The Forest Preserve Friends Foundation is a not-for-profit corporation organized for charitable and educational purposes. The Foundation supports the facilities, programs, services, goals and mission of the Champaign County Forest Preserve District. In turn, it generates grant support and collaborative relationships with other agencies.

Your contributions to the Foundation support the projects and activities at the Champaign County Forest Preserve District. Whether helping to acquire land, maintain natural and recreational areas, provide educational experiences, or preserve the County's natural and cultural resources, your gift will touch the lives of generations to come.

2020 Initiatives

Willow Pond Restoration at Middle Fork River Forest Preserve

Remember when Willow Pond was the place to be on a hot, summer day? It brings back memories.. The beach is crowded with moms, dads, and kids of all ages. The smell of coconut suntan lotion wafts through the air, as a game of 'chicken' breaks out in the water. Teens gather for sand volleyball, while toddlers cautiously dip their toes in the cool, clean water.

Today Willow Pond is facing threats. All living things have a life expectancy - even lakes and ponds. Man-made ponds like Willow need periodic restoration to keep them healthy. Silt from run-off and good by-products can degrade water quality over time. Its location over a sand vein means that Willow is also subject to severe water loss during dry spells. Water loss and poor water quality are all-too-common concerns.

What's the solution? The pond must be emptied, dredged, and deepened to improve water quality and fish habitat. Adding a clay liner will prevent future water loss. The plan also calls for new features to return Willow Pond to the summer destination you remember!

Donate Today!

Kickapoo Rail Trail - Phase 2

From what we can tell, you are as excited as we are to have the Kickapoo Rail Trail open! Trail counters indicate that about 290 of you walked, ran, or rode on the trail each day throughout our warm fall season. We know that traffic on the trail will lighten as the temperature falls, but the work won’t stop as we look ahead to Phase Two.

We’ve gotten your feedback. You want benches, bike racks, and signs that tell you where to find ice cream and restrooms. And you want more trail. We do too.  Your gift to the KRT will add user amenities and will continue construction work on Champaign County’s Phase Two. You can also designate your gift to the trail efforts in Vermilion County by adding a note in the comment field on the online donation page.

See you on the KRT!

Homer Lake Interpretive Center Public Workshop - July 8, 2020

The Champaign County Forest Preserve District is holding a virtual public meeting to seek input on the study being conducted to envision a new interpretive center at Homer Lake Forest Preserve. This meeting is the first public input session of the study, which will be completed in August 2020.
The goal of this project is to understand the possibility for a new interpretive center to expand educational offerings and harmoniously connect with the natural environment of the preserve. The study will seek to identify programming and potential locations for the new center and its scale, character, and cost. The forest preserve district is working with a team of consultants, including Lake|Flato Architects and MKSK, to facilitate this effort.
In this meeting, the consultants will describe the project purpose and existing conditions that factor into the project, understand community preferences for the new interpretive center, and share examples of other similar facilities. This first public meeting will be held virtually on 7/8/2020. Following the presentation, next steps will be shared, and questions will be taken.
Though current state and federal COVID-19 pandemic guidelines allow for gatherings with proper precautions, this meeting will be conducted virtually using Zoom software to ensure the safety of the public.
Please register for this meeting by going to (link under Ticketing Info). The Zoom meeting information will be included in your receipt.
Before or after the meeting, questions or comments can be submitted to the project team by emailing Matt Wallace ( Comments will be taken through July 15, 2020.

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By Mail

Click here for a printable form (133kb pdf)

By Phone

(217) 586-3360

Board Members

  • Meredith Mills, Treasurer
  • Bob Espeseth, Secretary
  • Joe Lamb, Vice President
  • Will Timmons, Chairman
  • Rod Beyers
  • Peg Busch
  • Roger Laramee
  • Sarah Livesay
  • Dan Noel
  • Jennifer Vallowe
  • Mary Ellen Wuellner, Executive Director CCFPD