Celebrating a Centennial

My internship as a Heritage Interpreter with the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County was made possible due to the district celebrating its Centennial. Over the last few years my boss has had the ability to hire a summer intern that has worked on historical research about the DuPage Forest Preserve.

I began my internship on Tuesday, May 19 and while I should have written a post sooner, I have been quite busy with events, programming, and research. As many of you know some of my favorite things to do are interact with the public, talk, attend conferences, and do research. My internship has allowed me to do three of those four.

One of the programs in my department is an initiative called Family Expeditions. Basically it is a monthly newsletter sent out to those who sign up and it tells them about upcoming events throughout the district. Each family member gets a name badge with an animal on it and their name and each year they can pick-up a new pin when they visit our booth. Throughout my internship we have appeared at three events that I have helped with: Family Field Day, Nature Fest, and Lisle Eyes to the Skies. The first two events took place at St. James Farm, one of our preserves. This has given me the opportunity to interact with the public and gain experience in program development and promoting the organization.

My main task is to complete research about the history of our preserves and the district. I have done research on a number of topics and preserves, but have focused my time looking at Chance S. Hill, the landscape architect for the district during the 1920s-40s. Hill was around the same time as Jens Jensen, yet no one has heard of him. This research has taken me to numerous archives in and around DuPage County and has allowed the district to expand its reach beyond the county. Chance S. Hill was appointed a Fellow of the American Society of Landscape Architects in 1941, yet they have zero information about him. This research will provide information not only for the district, but for other organizations as well.

Conducting a historical walking tour of McDowell Grove Forest Preserve on Sunday, June 14.

Conducting a historical walking tour of McDowell Grove Forest Preserve on Sunday, June 14.

On Sunday, June 14 I gave a historical walking tour of the McDowell Grove Forest Preserve and discussed the history of the preserve from the 1840s through the present day. The tour centered on the history of the preserve when a CCC Camp occupied the preserve through the training school located there through World War II.

Next week I will be giving two presentations about the early history of the Forest Preserve District and Chance Hill as part of my special project. It is hard to believe that I only have a little over 3 weeks left here and then I will be moving on to my second internship with the DuPage County Historical Museum.


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