COVID-19 precautions

  • Masks are required for all programs.
  • Maintain a minimum of 6 feet of distance between yourself and others.
  • Group sizes will be limited to 25 people inside and 50 people outside, effective Jan. 26, 2021.
  • Stay home if you are sick, or if you have been in contact with someone who is ill.

REGISTRATION

Registration is required for all programs unless otherwise noted. To register for any of our programs, please fill out a registration form, or call 630-444-3190. Telephone reservations are accepted weekdays, 8 a.m. - 4 p.m.


PAYMENT

Program payments may be made in person (cash, check or credit card) or via mail (checks only) to:

Creek Bend Nature Center
LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
37W700 Dean St.
St. Charles, IL 60175

Checks should be made payable to: Forest Preserve District of Kane County.

Programs are free unless otherwise indicated. Fee assistance is available upon request.


SUGGESTED ATTIRE

Most of our programs involve outdoor activities such as walking on trails. Please wear closed-toe shoes or boots (no sandals!) and long pants.


WEATHER

Severe weather cancels most programs. Call 630-444-3190 for program updates and cancellation announcements.


CANCELLATIONS

Please call us if you need to cancel, so that we may contact others on our wait list.


SPECIAL ACCOMMODATIONS

If you require special accommodations, please let us know at least two weeks in advance by calling the program manager at 630-649-1147. Anyone who requires an auxiliary aid or service for effective communication, or a modification of policies or procedures to participate in a program, service or activity of the District, should contact the ADA Coordinator at Voice: 630-232-5921 or 630-232-5980, TTY Relay: 800-526-0844, e-mail at ada@kaneforest.com or mail at 1996 S. Kirk Rd., Ste. 320, Geneva, IL 60134, as soon as possible, but no later than 72 hours before the scheduled event.


NATURE PROGRAM EVALUATION

Have you attended a recent nature program by the Forest Preserve District of Kane County? Tell us how we did. Fill-out our online Nature Program Evaluation. There, you can rate our performance as well as our facilities, suggest future program topics, subscribe to The TreeLine newsletter, and more.

COVID-19 precautions

  • Masks are required for all programs.
  • Maintain a minimum of 6 feet of distance between yourself and others.
  • Group sizes will be limited to 25 indoors and 50 people outdoors, effective Jan. 26, 2021.
  • Stay home if you are sick, or if you have been in contact with someone who is ill.

Registration is required. Many programs fill up quickly, so please register early to guarantee a spot. Call 630-444-3190 or fill out this form to register.


StorY Time At Creek Bend Nature Center

Enjoy a virtual story, explore Creek Bend Nature Center, and learn how you can create beautiful things with nature! We'll provide the materials needed to do the take-home craft. Each month, we'll release a new video featuring a book read by a librarian with the St. Charles Public Library and a fun craft for you to do at home. Stop into Creek Bend Nature Center to see the video on each release date and we'll provide you the the take-home craft items. This is a drop-in program. No registration required.

  • Wednesday, March 17; 10 a.m. - Noon
  • Wednesday, April 14; 10 a.m. - Noon
  • Wednesday, May 12; 10 a.m. - Noon

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


little saplings

In this monthly program geared for 3-5 year-olds, we'll explore the natural world through a variety of activities specific to the theme of the month. Sessions include a combination of stories, nature hikes, songs, games, or crafts. A parent or caregiver must accompany child.

Thursday, March 18; 9:30 a.m. - 10:30 a.m. "Mighty Oaks & Marvelous Maples"
Creek Bend Nature Center
LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
37W700 Dean St., St. Charles
Fee: $5/child

Thursday, April 15; 9:30 a.m. - 10:30 a.m. "Wiggly & Wacky Worms"
Creek Bend Nature Center
LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
37W700 Dean St., St. Charles
Fee: $5/child

Thursday, May 20; 9:30 a.m. - 10:30 a.m. "Birds of a Feather"
Creek Bend Nature Center
LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
37W700 Dean St., St. Charles
Fee: $5/child


Week in the Woods Summer Camp

Explore the woods and fields during these five-day nature camps! Naturalists will lead activities based on a different nature theme each day. Summer camp is for children entering grades 1st - 6th. Advance registration is required. Call 630-444-3190 or email programs@kaneforest.com to register. Detailed camp information will be provided upon registration.

