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white oak Nature Programs for Family

All ages are welcome to attend family programs unless an age limit is specified. Children must be accompanied by an adult. Organized groups must schedule a separate tour for their group. Advance registration is required. Call 630-444-3190 or e-mail programs@kaneforest.com to register.

Native Landscaping in Action

Ever wonder what your yard would look like if you landscaped with native plants?  Naturalist Jaclyn Olson will lead this field trip to two different homes in Kane County to see native landscaping in action.  The homeowners will take us on a tour of their yards and discuss why they decided to landscape this way, what the benefits are, and if there is any down side to using native plants.
  • Saturday, Aug. 22; 9 a.m. – noon
    We’ll meet at Pottawatomie Community Center in St. Charles. Transportation will be provided.  Fee: $10

Warblers in Fall

Identifying warblers can be a challenge, especially during fall migration. Instructor Denis Kania has developed some easy methods to unravel some of the more complex identification problems.  Learn these tricks and you will enjoy the warbler migration in fall as much as in the spring.

  • Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2009; 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.
    Pottawatomie Community Center, St. Charles
    Fee: $10

Raceway Woods: Restoring Cultural and Natural History

Raceway Woods Forest Preserve is a unique blend of culture and nature with a history. The site was once a well-known race track which drew car racing enthusiasts from near and far.  Today, in a joint effort of the Forest Preserve District and the Dundee Township Park District, it is an area undergoing ecological healing.  June Keibler, a long-time advocate of natural areas in northern Kane County and founding member of the Conservation Foundation, will lead this hike through Raceway Woods to highlight the progress and potential for ecological restoration here. 
Meet at the Dundee Township entrance on Huntley Road.
  • Saturday, Sept. 12; 9 – 11:30
    Raceway Woods Forest Preserve, Dundee
    Fee: $10 

Hawk Migration

Many birds of prey migrate through the Fox Valley each autumn.  Larry Miller, local falconer and member of the Hawk Migration Association of North America, will present a lecture-discussion on hawk identification, tracking and migration.  Participants will learn the tools available to identify and observe hawks during seasonal migrations.
  • Wednesday, Sept. 16; 7 – 8:30 p.m.
    Red Oak Nature Center, Batavia
    Fee: $10

Autumn Exploration

Mid-October is the perfect time to explore the autumn woods.  Join our naturalists for an expedition through Burnidge Forest Preserve.  We’ll follow little-known trails and discover wildlife, plants, and much more!  All ages are welcome; children must be accompanied by
an adult.
  • Monday, Oct. 12, 10 - 11 a.m.
    Burnidge Forest Preserve, Elgin
    FREE

Woodland Artists

Do you have a budding artist just waiting to blossom?  Check out our new art program for first and second graders! Instructor Magen Iwanski, formerly of the Chicago Children’s Museum, brings her expertise and enthusiasm for kids and art.  Each session will incorporate observation skills, outdoor discovery, exploration
and creativity.  Children will create art using a variety of media, such as clay, watercolor, tempera, acrylic, and more!  You may register your child for any combination of the following classes. 
  • Wednesdays, Oct. 7, 14, 21, 28; 3:45 – 5:15 p.m.  Tekakwitha Woods Forest Preserve, St. Charles
    Fee: $15/session or $50 for all four sessions

Scary Sounds of the Night: Hike and Campfire

Experience the mysteries of the nocturnal world on this guided hike through Tekakwitha Woods.  We’ll listen for denizens of the dark as we walk the paths that wind through the woods.  When we’ve safely reached the campfire area, we’ll roast marshmallows and listen to spooky stories.  Children must be 8 years or older and accompanied by an adult (no organized groups, please).  Meet at the parking lot.
  • Friday, Oct. 30; 6:30 – 8 p.m.
    Tekakwitha Woods Forest Preserve, St. Charles
    FREE

Put a Lotta Latin in Your Life

Do you tremble at the sight of a Latin label?  Are you intimidated by the sound of scientific names?  Muster up your courage and come to this interactive class about Latin, Greek, and all the mumbo-jumbo of scientific nomenclature. Naturalist Valerie Blaine of the Forest Preserve District of Kane County will present the fun side of scientific names and the organisms they represent.  Each participant will get up close and personal with plants and animals and their scientific monikers.  We’ll discuss how and why these names are used in the scientific community and why they are important for the layperson, as well.  By the end of the session, participants will have learned enough scientific names to impress anyone at a holiday cocktail party. 
  • Tuesday, Nov. 10.; 7 – 8:30 p.m.
    Pottawatomie Community Center, St. Charles
    Fee: $10

Changing Seasons

During the fall, there are many changes in the plants and animals that call Illinois home.  What happens to all the bugs and spiders? Where do the birds go?  How do mammals survive the cold?  These are just a few of the questions that we will answer during our explorations of Changing Seasons.
  • Sunday, Oct. 25, 1 - 2 p.m.
    Johnson's Mound Forest Preserve, Elburn
    FREE
  • Saturday, Nov. 14, 10 - 11 a.m.
    Burnidge Forest Preserve, Elgin
    FREE

Unraveling the Mysteries of Black Holes

For many years, black holes in deep space were an interesting theory, but more recent observations have confirmed that they do indeed exist. So how do we know they exist and what do astronomers know about them? Black holes are abundant, with some galaxies having more than one. And there is a black hole at the center of our own Milky Way. But there are some misconceptions about black holes. While their gravity is so strong that not even light can escape, they don’t really suck in everything in their vicinity. Jack Kramer of the Kane County Astronomical Association will present the latest findings about black holes and their effects on objects around them.
  • Wednesday, Jan. 27; 7 - 8:30p.m. with optional stargazing to follow
    Brester Creek Forest Preserve, St. Charles
    FEE: $10

Winter Tracking

Our wildlife neighbors may be shy about showing themselves, but they certainly do not shy away from leaving evidence of their presence. Tracks, trail patterns, scat and other signs abound, and are particularly easy to find during the cold-weather months. Instructor Pam Otto will lead this class, beginning with an indoor session providing an overview of local fauna and tracking techniques. During the second part of the program, Pam will lead the group outdoors to practice what we’ve learned. You’ll never look at ‘bare’ ground the same again.
  • Saturday, Jan. 23; 9 a.m. - Noon
    Pottawatomie Community Center, St. Charles
    FEE: $10

Habitat Hideouts

Home is where the habitat is, but where do animals hide out in the dead of winter?  Find out on this guided hike through the woods.  You’ll learn the requirements of good habitat for our native wildlife and discover how animals have winterized their homes.
  • Sunday, Jan. 24; 10 - 11 a.m.
    Pingree Grove Forest Preserve, Pingree Grove
    FREE

Winter Tree Identification

Identifying trees in winter is not as daunting as it may seem!  Learn the basics of tree identification and gain experience using a botanical key to identify native trees. Instructor Valerie Blaine will share tips to help de-mystify tree i.d. and will emphasize observation of bark, branches, form, habit, habitat, twigs, leaf scars and buds.  The session will begin indoors with a lecture presentation and lab.  During the second portion of the class, we’ll head into the woods to practice tree identification skills.

  • Saturday, Feb. 20; 1 - 4 p.m.
    Brewster Creek Forest Preserve, St. Charles
    FEE: $10

Up in Arms

If you’ve ever wrestled with the issues of hunting, wildlife, and animal rights, this workshop is for you!  We’ll take a look at the topic from several vantage points and examine the questions: Who hunts and why?  Can a naturalist be a hunter?  Can a hunter be a naturalist?  What influences our opinions of hunting?  What ethical dilemmas are involved in hunting?  How can we face the challenges these issues present?  Instructors: Forest Preserve District of Kane County Nature Programs Manager Valerie Blaine and Senior Ranger Tom Stewart
  • Sunday, Feb. 28; 1 - 3 p.m.
    Brewster Creek Forest Preserve, St. Charles
    FEE: $10

Maple Sugaring Festival

The sap’s rising!  Join us in the time-honored tradition of maple tapping.  See how to tap a maple tree, and you’ll have the opportunity to try your hand at drilling and setting a tap.  We’ll simmer sap over an open fire and watch as it thickens to syrup.  On the “Sugarin’ Time” hike, you’ll learn how to distinguish maples from other species of hardwood trees.  No registration required.
  • Sunday, March 7; 1-4 p.m.
    Brewster Creek Forest Preserve
    6N921 Rte. 25, St. Charles
  • Sunday, March 14; 1-4 p.m.
    Johnson’s Mound Forest Preserve
    41W600 Hughes Rd., Elburn
 

It’s Easy to Be Green!

Learn simple changes you can make in your daily life to “live green.”  We’ll talk about practical ways to leave a gentle footprint on the earth. Energy conservation, local food, native landscaping and eco-friendly products will be some of the topics discussed. Many of these ideas will not only help the environment, but they will help you save money, as well!
  • Saturday, March 20; 10-11:30 a.m.
    Brewster Creek Forest Preserve
    6N921 Rte. 25, St. Charles
    Fee: $10

Fossils of Northern Illinois

Take a trip back in time — 450 million years ago, to start — for a glance at what northern Illinois was like way back then. Learn about our area’s fossils and the geology related to them with expert Dave Carlson. In addition to slides, he will bring specimens from five sites representing the Ordovician, Silurian and Carboniferous periods.
  • Saturday, March 27, 9-11 a.m.
    Pottawatomie Community Center
    8 North Ave., St. Charles
    Fee: $10

Wildflowers of Tyler Creek

The forest floor is carpeted with wildflowers of every size, shape, and color.  Ranger Tom Stewart will lead this walk through Tyler Creek Forest Preserve and teach you how to identify the diverse, beautiful wildflowers in our spring woodlands.  Ages 10 and above.  Meet at the upper shelter.
  • Sunday, May 2, 11 a.m. – noon
    Tyler Creek Forest Preserve
    401 Davis Rd., Elgin

Folklore of Flowers

How did Wake-Robin get its name? Why is the May-apple called an apple? Which plant has breeches? Which wildflowers bring good luck? Learn about our native spring flora on this free, naturalist-guided hike.
  • Saturday, May 8; 10:30-11:30 a.m.
    Tekakwitha Woods Forest Preserve
    35W076 Villa Marie Rd., St. Charles

Exploring Nature Together

This two-part program encourages parents of 3-8-year olds to get out in the woods and fields with their kids — and provides the skills and tools to do it well.  Part 1 (for parents only) covers the basics for sharing nature with kids, with interactive discussions and demonstrations. On Friday, bring the kids and we all go out together.  Each family will receive an exploring nature starter kit.
  • Part 1: For parents
    Wednesday, May 12; 6:30-8:30 p.m.
    Part 2: For parents and children (ages 3-8)
    Friday, May 14; 9:30-11:30 a.m.
    Tekakwitha Woods Forest Preserve
    35W076 Villa Marie Rd., St. Charles
    Fee: $25/family

Aquatic Ecology

Join us as we take a closer look at the macro-invertebrates that live in our water.  Mark Hauser of Friends of the Chicago River will lead this class. We’ll “dive” in and learn more about what these creatures tell us about water quality.  We’ll also look at water chemistry to see how dissolved oxygen, pH, nitrate, and phosphate can affect all who use the creek.  Please bring an extra pair of shoes and socks and a towel. Hip waders will be provided.
  • Saturday, May 15; 9-11 a.m.
    (Rain date: Saturday, May 29; 9-11 a.m.)
    Blackberry Farm
    100 Barnes Rd., Aurora
    Fee: $10

Homeschool Explorations

Join us for this nature program series designed for homeschool families.  Each month, the program focuses on a different topic at a different forest preserve.  Activities include learning how to tap a maple tree, tree identification, searching for wildflowers, exploring wetlands, and more!  Activities will focus on ages 5-10 but all ages are welcome. 

  • Maple Sugaring
    Tuesday, March 16;
    10 – 11:30 a.m.
    Brewster Creek Forest Preserve
    6N921 Rte. 25, St. Charles
    Fee: $2/person; $8/family of four or more
  • Spring Sprouts
    Wednesday, April 21;
    10 – 11:30 a.m.
    Blackberry Maples Forest Preserve
    Main Street, Elburn
    Fee: $2/person; $8/family of four or more
  • Pond Explorations
    Monday, May 17; 10 – 11:30 a.m.
    Burnidge Forest Preserve
    14N035 Coombs Rd., Elgin
    Fee: $2/person; $8/family of four or more

Map and Compass Skills 1

GPS is the latest in navigational technology, but what happens when the batteries die or the signal fades? Learning how to navigate a natural or wilderness area using a compass and topographic map ensures you’ll be able to find your way. During this interactive class led by naturalist Lauren Kulinski, get plenty of hands-on time using these important tools; you’ll also acquire some handy survival skills.
  • Saturday May 22; 9 a.m. – noon
    West Side Park (formerly Campton Hills Park)
    Campton Hills Road & Peck Road, St. Charles
    Fee: $10

Map and Compass Skills 2

Take your map and compass abilities to the next level! Travel the untamed wilds of Camp Tomo-Chi-Chi Knolls, where a rolling topography adds to the orienteering challenge. Wear long pants, sturdy footwear and dress for the weather! Prerequisite: Map & Compass Skills Part 1.
  • Sunday, May 23; 1-4 p.m.
    Camp Tomo-Chi-Chi Knolls
    40W095 Freeman Rd., Gilberts
    Fee: $10

Nature by Stroller

If you’d like to get out in the forest preserves with your infant in a stroller, this program is for you! Bring your four-wheeler and the diaper bag, click the seat belt on the baby and enjoy a guided stroll with naturalist Erica Lemon. We’ll take a relaxed walk on stroller-friendly trails and soak in the seasonal joys of nature. Fussy as well as quiet babies are welcome, interruptions are expected, and feeding and/or diaper stops are allowed!
  • Friday, April 30; 9-10 a.m.
    Rutland Forest Preserve
    41W230 Big Timber Rd., Hampshire
  • Friday, May 28; 9-10 a.m.
    Hannaford Woods/Nickels Farm
    Forest Preserve
    Merrill Road, east of Route 47, Sugar Grove

Prairie Plan Propagation

With native prairie plants growing in popularity for home landscaping or naturalizing larger areas, this program will give the participant greater insight on tips and techniques for native plant germination, care and installation. Instructor Forrest Rackmyer, foreman of natural areas with the Geneva Park District, will focus on several of the major species of grasses and forbs. Participants will leave this class with the confidence to raise their own valuable prairie community at home.
  • Thursday, June 3; 6 - 8 p.m.
    Geneva Park District Greenhouse, Wheeler Park
    410 Wheeler Dr., Geneva
    Fee: $10/person

What's the Buzz?

Beekeeper Laura Andersen will conduct a lively lecture-discussion on the natural history, origins and social system of the honeybee. There will be activities for children and a demonstration of beekeeping tools and techniques. Everyone will have the chance to look at our observation hive filled with busy bees.
  • Saturday, June 26; 4 - 5 p.m.
    Tekakwitha Woods Forest Preserve
    35W076 Villa Marie Rd., St. Charles
    Fee: $2/person; $8 family of four or more

Geocaching

Come learn the basics of a GPS unit and how this unique device can lead you on a fun adventure called “geocaching.” Bring your own GPS unit if you have one.
We will have limited units available to use.
  • Saturday, June 26; 9 - 11 a.m.
    Red Oak Nature Center
    2343 South River St., Batavia
    Fee: $10/person

Native Pollinators

Without birds, bees, butterflies, bats, wasps and myriad other pollinators, the grocery store shelves would be bare. Indeed, we could not survive without pollinators and all they provide for us. Nature Programs Manager Valerie Blaine of the Forest Preserve District of Kane County and Environmental Educator Dave Bart of the Geneva Park District will lead this class. We’ll look at the fascinating array of native pollinators and the plants they pollinate. We’ll discuss the effects of the decline in native pollinators, the impact of non-native species and other threats to ecological health. Afterward, we’ll head out to the field to observe the pollinators and pollinated alike.
  • Sunday, June 27; 2 - 5 p.m.
    Program begins at LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve, 37W584 Dean Street, St. Charles
    and Peck Farm Park
    38W199 Kaneville Rd., Geneva)
    Fee: $10/person

Prairie Plant Identification

With over 800 plant species native to Illinois prairies, it can often feel like walking into a room full of strangers when stepping into a prairie.  Environmental Educator Dave Bart of the Geneva Park District will give you the tools to help identify native prairie plants as well as their historical and current relationships with humans.  Learn plant identification tips and hints that will make your next walk through a prairie like walking into a room full of your closest friends!  We will begin indoors with an introduction before heading out into the prairie to practice identification.
  • Saturday, July 24: 9 - 11 a.m.
    Peck Farm Park
    38W199 Kaneville Rd., Geneva 
    Fee: $10/person

Full-Day or Half-Day Camps

Children explore the woods and fields with our naturalist staff during these five-day nature camps.  Through hikes, nature games and activities, children will discover native animals and plants in their habitats and learn the importance of these living things in the web of life.  Each day brings a new adventure! 

 
FULL-DAY CAMPS
 
For children entering grades 1 and 2
Monday - Friday, July 26-30
9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Tekakwitha Woods Forest Preserve
35W076 Villa Marie Rd., St. Charles
Fee: $100/child
 
For children entering grades 3, 4, and 5
Monday - Friday, Aug. 2-6
9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Tekakwitha Woods Forest Preserve
35W076 Villa Marie Rd., St. Charles
Fee: $100/child

HALF-DAY CAMPS
 
For children entering grades 1 and 2
Monday - Friday, June 14-18
9 a.m. – noon
Tekakwitha Woods Forest Preserve
35W076 Villa Marie Rd., St. Charles
Fee: $50/child
 
Monday - Friday, June 28 - July 2
9 a.m. – noon
Johnson’s Mound Forest Preserve
41W600 Hughes Rd., Elburn
Fee: $50/child
 
Monday - Friday, July 12-16
9 a.m. – noon
Burnidge Forest Preserve
14N035 Coombs Rd., Elgin
Fee: $50/child
 
For children entering grades 3, 4 and 5
Monday - Friday, June 21-25
9 a.m. – noon
Tekakwitha Woods Forest Preserve
35W076 Villa Marie Rd., St. Charles
Fee: $50/child
 
Monday-Friday, July 5-9
9 a.m. – noon
Johnson’s Mound Forest Preserve
41W600 Hughes Rd., Elburn
Fee: $50/child
 
Monday - Friday, July 19-23
9 a.m. – noon
Burnidge Forest Preserve
14N035 Coombs Rd., Elgin
Fee: $50/child

Geology

Illinois is often referred to as a flat and boring state with nothing but cornfields and soybeans. Trish Burns, manager of Peck Farm Park of the Geneva Park District, will lead this lecture/discussion. The geology of Illinois is not simple or uncomplicated. Learn the basics of geology and the fascinating work of glaciers, the effects of which can still be seen today.
  • Thursday, Aug. 12; 6:30 - 8 p.m.
    Peck Farm Park
    8W199 Kaneville Rd., Geneva 
    $10/person

Twilight Camp

Discover a whole new world of wildlife during this evening summer camp.  We’ll learn about native animals who are out and about at dusk.  Camp activities include hikes through the woods and prairie with naturalists, plus games, stories and a campfire on the last night of camp. 
 
For children entering grades 3, 4, and 5
Monday - Thursday, Aug. 9-12
7-9 p.m.
Tekakwitha Woods Forest Preserve
35W076 Villa Marie Rd., St. Charles
Fee: $40/child
 
Monday - Thursday, Aug. 16-19
7-9 p.m.
Johnson’s Mound Forest Preserve
41W600 Hughes Rd., Elburn
Fee: $40/child

The Sound of [Night] Music

The hills are alive with the sound of music — insect music, that is! Nature Programs Managers Valerie Blaine and Pam Otto of the St. Charles Park District will lead this evening adventure. After a brief listen-and-learn session to familiarize ourselves with the songs of the major players, we’ll take a walk and take note as katydids and crickets croon their tunes and meet their mates. Please bring a flashlight.
  • Wednesday, Aug. 18; 7 - 9 p.m.
    Norris Woods, St. Charles; Located north of Main Street on 3rd Avenue, directly west of Bethlehem Lutheran Church
    Fee: $10/person

Spider Hunt

The architects of nature’s finest structures are busy at work in the summer.  Orb weaving spiders weave intricate designs, grass spiders create fantastic funnel webs, and house spiders make complex cobwebs.  Come along on our free spider hunts to see these and many other eight-legged creatures.  We’ll explore the spidery world in woods and fields. 
  • Saturday, Aug. 21; 10 - 11 a.m.
    Tekakwitha Woods Forest Preserve
    35W076 Villa Marie Rd., St. Charles

St. Charles History on the Move

Resorts, industry, farming, millionaires, riots and politics — St. Charles was home to it all! Take a walking tour with guides from the St. Charles Park District and the St. Charles Heritage Center to learn about this town’s varied and fascinating transformation from wide spot on the Fox River to booming tourist destination. We’ll begin at Pottawatomie Park’s large pavilion, then head off to view historical and natural sites that date from the Native Americans and settlers through present day.  Note: Please wear comfortable shoes, bring water, your camera and plenty of questions!
  • Wednesday, Sept. 15; 6:30 – 8 p.m.
    Pottawatomie Community Center
    8 North Avenue, St. Charles
    Fee: $15

Life in Miniature

Join us on a makeshift journey into the amazing world of microscopic life! During this indoor program, we’ll take a tour of a miniature world of beauty and wonder using microscopes, hand lenses and other aids to peer into the realm of tiny creatures.  You’ll see teeming life in a spoonful of soil, in a drop of pond water and on a piece of moss-covered bark. Note: This program is for ages 10 and above.
  • Tuesday, Sept. 21; 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.
    Tekakwitha Woods Nature Center
    35W076 Villa Marie Road, St. Charles
    Fee: $2/person; $8/family of four or more

Knitting in Nature

Bring your needles and yarn and join fellow knitters at Tekakwitha Woods to work on your projects and share ideas. We will begin the program by presenting information on dyes and fibers that can be used from the natural world. The remainder of the program will involve individuals working on personal projects with the company of others in a beautiful wooded setting. Note: This program is for ages 16 through adult.

  • Saturday, Oct. 9; 3 - 4:30p.m.
    Tekakwitha Woods Nature Center
    35W076 Villa Marie Rd., St. Charles
    FREE

Ethnobotany: People and Plants

Ethnobotany is the study of plants and human culture.  We’ll explore the origins of ethnobotany and investigate the intricate relationship we humans have with the green growing things around us.  The first portion of the class will be held indoors and will include an interactive discussion on plants in our culture.  During the second part of the class, we will head outdoors for a hike and trail-side activities.

  • Sunday, Oct. 10; 1 – 3:30 p.m.
    Johnson’s Mound Forest Preserve
    (Meet in the cabin)
    41W600 Hughes Rd., Elburn
    Fee: $10

Nature Creations and Crafts

Families with children ages 6 and above are invited to a fun-filled Saturday morning of creating fall-themed crafts at The Lodge at Brewster Creek.   We’ll delve into the world of art, get creative, and use a variety of natural items to make several crafts.  All materials are provided.
  • Saturday, Nov. 6; 10-11:30 a.m.
    The Lodge at Brewster Creek
    6N921 Rte. 25, St. Charles
    Fee: $5/person or $20/family of four or more

Survival Supper

Step out of the kitchen and into the outdoors for this rustic cooking program. Participants will learn how to prepare food in a survival situation utilizing things found in nature. Discover the secrets of building a fire without matches, making utensils out of nature, and using rocks to cook delicious recipes.
  • Saturday, Nov. 6; 4 – 7 p.m.
    Peck Farm Park
    8W199 Kaneville Rd, Geneva
    Fee: $10

The Gales of November

Many legendary storms have passed over the Great Lakes region in November, as the weather transitions from fall to winter. The most well known of these may be the Edmund Fitzgerald storm of Nov. 10, 1975. However, two other noteworthy storms of the 20th century have been the Armistice Day storm of Nov. 11, 1940, and the Great Lakes storm of Nov. 7-10, 1913. The 1913 storm killed over 250 people and sank 19 ships. This program will discuss the nature of these storms and what made them so deadly. Dr. Jim Angel, Illinois State Climatologist will be our guest presenter.
  • Thursday, Nov. 11; 6:30 – 8 p.m.
    Stephen Persinger Recreation Center
    3507 Kaneville Road, Geneva
    Fee: $10

Hard Rock Geology

The variety of rocks, minerals and gemstones is truly staggering. The beauty of these different materials when viewed closely provides a better appreciation of the planet upon which we live. We will examine a variety of samples and study some of the processes that created these remarkable materials. Note: This program is for ages 10 and up.
  • Tuesday, Nov. 16; 7 – 8 p.m.
    The Lodge at Brewster Creek
    6N921 Rte. 25, St. Charles
    Fee: $2/person or $8/family of four or more

Over the River and Through the Woods

Come to Tekakwitha Woods for a fun, naturalist-led walk over the Fox River and through the woods.  We’ll begin at the parking lot, wind our way through the woods, and cross the Fox River on the bike bridge.  Along the way, we’ll look for wildlife and learn about how the natural world prepares for winter.  The program concludes at the Nature Center, where families are welcome to warm-up and enjoy the hands-on exhibits and displays. 
  • Friday, Nov. 26; 10 – 11 a.m.
    Tekakwitha Woods Forest Preserve
    35W076 Villa Marie Road, St. Charles
    FREE

Winter Solstice Bonfire

We’ll gather around a bonfire as the sun sets on the shortest day of the year. Naturalists will tell solstice stories from different cultures, emphasizing the interplay of cultural and ecological events on this pivotal day. Come herald the return of the sun! Space is limited; please register early!
  • Tuesday, Dec. 21; 4 - 5 p.m.
    Tekakwitha Woods Forest Preserve
    35W076 Villa Marie Rd., St. Charles
    FREE

Winter Adventure Camp

Children in 2nd, 3rd and 4th grade are welcome to this fun, school’s out camp at Tekakwitha Woods Forest Preserve.  Join us for three half-days between Christmas and New Year’s. Each day we’ll combine activities in the Nature Center with an exploratory hike outside to learn about the wonderful world of winter.  Come prepared to discover something new each day!
Please register by Monday, Dec. 20.
Campers must register for all three days.
  • Monday through Wednesday
    Dec. 27-29; 9 a.m. – noon
    Tekakwitha Woods Forest Preserve
    35W076 Villa Marie Rd., St. Charles
    Fee: $40

Tracks and Trails

Join our naturalists as we search for signs of animal activity in the woods and prairie.  During this walk through the woods, you’ll learn that tracking is not all about footprints!  We’ll act as nature detectives and read clues to solve the mysteries of who’s been out and about in the woods.
  • Monday, Dec. 27; 1 - 2 p.m.
    Tekakwitha Woods Forest Preserve
    35W076 Villa Marie Rd., St. Charles
    FREE

Whooo Goes There?

