PANDEMIC INFORMATION

August 2, 2021 Update: According to the latest COVID-19 positivity rates from the Centers of Disease Control (CDC), Kane County has now reached a "substantial" level of transmission. Please be aware of the following operational updates:

* Please wear a mask when indoors, regardless of vaccination status.
* Anyone attending an indoors nature program that includes children under the age of 12, or that is indoors, requires a mask.
* See CDC health recommendations for fully vaccinated people, here.

Online Programs: For those who choose not to come out to the preserves at this time, we'll bring them to you! See our "Nature Virtually Everywhere" series of nature programs.


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

Join a librarian from the St. Charles Public Library for read-aloud stories, finger plays, songs, and more during this fun program for children from infancy through age 5. Stay and enjoy the interactive exhibits in the Nature Center following the program and grab a take-home craft to continue the fun at your own house. For the grand finale of your storytime experience, head out to a nearby LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve trail to read a second book on the StoryWalk®! No registration required.

  • Wednesday, Oct. 13; 10:30 a.m. - 11 a.m.
  • Wednesday, Nov. 10; 10:30 a.m. - 11 a.m.
  • Wednesday, Dec. 8; 10:30 a.m. - 11 a.m.

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, Oct. 21; 9:30 a.m. - 10:30 a.m. "Creepy Crawlies and Winged Wonders"
Creek Bend Nature Center
LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
37W700 Dean St., St. Charles
Fee: $5/child

Thursday, Nov. 18; 9:30 a.m. - 10:30 a.m. "Who Was Here? Animal Tracks and Scats"
Creek Bend Nature Center
LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
37W700 Dean St., St. Charles
Fee: $5/child

Thursday, Dec. 16; 9:30 a.m. - 10:30 a.m. "Winter Wings"
Creek Bend Nature Center
LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
37W700 Dean St., St. Charles
Fee: $5/child

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

Thursday, Feb. 17; 9:30 a.m. - 10:30 a.m. "Valentines for Wildlife"
Creek Bend Nature Center
LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
37W700 Dean St., St. Charles
Fee: $5/child


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.


Nighttime Nature Series - Explore the nocturnal world with a naturalist! These "after hours" programs give us a glimpse into the life of wildlife that we usually don't get to see. We'll visit different forest preserves with different nocturnal habitats each month.

Search for Spiders

They're creepy, they're crawly, and they're cool! Spiders are also very important to the lives of us humans. How so, you might ask? Come to this program to find out! We'll search nooks and crannies, high and low, for different species of spiders. If we catch a few specimens, we'll look at them close up, and then let them go. Bring a flashlight and we'll supply the "bug jars."

Saturday, Oct. 23; 5 - 6 p.m.
Burnidge/Paul Wolff Forest Preserve
38W235 Big Timber Rd., Elgin
Fee: $2/person


Learn to Build with Merlin and eBird

Mobile technology now offers up a world of tools for the beginning birdwatcher. Join us for an informative indoor lesson about the Merlin and eBird smart phone apps, then head outside with a Naturalist to test them in the field.

Thursday, Oct. 14; 9:30 - 11 a.m.
Creek Bend Nature Center/LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
37W700 Dean St., St. Charles
Fee: $2/person


Waterfowl Watch (CANCELLED)

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

Saturday, Oct. 16; 9 - 10 a.m.
Creek Bend Nature Center/LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
37W700 Dean St., St. Charles
FREE


Winter Bird Watching

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

Thursday, Dec. 9; 9 - 10 a.m.
Les Arends Forest Preserve
2S731 Rte. 31, Batavia
FREE


Hike Through History

Our local forest preserves are full of history, both cultural and ecological. We'll discover a small piece of Kane County's past during this naturalist led hike through the land that is now the Jon J. Duerr Forest Preserve.

Sunday, Dec. 18; 10 - 11 a.m.
Jon J. Duerr Forest Preserve
35W003 Rte. 31, South Elgin
FREE


Winter Solstice Celebration

Embrace the seasons and celebrate the arrival of Winter! We'll ramble through the woodlands and prairies of the wintertime preserve, discussing the natural and cultural significance of the Solstice, then gather round a roaring campfire to hear the story of the traditional yule log. Dress for winter weather!