Monday - Friday, June 21 - 25
9 a.m. - Noon
"Tracking & Survival"

Johnson's Mound Forest Preserve
41W600 Hughes Rd., Elburn
Fee: $125/child

Monday - Friday, July 12 -16
9 a.m. - Noon
"STEM in Nature"

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

Monday - Friday, July 26 - 30
9 a.m. - Noon
"Summer Unplugged"

Creek Bend Nature Center
LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
37W700 Dean St., St. Charles
Fee: $125/child


Junior Naturalist Camp

During this camp conducted in partnership with the Geneva Park District, discover the sights and sounds of a different forest preserve each day! Get your feet wet in local rivers and streams, track animals in nearby woodlands, and explore firsthand the history and geology of Kane County. This full-day camp is for children entering grades 3rd through 5th. Each day of camp will begin and end at Peck Farm Park (4038 Kaneville Rd., Geneva) then travel by bus to a different Kane County forest preserve each day. Advance registration is required, with 3 ways to register: Online at www.genevaparks.org, by phone at 630-232-4542, or in-person at Sunset Community Center (710 Western Ave., Geneva.) Registration opens March 9 for Geneva residents and March 16 for non-residents. Detailed camp information will be provided upon registration.

Daily Themes/Forest Preserves:

  • Day 1: Watersheds & Wetlands - LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve, St. Charles
  • Day 2: Geology - Camp Tomo Chi-Chi Knolls, Gilberts
  • Day 3: River Ecology - Glenwood Park Forest Preserve, Batavia
  • Day 4: Woodlands & Woodland Animals - Bliss Woods Forest Preserve, Sugar Grove
  • Day 5: Cultural & Natural History - LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve, St. Charles & Fabyan Forest Preserve, Geneva
Time: 9 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Fee: $290/child per session

  • Session 1: Monday - Friday, June 28 - July 2; Activity Code: 3212806-01
  • Session 2: Monday - Friday, July 19 - 23; Activity Code: 3212806-02
  • Session 3: Monday - Friday, Aug. 2 - 6; Activity Code: 3212806-03

Woodland Birthday Parties

Let us host a Woodland Birthday party for your child! We'll take care of the planning, entertainment and clean-up! Woodland Birthday Parties feature: An outdoor guided hike led by naturalists; a campfire; unique nature-themed party favors; use of Creek Bend Nature Center. Parties are available year-round! The fee is $100 for Kane County residents; $125 for out-of-county residents. Rate includes a party for 15 children; for more than 15 children, there will be an additional $5 per child. Call 630-444-3190 or email programs@kaneforest.com for more information or to book your Woodland Birthday Party today!

COVID-19 Precautions

  • Masks are required for all programs.
  • Maintain a minimum of 6 feet of distance between yourself and others.
  • Group sizes will be limited to 25 indoors and 50 people outdoors, effective Jan. 26, 2021.
  • Stay home if you are sick, or if you have been in contact with someone who is ill.

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 fill out this form to register.


Exploring by Snowshoe

Don't let a little snow stop you from getting out to enjoy nature! Snowshoeing is fun and easy and is the perfect way to explore our forest preserves in the winter. If you've never snowshoed, join us to learn the basic skills needed to be comfortable and competent. After mastering skills like stride length, heel-toe step, and climbing over obstacles, we'll hit the trail for a naturalist-guided hike through the winter wonderland. Attend one or all four sessions! Fees will be collected at the program, with payment by cash or check required and includes: equipment rental, skills training, and guided hiking. We require registration and shoe size at least 1 week prior to the program.

Thursday, March 4; 1-3 p.m. **CANCELLED DUE TO WEATHER**
Burnidge Forest Preserve
14N035 Coombs Rd., Elgin
Fee: $25/person

out & About podcast

The natural world is loaded with interesting learning opportunities, and the Forest Preserve District of Kane County has over 20,000 acres to explore! Stay up-to-date with the latest happenings in the District, and have some fun with Naturalist Josh Libman as we highlight the wonderful ways to enjoy our open spaces.

Episode 7 Releases Thursday, April 1
Virtual
Listen here.
FREE


Hiking and Hunting for Skunk Cabbage

Did you know that some native flowers are hardy enough to pop up through a blanket of snow? Help our naturalist search for the first wildflower of spring -- the strange and unusual skunk cabbage. Come ready to hike through the woods to find patches of this wonderful plant hiding low on the ground.

Saturday, March 13; 9:30-10:30 a.m.
Bliss Woods Forest Preserve
5S660 Bliss Rd., Sugar Grove
FREE


Wildflowers Galore!