Bundle up and head out for an owl prowl in the winter woods of Burnidge Forest Preserve. We’ll begin at the shelter with an introduction to the world of owls, then head out on the trail to call and listen for owls. If we’re lucky, we’ll not only hear but get to see owls as well. All ages are welcome. Please bring a flashlight.
  • Tuesday, Dec. 28; 7-8 p.m.
    Burnidge Forest Preserve
    14N035 Coombs Rd., Elgin
    FREE

New Years's Day Resolution Hike

For a good and healthy start to the new year, head to LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve!  This nature walk is suitable for any and all who are awake, coherent and eager to shake off the excesses of the night — or the year — before. Bring a coffee mug and we’ll fill it with hot coffee.  Bring binoculars and we’ll show you cool birds.  Bring your New Year’s resolutions and we’ll get you started on the right foot!
  • Saturday, Jan. 1; 9 - 10 a.m.
    LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
    37W370 Dean St., St. Charles
    FREE

Bison, Bears & Wolves, Oh My!

The Illinois landscape has changed tremendously over the last several hundred years.  Many animals that once lived in Illinois can no longer be found here.  During this indoor presentation, we’ll discuss these amazing animals, what happened to them, and where they can now be found. Note: This program is for ages 7 and up.
  • Saturday, Jan. 8; 2:30-3:30 p.m.
    Tekakwitha Woods Forest Preserve
    35W076 Villa Marie Rd., St. Charles
    FREE

There's No Place Like Home

The average American moves 12 times in a lifetime, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. In such a mobile society, many people never make a connection with the land upon which they live. We are able to watch virtual nature and to work in cyberspace. Naturalist Valerie Blaine will lead a lecture/discussion exploring the effects of disconnecting from the land and becoming homeless on the earth. We’ll also consider “sense of place” and how belonging to a bio-geographical home impacts our stewardship of the land.
  • Wednesday, Jan. 19; 7 – 8 p.m.
    The Lodge at Brewster Creek
    6N921 Rte. 25, St. Charles
    Fee: $10

Woodlands in Winter

We’ll explore the ecology of the woods in winter. See which creatures are out and about in the cold. We’ll also identify plants in their dormant season, and watch winter birds.

  • Saturday, Jan. 29; 10 – 11 a.m.
    Hannaford Woods/Nickels Farm Forest Preserve
    Merill Road, east of Route 47, Sugar Grove
    FREE

Awakening The Hidden Storyteller As If the Earth Mattered

Storyteller Dennis Paige and Fox Valley Park District Naturalist Margaret Gazdacka will conduct this workshop for educators and parents interested in the art of storytelling. The stories will include an eco-twist for students in classrooms, children in youth groups, gathering of friends, or family get-togethers. With Dennis’ 20 years of professional storytelling experience, you’ll explore an enchanting window into your inner child with nature as your guide.
  • Friday, Feb. 4; 7 – 9 p.m.
    Red Oak Nature Center, North Aurora
    2343 S. River St., Batavia
    Fee: $15

Prairie in Winter

Bundle up for this guided walk on the windswept prairie. We’ll learn how animals and plants overwinter, look for tracks in the snow, and keep an eye to the sky for winter birds of prey.
  • Saturday, Feb. 5; 10 – 11 a.m.
    Freeman Kame-Meagher Forest Preserve
    40W095 Freeman Rd., Gilberts
    FREE

Dendrology, or What's That Tree?

Identifying trees in winter is not as daunting as it may seem!  During this class you’ll learn the basics of tree identification and gain experience using a botanical key to identify native trees. Instructor Valerie Blaine will share tips to help de-mystify tree i.d., and will emphasize observation of bark, branches, form, habit, habitat, twigs, leaf scars and buds.  The session will begin indoors with a lecture/presentation.  Hand-outs and reference material will be provided.  During the later portion of the class, we’ll head into the woods to practice tree identification skills.
  • Saturday, Feb. 5; 1 – 4 p .m.
    Tekakwitha Woods Nature Center
    35W076 Villa Marie Rd., St. Charles
    Fee: $10

Wetlands in Winter

The marsh is home to scores of mammals and birds in the winter. This naturalist-led walk will include a search for wildlife and an overview of wetland ecology.
  • Saturday, Feb. 12; 10 – 11 a.m.
    Dick Young Forest Preserve
    39W115 Main St., Batavia
    FREE

Nature Explorations for Home School Families

Join District naturalists for “Homeschool Explorations,” a program series designed for homeschool families.  Activities will focus on ages 5-10 but all ages are welcome.  Each month, we explore a different topic at a different forest preserve.  Activities include examining skulls and bones, dissecting an owl pellet, learning about animals no longer found in Illinois, and more!  Advance registration is required. 

  • Skulls & Bones
    Thursday, Dec. 9; 10 – 11:30 a.m.
    Johnson’s Mound Forest Preserve
    41W600 Hughes Rd., Elburn
    Fee: $2/person; $8/family of four or more
  • Owls
    Monday, Jan. 24; 10 – 11:30 a.m.
    Tekakwitha Woods Forest Preserve
    35W076 Villa Marie Rd., St. Charles
    Fee: $2/person; $8/family of four or more
  • Ancient Animals
    Tuesday, Feb. 15; 10 – 11:30 a.m.
    The Lodge at Brewster Creek
    6N921 Rte. 25, St. Charles
    Fee: $2/person; $8/family of four or more

Glaciers, Voyageurs and the Chicago Portage

Join Columbia College’s Dave Dolak for a multimedia presentation — lecture, images and perhaps even a live song! — on the geologic and human history of the Chicago portage. This intriguing natural feature allowed early explorers to find an easier passage between the Great Lakes, the Mississippi River and Gulf of Mexico and led directly to the siting and development of Chicago as a pre-eminent city in mid-America. The talk will include the story of French voyageurs, the Illinois and Michigan Canal, and the reversal of the Chicago River, as well as a look at the current invasion threat from the Asian Carp.
  • Thursday, Feb. 24; 7 – 8:30 p.m.
    Hickory Knolls Discovery Center
    St. Charles
    Fee: $15

How High the Moon

Our moon is the single most-detailed object in the night sky that we can observe with telescopes.  Selenologists are still learning many things about it and puzzling over some interesting features. This program will discuss those features, including how they were formed and how we determine the chronology of events that shaped the moon. Afterwards we’ll set up telescopes and take a tour of the moon.
Tuesday, March 15; 7-9 p.m.
The Lodge at Brewster Creek
6N921 Rte. 25, St. Charles
Fee: $10

Lichens Inside and Out

Lichen expert Rich Hyerczyk returns with a two-part class designed to explore, in-depth, the  morphology, and ecology of lichenized fungi commonly found in our area. During the Thursday night indoor session, we’ll use scopes and hand lenses to become better acquainted with lichen characteristics; we’ll also practice keying out specimens. During the Saturday session, we’ll put these new skills to the test in the field, identifying lichens in Norris Woods Nature Preserve.
Part 1 - Lecture/Lab
Thursday, March 24; 7-9 p.m.
Hickory Knolls Discovery Center, St. Charles
Part 2 - Field Class
Saturday, March 26; 10 a.m.-1 p.m.
Norris Woods Nature Preserve
North of Main Street on 3rd Avenue, St. Charles
Fee: $20 (includes Parts 1 and 2)

Search for Spring!

Spring is just around the corner – we just have to find it!  We’ll look under logs, peer into the treetops, and search along the trail for signs of spring.  We may discover wildflower shoots poking up through the leaves, or maybe we’ll see the first arrivals of migrating songbirds.  Perhaps we’ll find the season’s first butterflies or hear the early songs of chorus frogs.   FREE

Monday, March 28, 2-3 p.m.
Hampshire Forest Preserve
44W780 Allen Rd., Hampshire

Tuesday, March 29, 10-11 a.m.
LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
37W370 Dean St., St. Charles

Wednesday, March 30, 2-3 p.m.
Blackberry Maples Forest Preserve
43W375 Main St., Elburn

Thursday, March 31, 10-11 a.m.
Tekakwitha Woods Forest Preserve
35W076 Villa Marie Rd., St. Charles

Leave No Trace

Leave No Trace is a national and international program designed to assist outdoor enthusiasts with their decisions about how to reduce their impact when they hike, camp, picnic, snowshoe, run, bike, hunt, paddle, ride horses, fish, ski or climb. Join certified LNT instructor Kim Girard as she walks us through the program’s seven basic principles. Dress for a possible venture outdoors.
Saturday, April 2; 9-11 a.m.
Hickory Knolls Discovery Center, St. Charles
Fee: $10

Spring Birdwatching

May is a birdwatcher’s heaven! Retired naturalist Mary Ochenschlager will lead this walk for novice birdwatchers. The focus will be on how to spot birds, what to look for, and how to learn their names. Please bring binoculars and a field guide if you have them.    FREE
Sunday, May 1; 7 – 9 a.m.
Bliss Woods Forest Preserve
5S660 Bliss Rd., Sugar Grove

Shutterbugs in Nature

Learn to view nature from different angles — there’s more to see than just flowers! Beginner photographers: Bring your digital or 35 mm camera and learn fun ways to photograph nature. Ages 10 and up; children must be accompanied by an adult.

Sunday, May 1, 9:30-11 a.m.
Pingree Grove Forest Preserve
14N187 Rte. 20, Pingree Grove
Fee: $2/person; $8/family of four or more

Landscaping for Wildlife

Jim Kleinwachter of the Conservation Foundation will discuss how creating a back(or front)yard environment that offers food, water and shelter to local wildlife will help many species compete in our new and changing environment.  Learn how to construct planned habitats for butterflies, songbirds, reptiles, amphibians, and some mammals.  Find out how native plants can create healthy and attractive landscapes.
  • Wednesday, May 11; 7-8:30 p.m.
    The Lodge at Brewster Creek
    6N921 Rte. 25, St. Charles
    Fee: $10

Spring Wildflower Walks

There’s nothing like a forest full of wildflowers to proclaim the beauty of spring! The District offers several guided hikes to showcase the floral pageantry in preserves throughout the county.   FREE
Johnson’s Mound Forest Preserve
This evening walk will highlight the “late bloomers” of spring flora. We’ll focus on the folklore of flowers and learn fun stories about age-old plants! All ages are welcome to learn the names and stories of the many wildflowers that grace the woods.

Tuesday, May 24, 6-7 p.m.
Johnson’s Mound Forest Preserve
41W600 Hughes Rd., Elburn

Dendrology -- or What's That Tree?

Learn the basics of tree identification and gain experience using a botanical key to identify native trees. Instructor Valerie Blaine will share tips to help de-mystify tree i.d., and will emphasize spring characteristics of trees.  
  • Wednesday, May 25; 6-8:30 p.m.
    Tekakwitha Woods Forest Preserve
    35W076 Villa Marie Rd., St. Charles
    Fee: $10

Thornton Quarry Expedition

We’re heading back for some more rocks! "Drop into" the big hole in the ground in Thornton, Indiana.  Learn about and look for Silurian age rocks (425 millions years ago), the process of quarrying, and use of the quarry for flood control.  Bring a lunch and fossil-collecting equipment. Registration Closes April 1.  No refunds for cancellations after April 1.
  • Saturday, June 4; 8 a.m. – 3 p.m.
    Bus departs from Pottawatomie Community Center, 8 North Ave., St. Charles
    Fee: $30

Emerald Ash Borer Update

Emerald Ash Borer has destroyed millions of ash trees throughout the Midwest in the last several years, and it’s here to stay.  Richard Hentschel, extension specialist  in the green industry programming  of the University Of Illinois will be our presenter. He will explain the life cycle and adaptations of the ash borer. Participants will learn what and where to look for signs and what we can do to slow the advance of this insect pest.
  • Thursday, June 9; 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.
    Peck Farm Park (Orientation Barn)
    4038 Kaneville Rd., Geneva
    Fee: $10

SPECIAL EVENT - Hooked on Fishing

Families, come on out to Lake Patterson to learn to fish.  Hooked on Fishing is a free opportunity for kids and parents to learn about the sport and the underwater ecosystem in a hands-on, family-friendly environment. Bring fishing equipment, if you have it.  The District will also have equipment on hand to loan attendees. Open to children ages 5-16, accompanied by a parent or guardian.
  • Saturday, June 11; 9 a.m. – noon
    Oakhurst Forest Preserve
    1680 Fifth Ave., Aurora
    FREE

Coyotes of Chicagoland: Our Nocturnal Neighbor

Cook County Wildlife Biologist Chris Anchor will present current research on urban coyotes in this discussion. Chris will discuss some myths and uncover some truths about Illinois’ largest predator. 
  • Thursday, June 16; 7 – 8:30 p.m.
    Red Oak Nature Center
    2343 S. River St., North Aurora
    Fee: $10

Survivor! -- Do You Have What It Takes?

Do you have what it takes to survive in the woods? That’s right — without your iPhone, without Netflix, without your microwave or a laptop.  This second program in the “Survivor” series will focus on finding and preparing food in a wilderness survival situation.  For ages 8 and up; children must be accompanied by an adult.
 
  • Saturday, June 18; 10 a.m. – noon
    Tekakwitha Woods Forest Preserve
    35W076 Villa Marie Rd., St. Charles
    Fee: $5/person; $20/family of four or more

A Transcendental Travelogue: Henry David Thoreau’s Journey along the Fox River

Thoreau scholar and author Corinne Smith will lead an evening travelogue of the famous transcendentalist’s last and longest journey. His travels brought him through northern Illinois and the Midwest in the spring of 1861, during which time he saw and recorded scores of native plants and wildlife. This program will begin with an indoor slide presentation, followed by an evening walk in the woods to the Fox River. Participants will learn about Thoreau’s routes, the sights he saw and wrote about, and what you can see in those same places today —150 years later. We’ll conclude the program with a campfire in the woods.
  • Tuesday, June 21; 6 – 9 p.m.
    Tekakwitha Woods Forest Preserve
    35W076 Villa Marie Rd., St. Charles
    Fee: $20

The History and Practice of Beekeeping

Beekeeper Laura Andersen will conduct a lively discussion about honeybees. Learn the natural history, origins, and social system of the honeybee as well as rules and regulations for beekeeping. Laura will also provide an update on Colony Collapse Disorder and the challenges that bees and beekeepers  face today. There will be a demonstration of beekeeping tools and techniques.
  • Thursday, June 23; 7:30 – 8:30 p.m.
    Tekakwitha Woods Forest Preserve
    35W076 Villa Marie Rd., St. Charles
    Fee: $2/person

Life in Miniature

Forest Preserve Naturalist Jack Pomatto will lead us into the amazing world of microscopic life during this indoor program. Unlike Alice’s wonderland, this trip requires no “shrinking drops.”  Instead, we’ll use microscopes, hand lenses and other aids to peer into the realm of tiny creatures.  We’ll discover teeming life in a spoonful of soil, in a drop of pond water and on a piece of moss-covered bark.
  • Wednesday, June 29; 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.
    The Lodge at Brewster Creek
    6N921 Rte. 25, St. Charles
    Fee: $10

Damselflies and Dragonflies

These winged creatures have been on the earth for millions of years.  Their brightly colored bodies and delicate wings make them fascinating insects to study, and their habit of eating mosquitoes makes them a very welcome friend in any area with open water!  We’ll search in the water for nymphs or immature damselflies and dragonflies, as well as on the plants along the edge of the pond for the adults that have already emerged.  Please come prepared to get wet and muddy.
  • Tuesday, July 5; 10 – 11 a.m.
    Burnidge Forest Preserve
    38W235 Big Timber Rd., Elgin
    FREE

Dirt is Just a Four-Letter Word!

Kristine Ashpole, soil scientist with the United States Department of Agriculture, will lead this hands-on presentation about soils. Participants will learn the characteristics of soil and factors that are important in the formation of soils. Additionally, class participants will be shown where to find information in order to better manage this precious resource. Come explore the world beneath your feet and learn why dirt is so much more than just a four-letter word!
  • Saturday, July 9; 10 a.m. – noon
    Peck Farm Park
    4038 Kaneville Rd., Geneva
    Fee: $10

SPECIAL EVENT - Children's Bike Safety During National Night Out

Our Public Safety department is encouraging Kane County’s youngest citizens to ride safely this summer, by hosting a Children’s Bike Safety Course as part of National Night Out. The course will include bike safety checks, tips on how to see and be seen on a bike, how to watch for potential hazards, and use of hand signals.  The course is designed to teach young riders how to be safe, and then tests their skills. Forest Preserve officers will teach the course, along with volunteers from the community. National Night Out is a unique event sponsored by the National Association of Town Watch in an effort to prevent crime and promote safety. Please bring bikes and helmets to the course.  To RSVP, call the Community Affairs department at 630-444-3064. 
  • Tuesday, Aug. 2; 6 – 8 p.m.
    Wasco School (Parking Lot)
    4N782 School St., Wasco
    FREE

Tour the Chicago Portage

Chicago is more than Lake Shore Drive and more than a skyline of tall buildings. The city owes its very existence to the Chicago Portage. The Chicago Portage National Historic Site is the only major remnant of the discovery and settlement of Chicago.  River expert Gary Mechanic will be our guide during this walking tour to explore the Chicago Portage. Transportation will be provided. Please bring insect repellent.  Tours are approximately half-mile in length on a gravel path through the woods.  Wear long pants and walking shoes or boots.
  • Saturday, Aug. 6; 12:30 – 4 p.m.
    Red Oak Nature Center
    2343 S. River St., Batavia
    Fee: $20

Bat Watch

Have you ever heard a bat talk?  Bats are indeed chatty creatures, but our ears can’t hear them — unless, of course, we use a super special “bat detector.”  This device picks up the bats’ “clicks” used in echolocation.  During our summer Bat Watch programs, we’ll use the bat detector to locate bats and follow their movements.  We’ll also play some bat games and learn about bat ecology.
  • Saturday, Aug. 6; 7:45 – 9 p.m.
    LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
    37W370 Dean St., St. Charles
    Fee: $5/person; $20 family of four or more
  • Monday, Aug. 8; 7:45 – 9 p.m.
    Hannaford Woods-Nickels Farm Forest Preserve
    Fee: $5/person; $20 family of four or more

Put a Lotta Latin in Your Life

Do you tremble at the sight of a Latin label?  Does the sound of a scientific name intimidate you?  Muster up your courage and come to this interactive class about Latin, Greek, and all the mumbo-jumbo of scientific nomenclature. Naturalists Valerie Blaine and Erica Lemon of the Forest Preserve District will present the fun side of scientific names, and the organisms they represent.  Each participant will get up close and personal with plants and animals and their scientific monikers.  We’ll discuss how and why these names are used in the scientific community and why they are important for the layperson as well.  By the end of the session, participants will have learned enough scientific names to impress anyone at a cocktail party! 
  • Tuesday, Aug. 9; 7 – 8:30 p.m.
    The Lodge at Brewster Creek
    6N921 Rte. 25, St. Charles
    Fee: $10

Story Time at Tekakwitha Woods

Treat your children to stories in the woods this summer. Summer story times for children, infant through age 5, and their caregivers are held at Tekakwitha Woods Nature Center. St. Charles Public Library staff will read books accompanied by finger plays, songs and more. All are welcome to enjoy the interactive exhibits in the Nature Center following the program. Registration required.  To allow for maximum participation, please register for only one date. 
  • Friday, June 15, 10:30 - 11 a.m.
  • Friday, July 22, 10:30 - 11 a.m. 
  • Friday, July 13, 10:30 - 11 a.m. 
  • Friday, July 20, 10:30 - 11 a.m.
  • Friday, August 10, 10:30 - 11 a.m.

Tekakwitha Woods Nature Center
35W076 Villa Marie Rd., St. Charles
FREE

Week in the Woods - Summary Day Camps

During these five-day nature camps, children will explore the woods and fields with our naturalist staff.  Through hikes, nature games and activities, children will discover native animals and plants in their habitats and learn the importance of these living things in the web of life.  Each day brings a new adventure!  Detailed information provided upon registration.
 

Half-day summer camps
Fee $50/child

Tekakwitha Woods Forest Preserve
35W076 Villa Marie Rd., St. Charles

  • For children entering grades 1 and 2
    Monday, June 13 through Friday, June 17; 9 a.m. – noon
  • for children entering grades 3,4 and 5 
    Monday, June 20 through Friday, June 24; 9 a.m. – noon

Johnson’s Mound Forest Preserve
41W600 Hughes Rd., Elburn

  • For children entering grades 1 and 2
    Monday, June 27 through Friday, July 1; 9 a.m. – noon
  • For children entering grades 3, 4, and 5
    Monday, July 11 through Friday, July 15; 9 a.m. – noon

Burnidge Forest Preserve
38W235 Big Timber Rd.

  • For children entering grades 1 and 2
    Monday, July 18 through Friday, July 22; 9 a.m. – noon
  • For children entering grades 3, 4, and 5
    Monday, July 25 through Friday, July 29; 9 a.m. – noon;

Day-long summer camps:
Fee $100/child

Tekakwitha Woods Forest Preserve
35W076 Villa Marie Rd., St. Charles

  • For children entering grades 1 and 2
    Monday, August 1 – Friday, August 5; 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
  • For children entering grades 3, 4, and 5
    Monday, August 8 – Friday August 12; 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.

SPECIAL PROGRAM - Passport to Adventure

Take an adventure this summer at area museums with the Passport to Adventure program.  Participating sites in the Forest Preserve District include Tekakwitha Woods Nature Center in St. Charles, the Fabyan Villa Museum in Geneva, and the Durant House Museum and Pioneer Sholes School at LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve in St. Charles. The Passport program encourages children and their parents to visit a variety of history, nature, science and art museums to explore the people, events, and environment of the area.  Children ages 4 - 12 will experience the world around them through exhibits and activities at each site they visit.  The program is sponsored by the Illinois Parks & Recreation Association, the Kane-DuPage Regional Museum Association and a host of other partner agencies.  Passports are available in late May at the Geneva and St. Charles Public Libraries.  More information about the program is available at Tekakwitha Woods Nature Center or by calling (847) 741-8350.

Snakes Afield

Whether you tremble at the thought of these slithering creatures or are fascinated by these cold-blooded legless animals, this program is for you!  We’ll search Big Rock Forest Preserve for these interesting animals while learning about where they prefer to live, what they eat, and what kinds we have in Illinois. Please wear long pants and closed-toe shoes since we may travel off trail.
  • Thursday, Aug. 18, 1 – 2:30 p.m.
    Big Rock Forest Preserve
    46W524 Jericho Rd., Big Rock
    FREE

Grass Class

From rice and corn to good ol’ lawns, grasses are all around us. They were once a major component of our native woodlands and prairies. Botanist Rich Hyerczyk will lead this class covering the taxonomy, morphology and ecology of grasses, with an emphasis on identification of the local species. The course includes both indoor instruction and a field session in the Hickory Knolls Natural Area. Please dress for the weather and bring a hand lens if you have one.
  • Saturday, Sept. 10; 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.
    Hickory Knolls Discovery Center
    3795 Campton Hills Rd., St. Charles
    Fee: $15

It's Our River Day Hike

Join us for a full-filled program about the Fox River in celebration of Illinois’ “It’s Our River Day.”  During this naturalist-guided hike, you’ll learn the history of the river as well as the current state of its health. We’ll appreciate the beauty of the river from the shore and from the Fox River Trail bike bridge. We’ll also pick-up litter along the way to clean up the habitat for all the plants and animals that call the river home.  Please wear long pants and closed-toe shoes since we may travel off trail. We’ll provide gloves for litter clean-up.
  • Saturday, Sept. 17; 10-11:30 a.m.
    Tekakwitha Woods Nature Center, St. Charles, IL
    FREE

Walk the Rock!

 
Stearns Road Bike/Pedestrian Bridge Opening Celebration:
 
Join us as we actively celebrate the opening of the new Stearns Road Bike/Pedestrian Bridge with a 1.5-mile walk or ride.  During this family-friendly event, we’ll  begin at Jon J. Duerr Forest Preserve and then hike, walk, ride the trolley or bicycle the 1.5 miles to the main bridge and “walk the rock!” The rock marks the site of the project groundbreaking, so we come full-circle with this opening celebration of the bike bridge.
 
Following introductory remarks and a ribbon-cutting, there will be activities for kids including a scavenger hunt, walks to Tekakwitha Woods Nature Center, rides by the Fox River Trolley Museum, healthy living information and more!
 
Be sure to get there at 8:45 a.m. sharp.  Bicycle bells and a special commemorative coin will be given to the first 200 who participate. 
 
Already in use by walkers, bicyclists and joggers, this popular river crossing is so much more than simply a bridge.  Learn about four trail bridges including the multi-use path over the Fox River; two new multi-use trail underpasses; the interconnection to three regional bike trails; three miles of new multi-use paths; and 216 acres of new open space. 
 
There will be limited parking at Jon J. Duerr Forest Preserve. Participants are encouraged to ride bicycles in from nearby spots including Tekakwitha Woods Forest Preserve, LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve, downtown South Elgin, James “Pate” Philip State Park, or Pratt’s Wayne Woods Forest Preserve along the Illinois Prairie Path.  See kaneforest.com for routes and more information. 
 
This special event is presented by the Forest Preserve District, Kane County, South Elgin Parks & Recreation and the Fox River Trolley Museum. 
  • Saturday, Sept. 17; 8:45 a.m. to noon
    Jon J. Duerr Forest Preserve, 35W003 IL Rte. 31, South Elgin
    FREE
 
 

Ecocruise on the Fox River

Treat yourself to a cruise! All aboard a luxury liner — a.k.a. a St. Charles Paddlewheel Riverboat — for a leisurely ride up and down the Fox River to interpret ecology.  Learn the natural history of the Fox River as the scenery floats by. Spot local wildlife and ponder the impacts our river faces today, as staff naturalists narrate your tour. Class will begin with an introduction to local ecology at PCC before boarding the riverboat for a 90-minute cruise.
  • Sunday, Sept. 18; 12 – 2 p.m.
    Pottawatomie Community Center
    8 North Ave., St. Charles
    Fee: $20

NEW! After-School Nature Adventures

Kids ages 8-12 will explore LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve during these fun after-school programs. We’ll hike through woods and prairie, wade through Ferson Creek, and explore a variety of habitats. Trail-side activities include wildlife tracking, searching for insects, discovering plant life, and more!  Please wear long pants and closed-toe shoes since we may travel off trail. We’ll provide a snack each day.
  • Wednesdays, Sept. 7, 14, 21, 24 – 5:30 p.m.
    LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
    37W370 Dean St., St. Charles
    Fee: $10/person (includes all 4 sessions)

National Public Lands Day

We’ll dig the holes if you plant the trees!
The Forest Preserve District of Kane County needs volunteers on Saturday, Sept. 24, to help plant 500 Red oak and Black oak trees at Schweitzer Woods Forest Preserve in West Dundee, as a part of National Public Lands Day (NPLD).
NPLD is the nation’s largest
hands-on volunteer effort to improve and enhance the public lands Americans enjoy. Last year, 170,000 volunteers worked at over 2,080 sites in every state, the District of Columbia and in many U.S. territories. In 2010, NPLD volunteers:

• Removed an estimated 450 tons of trash
• Collected an estimated 20,000 pounds of invasive plants
• Built and maintained an estimated 1,320 miles of trails
• Planted an estimated 100,000 trees, shrubs and other native plants
• Contributed an estimated $15 million to improve public lands across the country

2011 marks the event’s 18th year.

