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

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. **Starting in September, St. Charles Public Library staff will bring books, finger plays, songs, and more for this fun in-person program for children, infants through age 5. All are welcome to enjoy the interactive exhibits of the Nature Center, following the program. We'll provide you with a take-home craft. Then, for the grand finale of your storytime experience, head out at the trails at LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve to hike and read a second story on our StoryWalk! No registration required.

  • Wednesday, July 21; 10 a.m. - noon
  • Wednesday, Aug. 18; 10 a.m. - noon
  • Wednesday, Sept. 8; 10:30 a.m. - 11 a.m.
  • Wednesday, Oct. 13; 10:30 a.m. - 11 a.m.
  • Wednesday, Nov. 10; 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, July 15; 9:30 a.m. - 10:30 a.m. "Life in the Pond"
Creek Bend Nature Center
LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
37W700 Dean St., St. Charles
Fee: $5/child

Thursday, Aug. 19; 9:30 a.m. - 10:30 a.m. "Prancing in the Prairie"
Creek Bend Nature Center
LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
37W700 Dean St., St. Charles
Fee: $5/child

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


Youth Kayak Fishing Experience

Get out on local lakes with a professional kayak fishing instructor from Chi-Yak Adventures. Using water crafts specifically designed for anglers, you're sure to get into secret spots not reachable from shore. Whether you're looking to learn the skills involved in fishing from a watercraft or to pick up a few pointers for improving your angling skills, this is the program for you! Take one, two, or all four sessions. We'll provide the paddle kayak, safety equipment, kayaking instruction and all the fishing gear required to get you out on the water safely and catching fish effectively! We require at least one week prior to the program and full payment at the time of registration. This program is for youth entering grades 8-12.

Monday, July 26; 8 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
Big Rock Forest Preserve
46W072 Jericho Rd., Big Rock
Fee: $99/child

Tuesday, Aug. 3; 8 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
Grunwald Farms Forest Preserve
02S035 S. Lorang Rd., Elburn
Fee: $99/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, 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 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.


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 8 Releases Thursday, Aug. 12
Virtual
Listen here.
FREE

Episode 9 Releases Thursday, Oct. 28
Virtual
Listen here.
FREE


Treasure Hunt Adventure

Join us on a fun adventure and follow clues to find Ma's secret recipe box! Start at Creek Bend Nature Center during open hours and get your list of clues to begin this self-guided scavenger hunt. There's a grand prize for those who find the hidden recipe box!

May 27 - Aug. 31
Creek Bend Nature Center
LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
37W700 Dean St., St. Charles
Fee: $5/group


Pop-Up Naturalist - The nature center comes to you in these pop-up programs at local campgrounds that just happen to be located within two extremely biodiverse forest preserves!

School of Fish Pop-Up

Drop into our Pop-Up Naturalist program to discover the remarkable world of fish! Learn techniques for identifying different fish species and get acquainted with the 36 species of fish that call Illinois home. Be amazed by the adaptations that help fish survive in a watery world and make your own fish craft to take home.

Saturday, July 24; 9:30-11 a.m.
Big Rock Campground
Big Rock Forest Preserve
46W499 Granart Rd., Big Rock
FREE

I Love Pollinators Pop-Up

There's a lot to love about pollinators! About one out of every three bites of food we eat depends on pollinators for production. Pollinators also play a critical role in the reproduction of 90% of flowering plants. Stop by the Pop-Up Naturalist exhibit to learn about our native pollinator species and discover things that you can do to help them succeed.

Saturday, Aug. 18; 9:30-11 a.m.
Paul Wolff Campground
Burnidge Forest Preserve
38W235 Big Timber Rd., Elgin
FREE


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.

Moth Mania

Get out into the night to celebrate the National Moth Week! We'll learn about the unusual beauty, life cycles, and habitats of moths, and then head into the field to observe some local species up close with the aid of various moth attractants. A naturalist will also explain how you can become a real Citizen Scientist during National Moth Week by submitting moth observational data on iNaturalist - an easy to use smartphone app.

Tuesday, July 20; 8-9:30 p.m.
Creek Bend Nature Center
LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
37W700 Dean St., St. Charles
Fee: $2/person

Secret Life of Bats

Kane County is home to many flying creatures, but none is as shrouded in mystery as the bat. Come out to experience nighttime in the forest preserve, learning about the mammalian winged creatures of the night and the important niche that bats fill in our local ecosystem. Be prepared to enjoy the acrobatic flight of some of our local bats as dusk settles over the land.

Thursday, Aug. 12; 7:30-8:30 p.m.
Creek Bend Nature Center
LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
37W700 Dean St., St. Charles
Fee: $2/person

Singing Insects

The late summer soundscape is amazingly beautiful and intricate. Venture out to explore the world of nocturnal singing insects with a naturalist. Before heading into the field, we'll learn about the calls of some of the more common evening music-makers, then use our new-found listening skills to get up close and personal with some of the songsters.