Kane County has many beautiful wildflowers that show themselves in the spring. Join us for a hike through our woodlands to find some of these plants and learn about their habitats and histories.

Sunday, April 11; 9:30-10:30 a.m.
Johnson's Mound Forest Preserve
41W600 Hughes Rd., Elburn
FREE

Saturday, May 8; 9:30-10:30 a.m.
Camp Tomo Chi-Chi Knolls
40W095 Freeman Rd., Gilberts
FREE


Calling Frog Quest

Come April, frogs and toads will be gearing up for a busy spring. Hike along the wetland trails at Hannaford Woods Forest Preserve to look for and learn about these noisy, native creatures!

Sunday, April 18; 10-11 a.m.
Hannaford Woods Forest Preserve
5S002 Merrill Rd., Sugar Grove
FREE


Earth Day Birthday

The first Earth Day, on April 22, 1970, is credited with launching the modern environmental movement. Let's meet to carry on the legacy and celebrate the natural world. Come to enjoy a campfire program about the history and impact of Earth Day and to discuss ways we can help protect this Earth we all call home. We'll conclude the evening with an invigorating twilight birthday hike! Meet at Creek Bend Nature Center for an introduction prior to heading outdoors.

Thursday, April 22; 5:30-7 p.m.
LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
37W700 Dean St., St. Charles
Fee: $2/person


Ethnobotany Exploration

Since time immemorial, the stories of people and plants have intertwined in terms of shelter, weaponry, ceremony, food and medicine. Before European colonization of North America, Native Americans were nourished and physically healed by the land. Join a naturalist to walk back in time and admire the woods as not only a place of beauty and shelter, but as a provider of food and medicine.

Thursday, April 29; 4-5 p.m.
Tekakwitha Woods Forest Preserve
35W076 Villa Maria Rd., St. Charles
FREE


Warbler Mania

Enjoy the changing seasons as we hike, look, and listen for the birds inhabiting our forest preserves this spring. District naturalists will cover basic bird identification skills and share a few interesting stories along the way.

Friday, May 14; 9-10 a.m.
Burnidge Forest Preserve
14N035 Coombs Rd., Elgin
FREE


Pollinator Workshop Series:

Pollinator-Friendly Herb Garden Workshop

Herbs can do far more than simply spice up your kitchen life -- they provide nectar and play host to an amazing array of pollinators! In this garden workshop, participants will be given all the tools necessary to build a culinary herb garden, for use by both home cooks and local butterflies. Plants, pots, and information on proper garden maintenance will be provided. Forest Preserve District naturalists will highlight some of the gorgeous butterfly species that may be attracted to your hard work!

Saturday, April 17; 10-11 a.m.
Creek Bend Nature Center
LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
37W700 Dean St., St. Charles
Fee: $15/garden (or register for both workshops, Pollinator-Friendly Herb Garden & Build a Butterfly House, for $25.)


Build a Butterfly House Workshop

Bring a hammer and your creativity to create a stylish butterfly house that will beautify your home. Participants will work with pre-cut wood and tacks to assemble this simple building project. We'll provide painting supplies so you can add your own special finishing touches!

Sunday, May 16; 10-11 a.m.
Creek Bend Nature Center
LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
37W700 Dean St., St. Charles
Fee: $15/house (or register for both workshops, Pollinator-Friendly Herb Garden & Build a Butterfly House for $25.)


Treasure Hunt Adventure (Virtual)

Hit the trails with your friends and family, and experience our Kane County forest preserves like never before! This interactive, virtual treasure hunt will feature fun facts, hidden clues, and completion prizes. A guided video will lead you to several locations within LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve, where you'll learn about local ecology and then find secret markers to track your progress. When finished, be sure to stop by Creek Bend Nature Center to claim your reward!

Register to receive your first clue on Thursday, May 27
Creek Bend Nature Center
LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
37W700 Dean St., St. Charles
Fee: $5/group


Monarchs & Milkweed Festival

Our fingers are crossed that we'll be able to return to our regular festivals, this summer. Save the date for our Monarchs & Milkweed Festival!

Sunday, June 20, from 1-3 p.m.
LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
37W700 Dean St., St. Charles


Explore the Kane County Forest Preserves with a Naturalist-Led Hike

Feeling isolated and need to get outdoors with others? Longing to learn more about the natural world as you get your heart pumping? Bring your family, book club, or any other private group to the preserve of your choice for a guided hike with a District naturalist. We'll tailor the experience to the age and interests of your group -- keeping it healthy, fun and educational!