Kane County residents can get involved by coming to Schweitzer Woods Forest Preserve from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and planting as many trees as they can until they’re gone. Volunteers are asked to bring their own work gloves. The project is designed to create an oak savanna at the preserve.  Natural Resources staff have already planted the first phase.  The NPLD event constitutes the second phase.  The third and final phase will be a tree planting for Earth Day/Arbor Day 2012.

“With a restoration staff of five and more than 19,000 acres of land to keep up, volunteers play a large role in helping the District with a wide variety of natural areas management projects,” said District Volunteer Coordinator Robb Cleave. “During large tree plantings like National Public Lands Day, volunteers are an absolute necessity,” he said.

RSVP to let us know you plan to attend. Call Community Affairs Assistant Sherrie McLaughlin at 630-444-3064.

  • Saturday, Sept. 24, 10 a.m. - 1 p.m.
    Schweitzer Woods Forest Preserve
    16N900 Sleepy Hollow Rd., West Dundee
    FREE

Asters, Gentians & Goldenrods

The drying grasses of fall provide a background for the bursts of color autumn wildflowers. Restoration Ecologist Denis Kania of the St. Charles Park District will lead this botanical exploration, teaching identification of several challenging species. We will search for asters, gentians and other treasures in a restored wetland.  Wear comfortable, water-resistant shoes or boots for this botanical exploration.
  • Saturday, Oct. 1; 1 – 2:30 p.m.
    Hickory Knolls Discovery Center
    Peck and Campton Hills Road, Campton Hills
    Fee: $10

Harvest of the Acorn Moon

Celebrate the autumn season at our popular fall program — “Harvest of the Acorn Moon!”  Oakhurst Forest Preserve provides a lovely autumn setting for wagon rides, nature crafts, pumpkin painting, games, folk music, guided nature walks and more.  All ages are welcome to this free, family event!  Registration is not required for Harvest.
  • Sunday, Oct. 2; 1 – 4 p.m.
    Oakhurst Forest Preserve
    1680 Fifth Ave., Aurora
    Fee:  Nominal fee for crafts and wagon rides

What's That Tree? Fall Dendrology

During this class you’ll learn the basics of tree identification and gain experience using a botanical key to identify native trees. Instructor Valerie Blaine will share tips to help de-mystify tree i.d.  The session will begin indoors with a lecture/presentation.  During the second portion of the class, we’ll head into the woods to practice tree identification skills.
  • Saturday, Oct. 8; 9 a.m. – noon
    Tekakwitha Woods Nature Center
    35W076 Villa Maria Rd., St. Charles
    Fee: $10

Friday Night Frights

Venture by car into the deep, dark woods of Camp Tomo Chi-Chi Knolls for an evening of nocturnal nature at its scariest! Look for a mysterious greeter at the gate holding a lantern. Only the brave (and pre-registered) will be admitted to drive along the long, winding road towards the lodge deep in the woods. As you navigate the twists and turns along the mile-long drive, peer out of the car windows to glimpse mysterious animals lurking in the shadows. Drive slowly past ancient oak trees whose gnarled limbs appear ready to reach out and grab passers-by.  Take a deep breath, get out of your car in the parking lot, and enter the lodge where bats, snakes and spiders await you. Therein, you’ll learn the myths about animals and what makes them so scary, and you’ll discover the truth about these animals that are so important in our ecosystem. There will be stations set up in the lodge with live (and un-live) animals, activities and crafts for all ages, and guided hikes in the woods.  Please register early as this popular program sold-out last year.  Registration is required.   
  • Friday, Oct. 28, 5:30-7 p.m. OR 7:30-9 p.m.
    Camp Tomo Chi-Chi Knolls
    40W095 Freeman Rd., Gilberts
    Fee: $5/person or $20/family of four or more

Crane Migration

Travel to Jasper-Pulaski Fish and Wildlife Area in Medaryville, Ind. to view thousands of Sandhill Cranes as they migrate to warmer wintering grounds.  Ninety percent of the eastern crane population stops here during fall migration.  Learn more about these amazing birds as we observe their behaviors from an elevated viewing platform, equipped with three spotting scopes.  We’ll have binoculars available for viewing.  Naturalist Margaret Gazdacka of the Fox Valley Park District will be our tour guide. A snack will be provided.  Meet at Red Oak Nature Center on IL Route 25, one mile north of IL Route 56.
  • Saturday, Oct. 29; 2-9 p.m.
    2343 S. River St., North Aurora
    Fee: $25

Woodland Birthdays

Treat your child to a special Woodland Birthday at Tekakwitha Woods, offered on Saturdays from April through October.  We’ll provide a beautiful setting, a naturalist-led hike, nature party favors for each child, firewood and skewers.  You provide the food and eating utensils.  Give your child a lasting gift – a touch of nature!  Advance registration required. 
Tekakwitha Woods Nature Center
35W076 Villa Marie Rd., St. Charles
Fee: $75

    Woodland Birthdays

    Treat your child to a special Woodland Birthday!  We provide a beautiful setting, a naturalist-led hike, nature party favors for each child, firewood and skewers.  You provide the food
    (hot dogs, marshmallows, juice, cupcakes, etc.) and eating utensils.
    • Saturdays, April through October
      10 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. OR 3-5:30 p.m.
      Tekakwitha Woods Forest Preserve
      35W076 Villa Marie Rd., St. Charles
      Fee: $75 for up to 15 guests; $5 per additional guest

    Illinois Blizzards

    Winter is just around the corner and our thoughts turn to the snowy season ahead. Snow may fall gently or it may come with a vengeance in the form of a blizzard. Blizzards are rare but memorable events here in Illinois. State Climatologist Jim Angel with give this presentation about blizzards in Illinois’ history. He will focus on the Feb.  2-3, 2011, Groundhog Day Blizzard — which we likely all remember as if it were yesterday!
    • Thursday, Nov. 10; 7-8:30 p.m.
      Stephen Persinger Recreation Center
      3507 Kaneville Rd., Geneva
      Fee: $10

    Maple Sugaring Days

    The sap’s rising!  Join us in the time-honored tradition of maple tapping at Johnson’s Mound Forest Preserve in Elburn. We’ll explore the art, science, and folklore of the “sugar bush,” or maple grove, from early Native American times to the modern sugaring industry.  District naturalists will demonstrate how to tap a maple tree, and you’ll have the opportunity to try your hand at drilling and setting a tap.  We’ll simmer sap over an open fire and watch as it thickens to syrup.  There will be a “Sugarin’ Time” hike, during which you’ll learn how to distinguish maples from other species of hardwood trees in the woodland. 

    Saturday, March 10; 1-4 p.m.
    Sunday, March 11; 1-4 p.m.
    Johnson's Mound Forest Preserve
    41W600 Hughes Rd., Elburn

    The World of Woodcocks

    This field class features one of our most fascinating spring birds, the woodcock. We’ll begin with an outdoor introduction to the Woodcock behavior, ecology, and adaptations.  As dusk descends on the woods and prairie, we’ll head down the trail to find “front row seats” for the amazing air show to come.  Male Woodcocks will signal audibly as they begin their aerial courtship displays. This is a performance you won’t want to miss! Instructors: Valerie Blaine, nature programs manager and Jack Pomatto, retired naturalist for the Forest Preserve District of Kane County.
    Wednesday, March 21; 6:45-8 p.m.
    Campton Forest Preserve
    4N379 Town Hall Rd., St. Charles
    (Meet at the baseball field parking lot on LaFox Road)
    Fee: $10

    Skunk Cabbage Hunt

    Our earliest spring wildflower is one of the most fascinating plants in our flora. Come along on this hike to see Skunk Cabbage in all its glory, and learn about the many traditional uses of this unique plant. We’ll also search for other signs of spring. All ages are welcome; children must be accompanied by an adult. Registration required
    Tuesday, March 27; 1 – 2:30 p.m.
    Big Rock Forest Preserve
    46W524 Jericho Rd., Big Rock
    FREE

    Water Conservation at Home

    Jim Kleinwachter of the Conservation Foundation will conduct this program on rain gardens and rain barrels. He will discuss the benefits of incorporating these in your yard and garden, how they work, and how easy they are to install. A portion of the fee for this program will be donated to the Conservation Foundation.
    Wednesday, March 28; 7 – 8:30 p.m.
    The Lodge at Brewster Creek
    6N921 IL-Rte. 25, St. Charles
    Fee: $15

    Frog-o-rama!

    One of the most pleasant sounds of spring is the symphony of frogs. During this program, we’ll search the wetlands for chorus and leopard frogs and learn to identify them by songs and physical characteristics. Come prepared for a spring concert — and to get a bit muddy and wet! All ages are welcome; children must be accompanied by an adult. Registration required.

    Thursday, March 29; 10 – 11 a.m.
    Rutland Forest Preserve
    41W230 Big Timber Rd., Hampshire
    FREE

    Going Green!

    With Earth Day just around the corner, it’s the perfect time to “live green!”  But how can you live lightly on the earth?  During this class, we’ll discuss simple changes you can make in your daily life.  Energy conservation, local food, native landscaping and eco-friendly products will be some of the topics discussed. There will also be interactive demonstrations of earth-friendly practices. Many of these ideas will not only help the environment, but they will help you save money as well! We’ll also take a guided tour of the Hickory Knolls Discovery center, a LEED-certified green building. Instructors: Jaclyn Olson, naturalist, Forest Preserve District of Kane County and Pam Otto, nature program manager, St. Charles Park District.
    Saturday, April 14; 9 – 11 a.m.
    Hickory Knolls Discovery Center
    3795 Campton Hills Rd, St. Charles
    Fee: $10

    SPECIAL EVENT: Earth Day/Arbor Day Tree-Planting Event

    Help to create an oak savanna at Schweitzer Woods Forest Preserve! We’re looking for volunteers to help plant both bare-root and pot-grown oaks across the site, in continuation of our project begun last year. In 2011, we planted 500 oaks at the preserve in under an hour. We also planted prairie plugs and cut invasive brush. Let’s see how many oaks we can plant together, this year! The Forest Preserve District’s Earth Day/Arbor Day Tree Planting is perfect for families, scouts, individuals or groups. Please call Volunteer Coordinator Robb Cleave at 630-762-2741 to register.

    • Saturday, April 21; 10 a.m. - 1 p.m.
      Schweitzer Woods Forest Preserve, 16N900 Sleepy Hollow Rd., West Dundee
      FREE

    Extreme Creek Makeover

    Norris Woods Creek was a small stream with a big problem. Rainwater and snowmelt funneling into the creek from storm drains had eroded much of the original streambed, creating a deep gully that dumped silt and debris into the Fox River. Learn how the St. Charles Park District, armed with some grant money and 900 tons of rock, helped return this picturesque creek to its former glory. An indoor presentation will be followed by a walk at the site. Instructor: Denis Kania, restoration ecologist, St. Charles Park District.

    Saturday, April 21; 9 a.m. – noon
    Pottawatomie Community Center
    8 North Ave, St. Charles
    Fee: $10

    Earth Day at the Nature Center

    Every day is earth day, and today is extra special! Stop by the nature center any time between 1 and 4 p.m. for fun, self-guided Earth Day activities. Then, at 4 p.m., join our naturalists for an Earth Day hike through the woods. There will be special trail-side activities — and Earth Day treats for the kids! You may participate in either the self-guided activities, the guided hike, or both. Please call to register.

    Sunday, April 22; 4 – 5:30 p.m.
    Tekakwitha Woods Nature Center
    35W076 Villa Marie Rd., St. Charles
    FREE

    Severe Weather: Are You Ready?

    Jim Allsopp, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Chicago, is our guest presenter for this program on weather preparedness. Learn the hazards of thunderstorms, including flash flooding, lightning, hail, wind and tornadoes. Allsopp will provide information on how to receive watches and warnings, sheltering, and developing a hazardous weather plan for the home, work or school.
    Tuesday, May 8: 6:30 – 7:30 p.m.
    Peck Farm Park, Geneva
    4038 Kaneville Rd., Geneva
    Fee: $10

    Natural Inspirations: Creativity Workshops

    Do you have a hidden poet in you? An artistic muse? A latent talent in music? This is the perfect opportunity to unleash your creativity!  In this program series, we will meet in a natural setting to garner inspiration for a variety of creative ventures. Gatherings will include walks in the woods, individual time for quiet observation, small group discussions, and readings, followed by an artistic activity. Each participant will be encouraged to express himself by using the chosen media for that particular program. There will be suggested materials for each session; basic supplies will be provided.
    • Sketching
      Thursday, March 8; 7-8:30 p.m.
      Tekakwitha Woods Nature Center
      35W076 Villa Marie Rd., St. Charles
      Fee: $2 per person

    • Hand Sculpting
      Thursday, April 12; 7-8:30 p.m.
      Tekakwitha Woods Nature Center
      35W076 Villa Marie Rd., St. Charles
      Fee: $2 per person

    • Photography
      Thursday, May 10; 7-8:30 p.m.
      Johnson’s Mound Forest Preserve
      41W600 Hughes Rd., Elburn
      Fee: $2 per person

    Spring Wildflower Walks

    There’s nothing like a forest full of wildflowers to proclaim the beauty of spring! The Forest Preserve District offers several guided hikes to showcase the floral pageantry in preserves throughout Kane County. These naturalist-guided hikes are suited for ages 10 and above.
    • Saturday, May 5; 10-11 a.m.
      Johnson’s Mound Forest Preserve
      41W600 Hughes Rd., Elburn
      (Meet at shelter by lower parking lot)
      FREE

    • Sunday, May 6; 1-2 p.m.
      Tyler Creek Forest Preserve
      401 Davis Rd., Elgin
      (Meet at the upper shelter)
      FREE

    • Saturday, May 12; 9-10 a.m. *
      Bliss Woods Forest Preserve
      5S660 Bliss Rd., Sugar Grove
      FREE

      *
       Note: The Spring Wildflower Walk at Bliss Woods will focus on the folklore of wildflowers.

    SPECIAL EVENT: Bowes Creek Woods Grand Opening Celebration

    Get to know the latest improved property in the District — Bowes Creek Woods Forest Preserve! We’ll celebrate the official opening of the 245-acre Elgin preserve. Check out new amenities including woodland and stream bank restoration, access drives, parking, picnic areas, interpretive signage and over two miles of multipurpose trail. We’ll have activities and give-aways. Don’t miss the celebration!

    • Saturday, May 12; noon - 2 p.m.
      Bowes Creek Woods Forest Preserve, 9N420 Crawford Rd., Elgin
      FREE

    Little Acorns

    Children ages 4 and 5 will explore the natural world through a variety of activities during these hour-long programs at Brewster Creek Forest Preserve in St. Charles.  Sessions include a combination of stories, nature hikes, songs, games, or crafts.  Each month we’ll explore a different theme. During the program, parents and siblings may wait in the lodge or enjoy a hike on their own.  No older/younger siblings in the program please.  Please select either the 10 – 11 a.m. session or the 1 – 2 p.m. session.  
    • Butterflies
      Thursday, May 17; 10-11 a.m. OR 1-2 p.m.
      The Lodge at Brewster Creek
      6N921 IL-Rte. 25, St. Charles
      Fee: $5 per child

    Story Time in the Woods

    The Nature Center will be filled with stories as St. Charles Public Library staff bring books, finger plays, songs, and more for children, infant through age 5.  Children and their caregivers are welcome to enjoy the interactive exhibits in the Nature Center following the program.  Registration required.  Please sign up for only one story time per month.

    • Friday, May 18, 10:30 – 11 a.m.
      Tekakwitha Woods Nature Center
      35W076 Villa Marie Rd., St. Charles
      FREE

    Anatomy of Flowering Plants

    Have you ever been befuddled by scientific jargon in field guides? Have you looked inside a flower and wondered what all those odd parts are? This class is for you! Plant anatomy is key to identification and understanding of the botanical treasures around us. This class will provide an overview of the anatomy of flowering plants and hands-on experience dissecting plant specimens for observation under stereoscopes. The lab portion of the class will be followed by a walk in the woods to apply this new-found knowledge in identifying wildflowers with field guides. Bring a hand lens if you have one. Instructor: Valerie Blaine, nature programs
    manager for the Forest Preserve District of Kane County.
    Saturday, May 19; 10 a.m. – noon
    Johnson’s Mound Forest Preserve
    41W600 Hughes Rd., Elburn
    (Meet at the first shelter)
    Fee: $10

    Nature by Stroller

    If you’d like to spend some quality time with your infant (and get some exercise) outdoors in the forest preserves, this program is for you! Bring your four-wheeler and the diaper bag, click the seat belt on the baby and enjoy a guided stroll. We’ll take a relaxed walk on stroller-friendly trails and soak in the seasonal joys of nature. Fussy as well as quiet babies are welcome, interruptions are expected, and feeding and/or diaper stops are allowed!
    • Friday, May 25; 9-10 a.m.
      Dick Young Forest Preserve
      39W115 Main St., Batavia
      (Meet at the Main Street parking lot)
      FREE

    Homeschool Explorations

    This program series is specially designed for home school families with children ages 5-10 although all ages are welcome.  Each month we cover a new topic at a different forest preserve, with lots of hands-on activities and plenty of fun. Space is limited for this popular program. Please call ahead to reserve your spot.
    • Amphibious Adventures
      Thursday, May 31; 10 – 11:30 a.m.
      Rutland Forest Preserve
      41W230 Big Timber Rd., Hampshire
      Fee: $2/person; $8/family of four or more

    Elburn Forest Preserve East Side Grand Opening

    Come celebrate the grand opening of the newly-improved east side of Elburn Forest Preserve at our summer cookout! We’ll be grilling hot dogs and offer light refreshments, mule-drawn wagon rides, and more.  While the Elburn Forest Preserve has been open for many years, we’ve recently added on to the east side of this historic preserve.  Join us as we show-off new amenities including a shelter, multipurpose trail, interpretive signs, parking lot, restrooms and more.  Don’t miss this fun, festive picnic!
    • Saturday, June 2; noon - 2 p.m.
      Elburn Forest Preserve (East Entrance)
      1N750 Reed St., Elburn
      FREE

    Schweitzer Woods Grand Opening Celebration

    Calling all fans of open space, dog lovers, and people who appreciate both: Join us at the official ribbon-cutting ceremony and grand opening of Schweitzer Woods Forest Preserve in West Dundee.  The Forest Preserve District, in conjunction with the environmental center leased by Friends of the Fox River, the Citizens Advocate Team, and District 300, will have various activities to mark the occasion, including nature hikes led by the District’s naturalist staff, tours of the environmental center on the property, light refreshments and more. Come check out the amenities at the site including the off-leash dog area, new shelter, restrooms, parking lots and wide-open space.
    • Saturday, June 9; 11 a.m. - 1 p.m.
      Schweitzer Woods Forest Preserve
      16N900 Sleepy Hollow Rd., West Dundee
      FREE

    Native Snakes of Illinois

    This outdoor class will be conducted by Jace Robinson, co-chair and instructor in the Biology Department of Harper College. As we look for snakes in the field, our instructor will discuss the feeding habits, habitat preferences, activity levels and capture methods for local species. Registration required.
    • Saturday, June 9; 10 a.m. – noon
      Hickory Knolls Discovery Center
      3795 Campton Hills Road, St. Charles
      Fee: $15

    Pollinators a Plenty

    We’ll search the prairie high and low at LeRoy Oakes for pollinators of all kinds.  Beetles, bees and butterflies are just a few of which we’ll hopefully catch a glimpse.  We’ll discuss the important job these animals do, how dependent we are on them, and the problems that some of them are currently facing.  Please wear long pants and closed-toe shoes since we may travel off trail. Registration required.
    • Tuesday, June 19; 2 - 3:30 p.m.
      LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
      37W370 Dean St., St. Charles
      (Meet at the Great Western Trail shelter, south of Dean Street.)
      Fee: $1 per person (age 2 and under are free)

    Summer Solstice Evening Hike

    Watch the sun set on the prairie horizon. Our solstice walk will begin in full daylight and conclude at sunset. Learn about heavenly happenings such as solstices and equinoxes, and the seasons on the prairie.  We’ll make the most of every last minute on the longest day of the year!
    • Wednesday, June 20; 7:30 – 8:30 p.m.
      Campton Forest Preserve
      4N379 Town Hall Rd., St. Charles
      Fee: $1 per person (age 2 and under are free)

    Relay For Life of Kane County

    Join your neighbors in the fight against cancer in this community-wide benefit for the American Cancer Society.  We’ll celebrate those survivors in our midst, remember those we’ve lost to cancer, and fight back against this disease that affects so many.  The public is welcome to join in as we walk around the track at Fifth Third Bank Ballpark, throughout the night.  Teams raise funds throughout the year, culminating in this inspirational event.   Relay For Life of Kane County officially kicks-off at 6 p.m. with opening ceremonies. After opening remarks, cancer survivors — denoted by their purple shirts — will take the track to walk or ride the opening lap. On the second lap, survivors are joined by family, friends and coworkers who have helped them through their battles with cancer. The walking briefly stops at dusk for the Luminaria Ceremony. Luminaria are decorated paper bags bearing the name of an honoree who is a survivor or who has lost their battle with cancer. Inside each bag is a lit candle. Thousands of luminaria line the track and burn throughout the night. The close of the luminaria ceremony is a fireworks display, compliments of the Kane County Cougars. The Forest Preserve District of Kane County has been a long-time sponsor of Relay For Life. 2012 marks the 17th year the District has donated use of the stadium. Additionally, District staff volunteer on the planning committee and work during the event. For more information on forming a team, participating in survivor activities, honoring loved ones with luminaria, or volunteering at the Relay, contact the American Cancer Society at (630) 879-9009, Ext. 3, or visit relayforlife.org/kaneil.
    • Friday - Saturday, June 22-23
      6 p.m. - 6 a.m.
      Fifth Third Bank Ballpark
      34W002 Cherry Ln., Geneva
      FREE

    Dragonflies

    This class will discuss the life history and ecology of over 90 Chicago-area dragonfly and damselfly species. Our instructor is Craig Stettner of the Biology Department at Harper College.  Learn about their habitat and behavior during a brief lecture that also will cover basic identification methods. Afterward, we’ll head outside for a field observation and identification session. Registration required.
    • Saturday, June 23; 10 a.m. – noon
      Hickory Knolls Discovery Center
      3795 Campton Hills Road, St. Charles
      Fee: $15

    Trailside Tales

    During this new program for children, we’ll walk in the woods and hear a story along the way. This is a wonderful way to listen while looking at nature’s own illustrations.  Our story will be In the Woods: Who’s Been Here? by Lindsay Barrett George. Parents are welcome to wait in the Nature Center while the children are on the trail with the naturalists. Registration required.
    • Sunday, June 24; 10:30 – 11:30 a.m.
      Tekakwitha Woods Nature Center
      35W076 Villa Marie Rd., St. Charles
      Fee: $1 per person (age 2 and under are free)

    Henry David Thoreau: A Transcendental Travelogue

    Thoreau scholar and author
    Corinne Smith will lead an evening travelogue of the famous transcendentalist’s last and longest journey. This journey brought him through northern Illinois and the Midwest in the spring of 1861, during which time he saw and recorded scores of native plants and wildlife. This program will begin with an indoor slide presentation, followed by an evening walk in the woods to the Fox River. Participants will learn about Thoreau’s routes, the sights he saw and wrote about, and what you can see in those same places today — 151 years later. We’ll conclude the program with a campfire in the woods.  Registration required.
    • Thursday, June 28; 7 – 9 p.m.
      Tekakwitha Woods Nature Center
      35W076 Villa Marie Rd., St. Charles
      Fee: $15

    Firefly Fireworks!

    How does a glow worm glow?  Why does a lightning bug light?  Is a firefly really hot?  Learn the answers to these questions and explore the fascinating world of brilliant bugs during our evening firefly programs.  We’ll begin our walk at dusk and watch the nighttime magic as thousands of fireflies rise from the prairie.  All ages are welcome; children must be accompanied by an adult. Registration required.
    • Friday, July 6; 8:15 – 9:30 p.m.
      Burlington Prairie Forest Preserve
      13N240 Engel Rd., Burlington
      Fee: $1 per person (age 2 and under are free)
    • Saturday, July 7; 8:15 – 9:30 p.m.
      Burnidge Forest Preserve
      14N273 Coombs Rd., Elgin
      Fee: $1 per person (age 2 and under are free)

    Meet the Beetles

    Jim Louderman, collections assistant in the Division of Insects at The Field Museum in Chicago, will provide an introduction to the insect order Coleoptera, or beetles. With photographs and specimens from the Field Museum’s collection, Louderman will explain the ecological, economic and cultural importance of this large group of insects. After the first hour, we’ll go out to the field with sweep nets and collecting jars to find beetles in a variety of habitats. Louderman will provide identification tips
    and explain the ecological roles these species play.  Registration required.
    • Saturday, July 14; 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.
      Tekakwitha Woods Nature Center
      35W076 Villa Marie Rd., St. Charles
      Fee: $20

    Survivor!

    Do you have what it takes to survive in the woods? That’s right — without your iPhone, without Netflix, without your microwave or your laptop. This program will focus on finding and preparing food in a wilderness survival situation. Registration required.
    • Thursday, July 19, 7 – 8:30 p.m.
      Tekakwitha Woods Nature Center
      35W076 Villa Marie Rd., St. Charles
      Fee: $5/person

    Full-Day Nature Camps

    During these five-day, full-day nature camps, our naturalist staff will guide children on an exploration of the woods and prairie. The outdoor fun includes hikes, games, nature crafts and more. Children will see and learn about native plants and animals in their habitats. Each day will bring a new adventure! Detailed information will be provided upon registration. Registration required. Please register early, as some sessions do fill-up quickly.
     
