One thing is certain: Nobody likes a jerk in the preserves, and that has been confirmed by the response to the Forest Preserve District of Will County’s big, bold multi-media “Don’t Be A Jerk” campaign.

After tackling the topic of jerk dog owners who make no attempt to follow some basic rules, the District released its second video in a four video series on Monday, July 15. The “Garbage Edition” video urges people not to be “trashy” in the preserves by leaving debris behind. Whether it’s littering or fly dumping (illegally unloading large sums of garbage of all types), trash in the preserves can have a negative impact on wildlife as well as the public’s experience while in the preserves. Excessive littering and fly dumping — which is a preventable problem — also costs the District additional time and money to clean up the messes left behind. The video and more information can be viewed at

The marketing effort is in response to complaints by members of the public who don’t want to be walking through a preserve filled with litter and dog poop or traveling on a trail with people hogging the whole path or letting their dogs run amok. The campaign also is designed to protect wildlife that can be harmed by improperly disposed of cigarette butts, fishing line and other refuse.

The campaign consists of four videos, five eye-catching signs that are being posted in the preserves and social media posts showing items that are illegally dumped in the preserves.

Using humor, simple messages and illustrative photos, the Forest Preserve hopes to educate and encourage positive behavior for the benefit of all who spend time in the preserves.

So far, the response to the “Don’t Be A Jerk” campaign has been positive. Here are some of the comments:

  • “I gotta give it to the Will County Forest Preserve. Government agencies have to tiptoe around, they have to be very, very nice to people,” said WJOL’s Scott Slocum. “But the Will County Forest Presere is starting a campaign that is anything but over the top nice. I love it. They’re like, ‘you know what, we don’t have to be nice.’ Don’t be a jerk, because that’s what peole are being when they do any of those things.”
  • “AWESOME! We’ve had ongoing meetings and discussions on this very topic, much consternation about the impact of unleashed dogs in some of our restored areas on the plants and wildlife.” – Mequon Nature Preserve
  • “Here’s a great information campaign from @WillCoForests. I think this should be implemented nationwide in all natural areas. Good job @WillCoForests!”
  • “This is perfect! I have encountered this type who had a dog run up and stick its giant head in my 4yr olds face.”
  • “This was great. Informative and funny. #dontbeajerk”
  • “How true is this, you hit the nail on the head.”
  • “This was awesome!! (Funny, but not funny)!!”
  • “Spot on! Thank you.”
  • “Hope the jerks see this!”


For more information on how you can have fun in the Will County forest preserves without being a jerk,