90 minutes
Any Kane County forest preserve
Fee: $25/group


Maple Syrup for Sale!

While we won't be holding our traditional Maple Sugaring Days Festival this year, you can still satisfy your craving for local maple syrup at Creek Bend Nature Center. Drop into the nature center during regular open hours to purchase your own taste of spring -- a bottle of Funks Grove Maple "Sirup!"
  • 8 ounce: $9.00
  • 16 ounce: $16.00
  • 32 ounce: $25.00
  • 64 ounce: $40.00


COVID-19 precautions

  • Masks are required for all programs.
  • Maintain a minimum of 6 feet of distance between yourself and others.
  • Group sizes will be limited to 25 people indoors and 50 people outdoors, effective Jan. 26, 2021.
  • Stay home if you are sick, or if you have been in contact with someone who is ill.

trek with a naturalist

Get all your steps in during these evening hikes. Each month we'll take an invigorating two-hour hike at a different forest preserve. This program is designed for those who like active hiking. The naturalist will interpret the ecology of the preserve as we hike. Advance registration is required. Call 630-444-3190 or email programs@kaneforest.com to register.

Thursday, March 18; 5-7 p.m.
Hannaford Woods Forest Preserve
5S002 Merrill Rd., Sugar Grove
FREE

Thursday, April 15; 5:30-7:30 p.m.
Fitchie Creek Forest Preserve (Nesler Rd. entrance)
10N630 Nesler Rd., Elgin
FREE

Thursday, May 20; 6-8 p.m.
Hoscheit Woods Forest Preserve
6N327 IL Rte. 25, St. Charles
FREE

senior stroll

Seniors are invited to join District Naturalists each month on a leisurely stroll through a Kane County forest preserve. Note: No registration is required. For any questions, call 630-444-3190 or email programs@kaneforest.com. No refreshments will be served at this time.

Thursday, March 4; 10 a.m. - Noon
Bliss Woods Forest Preserve
5S660 Bliss Rd., Sugar Grove
FREE

Thursday, April 1; 10 a.m. - Noon
Jon J. Duerr Forest Preserve
35W003 IL Rte. 31, South Elgin
FREE

Thursday, May 6; 10 a.m. - Noon
Glenwood Forest Preserve
1644 S. River St., Batavia
FREE


Nurtured by nature

Experience the healing effects of nature. Studies show that time outdoors can relieve stress, boost your immune system, improve sleep, and contribute to overall good health. During this new monthly series, we'll incorporate gentle stretching, deep breathing, and a focus on awareness during these hikes designed to nurture the mind, body, and spirit. This program is for ages 18 and above.

Sunday, March 28; 9-10 a.m.
Burnidge Forest Preserve
14N035 Coombs Rd., Elgin
FREE

Sunday, April 25; 9-10 a.m.
Bliss Woods Forest Preserve
5S660 Bliss Rd., Sugar Grove
FREE

Sunday, May 23; 9-10 a.m.
Tyler Creek Forest Preserve
401 Davis Rd., Elgin
FREE


Learn to Kayak

Our 2021 kayaking series begins with a beginner's lake-based paddling skills class. Participants will receive dry-land instruction on basic kayaking techniques from an experienced instructor and then hit the water to practice and expand upon these skills. Once you have mastered the basics of paddling, plan to join us for naturalist-guided kayaking excursions on the Fox River in the summer season. Boaters must be 16 years or older and be able to to hold breath under water while wearing a properly fitted life jacket; independently turn from a face down to a face-up position keeping head above water; effectively communicate with the instructor and other participants; and manage all mobility and personal care independently or with the assistance of a companion. We require registration at least one week prior to the program and full payment at the time of registration.

Sunday, May 23; 10 a.m. - Noon
Grunwald Farms Forest Preserve
02S035 S. Lorang Rd., Elburn
Fee: $69/person (includes use of kayak, personal flotation device and paddle.)


Beginner's Backpacking Adventure

If you've always yearned to try backpacking, but didn't have the confidence to do it on your own, here's your chance to try a local weekend trip with a professional guide! Created especially for novice backpackers with limited outdoor experience, our adventure will include an "Introduction to Backpacking" training session, guided backpacking to the campsites, backpacking travelogues, naturalist-led hikes, chef-prepared meals, and evening campfires. Guiding our group will be an outdoor adventure leader from Rocktown Adventures and a naturalist from the Forest Preserve District of Kane County. Expect to hike 3-5 miles per day over gently rolling terrain with packs weighing up to 35 pounds. All meals and campsite rental are included. We'll supply group gear, cooking gear, food, first aid kit, etc.) and we'll provide a personal gear list to all registrants prior to the program. Give us a call at 630-444-3190 with any questions. See you on the trail! This program is for ages 18 and above.

