Formed in 1969 as Thorn Creek Preservation Association, Friends of Thorn Creek Woods is the citizens’ activist group responsible for preserving the 985 acre Thorn Creek Woods. They helped secure its dedication as an Illinois Nature Preserve, and form the unique inter-governmental Management Commission to oversee the preserve as one, single preserve.

The preservation of TCW is a history of people. Through the years, over 1,500 people organized and fought to preserve the woods. They staff the nature center, develop exhibits, lead programs, build trails, monitor species and raise funds for programs and improvements.