    For children entering grades 1 - 2:
    Monday, July 16 – Friday, July 20
    9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
    Tekakwitha Woods Forest Preserve
    35W076 Villa Marie Rd., St. Charles
    Fee: $100 per child
    For children entering grades 3 - 5:
    Monday, July 23 – Friday July 27
    9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
    Tekakwitha Woods Forest Preserve
    35W076 Villa Marie Rd., St. Charles
    Fee: $100 per child

    Freshwater Mussels, Inside and Out

    Plain pocketbooks, pigtoes, ellipses ... these are just a few of the mussel species that call the Fox River watershed home. Join Ecologist Jessi DeMartini from the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County to learn about the history, life strategies and conservation status of these wonders of the benthic world. Class will begin indoors at Hickory Knolls Discovery Center then car caravan to Ferson Creek at LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve. Come prepared to get in the water, if you wish; bring old gym shoes or waders and a towel. Registration required.
    • Saturday, July 28; 9 a.m. – noon
      Hickory Knolls Discovery Center
      3795 Campton Hills Rd., St. Charles
      Fee: $15

    Half-Day Nature Camps

    During these five-day, half-day nature camps, our naturalist staff will guide children on an exploration of the woods and prairie. The outdoor fun includes hikes, games, nature crafts and more. Children will see and learn about native plants and animals in their habitats. Each day will bring a new adventure! Detailed information will be provided upon registration. Registration required. Please register early, as some sessions do fill-up quickly.
     
    For children entering grades 1 - 2:
    • Monday, June 11 – Friday, June 15
      9 a.m. – noon
      Burnidge Forest Preserve
      38W235 Big Timber Rd., Elgin
      Fee: $50 per child
    • Monday, June 25 – Friday, June 29
      9 a.m. – noon
      Tekakwitha Woods Forest Preserve
      35W076 Villa Marie Rd., St. Charles
      Fee: $50 per child

    • Monday, July 30 – Friday, Aug. 3
      9 a.m. – noon
      Johnson’s Mound Forest Preserve
      41W600 Hughes Rd., Elburn
      Fee: $50 per child
    For children entering grades 3 - 5:
    • Monday, June 18 – Friday, June 22
      9 a.m. – noon
      Burnidge Forest Preserve
      38W235 Big Timber Rd., Elgin
      Fee: $50 per child

    • Monday, July 9 – Friday, July 13
      9 a.m. – noon
      Tekakwitha Woods Forest Preserve
      35W076 Villa Marie Rd., St. Charles
      Fee: $50 per child

    • Monday, Aug. 6 – Friday, Aug. 10
      9 a.m. – noon
      Johnson’s Mound Forest Preserve
      41W600 Hughes Rd., Elburn
      Fee: $50 per child

    Early Evening Twilight Camp

    Discover a whole new world of wildlife during Early Evening Twilight Camp.  We’ll learn about the native animals that are out and about at dusk.  Activities will include naturalist-guided hikes through the woods and prairie, games, stories, and a campfire on the last night of camp.   

    For children entering grades 3 - 5:
    Monday, Aug. 13 – Thursday Aug. 16
    7 – 9 p.m.
    Tekakwitha Woods Forest Preserve
    35W076 Villa Marie Rd., St. Charles
    Fee: $40 per child

    Creek Walk

    Dip your toes in the water and enjoy a naturalist-guided exploration of the watery world of creeks. We’ll see aquatic life up close and personal.  Wear shorts and bring an extra pair of shoes for wading.  Adults must accompany children in the water.  Minimum age: 5 years. Registration required.
    • Wednesday, Aug. 15; 10 – 11 a.m.
      Tyler Creek Forest Preserve
      401 Davis Rd., Elgin
      (Meet at the lower shelter)
      Fee: $1 per person (age 2 and under are free)

    Plant Families

    This series of outdoor classes will familiarize students with three major plant families in our native flora. Instructor Valerie Blaine of the Forest Preserve District of Kane County will begin each class with an overview of each plant family and highlights of its distinguishing characteristics. We’ll also discuss the ecological and cultural significance. Afterward, the class will head out into the field to find members of the plant family in their native habitats. The focus will be on key familial features and identification of species in the field. You may register for one class, several or the entire series. Please bring a hand lens. Registration required.
    • The Mints
      Saturday, July 21; 9 – 11 a.m.
      Campton Forest Preserve
      41W709 IL-Rte. 64, Campton Hills
      Fee: $15
    • The Umbels
      Saturday, Aug. 4; 9 – 11 a.m.
      Burnidge Forest Preserve
      38W235 Big Timber Rd., Elgin
      Fee: $15
    • The Composites
      Saturday, Aug. 18; 9 – 11 a.m.
      Dick Young Forest Preserve
      39W115 Main St., Batavia
      (Meet at Main Street entrance)
      Fee: $15

    Passport to Adventure

    Take an adventure this summer at area museums with the Passport to Adventure program.  The program encourages families to visit a variety of history, nature, science and art museums to explore the people, events, and environment of the area.  Participating sites in the Forest Preserve District include the Nature Center at Tekakwitha Woods Forest Preserve, the Durant House Museum and Pioneer Sholes School at LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve in St. Charles, as well as the Fabyan Villa Museum in Geneva. The program is sponsored by the Illinois Parks & Recreation Association, the Kane-DuPage Regional Museum Association and a host of other partner agencies.  Passports are available in late May at the Geneva and St. Charles Public Libraries.

    Fungus Among Us

    What do the terms “Puffball,” “Chicken of the Woods,” and “Dead Man’s Fingers” signify? They’re all types of fascinating fungi that can be found right in our own Kane County forest preserves. Learn about the differences between fungi, algae and lichens on this woodland exploration. We’ll search for these strange and unusual organisms in a variety of habitats. Please wear long pants and closed-toe shoes since we may travel off trail.  Registration is required. 
     
    Saturday Sept. 22; 2 – 3:30 p.m.
    Glenwood Park Forest Preserve
    1644 S. River Street, Batavia
    FREE

    Kane County Crayfish

    Ecologist Jessi DeMartini will lead this class on Illinois’ fascinating crustaceans — crayfish. Learn the basics of crayfish biology as well as handy tips that help distinguish between species. Special emphasis will be placed on red swamp and rusty crayfish, two non-native species that have become problematic in the Chicago area. The program begins with an indoor lecture at Hickory Knolls Discovery Center, followed by an in-the-creek field session at nearby LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve. 
     
    Saturday, Sept. 22; 9 a.m. – noon
    Fee: $15 (includes Indoor Lecture and
    In-the-Field Session)
     
    Indoor Lecture:
    Hickory Knolls Discovery Center
    3795 Campton Hills Rd., St. Charles
     
    In-the-Field Session:
    LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
    37W370 Dean St., St. Charles

    National Public Lands Day - Volunteer Event

    We’ll dig the holes if you help us plant the trees!
     
    Join thousands of volunteers across the country to take part in National Public Lands Day 2012!
     
    The Forest Preserve District of Kane County will host a tree-planting event at Aurora West Forest Preserve. We’re looking for volunteers of all ages to join us in this fun, conservation project.
     
    No experience is necessary, bring work gloves if you prefer.
     
    Be sure to arrive by 10 a.m. We’ll plant until 1 p.m. or until we run out of trees — whichever comes first. Last year had our largest turnout of volunteers ever. We planted over 500 trees at Schweitzer Woods Forest Preserve in under 90 minutes! Help us make this year even better.
     
    RSVP by calling 630-444-3064. An RSVP isn’t mandatory, but it helps us to better plan. Thanks, and we look forward to seeing you on Sept. 29!
     
    Saturday, Sept. 29; 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.
    Aurora West Forest Preserve, 40W032 Hankes Rd., Aurora
    FREE

    The Landscape Tells a Story

    Learn how to “read” the land by looking at landforms and soils. Instructor Kristine Ryan, soil scientist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, will show how to interpret the stories that the land can tell. You’ll soon see that not all of Illinois is flat, and it has a fascinating story!
     
    Saturday, Sept.  29; 10 a.m. - noon
    Peck Farm Park/Orientation Barn
    4038 Kaneville Rd., Geneva
    Fee: $15

    What's that Tree?

    Learn the basics of tree identification and gain experience using a botanical key to identify native trees. Valerie Blaine, nature programs manager for the Forest Preserve District of Kane County, will share tips to help de-mystify tree i.d., and will emphasize observation of bark, branches, form, habit, habitat, twigs, leaf scars and buds.  The session will begin indoors with a lecture/presentation.  Hand-outs and reference material will be provided.  During the second portion of the class, we’ll head into the woods to practice tree identification skills.
     
    Saturday, Oct. 13; 9 a.m. – 11 a.m.
    Elburn Forest Preserve – Shelter #1
    45W061 IL-Rte. 38, Elburn
    Fee: $15

    Woodland Wonders

    In October, trees seem to come alive with their spectacular array of yellow, orange and red leaves.  While walking through the woods, we’ll discuss why leaves change color, why many trees lose their leaves, and what this means for the animals who live in the woods. Registration is required. 
     
    Saturday, Oct. 20; 2 – 3 p.m.
    Burnidge Forest Preserve
    38W235 Big Timber Rd., Elgin
    FREE

    Lichens

    They come in bright orange, red, shades of gray and black. Some are leafy, some are flat. They grow on rocks, trees, and even snow. They are lichens, nature’s unique partnership of algae and fungi. Rich Hyercyzk, founder of the Chicago Lichenological Society, will present this program on nature’s fascinating symbiotic organisms, the lichens. The class will being with an indoor lecture, followed by an outdoor hike to find specimens in the field. Participants will learn  how to identify some of the common lichen species in our area. Please bring a hand lens if you have one.
     
    Saturday, Oct. 20; 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.
    Hickory Knolls Discovery Center
    3795 Campton Hills Rd., St. Charles
    Fee: $15

    Friday Night Frights

    ’Tis the season of spooky things that fly in the night, crawl in the dark, creep in the shadows and hoot from the trees! During this night hike, learn about the mysteries of the nocturnal world. There will be lots of fun surprises in the woods as we learn about bats, spiders, coyotes, snakes and owls. Once you know the true stories about these animals, they may not seem so scary after all! We’ll conclude around the campfire with treats for everyone. Registration is required. 
     
    Friday, Oct. 26, 7 – 9 p.m.
    Camp Tomo Chi-Chi Knolls
    40W095 Freeman Rd., Gilberts
    Fee: $2/person or $8 for a family of four+

    Beavers, Muskrats and Other Native Furbearers

    Beavers are abundant in the Fox River and its tributaries, while muskrats thrive in wetlands and retention ponds. Often these native mammals go undetected – until a conflict with humans arises. In this program, naturalist Valerie Blaine, nature programs manager for the Forest Preserve District, will present the life history of these fascinating furbearers, including the lesser known native mink and river otter.

    The discussion will include the cultural history and human connection with these important mammals. After the indoor presentation, we’ll hike to Ferson Creek to look for evidence of their activity.

    Saturday, Nov. 3; 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.
    LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
    Shelter #1 (north of Dean Street)
    37W370 Dean Street, St. Charles
    Fee: $15

    Little Acorns

    Children ages 4 and 5 will explore the natural world during these hour-long nature programs.  Sessions include a variety of activities, such as stories, nature hikes, songs, games and/or crafts.  Registration is required. Sign-up for either the morning or afternoon session. Fall Little Acorns registration begins Sept. 4. 
     
    Squirrels
    Thursday, Sept. 20; 10 - 11 a.m. OR 1 - 2 p.m.
    The Lodge at Brewster Creek
    6N921 IL-Rte. 25, St. Charles 
    Fee: $5/child
     
    Bats
    Thursday, Oct. 18; 10 - 11 a.m. OR 1 - 2 p.m.
    The Lodge at Brewster Creek
    6N921 IL-Rte. 25, St. Charles 
    Fee: $5/child
     
    Deer
    Thursday, Nov. 15; 10 - 11 a.m. OR 1 - 2 p.m.
    The Lodge at Brewster Creek
    6N921 IL-Rte. 25, St. Charles 
    Fee: $5/child

    A-Mousing We Will Go!

    These small, furry creatures may not be welcome in your pantry, but they play an important role in the woods and fields. On this guided hike, we’ll search for mouse homes, learn how to identify their tracks, and find out what they eat and how they avoid being eaten. Registration is required.
     
    Saturday, Nov. 17; 10 – 11 a.m.
    Pingree Grove Forest Preserve
    14N187 U.S. Rte. 20, Hampshire
    FREE

    Over the River and Through the Woods

    Time to get away from the kitchen, turn off the TV, and walk-off some of those Thanksgiving calories! On this popular naturalist-guided hike, we’ll go over the Fox River and through the woods, looking for wild turkeys and other fall wildlife. All ages are welcome – bring the whole family to this annual tradition!
     
    Friday, Nov. 23; 10 – 11:30 a.m.
    Tekakwitha Woods Forest Preserve
    35W076 Villa Marie Rd., St. Charles
    FREE

    Homeschool Explorations

    Join us for this nature program series designed for homeschool families. Each month, the program focuses on a different topic at a different forest preserve.
     
    Activities include walking in a creek, creating a food web, and searching for animals as they prepare for winter. All ages are welcome, but the activities are designed for ages 5 – 10.  Registration is required.
     
    Creeks and Streams
    Tuesday, Sept. 25; 10 – 11:30 a.m.

    LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
    37W370 Dean St., St. Charles
    Meet at Shelter #1 (north of Dean Street)
    Fee: $2/person or $8 for a family of four+
     
    Food Webs
    Wednesday, Oct. 24; 10 – 11:30 a.m.
    Blackberry Maples Forest Preserve
    43W231 Main St. Elburn
    Fee: $2/person or $8 for a family of four+
     
    Getting Ready for Winter
    Thursday, Nov. 29; 10 – 11:30 a.m.

    Burnidge Forest Preserve - shelter
    38W235 Big Timber Rd., Elgin
    Fee: $2/person or $8 for a family of four+

    Take a Hike

    Get to know Kane County’s forest preserves better, as part of our "Take a Hike" program! Each month, we highlight different preserves and add a corresponding activity for each. Activity Sheets are posted during the first week of each month. You may complete them at any time during the year, but keep in mind that some activities are seasonal. Complete 6 of the 12 Take a Hike activities, and you’ll receive a free patch (while supplies last). Take a Hike is perfect for scouts, youth groups, coworkers or families to complete together. Call our naturalist staff at 847-741-8350 or e-mail programs@kaneforest.com for additional information. All activities must be completed and turned in by Dec. 31, 2011.

    Maple Sugaring Days

    The sap’s rising!  Join us in the time-honored tradition of maple tapping at Johnson’s Mound Forest Preserve in Elburn. We’ll explore the art, science, and folklore of the “sugar bush,” or maple grove, from early Native American times to the modern sugaring industry.  District naturalists will demonstrate how to tap a maple tree, and you’ll have the opportunity to try your hand at drilling and setting a tap.  We’ll simmer sap over an open fire and watch as it thickens to syrup.  There will be a “Sugarin’ Time” hike, during which you’ll learn how to distinguish maples from other species of hardwood trees in the woodland.  Don't miss this fun, free program!  Registration is not required for Maple Sugaring Days.
     
     
    Saturday, March 2; 1-4 p.m.
    Johnson's Mound Forest Preserve
    41W600 Hughes Rd., Elburn
    FREE
     
     
    Sunday March 3; 1-4 p.m.
    Johnson's Mound Forest Preserve
    41W600 Hughes Rd., Elburn
    FREE

    Stargazing

    The marvels of the night sky unfold during this stargazing program. Jim Griffin and Jack Kramer  of the Kane County Astronomical Association will give an indoor presentation on the night sky. After the presentation, we’ll go outside to see the awesome stars, planets, and other astronomical wonders through telescopes and binoculars. (If weather is inclement, the program will continue indoors.) Registration is required.
     
    Saturday, March 16; 7-9 p.m.
    Creek Bend Nature Center
    LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
    37W700 Dean St., St. Charles
    FREE

    Big Trees of Illinois

    Illinois may be known as the Prairie State, but we’ve got some awesome trees as well! You can help discover and document the giants as part of The Illinois Big Tree Registry. This statewide program encourages citizens to appreciate, record and report the largest native trees. Learn how to get involved during this workshop led by Jay Hayek, Extension Specialist Forester with the University of Illinois. We’ll begin with approximately 1-hour of classroom instruction covering tree identification, the history of the Big Tree program, and citizen involvement. Hayek will then lead an outdoor training on tree measurement and protocols for nominating big trees.  Registration is required.
     
    Saturday, March 30, 12-4 p.m.
    Creek Bend Nature Center
    LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
    37W700 Dean St., St. Charles
    Fee: $15/person

    Spring Wildflowers

    The first spring wildflowers begin to appear in March and April. See the hardy yet ephemeral blossoms of our native plants on these guided hikes. Naturalists Jaclyn Olson and Erica Lemon will tell the folklore of flowers and teach you how to recognize these beautiful woodland treasures.

     

    Tuesday, March 26; 1-2 p.m.
    Big Rock Forest Preserve
    46W072 Jericho Rd., Big Rock
    FREE

     

    Thursday, March 28; 2-3 p.m.
    Bliss Woods Forest Preserve
    5S660 Bliss Rd., Sugar Grove
    FREE

     

    Sunday, April 14, 10 – 11 a.m.
    Johnson’s Mound Forest Preserve
    41W600 Hughes Rd., Elburn
    FREE

    Earth Day Tree Planting

    Calling all volunteers! Join Forest Preserve District staff as we mark this special day by planting trees, and lots of them. We’ll plant hundreds of oaks in a few short hours. Holes will be pre-dug. Simply plant the tree, add dirt, water and mulch. It’s easy!  Planting will continue until all the trees are in the ground or until 1 p.m. — whichever comes first so be sure to arrive promptly at 10 a.m.! 

     

    Saturday, April 20; 10 a.m. - 1 p.m. (or until all trees are planted)
    Fitchie Creek Forest Preserve
    39W933 Russell Rd., Elgin
    FREE

    Earth Day Hike

    Earth Day is every day at the Nature Center, but we’ve got a special hike for you, today! Naturalist Ben Katzen will lead this walk in the woods and prairie, focusing on our connection with the earth. There will be hands-on activities and stories along the trail. Registration is required.

     

    Sunday, April 21; 1-2:30 p.m.
    Creek Bend Nature Center
    LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
    37W700 Dean St., St. Charles
    FREE

    Night Senses

    Those moths fluttering around your porch light are not the only things bumping in the night.  Dozens of species of animals are active at night. Restoration Ecologist Denis Kania of the St. Charles Park District and Naturalist Renae Frigo of the Glen Ellyn Park District will lead this class on nocturnal life. We will learn the adaptations for life in darkness, and we will explore the impact that our daily lives have on theirs.  Come and be enlightened on this night time hike. Note: The class will be held outdoors. Please dress for the weather. Registration is required.
     
    Thursday, April 25;
    6-9 p.m.
    Hickory Knolls
    Discovery Center
    3795 Campton Hills Rd.,
    St. Charles
    Fee: $10/person

    Plant Identification for Beginners

    Wildflowers bloom in profusion this time of year. What better time to learn how to identify plants! In this field class, Nature Programs Manager Valerie Blaine of the Forest Preserve District of Kane County will present the basics of plant identification, concentrating on recognition by key characteristics and habitat. Handouts and reference material will be provided. The class will be held both indoors and outdoors. Registration is required.

     

    Saturday, May 4; 2-3:30 p.m.
    Johnson’s Mound Forest Preserve
    Meet at the cabin
    41W600 Hughes Rd., Elburn
    Fee: $15/person

    Fabulous Frogs!

    One of the most pleasant sounds of spring is the symphony of frogs. Naturalists Jaclyn Olson and Ben Katzen will lead the search for amphibians. Everyone will learn to identify frogs by songs and physical characteristics. Come prepared to get a bit muddy and wet. All ages are welcome. Children must be accompanied by an adult. Registration is required.

     

    Wednesday, March 27; 10-11 a.m.
    Rutland Forest Preserve
    41W230 Big Timber Rd., Hampshire
    FREE

     

    Saturday, May 11, 10-11 a.m.
    Burnidge Forest Preserve
    38W235 Big Timber Rd., Elgin
    FREE

    Advanced Plant Identification

    This class goes beyond plant recognition and ventures into identification by botanical keys and field guides. Nature Programs Manager Valerie Blaine of the Forest Preserve District of Kane County will provide an overview of plant morphology, and participants will become familiar with the terminology needed to identify plants. The class will begin indoors, followed by plant identification in the field. Registration is required.

     

    Creek Bend Nature Center
    LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
    37W700 Dean St., St. Charles
    Saturday, May 11, 2-3:30 p.m.
    Fee: $15/person

    Invasive Species in Kane County

    Natural Resources Director Drew Ullberg of the Forest Preserve District of Kane County will discuss invasive species and their impact on native flora and fauna. Ullberg will describe both the management challenges and the management successes in the ongoing battle against invasive species. There will be a question and answer session following the presentation. Registration is required.

     

    Thursday, May 16, 7 – 8:30 p.m.
    Creek Bend Nature Center
    LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
    37W700 Dean St., St. Charles
    Fee: $15/person

    Turtles of Kane County

    May is a busy month for turtles. It’s time to emerge from hibernation, find a mate, find a suitable nesting site, and head for a summer foraging territory, all while avoiding the vehicular traffic that crisscrosses former turtle habitat throughout our area. Nature Programs Manager Pam Otto of the St. Charles Park District will lead this class about the species of turtles that call Kane County home. Come learn about the efforts to save those that are endangered, and what you can do to help make life easier for turtles of all types. Registration required.

     

    Thursday, May 23; 7-9 p.m.
    Hickory Knolls Discovery Center
    3795 Campton Hills Rd., St. Charles
    Fee: $15/person

    Homeschool Explorations

    This program series is specially designed for home school families with children ages 5-10 although all ages are welcome.  Each month we cover a new topic at a different forest preserve, with lots of hands-on activities and plenty of fun. Space is limited for this popular program. Please call ahead to reserve your spot. Advance registration is required.

     

    Snakes and Turtles
    Thursday, May 30; 10-11:30 a.m.
    Jon J. Duerr Forest Preserve
    35W003 IL-Rte. 31, South Elgin
    Fee: $2/person or $8/family of 4 or more

    Creek Bend Nature Center - Grand Opening Celebration

    Join us as we celebrate the official grand opening of Creek Bend Nature Center on Saturday, June 1, from 10 a.m. - 1 p.m. The Forest Preserve District of Kane County is proud to show-off our new building, home of our Nature Center, Environmental Education department offices, and a beautiful new rental facility.
     
    To celebrate the official grand opening of Creek Bend Nature Center,  stop by June 1 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. to view interactive exhibits showcasing the nature of Kane County. We’re also offering tours of the facility, nature hikes, crafts, carriage rides through the preserve,  refreshments and a special noon concert by local artist Jim Gill — and it’s all free! Be sure to bring your own blanket or lawn chair for the concert, as it will be on the back lawn.
     
    While RSVPs for the grand opening celebration aren’t mandatory, they will help us to better plan. Call 847-741-8350 or e-mail programs@kaneforest.com to let us know how many are in your group.
     
    Saturday, June 1; 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
    Creek Bend Nature Center
    LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
    37W700 Dean St., Saint Charles
    FREE

    Create Your Own Fairy Garden

    Families are invited to create their own fairy garden at this interactive workshop. Ranger Jeff Perez of the Forest Preserve District of Kane County will lead the group with an introduction to this popular form of gardening, followed by instruction on how to create your own garden. Basic supplies will be provided to get you started. You are welcome to bring any embellishments to add to your creation. Advance registration is required.


    Saturday, June 15; 1 – 2:30 p.m.
    Creek Bend Nature Center
    LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
    37W700 Dean St., Saint Charles
    Fee: $10/garden kit

    Tree Identification

    This class will begin indoors with an introduction to basic tree morphology. We will use hand lenses to examine twigs, leaves, and fruit, and then practice using a botanical key indoors. Once familiar with terminology and tools, we will head into the woods to put our new skills in practice. Students will learn several methods of tree identification. Valerie Blaine, nature programs manager of the Forest Preserve District of Kane County will be our instructor. Advance registration is required.
     
    Wednesday, June 19; 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.
    Creek Bend Nature Center
    LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
    37W700 Dean St., Saint Charles
    Fee: $15/person

    Week in the Woods: Little Sprouts Camp - Preschooler Session

    Introduce your child to the wonders of nature in this new camp designed for four- and five-year olds. There will be nature stories, games and short explorations into the nearby woods. We’ll search for butterflies, look at wildflowers, learn about trees and more! Activities will be held both inside Creek Bend Nature Center and outside in the woods. Advance registration is required.
     
    Monday, June 17 - Friday, June 21
    9:30 - 11 a.m.
    Creek Bend Nature Center
    LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
    37W700 Dean St., Saint Charles
    Fee: $40/child

     

    The Prairie en Plein Air

    The prairie is an ever-changing work of art, with new hues and textures from dawn to dusk. This art session will be “en plein air” (outdoors) at Horlock Hill Prairie as the evening sun sets.  We’ll use pastels and/or charcoals to express our impressions of the prairie.  This program is for “non-majors” - everyone is welcome! Materials will be provided, or you may bring your own.  If the weather is inclement, we will move indoors, at Creek Bend Nature Center. Advance registration is required.
     
    Saturday, June 22; 6:30 - 8:30 p.m.
    Horlock Hill Prairie, LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
    37W370 Dean Street
    St. Charles, IL 61074
    Fee: $10

    Wild about Art!

    Grandparents, moms, dads, kids and cousins are invited to make masterpieces together in this family art activity. Based on the technique made famous by British artist Andy Goldworthy, we’ll  gather  leaves, stones, moss, twigs and other treasures from nature to create our art. There are no electronic media involved in this unplugged version of art! Advance registration is required.

    Sunday, June 23; 1 – 2:30 p.m.
    Creek Bend Nature Center
    LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
    37W700 Dean St., Saint Charles
    Fee: $1/person; $4/family of 4 or more

    Butterflies

    Learn identification and ecology of native butterflies. The program will begin with an introduction indoors, and then we will head outdoors to find butterflies in various habitats. In addition to identification, instruction will include habitat requirements, life cycles, conservation and monitoring. Our instructor is Tom Peterson, volunteer coordinator for Illinois Butterfly Monitoring Network. Advance registration is required.
     