Tuesday, Dec. 21; 4 - 5 p.m.
LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
37W700 Dean St., St. Charles
FREE


New Year's Joy Hike

Welcome the new year with joy and gratitude for all that nature has to offer. During our brisk hike we'll listen for seasonal birds, look for wildlife tracks, and enjoy trailside company. Afterwards, we'll head indoors for a mug of hot cocoa or warming coffee. Bring the whole family!

Saturday, Jan. 1; 9 - 10 a.m.
LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
37W700 Dean St., St. Charles
FREE


Snowshoe Adventure

Don't let a little snow stop you from getting out and enjoying 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 include equipment rental, skills training, and guided hiking. We require registration and shoe size at least 1 week prior to the program. This program is for ages 8 and above.

Thursday, Jan. 6; 1 - 3 p.m.
Camp Tomo Chi-Chi Knolls
40W095 Freeman Rd., Gilberts
Fee: $25/person

Sunday, Jan. 23; 9 - 11 a.m.
LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
37W700 Dean St., St. Charles
Fee: $25/person

Friday, Feb. 11; 1 - 3 p.m.
Bowes Creek Woods Forest Preserve
9N420 Crawford Rd., Elgin
Fee: $25/person

Saturday, Feb. 19; 9 - 11 a.m.
Burnidge Forest Preserve
14N035 Coombs Rd., Elgin
Fee: $25/person


Winter Scavenger Hunt

Bring the whole family for a scavenger hunt in the winter woodlands! District naturalists will lead the search for nature's hidden "treasures." From mouse tracks to maple seeds to glacial rocks, there will be plenty of clues to discover! We'll end our time with a cozy fireside search in the Durant House Museum, seeking out evidence of human activity. All ages are welcome; children must be accompanied by an adult.

Sunday, Jan. 16; 10 - 11 a.m.
LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
37W700 Dean St., St. Charles
FREE


Birding in the Winter Rivershore

Learn how to identify some of the birds that brave Kane County during the harsh winter months. A District Naturalist will share interesting facts and folklore as we watch for birds along the shore of the Fox River.

Sunday, Feb. 6; 10 - 11 a.m.
Fox River Shores Forest Preserve
701 N. Williams Rd., Carpentersville
FREE


Maple Sugaring Days

Mark your calendars for our annual Maple Sugaring event! We'll hold two days of maple tapping fun on Saturday, March 5 and Sunday, March 6, from noon - 3 p.m. at Creek Bend Nature Center in LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve.

Saturday, March 5 & Sunday, March 6; 12 - 3 p.m.
Creek Bend Nature Center/LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
37W700 Dean St., St. Charles
FREE


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


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.

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. These programs are free, donations are accepted.

Thursday, Nov. 4; 10 a.m. - Noon
Camp Tomo Chi-Chi Knolls
40W095 Freeman Rd., Gilberts
FREE

Thursday, Dec. 2; 10 a.m. - Noon (Holiday Potluck)
Creek Bend Nature Center
37W700 Dean St., St. Charles
FREE

Thursday, Jan. 6; 10 a.m. - Noon (Colorado: From Canyon Depths to Sand Dune Mountains)
Camp Tomo Chi-Chi Knolls
40W095 Freeman Rd., Gilberts
FREE

Thursday, Feb. 3; 10 a.m. - Noon
Paul Wolff Campground
38W235 Big Timber Rd., Elgin
FREE


Trek with a Naturalist

Winter is a wonderful time for an invigorating hike. This monthly program is designed for those who like active hiking - all year long. We visit different preserves each month. The Naturalist will stop occasionally to interpret the ecology of the preserve as we walk - but the main goal is to cover ground! This program is for ages 18 and above.

Thursday, Oct. 21; 4 - 6 p.m.
Lone Grove Forest Preserve
49W055 Perry Rd., Maple Park
FREE

Saturday, Nov. 6; 9 - 11 a.m.
Lake Run Forest Preserve
40W255 Tanner Rd., Sugar Grove
FREE

Saturday, Dec. 4; 9 - 11 a.m.
LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
37W700 Dean St., St. Charles
FREE

Saturday, Jan. 29; 9 - 11 a.m.
Fox River Shores Forest Preserve
701 N. Williams Rd., Carpentersville
FREE

Thursday, Feb. 24; 3:30 - 5:30 p.m.
Bowes Creek Woods Forest Preserve
9N420 Crawford Rd., Elgin
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, Oct. 10; 9 - 10 a.m.
Tekakwitha Woods Forest Preserve
35W076 Villa Maria Rd., St. Charles
FREE