Friday, June 4, at noon - Sunday, June 6 at noon
Freeman Kame-Meagher Forest Preserve (Camp Tomo Chi-Chi Knolls entrance)
40W095 Freeman Rd., Gilberts
Fee: $299/person


Become a Citizen Scientist

Want to make your own contribution to local ecology and conservation efforts? Take part in a Citizen Scientist project! We offer training classes for many citizen science efforts, including the Calling Frog Survey, Singing Insects Monitoring, and the Illinois Odonate Survey. You're sure to find a project well-suited to your interests and time availability. For the most up-to-date training workshop information, call 630-444-3190 or email programs@kaneforest.com.

COVID-19 precautions

  • Masks are required for all programs.
  • Maintain a minimum of 6 feet of distance between yourself and others.
  • Group sizes will be limited to 25 people indoors and 50 people outdoors, effective Jan. 26, 2021.
  • Stay home if you are sick, or if you have been in contact with someone who is ill.

The following classes are taught by experts in the field and offer in-depth information and learning opportunities about our local ecology. This award-winning program series is cosponsored by the Forest Preserve District of Kane County, the Geneva Park District, and the St. Charles Park District. These programs are for ages 16 and up. Advance registration is required. Call 630-444-3190 or fill out this form to register.


Woodcock Watch

This field class features one of our most fascinating spring birds, the American Woodcock. We'll begin with an introduction to woodcock behavior, ecology, and adaptations. As dusk descends, we'll hit the trail in an effort to observe their amazing aerial courtship display.

Thursday, March 25; 6:30-7:30 p.m.
Camp Tomo Chi-Chi Knolls
40W095 Freeman Rd., Gilberts
Fee: $10/person


Witness Trees

Have you ever looked at a giant of a tree, perhaps a big oak, and wondered what historical events it experienced during its lifetime? Some of these impressive trees are called, "witness trees" and they have a special place in the history of Illinois. Surveyors in the early 1800s relied on witness, or "bearing," trees as landmarks for creating the earliest state land surveys and plat maps. During this program, we'll share the history of Illinois' witness trees and provide tools for you to discover witness tress in your own area.

Tuesday, April 13; 7-8:30 p.m.
Creek Bend Nature Center
LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
37W700 Dean St., St. Charles
Fee: $10/person


Tiger Salamanders & Land Management

The St. Charles Park District has been documenting Ambystoma populations at Hickory Knolls for a number of years. St. Charles Park District Restoration Ecologist Ryan Solomon presents an engaging look at these amphibians, their reproductive behaviors, and how their presence influences restoration practices and land management decisions.

Wednesday, April 21; 7-8:30 p.m.
Hickory Knolls Discovery Center
3795 Campton Hills Rd., St. Charles
Fee: $10/person


Barns & Barn Owls

Barns have been a part of Midwest history since the early days of European settlement. Yet barn owls have inhabited this region and many others for thousands of years. We'll examine Tyto alba's niche in Illinois' ecological communities both past and present, with an emphasis on humans' impact on this dynamic species.

Saturday, April 24; 10-11:30 a.m.
Creek Bend Nature Center
LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
37W700 Dean St., St. Charles
Fee: $10/person


Spring Ephemerals

Gone almost in an instant -- these woodland wildflowers emerge, bloom and seed in a short period of time, usually before the leaves are out on the trees. During this walk-and-talk presentation, we'll identify species, explain why timing is key in their life cycle and relate the uses and folklore for which some flowers are famous.

Wednesday, April 28; 10-11:30 a.m.
Norris Woods Nature Preserve
Johnor Ave. & 3rd Ave., St. Charles
Fee: $10/person


Fish of the Fox

You've heard it. You've seen it. You might even visit it frequently. But how well do you know the Fox River -- specifically the fish life it hosts? Expect some surprises as St. Charles Park District Restoration Ecologist Ryan Solomon shares his experience with local game and nongame species.

Wednesday, May 19; 7-8:30 p.m.
Hickory Knolls Discovery Center
3795 Campton Hills Rd., St. Charles
Fee: $10/person