    Saturday, June 29; 9:30 a.m. – noon
    Creek Bend Nature Center
    LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
    37W700 Dean St., Saint Charles
    Fee: $15

    Prairie Butterflies

    We’ll search the prairie at the Dick Young Forest Preserve for butterflies of all kinds.  The Pearl Crescent, Red Admiral and Tiger Swallowtail are just a few species that we may see.  We’ll discuss the important role butterflies play in our ecosystem, and the problems that some of them are currently facing.  Please wear long pants and closed-toed shoes since we may travel off trail. Advance registration is required.

     

    Saturday, July 6; 11 a.m. – noon
    Dick Young Forest Preserve
    (Main Street entrance)
    39W115 Main St., Batavia
    FREE

     

    Voices of the Land

    In this presentation, author Joel Greenberg will focus on the fascinating cultural and natural heritage of Illinois.  In researching his 2002 book, A Natural History of the Chicago Region, Greenberg collected accounts from a wide range of sources, many of which he thought would  be of interest to modern readers. He continued collecting, and the results of his efforts is the anthology, Of Prairie, Woods, and Water: Two Centuries of Chicago Nature Writing.  With readings and slides, this presentation tells that story of change through the words of those who were here: visitors, settlers, naturalists, hunters, poets, journalists and others. Advance registration is required.
     
    Thursday, July 18; 7-8:30 p.m.
    Stephen Persinger Recreation Center
    3507 Kaneville Rd., Geneva
    Fee: $10/person

    Introduction to Native Plant Gardening

    Learn to identify flowers and grasses used in native gardening.  Study characteristics to help recognize different species and discover species that are well-suited to landscaping.  Have a photo of a mystery native from a local preserve?  Bring it with you!  Class will begin indoors and conclude with a walk in the prairie.  Our instructor is Kelly Schultz, nursery coordinator, native seed nursery; Lake County Forest Preserve District. Advance registration is required.
     
    Sunday, July 21; 1 – 3 p.m.
    Peck Farm Park
    (Meet at the Orientation Barn)
    38W199 Kaneville Rd., Geneva
    Fee: $15/person

    Damsels, Dragons and Darners

    Ever hunt for dragons? Ever seen a beautiful damsel? Wonder what a darner is? Learn all about damselflies, dragonflies and darners on this guided hike. We’ll “hunt” for these awesome insects in their native habitat and observe some specimens up close. Advance registration is required.
     
    Saturday, July 27; 10-11 a.m.
    Pingree Grove Forest Preserve
    14N187 US Rte. 20, Pingree Grove
    FREE

    Week in the Woods: Summer Day Camps - Half-Day Sessions

    During these five-day nature camps, children explore the woods and fields with our naturalist staff.  Through hikes, nature games and activities, kids discover native animals and plants in their habitats and learn the importance of these living things in the web of life.  Each day brings a new adventure!  Detailed information will be provided upon registration.  Advance registration is required.
     
    Half-day camps at Johnson’s Mound Forest Preserve in Elburn

    For children entering grades 3-5
    Monday, July 22 - Friday, July 26
    9 a.m. – noon

    Johnson’s Mound Forest Preserve
    41W600 Hughes Rd., Elburn
    Fee: $60 per child

     
    Half-day camps at LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve in Saint Charles
     
    For children entering grades 1-2
    Monday, July 29 – Friday, Aug. 2
    9 a.m. – noon
    Creek Bend Nature Center
    LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
    37W700 Dean St., Saint Charles
    Fee: $60 per child
     
     
    For children entering grades 3 - 5
    Monday, Aug. 5 – Friday, Aug. 9
    9 a.m. – noon

    Creek Bend Nature Center
    LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
    37W700 Dean St., Saint Charles
    Fee: $60 per child
     

    Wood Duck Biology and Restoration Management

    Among the most beautiful waterfowl in North America are Wood Ducks. Their populations have significantly declined with loss of habitat. This presentation will focus on wood duck identification, distribution of wood duck populations, habitat, diet, nesting/breeding and conservation. Our instructor is Phil Smith, ranger with the Forest Preserve District of Kane County.  Advance registration is required.
     
    Thursday, Aug. 8, 7-8:30 p.m.
    Creek Bend Nature Center
    LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
    37W700 Dean St., Saint Charles
    Fee: $15/person

    Week in the Woods: Summer Twilight Camp - Early Evening 4-day session

     
    For children entering grades 3 - 5
    Discover a whole new world of wildlife during this evening summer camp.  We’ll learn about the native animals that are out and about at dusk.  Camp activities will include hikes with the naturalists through the woods and prairie, games, stories, and a campfire on the last night of camp.  Advance registration is required.
     
    Monday, Aug. 12 – Thursday, Aug. 15
    7-9 p.m.

    Creek Bend Nature Center
    LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
    37W700 Dean St., Saint Charles
    Fee: $40 per child
     

    Bat Watch!

    Bats are talkative creatures, but our ears can’t hear them.  Unless, of course, we use a super special “Bat Detector!”  This device picks up the bats’ “clicks” used in echolocation.  We’ll use the bat detector to locate bats and follow their movements.  We’ll also play some bat games and learn about bat ecology.  Advance registration is required.
     
    Friday, Aug. 16; 7:45 – 9 p.m.
    Creek Bend Nature Center
    LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
    37W700 Dean St., Saint Charles
    Fee: $1/person; $4 family of four or more

    Passport to Adventure

    Take an adventure at area museums this summer, with the Passport to Adventure program.  Participating sites in the Forest Preserve District include Creek Bend Nature Center, Durant House Museum and Pioneer Sholes School at LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve in Saint Charles; and the Fabyan Villa Museum in Geneva. The passport program encourages children and their parents to visit a variety of history, nature, science and art museums to explore the people, events and environment of the area.  Children ages 4 through 12 will experience the world around them through exhibits and activities at each site they visit.  Passports are available in late May at the Geneva and Saint Charles Public Libraries.  More information about the program is available at Creek Bend Nature Center at 847-741-8350. 

    The Sound of Night Music

    The hills are alive with the sound of music — insect music, that is! After a brief listen-and-learn session to get acquainted with the songs of the major players, we’ll take a walk and take note as katydids and crickets croon their tunes and meet their mates. Our instructors are Nature Programs Managers Pam Otto of the Saint Charles Park District and Valerie Blaine of the Forest Preserve District of Kane County. Bring a flashlight.  Long pants and closed-toe shoes are recommended. Advance registration is required.
     
    Wednesday, Aug. 21; 7:30-9:30 p.m.
    Hickory Knolls Discovery Center
    3795 Campton Hills Rd., Saint Charles
    Fee: $15/person

    Story Time at Creek Bend Nature Center

    Treat your children to stories in the Nature Center, this summer.  Summer story times are held at Creek Bend Nature Center for children, infant through age 5 and their caregivers. Saint Charles Public Library staff will read books, accompanied by finger plays, songs and more. All are welcome to enjoy the interactive exhibits in the Nature Center following the program.  These programs will be held at Creek Bend Nature Center in Saint Charles on the following Fridays from 10:30 – 11 a.m.  Advance registration is required.  Please register for only one date so that as many families as possible may participate.
     
     
    Friday, July 19; 10:30-11 a.m.
    Creek Bend Nature Center
    LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
    37W700 Dean St., Saint Charles
    FREE
     
    Friday, Aug. 2; 10:30-11 a.m.
    Creek Bend Nature Center
    LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
    37W700 Dean St., Saint Charles
    FREE
     
    Friday, Aug. 23; 10:30-11 a.m.
    Creek Bend Nature Center
    LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
    37W700 Dean St., Saint Charles
    FREE

    The Prairie Landscape: Past, Present and Future

    Stroll along the prairie trail amidst a profusion of colorful flowers and grasses. During this naturalist-guided walk, you’ll learn to identify some of the plants and animals. We’ll see examples of prairie restoration and discuss the importance of this imperiled ecosystem.  Registration is not required for The Prairie Landscape.
     
    Sunday, Aug. 25; 2-3 p.m.
    Meet at the Durant House Museum
    LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
    37W700 Dean St., Saint Charles
    FREE

    Senior Strolls

    Seniors are invited to join District naturalists each month on a pleasant stroll through natural areas.  Each month, we visit a different forest preserve to learn about the natural and cultural history of the area.  Strolls last about an hour, with social time and refreshments following the walk. In the event of severe weather, call 847-741-8350 for cancelation information.  Wear sturdy shoes and bring insect repellent and sunscreen.  Donations are welcome to cover the cost of refreshments.  Registration is not required for Senior Stroll.
     
    Thursday, Aug. 1; 10 a.m. - noon
    Campton Forest Preserve
    4N379 Town Hall Rd., Saint Charles
    FREE
     
    Thursday, Sept. 5; 10 a.m. - noon
    Fitchie Creek Forest Preserve

    39W933 Russell Rd., Elgin
    FREE

    The Nature Network

    This exciting new program series is designed for active adults who are interested in nature and want to meet others who share this interest. Each monthly gathering will feature a nature-themed discussion or activity. All ages of adults are welcome. Registration required.

    Saturday, Aug. 24; 9:30-11 a.m.
    Creek Ecology

    We’ll get our feet wet during this exploration of Ferson Creek. The focus will be on stream habitat and the importance of the watershed. Bring shorts and shoes for wading in the creek. Advance registration is required. Creek Bend Nature Center
    LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
    37W700 Dean St., Saint Charles
    FREE

     

    Saturday, Sept. 14; 10-11 a.m.
    The Tallgrass Prairie
    Join us on a fun and informative walk along the trail at Horlock Hill Prairie. We’ll discuss the history of the prairie in our area and learn about prairie restoration throughout Kane County. Meet at the shelter (#2) on the south side of Dean Street. Advance registration is required.
    LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
    Shelter #2 (south of Dean Street)
    37W700 Dean St., Saint Charles
    FREE

     

    Restoration: The Good & Bad

    Trish Burns of the Geneva Park District will lead this class on habitat restoration. We’ll review the standards of restoration and plans of restored areas. Afterward, participants will head outside to see those plans in action and review how they turned out.  Advance registration is required. Call 847-741-8350 or e-mail programs@kaneforest.com to register.
     
    Saturday, Sept. 14; 10 a.m.–12:30 p.m.
    Peck Farm Park
    (Meet at the Orientation Barn)
    4038 Kaneville Rd., Geneva
    Fee: $15
     

    Fungus Among Us

    What do the terms Puffball, Chicken of the Woods, and Dead Man’s Fingers have in common? They’re all types of fascinating fungi that can be found right in our own Kane County forest preserves. Learn about the differences between fungi, algae, and lichens on this woodland exploration. We’ll search for these strange and unusual organisms in a variety of habitats. Please wear long pants and closed-toe shoes since we may travel off trail.  Advance registration is required. Call 847-741-8350 or e-mail programs@kaneforest.com to register.
     
    Saturday Sept. 21; 2-3:30 p.m.
    Glenwood Park Forest Preserve
    1644 S. River Street, Batavia. FREE
     
    Saturday, Sept. 28; 2–3:30 p.m.
    Tekakwitha Woods Forest Preserve
    35W076 Villa Marie Rd., Saint Charles
    FREE
     

    National Public Lands Day - Plant trees with us!

    Calling all volunteers:  We’ll dig the holes if you help us plant the trees! Join thousands of volunteers across the country to take part in National Public Lands Day.  The Forest Preserve District of Kane County will host a tree-planting event at Schweitzer Woods Forest Preserve. We’re looking for volunteers of all ages to join us in this fun, conservation project. We’ll plant until 1 p.m. or until we run out of trees — whichever comes first.!
     
    Saturday, Sept. 28; 10 a.m.-1 p.m.
    Schweitzer Woods
    Forest Preserve
    16N900 Sleepy Hollow Rd., West Dundee
    FREE

    Fall Tree Identification

    Valerie Blaine of the Forest Preserve District of Kane County will present basic tree morphology and the terminology needed to use field guides for identification. We will use hand lenses to examine twigs, leaves and fruit, and then practice indoors using a botanical key. Once familiar with terminology and tools, we will head into the woods to put our new skills to practice.  Advance registration is required. Call 847-741-8350 or e-mail programs@kaneforest.com to register.
     
    Saturday, Oct. 12; 1-3 p.m.
    Creek Bend Nature Center
    LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve, 37W700 Dean St., Saint Charles. Fee: $15

    Art on the Autumn Prairie

    The prairie is resplendent with color in the fall.  Here, nature’s masterpiece comprises colors from vibrant scarlet, subtle russets, soft yellow and shades of blue. Learn to express your impressions of the prairie during this outdoor art class led by Amelia DePrez of Columbia College. We’ll use both pastels and colored pencils to capture the beauty of the grasslands. This class is for “non-majors,” and everyone will have the chance to find their inner artist! Materials will be provided. For ages 16 and above.
    Sunday, Sept. 29; 4:30-6:30 p.m. (sunset 6:40 p.m.) Rain Date:
     
    Oct. 13; 4-6 p.m. (sunset 6:16 p.m.)
    LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
    Horlock Hill Prairie (Meet at the trail head of the Great Western Trail, south of Dean Street)
    37W700 Dean St., Saint Charles
    Fee: $15

    The Art and Science of Creepy Creatures

    ’Tis the season of flying bats, slithering snakes and spooky spiders! Learn to make Halloween crafts inspired by these creepy creatures, while learning about these animals’ importance in the natural world. There will be guest appearances from a live creature or two, and kids will learn true stories about these animals. Each child will have a craft to take home. Materials will be provided. This program is for children in grades 3 - 5.  Advance registration is required. Call 847-741-8350 or e-mail programs@kaneforest.com to register.
     
    Monday, Oct. 14; 2-3:30 p.m.
    Creek Bend Nature Center
    LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
    37W700 Dean St., Saint Charles
    Fee: $10/child

    The Nature Network

    This program series is designed for active adults who are interested in nature and want to meet others who share this interest. Each monthly gathering will feature a nature-themed discussion or activity. Adults of all ages are welcome. Advance registration is required. Call 847-741-8350 or e-mail programs@kaneforest.com to register.

    Saturday, Sept. 14; 10-11 a.m.
    The Tallgrass Prairie
    Join us for a fun and informative walk along the trail at Horlock Hill Prairie.
    LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
    (Meet at the shelter on the south side of Dean Street)
    37W700 Dean St., Saint Charles
    FREE
     
    Saturday, Oct. 5; 9:30-11 a.m.
    Autumn Woods

    We’ll discuss the geologic history of Johnson’s Mound, while enjoying the splendor of the autumn foliage. 
     Johnson’s Mound Forest Preserve
    (Meet at the upper shelter)
    41W600 Hughes Rd., Elburn. FREE
     
    Saturday, Oct. 26; 7-9 p.m.
    Sounds of the Night Campfire

    Come listen to the sounds that fill the cool, evening air. We’ll search for the hoot of an owl, the cry of a coyote, and the scuffling of mice during an evening hike. Afterward, we’ll settle around the campfire for some fun tales.
    Tekakwitha Woods Forest Preserve
    35W076 Villa Marie Rd., Saint Charles
    FREE
     

    Lichens 201

    Learn about local lichen flora with Rich Hyerczyk, founder of the Chicago Lichenological Society. This four-hour course will explore the taxonomy, morphology and ecology of lichenized fungi, with an emphasis on identification of species common in our area. Handouts including a species list will be provided. Please bring a sack lunch, a hand lens if you have one and dress appropriately for hiking in fall weather.   Advance registration is required. Call 847-741-8350 or e-mail programs@kaneforest.com to register.
     
    Saturday, Nov. 2; 10 a.m.–2:30 p.m.
    Creek Bend Nature Center
    LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
    37W700 Dean St., Saint Charles
    Fee: $20
     

    Coyotes

    Abundant food, ample shelter and virtually no predators means life is good for suburban coyotes. But what does this success mean for us, the coyotes’ human neighbors? A panel of wildlife behavior experts will share their views on coyote populations present and future, and provide helpful tips for keeping you, your family and your pets safe. This is a program you won’t want to miss!   Advance registration is required. Call 847-741-8350 or e-mail programs@kaneforest.com to register.
     
    Thursday, Nov. 7; 7-9 p.m.
    Hickory Knolls Discovery Center
    3795 Campton Hills Rd., Saint Charles
    Fee: $15
     

    The Night Sky: A Missing Component of Modern Mankind’s Heritage

    Experiencing the night sky is part of the common heritage of mankind. Excessive outdoor illumination prevents us from experiencing the night sky as our ancestors did just a few decades ago. At the same time, modern technologies have made the beauty of deep-space accessible as never before, albeit on a indirect basis. This program, led by members of the Fox Valley Astronomical Society, will discuss ways in which these opposing trends can be balanced on a personal and philosophical basis. The program will include a lecture and viewing outside with telescopes. Advance registration is required. Call 847-741-8350 or e-mail programs@kaneforest.com to register.
     
    Wednesday, Dec. 4; 6:30-9 p.m.
    Peck Farm Park
    38W199 Kaneville Rd., Geneva
    Fee: $15

    Holiday Garden Workshop

    Make your own miniature garden for the holidays! Forest Preserve Ranger Jeff Perez will provide an introduction to fairy gardens and lead the class in creating their own miniature gardens to take home. Holiday-themed materials will be provided. Advance registration is required. Call 847-741-8350 or e-mail programs@kaneforest.com to register.
     
    Saturday, Dec. 7; 1-2 p.m.
    Creek Bend Nature Center
    LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
    37W700 Dean St., Saint Charles
    Fee: $10

    Winter Solstice Campfire

    Gather around a campfire as the sun sets on the shortest day of the year. Learn about the winter solstice with stories from different cultures, emphasizing the interplay of cultural and ecological events on this pivotal day. All ages are welcome to herald the return of the sun! Advance registration is required. Call 847-741-8350 or e-mail programs@kaneforest.com to register.
     
    Saturday, Dec. 21; 4-5 p.m.
    Johnson’s Mound Forest Preserve
    41W600 Hughes Rd., Elburn
    FREE

    Tracks and Trails

    Many animals are active in winter, and they leave tell-tale signs of their presence. Come on a guided hike to look for animal signs. We’ll learn the habits and behaviors of native wildlife by the signs they leave. Advance registration is required. Call 847-741-8350 or e-mail programs@kaneforest.com to register.
     
    Thursday, Dec. 26; 1 – 2:30 p.m.
    Creek Bend Nature Center
    LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
    37W700 Dean St., Saint Charles
    FREE

    Winter Scavenger Hunt

    Bring the family on a scavenger hunt in the winter woods. Forest Preserve District naturalists will lead the search for nature’s “treasures” — from mouse tracks, to maple seeds, to rocks left by glaciers. There will be a lot to find! Children must be accompanied by an adult. Advance registration is required. Call 847-741-8350 or e-mail programs@kaneforest.com to register.
     
    Friday, Dec. 27; 10-11:30 a.m.
    Bliss Woods Forest Preserve
    5S660 Bliss Rd., Sugar Grove
    FREE

    Winter Birds

    Learn which birds brave the winter weather here in Illinois, and how they have adapted to the harsh conditions. This Forest Preserve naturalist-guided program will include a brief introduction indoors, followed by a walk in the woods to spot winter birds. This program is for ages 10 and above. Children must be accompanied by an adult. Advance registration is required. Call 847-741-8350 or e-mail programs@kaneforest.com to register.
     
    Saturday, Dec. 28; 10-11:30 a.m.
    Creek Bend Nature Center
    LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
    37W700 Dean St., Saint Charles
    FREE

    The Nature Network

    This program series is designed for active adults who are interested in nature and want to meet others who share this interest. Each monthly gathering will feature a nature-themed discussion or activity.  Ages 18 and older are welcome. Advance registration is required. Call 847-741-8350 or e-mail programs@kaneforest.com to register.
     
     
    Make a Green Resolution
    Sunday, Dec. 29; 10-11 a.m.

    The group will hike along Ferson Creek and share simple ways to adjust our lifestyles to contribute to a sustainable Earth.
    Creek Bend Nature Center
    LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
    37W700 Dean St., Saint Charles
    FREE
     
    Winter Exploration
    Sat., Jan. 18; 9:30-11 a.m.
    Enjoy a winter walk along the trails of beautiful Dick Young Forest Preserve. We will examine the variety of ways nature endures the elements during the harsh days of winter. Note: Please use the Main Street entrance, not the Nelson Lake Road entrance.
    Dick Young Forest Preserve
    39W115 Main St., Batavia
    FREE

    A-Mousing We Will Go!

    What’s the difference between a mouse and a vole? What role do mice play in nature? Learn about these herbivores on a guided hike through Fitchie Creek Forest Preserve. We’ll look for mouse tracks and tunnels in the snow as we learn about mouse ecology. Note: Please use the Russell Road entrance.  Advance registration is required. Call 847-741-8350 or e-mail programs@kaneforest.com to register.
     
    Saturday, Feb. 1; 10 – 11 a.m.
    Fitchie Creek Forest Preserve
    39W933 Russell Rd., Elgin
    FREE

    Winter Tree Identification

    Identifying trees in winter is not as daunting as it may seem!  Learn the basics of identifying trees without leaves. Nature Programs Manager Valerie Blaine will share tips to help de-mystify tree I.D., and will emphasize observation of bark, branches, form, habitat, twigs, leaf scars and buds.  Advance registration is required. Call 847-741-8350 or e-mail programs@kaneforest.com to register.
     
    Saturday, Feb. 1; 1-2:30 p.m.
    Elburn Forest Preserve
    45W061 IL Rte. 38, Elburn
    Fee: $15

    Leopold’s Good Oak

    “There are some who can live without wild things, and some who cannot.”  Aldo Leopold was one who could not. Leopold, a champion in the conservation movement of the 20th century, wrote A Sand County Almanac in 1949, and this book endures as an environmental classic today.   Please join us for a discussion of his February essay, “Good Oak”, from Part 1 of the Almanac.  As a group, we will explore the connections all of us have to the world around us.  Participants should read the essay prior to class. Advance registration is required. Call 847-741-8350 or e-mail programs@kaneforest.com to register.
     
    Tuesday, Feb. 11; 7-8:30 p.m.
    Creek Bend Nature Center
    LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
    37W700 Dean St., Saint Charles
    Fee: $15

    Echoes of Their Wings: The Life and Legacy of the Passenger Pigeon

    Author Joel Greenberg will present the story of the now-extinct Passenger Pigeon, from its former glory days when it numbered in the billions, to its decline in the nineteenth century, and finally, its extinction. There are many lessons to be learned from the Passenger Pigeon saga. Don’t miss this fascinating presentation! Advance registration is required. Call 630-444-3190 or e-mail programs@kaneforest.com to register.

    Wednesday, March 5; 7 – 8:30 p.m.
    Hickory Knolls Discovery Center
    3795 Campton Hills Dr., Saint Charles
    Fee: $15
     

    Maple Sugaring Days

    The sap’s rising! Join us in the time-honored tradition of maple tapping at LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve in Saint Charles. We’ll explore the art, science, and folklore of the “sugar bush,” or maple grove, from early Native American times to the modern sugaring industry.  District naturalists will demonstrate how to tap a maple tree, and you’ll have the opportunity to try your hand at drilling and setting a tap.  We’ll simmer sap over an open fire and watch as it thickens to syrup.  There will be a “Sugarin’ Time” hike, during which you’ll learn how to distinguish maples from other species of hardwood trees in the woodland.  No registration is required for this program.
     
    Saturday, March 15: Noon - 3 p.m.
    LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
    37W700 Dean St.,  Saint Charles
    FREE
     
    Saturday, March 16: Noon - 3 p.m.
    LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
    37W700 Dean St.,  Saint Charles
    FREE

    Project Squirrel

    Project Squirrel is a nationwide citizen-science project that uses squirrels to better understand the ecology of our neighborhoods. Steve Sullivan, senior curator of urban ecology for the Chicago Academy of Sciences, will give this presentation about Project Squirrel and squirrel ecology. Learn how you can get involved! Advance registration is required. Call 630-444-3190 or e-mail programs@kaneforest.com to register.

    Thursday, March 20; 7 – 8:30 p.m.
    Hickory Knolls Discovery Center
    3795 Campton Hills Rd., Saint Charles
    Fee: $15

    Herbicide Training for Volunteers

    Natural Resources volunteers are invited to take this herbicide training course. Participants can earn a state certificate to apply the two types of herbicide used in the forest preserves as part of our natural areas management. Advance registration is required. Call 630-208-8662 or e-mail volunteer@kaneforest.com to register or for more information.
     
    Thursday, March 27; 6-7:30 p.m.
    Forest Preserve District headquarters
    1996 S. Kirk Rd., Ste. 320, Geneva
    FREE
     

    Butterfly Monitoring Training for Volunteers

    The Forest Preserve District needs volunteer butterfly monitors. The Butterfly Monitoring Network will lead this training program. Advance registration is required. Call 630-208-8662 or e-mail volunteer@kaneforest.com to register or for more information.
     
    Saturday, March 29; 9 a.m. - noon
    The Barbara Belding Lodge
    Brewster Creek Forest Preserve
    6N921 IL Rte. 25, Saint Charles
    FREE
     

    Fabulous Frogs

    One of the most pleasant sounds of spring is the symphony of frogs. Come along on this naturalist-guided search for amphibians. We’ll learn to identify frogs by songs and physical characteristics. Come prepared to get a bit muddy and wet. All ages are welcome. Children must be accompanied by an adult. Advance registration is required. Call 630-444-3190 or e-mail programs@kaneforest.com to register.
     
    Saturday, March 29; 10 – 11 a.m.
    Burnidge Forest Preserve
    38W235 Big Timber Rd., Elgin
    FREE

    Herb Garden Workshop

    People have been cultivating herbs for thousands of years – basil, sage, rosemary, oregano, and thyme, to name a few. Some herbs are medicinal, some sacramental, and some culinary. Learn the fascinating history of these plants, and make an herb garden to take home. The plants may be transplanted in your garden, or grown as potted herbs. Advance registration is required. Call 630-444-3190 or e-mail programs@kaneforest.com to register.
     
