s third-largest city, and the volunteers who care for them provide a priceless service by engaging with their communities this way,” said Forrest Cortes, director of community engagement at The Nature Conservancy in Illinois. “Nature not only nurtures; it also connects people in a very fundamental way.”
Being outdoors and active in green spaces helps people reduce stress, spark their imaginations and be healthier, in addition to creating strong communities and respect for nature and the environment. 

To learn more about the Fairy Houses, Chicago Park District Natural Areas, or the Community Stewardship Program, visit this link: https://www.chicagoparkdistrict.com/20fairyhouses.

About The Nature Conservancy
The Nature Conservancy is a global environmental nonprofit working to create a world where nature and people thrive. Founded in 1951, and thanks to more than a million members and the dedicated efforts of our diverse staff including more than 400 scientists, The Nature Conservancy is one of the most effective and wide-reaching environmental organizations in the world. Conservation initiatives are advanced through land and water protection and restoration initiatives as well as addressing climate change. The Nature Conservancy’s work spans more than 70 countries across six continents. In Illinois, The Nature Conservancy has helped protect more than 86,000 acres across the state since its inception more than 60 years ago with a particular focus on conservation of the prairies, savannas, forests, wetlands, lakes, and rivers that dot its landscape. For more information, visit nature.org/Illinois

About the Chicago Park District
The Chicago Park District has served Chicago residents for more than 85 years.  It is a Gold Medal Award-winning organization, which recognizes excellence in park and recreation management across the nation.  For more information about the Chicago Park District’s more than 8,800 acres of parkland, more than 600 parks, 26 miles of lakefront, 12 museums, two world-class conservatories, 16 historic lagoons, nearly 50 nature areas, thousands of special events, sports and entertainment programs, please visit www.chicagoparkdistrict.com or contact the Chicago Park District at 312/742.PLAY or 312/747.2001 (TTY). Want to share your talent? Volunteer in the parks by calling, 312/742.PLAY. Follow us at facebook/chicagoparkdistrict, on Instagram/chicagoparks and on Twitter @chicagoparks.