Wednesday, Aug. 11; 7-8 p.m.
Creek Bend Nature Center
Hampshire Forest Preserve
44W780 Allen Rd., Hampshire
Fee: $2/person

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


Rusty Rodeo

New in 2021: Two locations! There are underwater invaders in our local streams and rivers and we want you to help us find them! Our culprit is the Rusty Crayfish, a tiny aquatic creature that is an invasive species in Kane County. Help naturalists round up some rowdy Rusty Crayfish in an effort to reduce their numbers. Families are encouraged to join us in the water with dip nets to collect, identify and remove some Rusties. You might even find the biggest of these varmints or collect the greatest number of them. Prepare to get wet! Wear closed-toe shoes and clothes that can get muddy.

Saturday, Aug. 7; 11 a.m. - 1 p.m.
Glenwood Park Forest Preserve
1644 S. River St., Batavia
FREE

Saturday, Aug. 7; 11 a.m. - 1 p.m.
Ferson Creek Park
State Rte. 31, east of Wildrose Springs Dr., St. Charles
FREE


It's Our Fox River Day

Join us for a Fox River clean-up, exhibits, music, and more! The Forest Preserve District of Kane County and Friends of the Fox River will host a river clean-up at two locations this year: Glenwood Park Forest Preserve in Batavia and Jon J. Duerr Forest Preserve in South Elgin. Help beautify our river, its banks and nearby trails while enjoying live music, environmental education exhibits and more. Drinking water, snacks, disposable gloves, and trash bags will be provided. To register as a volunteer, visit https://friendsofthefoxriver.org/fox-river-day/ or email CleaveRobb@kaneforest.com or McKittrickBarb@kaneforest.com

Wednesday, Aug. 11; 7-8 p.m.
Creek Bend Nature Center
Hampshire Forest Preserve
44W780 Allen Rd., Hampshire
Fee: $2/person


Prairie in Bloom

We can see amazing natural colors in the fall, but not all those hues are found in the trees! Join a Forest Preserve District Naturalist on an early fall hike to discover the wonderful shades of yellow, purple, white and orange that can be found in a tallgrass prairie.

Saturday, Sept. 25; 10 - 11 a.m.
Pingree Grove Forest Preserve
14N187 Route 20, Pingree Grove
FREE


Harvest of the Acorn Moon Fall Festival

Celebrate autumn's arrival with the Forest Preserve District! At this popular, family-friendly festival, we'll have pumpkin painting, mule-drawn hayrides, games, guided hikes, nature crafts, folk music, and refreshments. Admission is free. Nominal fee for crafts and refreshments. No registration required.

Sunday, Sept. 26; noon - 3 p.m.
Oakhurst Forest Preserve
1680 Fifth Ave., Aurora
FREE; Nominal fee for crafts, pumpkins & refreshments.


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

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
Fee: $2/person


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.

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, July 15; 6-8 p.m.
Fox River Bluff West Forest Preserve
5N753 IL Rte. 31, St. Charles
FREE

Thursday, Aug. 26; 6-8 p.m.
Muirhead Springs Forest Preserve
42W797 Rohrsen Rd., Hampshire
FREE
Thursday, Sept. 16; 4:30-6:30 p.m.
Dick Young Forest Preserve
39W115 Main St., Batavia
FREE
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

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, July 1; 10 a.m. - Noon
Oakhurst Forest Preserve
1680 Fifth Ave., Aurora
FREE

Thursday, Aug. 5; 10 a.m. - Noon
Fitchie Creek Forest Preserve
39W993 Russell Rd., Elgin
FREE

Thursday, Sept. 2; 10 a.m. - Noon
Pingree Grove Forest Preserve
14N187 Route 20, Pingree Grove
FREE

Thursday, Oct. 7; 10 a.m. - Noon
Les Arends Forest Preserve
2S731 Route 31, Batavia
FREE

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


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, July 18; 9-10 a.m.
Burlington Prairie Forest Preserve
12N882 Engel Rd., Sycamore
FREE

Sunday, Aug. 15; 9-10 a.m.
Hannaford Woods Forest Preserve
441 Courtney Circle, Sugar Grove
FREE

Sunday, Sept. 12; 9-10 a.m.
Camp Tomo Chi-Chi Knolls
40W095 Freeman Rd., Gilberts
FREE

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


Explore the Fox River by Kayak

Tour our local waterways during these paddling adventures! As the summer progresses, choose increasingly longer and more technical paddles for intermediate skill levels. Each session, participants will receive dry-land instruction on basic kayaking techniques from an experienced instructor. Then we'll take to the water for a naturalist-led exploration of the fascinating local ecology. Participants meet and park at the take-out location and are shuttled to the put-in. Choose any number of sessions; you can take one, two, or all five! Boaters must be 16 years or older, and be able 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. Registration is required at least one week prior to the program and full payment at the time of registration.