    Saturday, April 19; 10 – 11:30 a.m.
    Creek Bend Nature Center
    LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
    37W700 Dean St., Saint Charles
    Fee: $10/garden

    Earth Day Tree-Planting Event

    Calling all volunteers! Come join Forest Preserve District staff and neighbors as we plant hundreds of oak trees in honor of Earth Day.  We’ll dig the holes if you plant the trees! Simply plant the tree in pre-dug holes. Tamp down the dirt. Water, then mulch. It’s easy! This is a perfect event for groups or individuals. All ages are welcome. Be sure to arrive at 10 a.m. sharp. We’ll plant trees until 1 p.m. or until we run out — whichever comes first! Bring work gloves. if you like
     
    Saturday, April 19; 10 a.m. - 1 p.m.
    Fitchie Creek Forest Preserve
    (Note: Please use the Russell Road entrance.)
    39W933 Russell Rd., Elgin
    FREE
     

    Earth Day Hike

    Celebrate Earth Day with a guided hike through the woods and prairie. We’ll look for wildlife and wildflowers during this special walk. There will be hands-on activities and stories along the trail. Advance registration is required. To register, call 630-444-3190 or e-mail programs@kaneforest.com.
     
    Tuesday, April 22; 4 – 5:30 p.m.
    Creek Bend Nature Center
    LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
    37W700 Dean St., Saint Charles
    FREE

    Leopold's Green Fire

    Green Fire is the first full-length documentary ever made about legendary conservationist Aldo Leopold and his environmental legacy. The film shares highlights from his extraordinary career, and explains how he shaped conservation and the modern environmental movement. It also illustrates how Leopold’s vision of a community that cares about both people and land continues to inform and inspire people across the country and around the world. In this program, we will view the film and discuss its relevance to current conservation topics. Advance registration is required. Call 630-444-3190 or e-mail programs@kaneforest.com to register.
     
    Thursday, April 24; 7-9 p.m.
    Hickory Knolls Discovery Center
    3795 Campton Hills Road, Saint Charles
    Fee: $10
     

    Camp Open House

    It's time to think summer! Stop by Creek Bend Nature Center to learn more about the Forest Preserve District of Kane County’s “Week in the Woods” Summer Day Camps and Twilight Camp.
     
    During this open house, parents and kids will meet with our naturalists and learn about the fun summer camp activities we have planned. You’ll have a chance to ask questions, and to pick up registration forms. You may register at the open house and/or turn-in any required forms at this time.
     
    Saturday, April 26; noon - 4 p.m.
    Creek Bend Nature Center
    LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
    37W700 Dean St., Saint Charles
    FREE

    Plants of Concern Training for Volunteers

    Forest Preserve volunteers are invited to take this training to learn how to create ecological quadrants and use GPS to count blooms and stems for threatened and endangered plants. Advance registration is required. Call 630-208-8662 or e-mail volunteer@kaneforest.com to register or for more information.
     
    Sunday, April 27; 9 a.m. - 4 p.m.
    The Barbara Belding Lodge
    Brewster Creek Forest Preserve
    6N921 IL Rte. 25, Saint Charles
    FREE

    Senior Stroll - Spring

    Seniors are invited to join District naturalists each month on a pleasant stroll through natural areas.  Strolls last about an hour, with social time and refreshments following the walk. During the winter months, our monthly gatherings will take place at Creek Bend Nature Center. All seniors are welcome! Registration is not required for “Senior Stroll.” In the event of severe weather, call 630-444-3190 for cancellation information. Registration is not required for Senior Stroll.

    Thursday, May 1; 10 a.m. - noon
    Johnson’s Mound Forest Preserve
    41W600 Hughes Rd., Elburn
    FREE

    Fairy Gardens for Mother’s Day

    Make Mom a special gift! In this workshop, we’ll gather natural material to incorporate in fairy gardens to give for Mother’s Day. All ages welcome; children must be accompanied by an adult. Advance registration is required. To register, call 630-444-3190 or e-mail programs@kaneforest.com.
     
    Saturday, May 3; 1 – 2 p.m.
    Creek Bend Nature Center
    LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
    37W700 Dean St., Saint Charles
    Fee: $10/garden

    Spring Story Times at Creek Bend Nature Center

    Saint Charles Public Library staff bring books, finger plays, songs and more for this fun program for children, infant through age 5.  All are welcome to enjoy the interactive exhibits in the nature center, following the program.  Advance registration is required.  Please sign up for only one story time per month. Call 630-444-3190 or e-mail programs@kaneforest.com to register.
     
    Friday, May 9; 10:30 – 11 a.m.
    Creek Bend Nature Center
    LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
    37W700 Dean St., Saint Charles
    FREE

    Spring Wildflowers

    The woods are carpeted with beautiful blossoms in the spring. Learn about our many native wildflowers during this naturalist-guided walk. We’ll learn about the names and the stories behind these diverse flowers.
     
    Saturday, May 10, 10 – 11 a.m.
    Tekakwitha Woods Forest Preserve
    35W076 Villa Marie Rd., St. Charles
    FREE

    Nature by Stroller

    Bring your four-wheeler and the diaper bag, click the seat belt on the baby and enjoy a “guided stroll” with Naturalist Erica Lemon. We’ll take a relaxed walk on stroller-friendly trails and soak in the seasonal joys of nature. Fussy as well as quiet babies are welcome, interruptions are expected, and feeding and/or diaper stops are allowed! Advance registration is required. Please call 630-444-3190 or e-mail programs@kaneforest.com to register.
     
    Friday, April 25, 9:30 – 10:30 a.m.
    Dick Young Forest Preserve
    39W115 Main St., Batavia
    FREE
     
    Friday, May 16, 9:30 – 10:30 a.m.
    Fitchie Creek Forest Preserve,
    39W933 Russell Road, Elgin
    FREE

    Spring Wetland Plug Planting

    Help plant thousands of native wetland plugs at Dick Young Forest Preserve in Batavia. All are welcome to participate in this Veterans Conservation Corps of Chicagoland project.  Everyone’s invited to stay for complimentary refreshments, following the planting. This event is perfect for individuals or groups. Please bring work gloves and dress in clothes you would wear gardening. Advance registration is only required for groups of 6 or more. Call 630-640-1149 or e-mail haberthurben@kaneforest.com for more information
     
    Saturday, May 17; 10 a.m. - 1 p.m.
    Dick Young Forest Preserve
    (Note: Meet at the Main Street entrance)
    39W115 Main St., Batavia
    FREE
     

    Invasive Plants and the Health of Our Natural Areas

    Invasive plants pose an extreme challenge to the health of our natural areas. Plant expert Andy Olnas of the Forest Preserve District of Kane County’s Natural Resources department will provide an overview of these challenging species. He will also discuss current management techniques used in battling invasive plants in Kane County. The program will be held outdoors and will include a walk on the trails at LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve. Advance registration is required. Call 630-444-3190 or e-mail programs@kaneforest.com to register.
     
    Wednesday, May 21; 6:30 – 8 p.m.
    Creek Bend Nature Center
    LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
    37W700 Dean St., Saint Charles
    Fee: $15

    Fire: A Prescription for Land Management

    Fire plays a vital role in the health of our prairies, woodlands, and even wetlands. In this presentation, Trish Burns of the Geneva Park District will discuss the history of fire ecology and its influence on land management today. Learn how and why natural areas are burned to maintain healthy natural communities in Kane County. Advance registration is required. Please call 630-444-3190 or e-mail programs@kaneforest.com to register.
     
    Sunday, June 8, 2-3:30 p.m.
    Peck Farm Park
    4038 Kaneville Rd., Geneva
    Fee: $15

    Cave Biology

    If you’re in the dark about cave biology, you’re not alone! This presentation, led by cave biologist Steve Taylor of the Illinois Natural History Survey, will shed some light on the topic. Learn what biospeleology is (and how to pronounce it!). Taylor will take us into fascinating caves via PowerPoint, and describe his current research in these fragile ecosystems. Advance registration is required. Please call 630-444-3190 or e-mail programs@kaneforest.com to register.
     
    Saturday, June 14, 1-2:30 p.m.
    Hickory Knolls Discovery Center
    3795 Campton Hills Rd., Saint Charles
    Fee: $15

    Mushrooms of Illinois

    Mushrooms of Illinois
    Fungi live out their lives hidden within the soil, decaying logs, trees, and in every nook and cranny imaginable. We see spectacular evidence of these secretive decomposers when their fruiting bodies — mushrooms — emerge.  Join Patrick Leacock, adjunct curator of mycology at the Field Museum of Natural History, as he describes the types of mushrooms native to our area. He’ll also lead us on a wild mushroom foray into the woodlands of LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve. (Note: The focus of this class is the ecology of fungi, and not edible fungi.) Advance registration is required. Please call 630-444-3190 or e-mail programs@kaneforest.com to register.
     
    Saturday, June 21, 9 a.m. – noon
    Creek Bend Nature Center
    LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
    37W700 Dean St., Saint Charles
    Fee: $15

    Where Have All the Monarchs Gone?

    The dramatic decline in monarch numbers has made headlines in recent years. During this presentation by Trish Burns of the Geneva Park District, we’ll look at the complex factors contributing to the tremendous loss of this beloved species. Advance registration is required. Please call 630-444-3190 or e-mail programs@kaneforest.com to register.
     
    Sunday, June 22, 2-3:30 p.m.
    Peck Farm Park
    4038 Kaneville Rd., Geneva
    (Note: Meet at the butterfly house)
    Fee: $15

    Damsels, Dragons & Darners

    Ever hunt for dragons? Ever seen a beautiful damsel? Wonder what a darner is? Learn all about damselflies, dragonflies and darners on this guided hike. We’ll “hunt” for these awesome insects in their native habitat and observe some specimens up close. Advance registration is required. Please call 630-444-3190 or e-mail programs@kaneforest.com to register.
     
    Saturday, June 28; 9:30 – 11 a.m.
    Tekakwitha Woods Forest Preserve
    35W076 Villa Marie Rd., Saint Charles
    FREE

    Moths

    Moths are among the most diverse and successful organisms on earth. Their colors and patterns are either dazzling or so cryptic that they define camouflage. Shapes and sizes span the gamut from as small as a pinhead to as large as an adult’s hand. Learn more about these engaging insects with an indoor lecture by Trish Burns of the Geneva Park District, followed by an outdoor field session. Advance registration is required. Please call 630-444-3190 or e-mail programs@kaneforest.com to register.
     
    Sunday, June 29, 2-3:30 p.m.
    Peck Farm Park
    4038 Kaneville Rd., Geneva
    Fee: $15

    Firefly Fireworks

    Firefly Fireworks
    How does a glow worm glow?  Why does a lightning bug light?  Is firefly light hot?  Learn the answers to these questions and explore the fascinating world of brilliant bugs during our evening firefly programs.  We’ll begin our walk at dusk and watch the night time magic begin as thousands of fireflies rise from the prairie. Advance registration is required. Please call 630-444-3190 or e-mail programs@kaneforest.com to register.
     
    Tuesday, July 8; 8:30-9:30 p.m.
    Campton Forest Preserve
    4N379 Town Hall Rd., Saint Charles
    FREE

    Night Flights: Hanging Out with Fireflies

    If you grew up in the Midwest, you’re probably familiar with fireflies. But how well do you really know them? Can you name the local species? Describe their light-making process? Identify a larva? These fun facts and more will be covered during this action-packed, adult-level program. An overview of life cycle and habits will take place indoors before we head out to catch, and release, assorted members of the family Lampyridae. Advance registration is required. Please call 630-444-3190 or e-mail programs@kaneforest.com to register.
     
    Friday, July 11, 8-10 p.m.
    Hickory Knolls Discovery Center,
    3795 Campton Hills Rd., Saint Charles
    Fee: $15

    River Ramble

    The Fox River is one of the most prominent geological features in our community. While often taken for granted, the river is vital to the many species of fish, reptiles, amphibians, birds and mammals that call it home. During this program, we’ll take a leisurely ramble along the eastern banks of the river, learning about its natural and cultural history. Advance registration is required. Please call 630-444-3190 or e-mail programs@kaneforest.com to register.
     
    Saturday, July 19, 1 – 2:30 p.m.
    Glenwood Park Forest Preserve
    1644 S. River St., Batavia
    FREE

    Week in the Woods: Summer Day Camps

    During these five-day nature camps, children will explore the woods and fields with our naturalist staff.  Through hikes, nature games and activities, children will discover native animals and plants in their habitats and learn the importance of these living things in the web of life.  Each day will bring a new adventure!  Detailed information provided upon registration. Registration fee is $50/child. Advance registration is required. Call 630-444-3190 or e-mail programs@kaneforest.com to register.

     
    CAMPS AT LEROY OAKES FOREST PRESERVE IN SAINT CHARLES
     
    For children entering grades 1-2
    Monday, June 9 – Friday, June 13; 9 a.m. – noon
    Creek Bend Nature Center
    LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
    37W700 Dean St., Saint Charles
    Fee: $50/child
     
    For children entering grades 3-5
    Monday, June 16 – Friday, June 20; 9 a.m. – noon
    Creek Bend Nature Center
    LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
    37W700 Dean St., Saint Charles
    Fee: $50/child
     
     
    CAMPS AT BURNIDGE FOREST PRESERVE IN ELGIN
     
    For children entering grades 1-2
    Monday, June 23 – Friday, June 27; 9 a.m. - noon
    Burnidge Forest Preserve
    38W235 Big Timber Rd., Elgin
    Fee: $50 per child
     
    For children entering grades 3-5
    Monday, July 7 – Friday, July 11; 9 a.m. – noon
    Burnidge Forest Preserve
    38W235 Big Timber Rd., Elgin
    Fee: $50 per child
     
     
    CAMPS AT JOHNSON'S MOUND FOREST PRESERVE IN ELBURN
     
    For children entering grades 1-2
    Monday, July 14 – Friday, July 18; 9 a.m. – noon
    Johnson’s Mound Forest Preserve
    41W600 Hughes Rd., Elburn
    Fee: $50/child
     
    For children entering grades 3-5
    Monday, July 21 – Friday, July 25; 9 a.m. – noon
    Johnson’s Mound Forest Preserve
    41W600 Hughes Rd., Elburn
    Fee: $50/child

    Bike the Great Western Trail

    Enjoy a leisurely bike ride along the Great Western Trail with Forest Preserve District naturalists. Participants will meet at the Creek Bend Nature Center for a quick safety check, and then the group will hit the trail. We’ll enjoy the natural features along the way, with interpretation of the natural and cultural history. Please provide your own helmet and bicycle. The ride will be around 10 miles round-trip. Advance registration is required. Please call 630-444-3190 or e-mail programs@kaneforest.com to register.
     
    Saturday, July 26; 9-11 a.m.
    Creek Bend Nature Center
    LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
    37W700 Dean St., Saint Charles
    FREE

    Bat Watch

    Bats are noisy creatures, but our ears can’t hear them.  Unless, of course, we use a super special “Bat Detector!”  This device picks up the bats’ “clicks” used in echolocation.  We’ll use the bat detector to locate bats and follow their movements.  We’ll also play some bat games and learn about bat ecology.  Advance registration is required. Please call 630-444-3190 or e-mail programs@kaneforest.com to register.
     
    Tuesday, July 29; 8-9 p.m.
    Creek Bend Nature Center
    LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
    37W700 Dean St., Saint Charles
    FREE
     
    Wednesday, July 30; 8-9 p.m.
    Binnie Forest Preserve
    38W040 Binnie Rd., West Dundee
    FREE

    Little Sprouts Camp for Pre-Kindergarteners

    Introduce your child to the wonders of nature! In this camp, there will be nature stories, games, and short explorations into the nearby woods. We'll discover butterflies, wildflowers, trees and more! Activities will be held both inside the nature center and outside. Advance registration is required. Please call 630-444-3190 or e-mail programs@kaneforest.com to register. This camp is for 4, 5, and 6 year-olds entering kindergarten.
     
    Monday, June 2 - Friday, June 6
    9 – 10:30 a.m.
    Creek Bend Nature Center
    LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
    37W700 Dean St., Saint Charles

    Monday, July 28 – Friday, Aug. 1
    9 – 10:30 a.m.
    Creek Bend Nature Center
    LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
    37W700 Dean St., Saint Charles

    Creek Exploration

    Dip your toes in the water and enjoy a naturalist-guided exploration of the watery world of creeks. We’ll see aquatic life up close and personal.  Wear shorts and bring an extra pair of shoes for wading.  Adults must accompany children in the water.  Minimum age: 5 years. Advance registration is required. Please call 630-444-3190 or e-mail programs@kaneforest.com to register.
     
    Tuesday, July 1; 10-11 a.m.
    Tyler Creek Forest Preserve
    401 Davis Rd., Elgin
    (Note: Meet at Shelter #1)
    FREE
     
    Wednesday, Aug. 6; 10-11 a.m.
    Creek Bend Nature Center
    LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
    37W700 Dean St., Saint Charles
    FREE
     

    Twilight Camp

    Discover a whole new world of wildlife during this evening summer camp at LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve.  We’ll learn about the native animals that are out and about at dusk.  Camp activities will include hikes with the naturalists through the woods and prairie, games, stories, and a campfire on the last night of camp. Advance registration is required. To register, call 630-444-3190 or e-mail programs@kaneforest.com.
     
    For children entering grades 3 - 5
    Monday, Aug. 4 – Thursday, Aug. 7; 7-9 p.m.
    LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
    Creek Bend Nature Center
    37W700 Dean St., Saint Charles
    Fee: $40/child
     
     

    Summer Story Times at Creek Bend Nature Center

    Saint Charles Public Library staff bring books, finger plays, songs and more for this fun program for children, infant through age 5.  All are welcome to enjoy the interactive exhibits in the nature center, following the program.  Advance registration is required.  Please sign up for only one story time per month. Call 630-444-3190 or e-mail programs@kaneforest.com to register.

    Friday, Aug. 22; 10:30 – 11 a.m.
    Creek Bend Nature Center
    LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
    37W700 Dean St., Saint Charles
    FREE

    Passport to Adventure

    Take an adventure this summer at local museums with the Passport to Adventure program.  Participating sites in the Forest Preserve District of Kane County include Creek Bend Center, the Durant House Museum, and Pioneer Sholes School at LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve in Saint Charles; and the Fabyan Villa Museum in Geneva,. The Passport program encourages children and their parents to visit a variety of history, nature, science and art museums to explore the people, events and environment of the area.  Children ages 4 through 12 will experience the world around them through exhibits and activities at each site they visit.  The program is sponsored by the Illinois Parks & Recreation Association, the Kane-DuPage Regional Museum Association and a host of other partner agencies.  Passport booklets are available in late May at the Geneva and Saint Charles Public Libraries.  More information about the program is available at (630) 444-3190.

    Perils of Migration

    Many creatures embark on perilous journeys twice a year. These regular, seasonal movements are called migration. Restoration Ecologist Denis Kane of the St. Charles Park District and naturalist Renae Frigo will begin this program with a discussion of why and how animals migrate. The group will then go outdoors to see first-hand the habitats that are so important for migrating animals. Registration required. Please call (630) 444-3190 or e-mail programs@kaneforest.com.

    Wednesday, Sept. 3; 6:30 – 9:30 p.m.
    Hickory Knolls Discovery Center

    3795 Campton Hills Rd., Saint Charles
    Fee: $15

    The World of Spiders

    They’re creepy, they’re crawly, and they’re cool! They’re also very important in our lives. How? Come to this program to find out! We’ll search nooks and crannies, high and low for spiders. If we catch a few, we’ll look at them close up, and then let them go. Please bring a flashlight. We’ll supply the “bug jars.” Registration required. Please call 630-444-3190 or email programs@kaneforest.com..

    Saturday, Sept. 20; 6:30 – 7:30 p.m.
    Pingree Grove Forest Preserve

    14N187 U.S. Rte. 20, Hampshire
    FREE

    Fall Flora

    The prairie is resplendent with wildflowers in early fall. During this outdoor program, botanist Jack Shouba will provide an overview of fall flora, with tips on how to identify the native plants of the season. Composites, grasses, and other challenging plant families will be tackled. Please bring a hand lens, if you have one, and remember to dress for a walk in the field. Registration required. Please call 630-444-3190 or email programs@kaneforest.com.

    Saturday, Sept. 21; 1 – 2:30 p.m.
    LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve

    37W700 Dean St., Saint Charles
    Fee: $10

    National Public Lands Day

    Calling all volunteers: We’ll dig the holes if you help us plant the trees! Join thousands of volunteers across the country to take part in National Public Lands Day — Saturday, Sept. 27. The Forest Preserve District of Kane County will host a tree-planting event at Johnson’s Mound Forest Preserve. We’re looking for volunteers of all ages to join us in this fun, conservation project. Plan to arrive at 10 a.m., sharp! We’ll plant hundreds of oaks until 1 p.m. or until we run out of trees — whichever comes first!


    Saturday, Sept. 27; 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. (or until we run out of trees!)
    Johnson’s Mound Forest Preserve

    41W600 Hughes Rd., Elburn
    FREE

    Mammals of Rivers & Creeks

    Beavers, muskrats and otters are key species in the Fox River Watershed. Many people don’t realize they’re close by — until their activity impacts landscaping and structures. Naturalist Valerie Blaine will lead a classroom introduction to the ecology of these species, followed by a field trip to local waterways to find signs of their activity. Registration required. Please call 630-444-3190 or email programs@kaneforest.com to register.

    Indoor Lecture:
    Thursday, Oct. 9; 7–8:30 p.m.
    Hickory Knolls Discovery Center

    3795 Campton Hills Rd., Saint Charles

    In-the-Field Session:
    Saturday, Oct. 11; 9-11 a.m.

    Location to be announced during indoor lecture
    Fee: $15

    As Darkness Falls

    When the sky grows dark, the forests come alive with nocturnal animals. On these naturalist-guided night hikes, we’ll walk through the shadowy darkness and learn about the denizens of the dark. The hikes are open to all ages; children must be accompanied by an adult. (This program is designed for families. Scout groups must register separately for a group program.) Registration required. Please call 630- 444-3190 or email programs@kaneforest.com.

    Saturday Oct. 4; 7-8:30 p.m.
    Hannaford Woods Forest Preserve

    5S002 Merrill Road (approximately 1 mile east of IL Route 47), Sugar Grove
    Fee: $2/person, $8/family of four or more.

    Saturday, Oct. 11; 7-8:30 p.m.
    Tekakwitha Woods Forest Preserve

    35W076 Villa Marie Rd., Saint Charles
    Fee: $2/person, $8/family of four or more.

    Saturday, Oct. 18; 7-8:30 p.m.
    Burnidge Forest Preserve

    38W235 Big Timber Rd., Elgin
    Fee: $2/person, $8/family of four or more.

    Tree Identification

    This field class will begin with an introduction to basic plant morphology needed for tree identification. We will take a walk on the wooded trails to learn the common hardwood trees. Students will learn several methods of tree identification. Registration required. Please call 630-444-3190 or email programs@kaneforest.com to register.

    Saturday, Oct. 18; 1-3 p.m.
    Elburn Forest Preserve

    45W061 Route 38, Elburn
    Fee: $10

    Scary Stories in the Woods

    Gather around the campfire for an evening of scary stories told by master storytellers A. Denise Farrugia and Donna Detman of the St. Charles Public Library. This program is exclusively for children (grades three and above) and adults. Registration required. Please call 630-444-3190 or email programs@kaneforest.com.

    Saturday, Oct. 25, 8–9 p.m.
    Creek Bend Nature Center

    LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
    37W700 Dean St., Saint Charles
    FREE

    Axe in Our Hands

    This group discussion will be based on the writing of ecologist and author Aldo Leopold. In A Sand County Almanac, Leopold wrote an essay about decision-making in restoring land on his Wisconsin farm. This essay will be the basis of our discussion of today’s values, and how our values affect the signature that each of us leaves on the earth for future generations. Participants should read the chapter “Axe-in-Hand,” from Leopold’s book, A Sand County Almanac. Copies of the book are available at Creek Bend Nature Center and Hickory Knolls Discovery Center. Registration required. Please call 630-444-3190 or email programs@kaneforest.com to register.

    Sunday, Nov. 9; 3-5 p.m.
    Creek Bend Nature Center

    LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
    37W700 Dean St., Saint Charles
    Fee: $10

    Homeschool Explorations - Fall Series

    This program series is specially designed for home school families with children ages 5-10, although all ages are welcome.  Each month we cover a new topic at a different forest preserve, with lots of hands-on activities and plenty of fun. Space is limited for this popular program. Please call ahead to reserve your spot. Advance registration is required. Call 630-444-3190 to register or e-mail programs@kaneforest.com.
     
    Seeds
    Thursday, Sept. 11; 10 – 11:30 a.m.
    Blackberry Maples Forest Preserve
    43W231 Main St., Elburn
    Fee: $2/person; $8/family of four or more

    Owls of Illinois
    Thursday, Oct. 9; 10 – 11:30 a.m.
    Tekakwitha Woods Forest Preserve
    35W076 Villa Marie Rd., Saint Charles
    Fee: $2/person; $8/family of four or more

    White-Tail Deer
    Thursday, Nov. 13, 10 – 11:30 a.m.
    Hampshire Forest Preserve
    44W880 Allen Rd., Hampshire
    Fee: $2/person; $8/family of four or more

    Passenger Pigeon: Past & Future

    The Passenger Pigeon was once the most abundant bird in North America. It was regarded as a limitless resource for commercial harvesting in the 1800s. The species became extinct by 1914. Restoration ecologist Denis Kania, with the St. Charles Park District, will give this presentation on the extinction of the passenger pigeon, as well as other species in the cross hairs of progress and commercial harvesting. Kania will discuss the strategies used to protect and even revive species on the brink of extinction. Registration required. Please call 630-444-3190 or email programs@kaneforest.com to register.

    Tuesday, Nov. 18; 6:30-8:30 p.m.
    Hickory Knolls Discovery Center

    3795 Campton Hills Rd., Saint Charles
    Fee: $10

    Kane County Certified Naturalists (KCCN) Information Sessions

    Want to learn about Kane County’s fastest-growing nature-education program for adults? Attend one of these free informational sessions to find out what all the excitement is about! During these sessions, you’ll learn the dates, details, cost – and the benefits! – of this award-winning program. The mission of Kane County Certified Naturalists is to promote awareness and citizen stewardship of Kane County natural resources through science-based education and community service. KCCN is a cooperative program of the Forest Preserve District of Kane County, the Saint Charles Park District, and the Geneva Park District. Classes begin in January 2015, followed by spring field trips. Please call 630-444-3190 or e-mail programs@kaneforest.com to register.

    Thursday, Dec. 4, 7 – 8 p.m.
    Hickory Knolls Discovery Center

    3795 Campton Hills Dr., Saint Charles
    FREE

    Saturday, Dec. 6, 10 – 11 a.m.
    Creek Bend Nature Center

    LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
    37W700 Dean St., Saint Charles
    FREE

    Winter Solstice Campfire

    Gather around a campfire as the sun sets on the shortest day of the year. Learn about the winter solstice with stories from different cultures emphasizing the interplay of cultural and ecological events on this pivotal day. All ages are welcome to herald the return of the sun! Space is limited, so register early! Advance registration is required. Please call 630-444-3190 or e-mail programs@kaneforest.com to register.


