“Explore 20 in 2020” was a challenge coordinated by 815 Outside to encourage folks to get outside and explore new places over the summer of 2020.  Those who visited 20 local parks, preserves, trails and outdoor attractions and shared on social media were added to our raffle prize drawing. 

The challenge has come to a close!

Thank you to everyone who participated and encouraged those around you to look closely at the nature that abounds here. If you didn’t make the deadline, keep going and tagging your photos with #815Outside! We love to see how you enjoy the outdoors.

Between April 12th and September 7th, 2020, we had

  • A total of 190 participants, plus the dogs, babies, and friends who came along for the adventure!
  • 33 individuals and families visited 20 different places by Labor Day.
  • Many creative forms of completion, including:

A doggo leading the way (@theadventuresofmajorpalmer on Instagram)

Geocaching with Halemeister videos (Instagram and YouTube)

Bringing alll the kiddos along (Adele R’s six children)

Overall, folks connected with nature, picked up litter, and found beautiful outdoor places they can’t wait to return to. 



Special thank you to our sponsor

Everyone wins when exploring and enjoying our beautiful parks and preserves, but the winners of our random name drawing are…



1st Place: Bill and Sue Tucker

(pictured at Klehm Arboretum and Botanic Garden, the couple visited over 48 local green spaces in Summer 2020)

2nd Place: Linda Niemiec

(pictured at Sinnissippi Park, Linda began leading a women’s hiking group this summer)

3rd Place: Joyce Gibbons

(pictured with her children Anna and Joe at Kishwaukee River Forest Preserve after finishing the charity run “Race for the Fallen” which supported Gold Star families)


Quotes from participants:


I can’t even begin to tell you what a fun time we had doing this. With Covid keeping us at home, it gave us a reason to get out and explore our wonderful forest preserves and natural areas. Some were a challenge to find and took us to areas we normally would not have been. It is wonderful that so many people had the foresight to donate and protect so much land for generations to come.”

“I didn’t know there were so many parks we’ve never been to and I’ve lived here my whole life.”


“Thanks for putting on a fun challenge and bringing awareness to all the fun to be had around the Rockford area! I enjoyed checking out new places and plan to continue after the challenge is over too.”


“We have had so many fun adventures exploring the 815 area. To think all this beautiful nature has been available to us all this time and we had no idea how close and amazing our local parks, preserves and trails really are, right here in our neck of the woods!  We have so many hidden gems, right here in Rockford!”

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