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Our Natural Environment

Watershed Warriors

We are thrilled to announce EMSA's board co-chair, Gary Swick, stars in a new film that inspires our community to love our Fox River.

Thank you, Jenni and Gary for making our world better by raising up watershed warriors through our Friday Field Studies! 

Fox River Forested Fen

The natural resources on the EMSA campus and surrounding Kane County Forest Preserve include: rare white cedars, a forested fen, heritage oak trees, seeps and swales, clean groundwater and glacial gravel.


A School, Nestled in a Forest Preserve

Excerpt from Kane County Forest Preserve:  

The forested fen here is one-half of the only remaining such plant community in the State of Illinois. The other half is within the City of Elgin's Trout Park. Dominated by white cedar, also known as arborvitae in the lower terraces, and oaks in the eastern uplands; the preserve contains seeps and swales with flowing water that remains unfrozen, even in the deep of winter.

Soon to-be-granted Illinois Nature Preserve status, the characteristic seeps and fens could not persist without a constant, clean source of groundwater welling upward through glacial gravel and bedrock seams. So unique is this site that the nearest comparable habitats are found in the boreal forests of Minnesota and Canada.

The plant communities here have been disturbed since settlement times, yet they present us with a glimpse of the ancient Illinois landscape shortly after glacial retreat. The District plans to focus on habitat restoration at this property. This preserve is the District’s acquisition of 27 acres of the former Fox River Country Day School land, also once called the Chicago Junior School. This preserve was acquired in 2013 through an intergovernmental agreement with the Illinois State Toll Highway Authority and the City of Elgin. It borders the Max McGraw Wildlife Foundation preserve, the Fox River Trail and a future City of Elgin park.

Forested Fen Map by Kane County Forest Preserve

Kane County Forest Preserve

Trout Park Nature Preserve

Nature Gallery

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Learn more about our local protected land and preservation progress! Visit for more information and how to get involved! 

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Interested in learning more about our nature preserve neighbor to the South?

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The mission of the Friends of the Fox River is to preserve, restore and protect the Fox River Watershed’s resources by connecting people with nature through education, research, restoration and advocacy.

Interested in learning more about our Fox River?

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