Sunday, Nov. 7; 9 - 10 a.m.
Freeman Kame-Meagher Forest Preserve
40W346 Freeman Rd., Gilberts
FREE

Sunday, Dec. 5; 10 - 11 a.m.
Pingree Grove Forest Preserve
14N187 Rte. 20, Pingree Grove
FREE

Sunday, Jan. 30; 10 - 11 a.m.
Dick Young Forest Preserve
39W115 Main St., Batavia
FREE

Sunday, Feb. 27; 10 - 11 a.m.
LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
37W700 Dean St., St. Charles
FREE


KCCN Information Session

Want to learn about Kane County's fastest-growing nature-education program for adults? Attend the free informational session to find out what all the excitement is about! During this introduction, you'll learn about the dates, details, cost, and tremendous 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 St. Charles Park District, and the Geneva Park District.

Thursday, Nov. 11; 7-8 p.m.
Hickory Knolls Discovery Center
3795 Campton Hills Rd., St. Charles
FREE


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.


Soil - The Foundation of Life

Soil is not just dirt. Plan to see, feel, smell, and discover that soil is alive, structured, and orderly. We'll describe soil properties and explore the genesis of soil. The goal of this program will be to develop an understanding of how to work with the soil so that both the soil and people benefit. Mark Bramstedt, with over 40 years of experience as a soil scientist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, will lead the session and provide hands-on activities that will be sure to get some dirt under your nails.

Saturday, Oct. 16; 10-11:30 a.m.
Creek Bend Nature Center
LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
37W700 Dean St., St. Charles
Fee: $10/person


Prairie Restoration Planning, Implementation & Results

The 300 plus acres of land at Peck Farm Park has seen many changes. Just before the Park District owned the land and restored it back to prairie, it belonged to the Peck Family, who over the years grew corn, soybeans, and before that raised sheep for wool production. Prior to that it had a wilderness life of its own, which is what the Geneva Park District hopes to accomplish in some respects. Take a look at the history of the land, how the restoration planning process can go, the implementation of it and what the results are now. Dress for the weather.

Wednesday, Oct. 20; 4-6 p.m.
Peck Farm Park Interpretive Center
4038 Kaneville Rd., Geneva
Fee: $10/person


Hot Tent Winter Camping: Skill and Gear Needed to Enjoy Winter In Warmth & Style!

Do you love winter but hate feeling cold? Do you wonder what the term "hot tent" means? Learn the answers to these questions and about the gear and skills needed to enjoy your next camping adventure in a winter wonderland. Our instructor will cover the essentials of camping with a packable wood stove. He will provide advice for choosing the right camping location and picking the gear that fits your needs and budget, plus share tips on clothing options, food preparation and more!

Saturday, Jan. 8; 9 - 11 a.m.
Camp Tomo Chi-Chi Knolls
40W095 Freeman Rd., Gilberts
Fee: $10/person


Winter Wildlife 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. We'll begin this interactive class indoors, with an overview of local fauna and tracking techniques, then head outdoors to practice what we've learned. You'll never look at 'bare' ground the same again.

Saturday, Jan. 15; 10 - 11:30 a.m.
Creek Bend Nature Center
LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
37W700 Dean St., St. Charles
Fee: $10/person


Winter Tree Identification

During this class, you'll learn how to identify trees without leaves. There will be an introduction indoors, followed by a hike in the woods. We'll examine bark, branches, twigs, leaf scars and buds and use these for identification.

Sunday, Jan. 23; 9:30 - 11 a.m.
Creek Bend Nature Center
LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
37W700 Dean St., St. Charles
Fee: $10/person


May T. Watts and the Origins of the Illinois Prairie Path

May Theilgaard Watts was a beloved naturalist at Chicago's Morton Arboretum and her grassroots campaign established the Illinois Prairie Path in three years. William Barnett, a professor of history at North Central College, will explore how May Watts represented a distinctly Midwestern set of ideas, linking earlier conservationists and 1960s environmentalism with a strong focus on nature study and a deep concern about suburban sprawl and the loss of farms and prairies.

Tuesday, Feb. 15; 6:30 - 8 p.m.
Creek Bend Nature Center
LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
37W700 Dean St., St. Charles
Fee: $10/person