    Sunday, Dec. 21; 4 – 5 p.m.
    Creek Bend Nature Center

    LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
    37W700 Dean St., Saint Charles
    FREE

    Tracks and Trails

    Many animals are active in winter, and they leave tell-tale signs of their presence. Come on out to LeRoy Oakes for a guided hike and look for animal signs. We’ll learn the habits and behaviors of native wildlife by the signs they leave. Advance registration is required. Please call 630-444-3190 or e-mail programs@kaneforest.com to register.


    Saturday, Dec. 27; 9 – 10 a.m.
    Binnie Forest Preserve

    38W040 Binnie Rd., West Dundee
    FREE

    Winter Scavenger Hunt

    Bring the family to LeRoy Oakes for a scavenger hunt in the winter woods. District naturalists will lead the search for nature’s “treasures” in the woods – from mouse tracks to maple seeds to rocks left by glaciers, there will be lots to look for! All ages are welcome; children must be accompanied by an adult. Advance registration is required. Please call 630-444-3190 or e-mail programs@kaneforest.com to register.


    Monday, Dec. 29; 10 – 11 a.m.
    Creek Bend Nature Center

    LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
    37W700 Dean St., Saint Charles
    FREE

    Up in Arms

    If you’ve ever wrestled with the issues of conservation, preservation, hunting, and wildlife, this program is for you! We’ll take a look at the topic from several vantage points and examine the questions: Who hunts and why? Can a naturalist be a hunter? Can a hunter be a naturalist? What influences our opinions of hunting? What ethical dilemmas are involved in hunting? How can naturalists face the challenges these issues present? Advance registration is required. Please call 630-444-3190 or e-mail programs@kaneforest.com to register.

    Thursday, Jan. 15, 7 – 8:30 p.m.
    The Barbara Belding Lodge at Brewster Creek Forest Preserve

    6N921 Route 25, Saint Charles
    Fee: $10

    Winter Wonderland Walk

    Join us for a nighttime hike under the waning crescent moon. We’ll seek out nocturnal creatures and discuss what they do when the sun goes down. We’ll also learn about the adaptations that help animals get through the snowy cold weather of winter. Advance registration is required. Please call 630-444-3190 or e-mail programs@kaneforest.com to register.


    Friday, Jan. 16, 5-6 p.m.
    Blackberry Maples Forest Preserve

    43W231 Main St., Elburn
    FREE

    Habitat Hideouts

    Animals in winter have special habitat needs. On this guided hike, we’ll look for animals and discover how they find food, water and shelter in the coldest months of the year. Advance registration is required. Please call 630-444-3190 or e-mail programs@kaneforest.com to register.


    Saturday, Jan. 24, 9:30 – 10:30 a.m.
    Tekakwitha Woods Forest Preserve

    35W076 Villa Marie Rd., Saint Charles
    FREE

    Senior Stroll

    Seniors are invited to join District naturalists each month on a pleasant stroll through forest preserves. Each month, we visit a different site and learn about the natural and cultural history of the area. The strolls begin at 10 a.m. and last about an hour, with social time and refreshments following the walk. In the event of severe weather, call Creek Bend Nature Center at (630) 444-3190 for cancellation information. Wear sturdy shoes and bring insect repellent and sunscreen. Donations are welcome to cover the cost of refreshments.

    Thursday, Dec. 4; 10-noon
    Holiday Gathering at Creek Bend Nature Center

    37W700 Dean St., Saint Charles
    Bring a store-bought holiday dish to pass. We'll share food, fellowship and festivities at this annual Senior Stroll tradition. Be sure to bring your own place setting so we can end the year on a “green” note!
    FREE

    Thursday, Jan. 1, 10 a.m. – 11 a.m.
    New Year’s Morning Hike

    What a better way to start the new year than a hike in the wintry woods! On this special holiday, you’re welcome to bring the family – grandkids and all! We’ll look for the first animal tracks made in the new year’s snow. We’ll also look at trees, seeds, and surprises from Mother Nature. There will be coffee and cocoa in the nature center, after the hike.
    Creek Bend Nature Center
    LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
    37W700 Dean St., Saint Charles
    FREE

    Thursday, Feb. 5, 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.
    Pioneer Life on the Prairie

    Special guest Alice Maupin, Director of the Durant-Peterson House Museum at LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve, will describe pioneer life as experienced by the Durant family in 19th century Kane County.
    Creek Bend Nature Center
    LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
    37W700 Dean St., Saint Charles
    FREE

    Winter Tree Identification

    Identifying trees in winter is not as daunting as it may seem! During this two hour class you’ll learn the basics of tree identification (sans leaves) and gain experience using a botanical key to identify native trees. Instructor Valerie Blaine will share tips to help demystify winter tree identification and will emphasize observation of bark, branches, form, habit, habitat, twigs, leaf scars and buds. The session will begin indoors with a lecture/presentation. Hand-outs and reference material will be provided. During the second hour, we’ll head into the woods to practice tree identification skills. Advance registration is required. Please call 630-444-3190 or e-mail programs@kaneforest.com to register.

    Saturday, Feb. 7, 1 – 3 p.m.
    Creek Bend Nature Center

    LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
    37W700 Dean St., Saint Charles
    Fee: $10

    Story Time at the Nature Center - Winter Series

    Saint Charles Public Library staff bring books, finger plays, songs, and more for this fun program for children, infant through age 5. All are welcome to enjoy the interactive exhibits in the Nature Center following the program. Advance registration is required. Please call 630-444-3190 or e-mail programs@kaneforest.com to register.

    Friday, Feb. 13, 10:30 – 11 a.m
    Creek Bend Nature Center

    LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
    37W700 Dean St., Saint Charles
    FREE

    Homeschool Explorations - Winter Series

    This program series is specially designed for home school families. Activities focus on ages 5-10 but all ages are welcome. Each month we explore a different topic at a different forest preserve. Advance registration is required. Please call 630-444-3190 or e-mail programs@kaneforest.com to register.

    The Big Sleep: Hiberating Animals of Illinois
    Thursday, Feb. 12, 10 – 11:30 a.m.

    Grunwald Farms Forest Preserve
    02S035 North Lorang Rd., Elburn
    Fee: $2/person

    Sense of Place: Bliss Woods Forest Preserve

    Bliss Woods would not be what it is today were it not for glaciers, Blackberry Creek, oak trees, maple trees, fire and all the humans who lived on and used this land before us. Come explore with site steward Mary Ochsenschlager and other area naturalists and discover how these diverse elements and many others tie together to tell the story of this charming sector of southwestern Kane County. Advance registration is required. Call 630-444-3190 or email programs@kaneforest.com to register.

    Sunday, March 8; 1-3:30 p.m.
    Bliss Woods Forest Preserve

    5S660 Bliss Rd., Sugar Grove
    Fee: $10/person

    Black Hawk: Warrior, Patriot and Protector of the Land

    Black Hawk was a 19th century Native American leader who influenced the history of Kane County. Dave Schoenknecht, professor at Rockford College, and Valerie Blaine, naturalist with the Forest Preserve District of Kane County, will lead a discussion based on readings from Black Hawk’s 1833 autobiography. We’ll look at key concepts such as land rights, sustainable living, and spiritual connections to land. Drawing comparisons to the 21st century world, the group will discuss what we can learn today from Black Hawk’s words some 182 years ago. Registrants will receive a reading guide to the e-book prior to class. Advance registration is required. Call 630-444-3190 or email programs@kaneforest.com to register.

    Tuesday, March 17, 7-8:30 p.m.
    Creek Bend Nature Center

    LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
    37W700 Dean St., Saint Charles
    Fee: $10/person

    Nature Tykes - Winter Series

    In this program geared for 3-year olds, we will explore the natural world through a variety of activities. Sessions include a combination of stories, nature hikes, songs, games, and crafts. A parent or caregiver must accompany child. The programs will be held inside Creek Bend Nature Center. Advance registration is required. Please call 630-444-3190 or e-mail programs@kaneforest.com to register.


    Sleepy Groundhogs
    Thursday, Feb. 19, 9:30 – 10:15 a.m.

    Creek Bend Nature Center
    LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
    37W700 Dean St., Saint Charles
    Fee: $5/child

    In Like a Lion, Out Like a Lamb
    Thursday, March 19, 9:30 – 10:15 a.m.

    Creek Bend Nature Center
    LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
    37W700 Dean St., Saint Charles
    Fee: $5/child

    Little Naturalists - Winter Series

    In this hour-long program for 4-year olds, children will discover the wonders of nature through stories, nature hikes, songs, games, and crafts. The programs will be held inside Creek Bend Nature Center. (Note: This is a “drop-off” program; adults and siblings may enjoy the trails or wait in the nature center during the program.) Advance registration is required. Call 630-444-3190 or e-mail programs@kaneforest.com to register.

    Sleepy Groundhogs
    Thursday, February 19, 1 – 2 p.m.

    Creek Bend Nature Center
    LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
    37W700 Dean St., Saint Charles
    Fee: $5/child

    In Like a Lion, Out Like a Lamb
    Thursday, March 19, 1 – 2 p.m.

    Creek Bend Nature Center
    LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
    37W700 Dean St., Saint Charles
    Fee: $5/child

    Fabulous Frogs

    Frogs herald the coming of spring with exuberant outbursts of song. Come along on this naturalist-guided search for our local and vocal amphibians. We’ll learn to identify frogs by songs and physical characteristics. Come prepared to get a bit muddy and wet. All ages are welcome. Children must be accompanied by an adult. Advance registration is required. Please call 630-444-3190 or e-mail programs@kaneforest.com to register.

    Saturday, April 18; 10-11:30 a.m.
    Creek Bend Nature Center

    LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
    37W700 Dean St., Saint Charles
    FREE

    Earth Day Hike

    Celebrate Earth Day with a guided hike through the woods and prairie. We’ll look for wildlife, wildflowers and signs of spring during this hike in honor of Mother Earth. There will be hands-on activities and stories along the trail. Children must be accompanied by an adult. Advance registration is required. Call 630-444-3190 or email programs@kaneforest.com to register.

    Wednesday, April 22; 4-5:30 p.m.
    Creek Bend Nature Center

    LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
    37W700 Dean St., Saint Charles
    FREE

    Spring Flora

    The woodlands are carpeted in wildflowers this time of year. Botanist Jack Shouba will teach methods of identifying the ephemeral spring flowers. The class will learn the key characteristics of major plant families represented in our native flora. Advance registration is required. Call 630-444-3190 or email programs@kaneforest.com to register.

    Sunday, May 1; 1-3 p.m.
    Bliss Woods Forest Preserve

    5S660 Bliss Rd., Sugar Grove
    Fee: $10/person

    Senior Stroll

    Seniors are invited to join District naturalists each month on a pleasant stroll in our natural areas. Each month we visit a different site, learning about the natural and cultural history of the area. The strolls begin at 10 a.m. and last about an hour, with social time and refreshments following the walk. No registration required.

    Thursday, May 7; 10 a.m. – noon
    Tekakwitha Woods Forest Preserve

    35W076 Villa Marie Rd., Saint Charles
    FREE

    Story Time at the Nature Center - Spring Series

    Staff from the Saint Charles Public Library bring books, finger plays, songs, and more for this fun program for children, infant through age 5. All are welcome to enjoy the interactive exhibits in the Nature Center following the program. Please limit registration to one Story Time per month. Advance registration is required. Call 630-444-3190 or email programs@kaneforest.com to register.

    Friday, May 8; 10:30-11:00 a.m.
    Creek Bend Nature Center

    LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
    37W700 Dean St., Saint Charles
    FREE

    Garden Workshop Series

    Learn about the natural and cultural impact of plants species that grow in our gardens. Following an informative discussion, participants will be provided with a pot, materials and plants to create their very own arrangement to take home. Advance registration is required. Call 630-444-3190 or email programs@kaneforest.com to register.

    Herb Gardens
    Sunday, April 26; 1-2 p.m.

    Creek Bend Nature Center
    LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
    37W700 Dean St., Saint Charles
    Fee: $10/garden

    Vegetable Gardens
    Saturday, May 9; 1-2 p.m.

    Creek Bend Nature Center
    LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
    37W700 Dean St., Saint Charles
    Fee: $10/garden

    Spring Wildflowers

    The woods are carpeted with beautiful blossoms in the spring. Learn the names and colorful stories of native wildflowers during this naturalist-guided walk. Advance registration is required. Call 630-444-3190 or email programs@kaneforest.com to register.

    Saturday, May 9; 10-11 a.m.
    Johnson’s Mound Forest Preserve

    41W600 Hughes Rd., Elburn
    FREE

    Calling All Volunteers: Restoration Work Parties at Creek Bend

    Spring brings lots of great things, like migrating birds and beautiful wildflowers. But it also brings lots of invasive garlic mustard. Get good exercise removing this and other invasive plant species with us. There will be social time and refreshments after the weed pulling. Let us know if you’re coming, so we can plan enough goodies! Please call 630-444-3190 or e-mail programs@kaneforest.com to register. Meet at Creek Bend Nature Center.

    Sunday May 10; 9-11 a.m.
    Creek Bend Nature Center

    LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
    37W700 Dean St., Saint Charles

    Homeschool Explorations - Spring Series

    This program series is specially designed for home school families with children ages 5-10 although all ages are welcome. Each month we cover a new topic at a different forest preserve, with lots of hands-on activities and plenty of fun. Advance registration is required. Call 630-444-3190 or email programs@kaneforest.com to register.

    Bees, Bugs and Beetles”
    Thursday, May 14; 10-11:30 a.m.

    Campton Forest Preserve
    4N379 Town Hall Rd., Saint Charles
    Fee: $2/person

    Sense of Place: Norris Woods Nature Preserve

    Although today recognized for its natural history—events that produced a high-quality, upland-mesic forest--Norris Woods has a fascinating cultural history as well. Once known as Jones Woods, the site was a popular gathering and vacation spot at the turn of the 20th Century. Walk through these woods, and through time, with naturalist Pam Otto and learn what makes this scenic parcel so very special to visitors from near and far. AAdvance registration is required. Call 630-444-3190 or email programs@kaneforest.com to register.

    Sunday, May 17, 1-3 p.m.
    Norris Woods Nature Preserve

    Johnor Avenue & Third Avenue, Saint Charles
    Fee: $10

    Nature Tykes - Spring Series

    In this program geared for 3 year olds, we will explore the natural world through stories, nature hikes, songs, games, and crafts. A parent or caregiver must accompany child. The programs will be held in the Creek Bend Nature Center at LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve in St. Charles. Advance registration is required. Call 630-444-3190 or email programs@kaneforest.com to register.

    Salamander Surprise
    Thursday, May 21; 9:30-10:15 a.m.

    Creek Bend Nature Center
    LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
    37W700 Dean St., Saint Charles
    Fee: $5/child

    Little Naturalists - Spring Series

    In this hour-long program for 4 year olds, children will discover the wonders of nature through stories, nature hikes, songs, games, and crafts. The programs will be held in the Creek Bend Nature Center at LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve in St. Charles. (Note: This is a “drop-off” program; adults and siblings may enjoy the trails or wait in the nature center during the program.) Advance registration is required. Call 630-444-3190 or email programs@kaneforest.com to register.

    Salamander Surprise
    Thursday, May 21; 1-2 p.m.

    Creek Bend Nature Center
    LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
    37W700 Dean St., Saint Charles
    Fee: $5/child

    A Sense of Place: Tekakwitha Woods

    From dance hall to spiritual retreat center, Tekakwitha Woods has had a fascinating history. Learn about the origin of the preserve's name, its cultural history and ecology. From her decades as a naturalist and four years living on site, Nature Programs Manager Valerie Blaine will provide an in-depth look at Tekakwitha's past, present and future. Advance registration is required. Call 630-444-3190 or email programs@kaneforest.com to register.

    Tuesday, June 2; 7-8:30 p.m.
    Tekakwitha Woods Forest Preserve

    35W076 Villa Marie Rd., Saint Charles
    Fee: $10/person

    Damsels, Dragons and Darners

    Ever hunt for dragons? Wonder what a darner is? Learn all about damselflies, dragonflies and darners on this guided hike. We'll hunt for these cool insects in their native habitat and observe some specimens up close. Advance registration is required. Call 630-444-3190 or email programs@kaneforest.com to register.

    Saturday, June 13; 9:30-11 a.m.
    Creek Bend Nature Center

    LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
    37W700 Dean St., Saint Charles
    Fee: $2/person

    Botany of Tomo Chi-Chi Knolls

    Restoration management has brought positive changes in the plant communities at Camp Tomo Chi-Chi Knolls in northern Kane County. The area, part of the Freeman Kame Forest Preserve, was once choked by non-native, invasive plants. After three years of habitat restoration work, native plants are now returning. Forest Preserve District of Kane County's Restoration Technician Andy Olnas will lead a tour of the site, showcasing the botanical results of the vegetation management work. The emphasis will be on plant identification, both native and non-native. Olnas will point out the botanical "surprises" that have shown up, as well as the invasive species that continue to present challenges. Advance registration is required. Call 630-444-3190 or email programs@kaneforest.com to register.

    Thursday, June 18; 6-8 p.m.
    Freeman Kame, Camp Tomo Chi-Chi Knolls

    40W095 Freeman Rd., Gilberts
    Fee: $10/person

    Pollination Celebration

    It's National Pollinator Week! Come out to the prairie to find native pollinators and learn about the foods they prefer. Butterflies, bees and beetles are just a few of the kinds of pollinators we're sure to find. We'll use sweep nets and bug boxes to get up close and personal with these important creatures. Advance registration is required. Call 630-444-3190 or email programs@kaneforest.com to register.

    Saturday, June 21; 1-2:30 p.m.
    Dick Young Forest Preserve

    39W115 Main St., Batavia
    Fee: $2/person

    Firefly Fireworks

    Explore the fascinating world of brilliant bugs during our evening firefly programs. We'll begin our walk at dusk and watch the nighttime magic begin as thousands of fireflies rise from the prairie. Advance registration is required. Call 630-444-3190 or email programs@kaneforest.com to register.

    Thursday, July 9; 8:30-9:30 a.m.
    Campton Forest Preserve

    4N379 Town Hall Rd., Saint Charles
    Fee: $2/person

    In Search of Snakes

    Learn about the fascinating lives of scaled and legless creatures during this naturalist-guided program. We'll search different habitats while learning about the ecology of native snakes. The program will cover snakes' lifestyles, or niches, including what they eat, how they eat, and where they hang out. Please wear long pants and closed-toe shoes since we may travel off trail. Advance registration is required. Call 630-444-3190 or email programs@kaneforest.com to register.

    Saturday, July 18; 10-11 a.m.
    Dick Young Forest Preserve

    2S326 Nelson Lake Rd., Batavia
    Fee: $2/person

    Conservation of the American Kestrel

    The American Kestrel is the smallest falcon species found in North America. The decline in kestrel populations across its range has prompted conservation efforts to bolster this important bird. Taylor Joray, graduate student at Illinois State University, has been studying Kane County's kestrels for three years. He has installed and monitored nest boxes in forest preserves and other natural areas throughout the region. Joray will present the results from his data and describe the methods employed to boost their population numbers. Advance registration is required. Call 630-444-3190 or email programs@kaneforest.com to register.

    Sunday, July 19; 1-3 p.m.
    Peck Farm Park

    4038 Kaneville Rd., Geneva
    Fee: $10/person

    Creek Exploration

    Dip your toes in the water and enjoy a naturalist-guided exploration of the watery world of creeks. Fish, frogs and water striders are just a few of the cool creatures we'll find. Wear shorts and bring an extra pair of shoes for wading. Adults must accompany children in the water. Minimum age: 5 years. Advance registration is required. Call 630-444-3190 or email programs@kaneforest.com to register.

    Wednesday, Aug. 5; 10:30-11:30 a.m.
    Tyler Creek Forest Preserve

    401 Davis Rd., Elgin
    Fee: $2/person

    A Sense of Place: Muirhead Springs

    During this evening walk through the beautiful tallgrass prairie of Muirhead Springs Forest Preserve, we'll learn the history of the preserve's namesake and the ecology of the area. Senior Ranger Mandy Morgan and Nature Programs Manager Valerie Blaine will present the history of land use, preservation and restoration of this beautiful area. Advance registration is required. Call 630-444-3190 or email programs@kaneforest.com to register.

    Wednesday, Aug. 12; 7-8:30 p.m.
    Muirhead Springs Forest Preserve

    42W797 Rohrsen Rd., Hampshire
    Fee: $10/person

    Bat Watch

    The fun starts at dusk if you're an insectivorous bat — or if you're someone who likes to watch bats! During this family program, we'll find bats using our super-duper "bat detector." This device picks up bats' "clicks" used in echolocation. We'll also play some bat games and learn about bat ecology. Advance registration is required. Call 630-444-3190 or email programs@kaneforest.com to register.

    Tuesday, Aug. 11; 7:45-8:45 p.m.
    Creek Bend Nature Center

    LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
    37W700 Dean St., Saint Charles
    Fee: $2/person

    Thursday, Aug. 13; 7:45-8:45 p.m.
    Hannaford Woods/Nickels Farm Forest Preserve

    5S002 Merrill Rd., Sugar Grove
    Fee: $2/person

    Story Time at Creek Bend Nature Center

    Treat your child to story times at Creek Bend Nature Center. This popular program series is for children (infants through 5-year olds) and their caregivers. Saint Charles Public Library staff will read books, accompanied by finger plays, songs and more. All are welcome to enjoy the interactive exhibits in the Nature Center, following the program. Advance registration is required. Call 630-444-3190 or email programs@kaneforest.com to register.

    Friday, May 8; 10:30-11 a.m.
    Creek Bend Nature Center

    LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
    37W700 Dean St., Saint Charles
    FREE

    Friday, June 5; 10:30-11 a.m.
    Creek Bend Nature Center

    LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
    37W700 Dean St., Saint Charles
    FREE

    Friday, July 10; 10:30-11 a.m.
    Creek Bend Nature Center

    LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
    37W700 Dean St., Saint Charles
    FREE

    Friday, June 5; 10:30-11 a.m.
    Creek Bend Nature Center

    LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
    37W700 Dean St., Saint Charles
    FREE

    Friday, Aug. 14; 10:30-11 a.m.
    Creek Bend Nature Center

    LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
    37W700 Dean St., Saint Charles
    FREE

    Mosquitoes: More than Meets the Compound Eye

    Mosquitoes are undoubtedly our most unpopular native insects. They're swatted and smashed, sprayed and fumigated. But have you ever stopped to look at one up close? This fun evening program of catching and observing these nocturnal insects will have you itching to know more about the important role they play in ecology. We'll use magnifiers and bug boxes to look at them, and play a "mosquito game" as well. Advance registration is required. Call 630-444-3190 or email programs@kaneforest.com to register.

    Saturday, Aug. 29; 7-8 p.m.
    Binnie Forest Preserve

    38W040 Binnie Rd., West Dundee
    Fee: $2/person

    Senior Stroll

    Seniors are invited to join District naturalists the first Thursday of every month for a pleasant stroll in our natural areas. Each month we visit a different site and learn about the natural and cultural history of the area. The strolls begin at 10 a.m. and last about an hour, with social time following the walk. In the event of severe weather, call 630-444-3190 for cancellation information. Wear sturdy shoes. You may wish to bring insect repellent and sunscreen. Donations are accepted to cover the cost of refreshments. No registration required.

    Thursday, July 2; 10 a.m. - noon
    Dick Young Forest Preserve

    39W115 Main St., Batavia
    FREE

    Thursday, Aug. 6; 10 a.m. - noon
    Muirhead Springs Forest Preserve

    42W797 Rohrsen Rd., Hampshire
    FREE

    Thursday, Sept. 3; 10 a.m - noon
    Grunwald Farms Forest Preserve

    02S035 North Lorang Rd., Elburn
    FREE

    Fall Tree Identification

    This field class will begin with an introduction to basic plant morphology needed for tree identification. We will take a walk on the wooded trails to learn the common hardwood trees. Students will learn several methods of tree identification. Call 630-444-3190 or email programs@kaneforest.com to register.

    Saturday, Sept. 19; 1-3 p.m.
    Rutland Forest Preserve

    41W230 Big Timber Rd., Hampshire
    Fee: $10/person

    Fall in the Fen

    Autumn is the perfect season to explore Ferson Creek Fen, an Illinos State Nature Preserve in St. Charles. Fed by mineral-rich groundwater, this exceptional wetland is home to an array of rare, native plants, each of which is uniquely adapted to live in alkaline, yet peaty conditions. A host of unusual wildlife, including weasels, queen snakes and osprey, also frequent the area. This tour will be led by Nature Program Manager Pam Otto of the St. Charles Park District. Call 630-444-3190 or email programs@kaneforest.com to register.

    Sunday, Sept. 20; 1-2:30 p.m.
    Ferson Creek Fen

    IL Route 31, north of Ferson Creek Park
    Fee: $10/person

    Harvest of the Acorn Moon

    The prairie has turned golden, the forest trees are laden with fruit, and nature's bounty is harvested by wildlife and humans alike. Celebrate the harvest season at our fall festival! There will be nature crafts, pumpkin painting, outdoor games, folk music, and guided hikes. All ages are welcome to this free family festival! Call 630-444-3190 or email programs@kaneforest.com to register.

    Sunday, Oct. 4; 1-4 p.m.
    Oakhurst Forest Preserve

    1680 Fifth Ave., Aurora
    FREE admission; nominal fee for crafts

    Mighty Oaks of Kane County

    The oak tree was once hailed as king of the forest. People called it magnificent, majestic and mighty. But that was then. Now, oak woodlands are in serious decline. On this guided hike, you'll get "up close and personal" with some of our venerable oaks and learn how to identify different species. You'll also learn what the Forest Preserve District of Kane County is doing to restore oak woodlands – and how you can help! Advanced registration is required. Call 630-444-3190 or email programs@kaneforest.com to register.

    Saturday, Oct. 17; 1-2:30 p.m.
    Dick Young Forest Preserve

    39W115 Main St., Batavia
    FREE

    Kane County Big Tree Program - NEW!

    What's the biggest tree in Kane County? Do you have a huge tree in your neighborhood? Where is the largest oak tree in the area? You can help discover and document "giant trees" by participating in the Kane County Big Tree Program. Learn about the program and how you can get involved by attending this workshop. We'll begin with classroom instruction, and then head outdoors to learn how to identify and measure trees. You'll also learn how to nominate trees for champion Big Tree status. The Kane County Big Tree Program follows the protocols of The Illinois Big Tree Registry. This state-wide program encourages citizens to appreciate, record and report the largest native trees. Advanced registration is required. Call 630-444-3190 or email programs@kaneforest.com to register.

    Sunday, Oct. 25; 1-4 p.m.
    Creek Bend Nature Center

    LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
    37W700 Dean St., Saint Charles
    FREE

    A Murder of Crows

    Sparrows fly in flocks, deer move in herds, wolves run in packs, and lions gather in prides. Crows, however, congregate in a group called a "murder." In many cultures, they are associated with death, the afterlife, and the netherworld. Despite their dark reputation, crows are really cool birds! In this program, we will look at the role of the crow in history and culture and then examine their place in ecology. We will also look at population trends since the appearance of West Nile Virus. The discussion will be led by nature programs managers Valerie Blaine and Pam Otto. Call 630-444-3190 or email programs@kaneforest.com to register.

    Wednesday, Oct. 28; 7-8:30 p.m.
    Hickory Knolls Discovery Center

    3795 Campton Hills Dr., Saint Charles
    Fee: $10/person

    Scary Stories in the Woods

    Gather around the campfire for an evening of scary stories told my master storytellers from the St. Charles Public Library. This program is exclusively for children in grades three and above, and adults. Advanced registration is required. Call 630-444-3190 or email programs@kaneforest.com to register.

    Friday, Oct. 30; 8-9 p.m.
    Creek Bend Nature Center

    LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
    37W700 Dean St., Saint Charles
    FREE

    Tree Trunk or Treat!

    Wear your costume to Creek Bend Nature Center for this special Halloween event. District naturalists will help you discover the creepy-cool creatures that lurk in the wild. There will be activities both indoors and outdoors. And, of course, there will be treats for all by the trunk of the big oak tree! Drop by any time between 1 and 4 p.m. Children must be accompanied by an adult. Advanced registration is required. Call 630-444-3190 or email programs@kaneforest.com to register.

    Saturday, Oct. 31; 1-4 p.m.
    Creek Bend Nature Center

    LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
    37W700 Dean St., Saint Charles
    FREE

    Natural History of the Canada Goose

    Everyone can identify these large waterfowl, but many people know little about them. In this class, a wildlife biologist will present the natural history of this regal-looking, yet often-reviled bird. Learn about the ups and downs of goose populations, subspecies identification, migration trends and more. Call 630-444-3190 or email programs@kaneforest.com to register.

    Thursday, Nov. 12; 7-8:30 p.m.
    Hickory Knolls Discovery Center

    3795 Campton Hills Dr., Saint Charles
    Fee: $10/person

    Over the River and Through the Woods

    Too much holiday food? Tired of shopping? We've got a great alternative! Come to LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve for a guided nature walk. We'll watch for wildlife, learn about adaptations for winter, and maybe see a wild turkey or two! We won't go over the river, but we'll walk over the creek on a foot bridge, and hike through the woods. All ages are welcome – bring the whole family! Advanced registration is required. Call 630-444-3190 or email programs@kaneforest.com to register.

    Friday, Nov. 27; 10-11 a.m.
    Creek Bend Nature Center

    LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
    37W700 Dean St., Saint Charles
    FREE

    Kane County Certified Naturalists

    Want to learn about Kane County's fastest-growing nature education program for adults? Attend one of these free informational sessions to find out what all the excitement is about! During these informational sessions, you'll learn the dates, details, cost – and the benefits – of this award-winning program.

    Wednesday, Dec. 2; 7-8 p.m.
    Hickory Knolls Discovery Center

    3795 Campton Hills Dr., Saint Charles
    FREE

    Saturday, Dec. 5; 10-11 a.m.
    Creek Bend Nature Center

    LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
    37W700 Dean St., Saint Charles
    FREE

    Winter Solstice Campfire

    Gather around a campfire as the sun sets on the shortest day of the year. Learn about the winter solstice with stories from different cultures emphasizing the interplay of cultural and ecological events on this pivotal day. All ages are welcome to herald the return of the sun! Space is limited, so register early! Advance registration is required. Call 630-444-3190 or email programs@kaneforest.com to register.

    Monday, Dec. 21; 4-5:30 p.m.
    Creek Bend Nature Center

    LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
    37W700 Dean St., Saint Charles
    FREE

    Tracks and Trails

    Many animals are active in winter and they leave tell-tale signs of their presence. Come out to LeRoy Oakes for a guided hike and look for animal signs. We'll learn the habits and behaviors of native wildlife by the signs they leave. Advance registration is required. Call 630-444-3190 or email programs@kaneforest.com to register.

    Monday, Dec. 28; 10-11 a.m.
    Creek Bend Nature Center

    LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
    37W700 Dean St., Saint Charles
    FREE

    Owls of the Winter Woods

    One of the most mysterious yet fascinating nighttime creatures is the owl. Come to this evening program and learn about the natural history of our native owls, and their impact on human culture as well as their place in ecological communities. After introductory activities indoors, we'll head out into the woods to look for Great Horned Owls and Screech Owls. For ages 8 and up. Advance registration is required. Call 630-444-3190 or email programs@kaneforest.com to register.

    Thursday, Dec. 29; 7-8:30 p.m.
    Binnie Forest Preserve

    38W040 Binnie Rd., West Dundee
    FREE

    New Year's Morning Hike

    What a better way to start the new year than a hike in the wintry woods! On this special holiday, you're welcome to bring the family – grandkids and all! We'll look for the first animal tracks made in the new year's snow. We'll also look at trees, seeds and other surprises from Mother Nature. There will be coffee and cocoa in the nature center after the hike. Advance registration is required. Call 630-444-3190 or email programs@kaneforest.com to register.

    Friday, Jan. 1; 9-10 a.m.
    Creek Bend Nature Center

    LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
    37W700 Dean St., Saint Charles
    FREE

    Winter Wildlife Hikes

    There are many kinds of animals that brave the Illinois winter. On this naturalist-guided hike, we'll look for signs of wintering wildlife and learn about adaptations for surviving the cold. Advance registration is required. Call 630-444-3190 or email programs@kaneforest.com to register.

    Monday, Jan. 18; 1-2:30 p.m.
    Hannaford Woods Forest Preserve

    Merrill Rd., Sugar Grove
    FREE

    Saturday, Jan. 23; 10-11:30 a.m.
    Tyler Creek Forest Preserve

    401 Davis Rd., Elgin
    FREE

    Winter Tree Identification

    Identifying trees in winter is not as daunting as it may seem! During this two hour class, you'll learn the basics of tree identification (sans leaves) and gain experience using a botanical key to identify native trees. Instructor Valerie Blaine will share tips to help demystify winter tree identification and will emphasize observation of bark, branches, form, habit, habitat, twigs, leaf scars and buds. Advance registration is required. Call 630-444-3190 or email programs@kaneforest.com to register.

    Saturday, Jan. 30; 1-3 p.m.
    Creek Bend Nature Center

    LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
    37W700 Dean St., Saint Charles
    Fee: $10/person

    Meet the Smooth Green Snake

    This native but little-known snake was once a common part of our local landscape, but its numbers have declined steeply over the past few decades. Thanks to efforts by Lincoln Park Zoo and the Lake County Forest Preserve District, the smooth green snake has a shot at a comeback. Dr. Allison Sacerdote-Velat of the Lincoln Park Zoo will detail the work being done to study and help this species gain a stronger presence in the Chicago region. Advance registration is required. Call 630-444-3190 or email programs@kaneforest.com to register.

    Saturday, Feb. 6; 10-11:30 a.m.
    Hickory Knolls Discovery Center

    3795 Campton Hills Dr., Saint Charles
    Fee: $10/person

    Maple Sugaring Days!

    The sap’s rising! Join us for our annual maple-tapping festival. We’ll explore the art, science and folklore of the “sugar bush” or maple grove, from early Native American times to the modern sugaring industry. District naturalists will demonstrate how to tap a maple tree, and you’ll have the opportunity to try your hand at drilling and setting a tap. We’ll simmer sap over an open fire and watch as it thickens to syrup. There will be a “Sugarin’ Time” hike, during which you’ll learn how to distinguish maples from other species of hardwood trees in the woodland. No registration is required.

    Saturday, March 12; 1-4 p.m.
    Creek Bend Nature Center

    LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
    37W700 Dean St., Saint Charles
    FREE

    Sunday, March 13; 1-4 p.m.
    Creek Bend Nature Center

    LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
    37W700 Dean St., Saint Charles
    FREE

    Homeschool Explorations

    Join us for this nature program series designed for home school families. Each month, the program focuses on a different topic at a different forest preserve. All ages are welcome, but the activities are designed for ages 5-10. Advanced registration is required. Call 630-444-3190 or email programs@kaneforest.com to register.

    Winter Wildlife
    Thursday, Jan. 21; 10-11:30 a.m.

    Oakhurst Forest Preserve
    1680 Fifth Ave., Aurora
    Fee: $2/person

    Ice Age Animals
    Thursday, Feb. 18; 10-11:30 a.m.

    Camp Tomo Chi Chi Knolls/Freeman Kame Forest Preserve
    40W095 Freeman Rd., Gilberts
    Fee: $2/person

    Seasons and Cycles
    Thursday, March 17; 10-11:30 a.m.

    Tekakwitha Woods Forest Preserve
    35W076 Villa Marie Rd., Saint Charles
    Fee: $2/person

    A Sense of Place: The History of Grunwald Farms

    Where is home for you? What makes a place home? We'll look at these questions in light of knowing the land where we live. Each program in the Sense of Place series highlights the special and unique landscape of Kane County. We'll look at the interplay of human culture and the land as well as local knowledge and folklore. A Sense of Place can grow from knowledge, appreciation and love of our ecological home. Grunwald Farms Forest Preserve lies in southeastern Kane County. The preserve features rolling topography, a fen alongside Blackberry Creek, and a large lake. The history of this 237-acre preserve is a blend of farming, mining and restoration. On this walk, we'll relay the tales Mr. Grunwald has told about growing up on the farm. We'll also see the results of land reclamation and habitat restoration. Advance registration is required. Call 630-444-3190 or email programs@kaneforest.com to register.

    Sunday, April 17; 1-2:30 p.m.
    Grunwald Farms Forest Preserve

    02S035 Lorang Rd., Elburn
    Fee: $10/person

    Earth Day Open House at Creek Bend Nature Center

    Earth Day is every day at Creek Bend Nature Center, but today is extra special! Throughout the day there will be activities for everyone – from stories and crafts in the Nature Center to a habitat restoration activity in the forest preserve. There will be Earth Day treats for everyone, and we will treat Mother Earth by cleaning up the trails. Note: Creek Bend Nature Center will be open until 6 p.m. on Earth Day. Be sure to stop by!

    Tales for Mother Earth
    Friday, April 22; 10-10:30 a.m.

    Creek Bend Nature Center
    37W700 Dean St., Saint Charles
    FREE

    Nature Crafts
    Friday, April 22; 1-2 p.m.

    Creek Bend Nature Center
    37W700 Dean St., Saint Charles
    FREE

    Backyard Wilderness
    Friday, April 22; 4-4:45 p.m.

    Creek Bend Nature Center
    37W700 Dean St., Saint Charles
    FREE

    Discovery Hike and Naturalist-led trail activities
    Friday, April 22; 5-6 p.m.

    Creek Bend Nature Center
    37W700 Dean St., Saint Charles
    FREE

    Garden Workshops

    In this fun, interactive series of gardening programs, we'll discuss the natural and cultural impact of plants species that grow in our gardens, and then create a garden-in-a-pot to take home. Participants will be provided with a container, plants and all materials needed to create a potted plant. For ages 18 and above. Advance registration is required. Call 630-444-3190 or email programs@kaneforest.com to register.

    Sunday, April 10; 1-2:30 p.m.
    Creek Bend Nature Center

    LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
    37W700 Dean St., Saint Charles
    FREE

    Sunday, April 24; 1-2:30 p.m.
    Creek Bend Nature Center

    LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
    37W700 Dean St., Saint Charles
    FREE

    Discover Morels!

    Morels are an early spring mushroom considered to be a delicacy by many mushroom enthusiasts. On this guided hike, we'll head into the woods to hunt for – but not harvest – morels. We'll learn how to identify morels and distinguish them from other fungi. The morel's habitat requirements and role in ecology will also be discussed. Disclaimer: This program is NOT intended to be a collection foray and we'll not be gathering morels or any other fungi. Advance registration is required. Call 630-444-3190 or email programs@kaneforest.com to register.

    Saturday, April 30; 10-11:30 a.m.
    Tekakwitha Woods Forest Preserve

    35W076 Villa Marie Rd., Saint Charles
    FREE

    Senior Stroll

    Seniors are invited to join District naturalists the first Thursday of every month for a pleasant stroll in our natural areas. Each month we visit a different site and learn about the natural and cultural history of the area. The strolls begin at 10 a.m. and last about an hour, with social time following the walk. In the event of severe weather, call 630-444-3190 for cancellation information. Wear sturdy shoes. You may wish to bring insect repellent and sunscreen. Donations are accepted to cover the cost of refreshments. No registration required.

    Thursday, Feb. 4; 10 a.m. - noon
    Belding Lodge at Brewster Creek

    6N921 Route 25, Saint Charles
    FREE

    Thursday, March 3; 10 a.m.-noon
    Creek Bend Nature Center

    LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
    37W700 Dean St., Saint Charles
    FREE

    Thursday, April 7; 10 a.m. - noon
    Bliss Woods Forest Preserve

    5S660 Bliss Rd., Sugar Grove
    FREE

    Thursday, May 5; 10 a.m.-noon
    Camp Tomo Chi-Chi Knolls

    40W095 Freeman Rd., Gilberts
    FREE

    Search for Spring!

    Join us for one, some or all of these programs designed to discover the wonders of spring! Advance registration is required. Call 630-444-3190 or email programs@kaneforest.com to register.

    Skunk Cabbage
    With a name like Skunk Cabbage, this is not the kind of spring wildflower most people look for – but it is one of the most fascinating botanical wonders of our woods! On this guided walk, we'll find skunk cabbage in bloom and learn about its unique traits. Skunk cabbage grows in wet woods, so wear shoes or boots that can get muddy.
    Saturday, March 26; 10-11 a.m.
    Big Rock Forest Preserve
    46W072 Jericho Rd., Big Rock
    FREE


    Folklore of Flowers
    Who is Jack and why is he in the pulprit? What is "Wake Robin?" And why does Skunk Cabbage stink? Learn the names of colorful stories of native wildflowers during this naturalist-guided walk.
    Saturday, April 16; 10-11 a.m.
    Burnidge Forest Preserve
    14N035 Coombs Rd., Elgin
    FREE

    Wildflowers by Evening
    Join us after work for a special evening wildflower walk. We'll go over tips for identifying wildflowers and learn about the ecology of the woods where they grow.
    Thursday, May 12; 10-11 a.m.
    Dick Young Forest Preserve
    39W115 Main St., Batavia
    FREE

    Big Trees of Kane County

    Illinois may be known as the Prairie State, but we’ve got some awesome trees as well as grasses! You can help discover and document the giants as part of The Illinois Big Tree Registry. This state-wide program encourages citizens to appreciate, record and report the largest native trees. Learn how to get involved during this workshop led by Forest Preserve District Naturalists Valerie Blaine and Josh Libman. We’ll begin with approximately 1-hour of classroom instruction covering tree identification, the history of the Big Tree program, and citizen involvement. Then, we’ll head outdoors to practice measuring trees. Advance registration is required. Call 630-444-3190 or email programs@kaneforest.com to register.

    Saturday, May 14; 9 a.m. - noon
    Creek Bend Nature Center

    LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
    37W700 Dean St., Saint Charles
    Fee: $10/person

    Vultures

    Turkey Vultures are perhaps the least appreciated spring migrant. But boy, are they cool! Find out more on this hike as we look for Turkey Vultures in action. We'll talk about their importance as nature's cleaner-up crew and learn about the awesomely gross adaptations that make them so good at what they do. Advance registration is required. Call 630-444-3190 or email programs@kaneforest.com to register.

    Sunday, May 15; 10-11 a.m.
    Pingree Grove Forest Preserve

    14N187 US Route 20, Hampshire
    FREE

    Trek with a Naturalist

    Need to get out in nature after a long day at work or with the kids? Join one of our District naturalists for an invigorating two-hour hike around Nelson Lake Marsh. We'll have a few stops to learn about the ecology of the preserve, but most of the time will be spent in active hiking. Advance registration is required. Call 630-444-3190 or email programs@kaneforest.com to register.

    Thursday, May 19; 6-8 p.m.
    Dick Young Forest Preserve

    2S326 Nelson Lake Rd., Batavia
    FREE

    Homeschool Explorations

    This program series is specially designed for home school families with children ages 5-10 although all ages are welcome. Each month we cover a new topic at a different forest preserve, with lots of hands-on activities and plenty of fun. Space is limited for this popular program. Please call ahead to reserve your spot. Fee: $2/person; $8/family of four or more. Advance registration is required. Call 630-444-3190 or email programs@kaneforest.com to register.

    Ice Age Animals
    Wednesday, Feb. 17; 10-11:30 a.m.

    Camp Tomo Chi-Chi Knolls
    40W095 Freeman Rd., Gilberts

    Seasons and Cycles of Animals
    Wednesday, March 16; 10-11:30 a.m.

    Tekakwitha Woods Forest Preserve
    35W076 Villa Marie Rd., Saint Charles

    Spring Sprouts
    Wednesday, April 18; 10-11:30 a.m.

    Bliss Woods Forest Preserve
    5S660 Bliss Rd., Sugar Grove

    Snakes and Turtles
    Wednesday, May 20; 10-11:30 a.m.

    Creek Bend Nature Center
    37W700 Dean St., Saint Charles

    Little Naturalists

    In this hour-long program for 4-year olds, children will discover the wonders of nature through stories, nature hikes, songs, games, or crafts. (Note: This is a "drop-off" program; adults and siblings may enjoy the trails or wait in the nature center during program.) Advanced registration is required. Call 630-444-3190 or email programs@kaneforest.com to register.

    Owls of the Forest
    Thursday, Jan. 28; 1-2 p.m.

    Creek Bend Nature Center
    LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
    37W700 Dean St., Saint Charles
    Fee: $5/child

    Backyard Wilderness
    Thursday, Feb. 25; 1-2 p.m.

    Creek Bend Nature Center
    LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
    37W700 Dean St., Saint Charles
    Fee: $5/child

    Nests and Eggs
    Thursday, March 24; 1-2 p.m.

    Creek Bend Nature Center
    LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
    37W700 Dean St., Saint Charles
    Fee: $5/child

    Fluff and Feathers
    Thursday, April 28; 1-2 p.m.

    Creek Bend Nature Center
    LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
    37W700 Dean St., Saint Charles
    Fee: $5/child

    Pretty Petals
    Thursday, May 26; 1-2 p.m.

    Creek Bend Nature Center
    LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
    37W700 Dean St., Saint Charles
    Fee: $5/child

    Nature Tykes

    In this program geared for 3-year olds, we will explore the natural world through a variety of activities. Sessions include a combination of stories, nature hikes, songs, games, or crafts. A parent or caregiver must accompany child. Advanced registration is required. Call 630-444-3190 or email programs@kaneforest.com to register.

    Owls of the Forest
    Thursday, Jan. 28; 9:30-10:30 a.m.

    Creek Bend Nature Center
    LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
    37W700 Dean St., Saint Charles
    Fee: $5/child

    Backyard Wilderness
    Thursday, Feb. 25; 9:30-10:30 a.m.

    Creek Bend Nature Center
    LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
    37W700 Dean St., Saint Charles
    Fee: $5/child

    Nests and Eggs
    Thursday, March 24; 9:30-10:30 a.m.

    Creek Bend Nature Center
    LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
    Fee: $5/child

    Fluff and Feathers
    Thursday, April 28; 9:30-10:30 a.m.

    Creek Bend Nature Center
    LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
    Fee: $5/child

    Pretty Petals
    Thursday, May 26; 9:30-10:30 a.m.

    Creek Bend Nature Center
    LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
    Fee: $5/child

    Little Sprouts Camp

    Introduce your preschool-age child to the wonders of nature during "Little Sprouts Camp." This week of half-day camps offers stories, games and short explorations into the nearby woods. We’ll discover butterflies, wildflowers, trees and more. Activities will be held both inside the nature center and outside in the woods. For ages 4 and 5 and 6 year-olds entering Kindergarten. Advance registration is required. Call 630-444-3190 or email programs@kaneforest.com to register.

    Monday, June 13 – Friday, June 17; 9-10:30 a.m.
    Creek Bend Nature Center

    LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
    37W700 Dean St., Saint Charles
    Fee: 85/child

    Monday, June 20 – Friday, June 24; 9-10:30 a.m.
    Creek Bend Nature Center

    LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
    37W700 Dean St., Saint Charles
    Fee: 85/child

    Story Time at Creek Bend Nature Center

    Treat your child to story times at Creek Bend Nature Center. This popular program series is for children (infants through 5-year olds) and their caregivers. Saint Charles Public Library staff will read books, accompanied by finger plays, songs and more. All are welcome to enjoy the interactive exhibits in the Nature Center, following the program. Advance registration is required. Call 630-444-3190 or email programs@kaneforest.com to register.

    Friday, Jan. 22; 10:30-11 a.m.
    Creek Bend Nature Center

    LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
    37W700 Dean St., Saint Charles
    FREE

    Friday, Feb. 26; 10:30-11 a.m.
    Creek Bend Nature Center

    LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
    37W700 Dean St., Saint Charles
    FREE

    Friday, March 18; 10:30-11 a.m.
    Creek Bend Nature Center

    LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
    37W700 Dean St., Saint Charles
    FREE

    Friday, April 15 ; 10:30-11 a.m.
    Creek Bend Nature Center

    LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
    37W700 Dean St., Saint Charles
    FREE

    Friday, May 20; 10:30-11 a.m.
    Creek Bend Nature Center

    LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
    37W700 Dean St., Saint Charles
    FREE

    Friday, June 17 ; 10:30-11 a.m.
    Creek Bend Nature Center

    LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
    37W700 Dean St., Saint Charles
    FREE

    Friday, June 24; 10:30-11 a.m.
    Creek Bend Nature Center

    LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
    37W700 Dean St., Saint Charles
    FREE

    Week in the Woods Day Camps

    During these five-day nature camps, children will explore the woods and fields with our naturalist staff. Through nature hikes, fun games and activities, children will discover native animals and plants in their habitats and learn the importance of these living things in the web of life. Each day will bring an exciting new adventure. Campers will be divided into two age groups: children entering grades 1 through 3; and children entering grades 4 through 6. Detailed information upon registration. Advance registration is required. Call 630-444-3190 or email programs@kaneforest.com to register.

    Monday, July 18 - Friday, July 22; 9 a.m. - noon
    Burnidge Forest Preserve

    14N035 Coombs Rd., Elgin
    Fee: $125/child

    Monday, July 25 - Friday, July 29; 9 a.m. - noon
    Burnidge Forest Preserve

    14N035 Coombs Rd., Elgin
    Fee: $125/child

    Monday, June 27 - Friday, July 1; 9 a.m. - noon
    Johnson's Mound Forest Preserve

    41W600 Hughes Rd., Elburn
    Fee: $125/child

    Monday, July 1 - Friday, July 15; 9 a.m. - noon
    Johnson's Mound Forest Preserve

    41W600 Hughes Rd., Elburn
    Fee: $125/child

    Twilight Camp

    Discover a whole new world of wildlife during this evening summer camp! We'll learn about the native animals that are out and about at dusk. Camp activities include hikes with the naturalists through the woods and prairie, games, stories, and a campfire on the last night of camp. For children entering grades 3-5. Advance registration is required. Call 630-444-3190 or email programs@kaneforest.com to register.

    Monday, Aug. 8 - Friday, Aug. 12; 7-9 p.m.
    Creek Bend Nature Center

    LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
    37W700 Dean St., Saint Charles
    Fee: $75/child

    Nature Book Group

    Calling all book-lovers and nature enthusiasts: join our Nature Book Group! Every month we'll discuss a book about the environment, nature, or related topics covering a broad range of issues. A diversity of viewpoints will be represented. Purchase or borrow and read the book(s) in advance and come ready for a lively and informative discussion! Advance registration is required. Call 630-444-3190 or email programs@kaneforest.com to register.

    The Nature Principle by Richard Louv
    Wednesday, Feb. 17; 7-8:30 p.m.

    Creek Bend Nature Center
    LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
    37W700 Dean St., Saint Charles
    FREE

    Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingslover
    Wednesday, March 16; 7-8:30 p.m.

    Creek Bend Nature Center
    LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
    37W700 Dean St., Saint Charles
    FREE

    Silent Spring by Rachel Carson
    Wednesday, April 20; 7-8:30 p.m.

    Creek Bend Nature Center
    LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
    37W700 Dean St., Saint Charles
    FREE

    Neither Wolf Nor Dog by Kent Nerburn
    Wednesday, May 18; 7-8:30 p.m.

    Creek Bend Nature Center
    LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
    37W700 Dean St., Saint Charles
    FREE

    The Monkey Wrench Gang by Edward Abbey
    Wednesday, June 15; 7-8:30 p.m.

    Creek Bend Nature Center
    LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
    37W700 Dean St., Saint Charles
    FREE

    Runes of the North by Sigurd Olson
    Wednesday, July 20; 7-8:30 p.m.

    Creek Bend Nature Center
    LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
    37W700 Dean St., Saint Charles
    FREE

    A Natural History of the Senses by Diane Ackerman
    Wednesday, Aug. 17; 7-8:30 p.m.

    Creek Bend Nature Center
    LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
    37W700 Dean St., Saint Charles
    FREE

    The Unpublished Journals of John Muir by Linnie Marsh Wolfe
    Wednesday, Sept. 21; 7-8:30 p.m.

    Creek Bend Nature Center
    LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
    37W700 Dean St., Saint Charles
    FREE

    Pilgrim at Tinker Creek by Annie Dillard
    Wednesday, Oct. 19; 7-8:30 p.m.

    Creek Bend Nature Center
    LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
    37W700 Dean St., Saint Charles
    FREE

    In Control of Nature by John McPhee
    Wednesday, Nov. 15; 7-8:30 p.m.

    Creek Bend Nature Center
    LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
    37W700 Dean St., Saint Charles
    FREE

    The Milagro Beanfield War by John Nichols
    Wednesday, Dec. 16; 7-8:30 p.m.

    Creek Bend Nature Center
    LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
    37W700 Dean St., Saint Charles
    FREE

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