Saturday, Aug. 14; 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.; 5-6 miles - Beginner/Intermediate
Ferson Creek Park
St. Charles
Fee: $85/person (includes use of kayak, personal flotation device and paddle.) Or, provide your own kayak for $45/person

Sunday, Sept. 12; 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.; 3-4 miles with portage - Intermediate
Glenwood Forest Preserve
Batavia
Fee: $85/person (includes use of kayak, personal flotation device and paddle.) Or, provide your own kayak for $45/person

Sunday, Oct. 3; 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.; 7 miles with portage - Intermediate
McCullough Park
Aurora
Fee: $85/person (includes use of kayak, personal flotation device and paddle.) Or, provide your own kayak for $45/person


Invasive Species Management Workshop

Buckthorn and honeysuckle are two exotic invasive species that are taking over our landscape and causing significant devastation to our natural heritage and ecosystem health. These species are likely on your property and we need your help to get rid of them. Join us to learn how to identify and manage the most common invasive species in Kane County, with a focus on non-native honeysuckle and buckthorn. During this workshop, we will explain why these plants are so devastating to our landscape, teach you how to identify invasives, propose the most effective management techniques for controlling them and show you wonderful native alternatives to plant in their place.

Tuesday, Sept. 28; 5 - 7 p.m.
Barbara Belding Lodge at Brewster Creek Forest Preserve
6N921 IL Route 25, St. Charles
Fee: $10/person


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


Holiday Mixer

Join us for a year-end gathering to enjoy good company, party games, hearty appetizers and beverages from local craft breweries. Beautiful Creek Bend Nature Center will provide a festive setting to take a break from the frenzy of the holidays. Explore the nature center and the 1930s era home and learn about the history of this gem within LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve. This program is for guests age 21 and older.

Friday, Dec. 17; 7 - 9:30 p.m.
Creek Bend Nature Center
37W700 Dean St., 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.


Sense of Place: LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve

LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve has a long and storied history, serving as a homestead, farm, country estate, and religious retreat prior to being a Kane County natural area. Come and walk the land with a naturalist and a historian as we revisit the past and explore the still-standing structures that paint a picture of the people here before us. On the tour, we'll have the opportunity to visit Creek Bend Nature Center, Durant House Museum, Pioneer Sholes School, and two historic barns.

Thursday, Aug. 5; 6:30-8 p.m.
LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
37W700 Dean St., St. Charles
Fee: $10/person


Summer Tree Identification

This field class will begin with an introduction to the basic plant morphology needed for tree identification. Instructor Ben Katzen will lead a walk on the wooded trails, providing tips for identifying common native hardwood trees and describing several different tree identification techniques.

Sunday, Aug. 8; 9-10:30 a.m.
Tekakwitha Woods Forest Preserve
35W076 Villa Maria Rd., St. Charles
Fee: $10/person


Singing Insects

Join author and ecologist Dr. Carl Strang for a look at some of Illinois' noisiest insects. Beginning with an indoor presentation, we'll learn about the chorus of insects often heard as the sun sets. Next, we'll head outside to look for grasshoppers, cicadas, crickets and katydids.

Tuesday, Aug. 17; 8-9:30 p.m.
Creek Bend Nature Center
LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
37W700 Dean St., St. Charles
Fee: $10/person


Mighty Mosses

Despite their important role in ecology and botanical history, mosses are criminally understudied. How do mosses help soils and microorganisms? How many species are there? When it comes to the mosses of Kane County, we're not entirely sure. This program will deliver a comprehensive overview of what we do know about the mosses in our region, as well as tips and tricks for identifying them, and how we can begin filling the knowledge gap. Following the presentation, we'll go for a hike in the surrounding preserve to put our new ID skills to the test!

Sunday, Aug. 22; 10-11:30 a.m.
Creek Bend Nature Center
LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
37W700 Dean St., St. Charles
Fee: $10/person


Fall Tree Identification

Studying trees in Autumn can offer rewards as well as challenges. As leaves change color and fall to the ground, one must focus on other features for proper identification. Join a District Naturalist on this informative hike, and learn the growth habits, ecological significance and identifying features of our local trees.

Wednesday, Sept. 15; 9 - 10:30 a.m.
Creek Bend Nature Center
LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
37W700 Dean St., St. Charles
Fee: $10/person


The Strange and Unusual World of Fungi

With names like Giant Puffball, Chicken of the Woods and Dead Man's Fingers, fungi are often considered odd and misunderstood organisms. While Kingdom Fungi includes yeasts, molds, and mildews as well as mushrooms, in this program we'll focus on exploring the types of mushrooms native to Kane County and then head into the woodlands for a wild mushroom foray.

Sunday, Sept. 19; 9:30-11 a.m.
Creek Bend Nature Center
LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
37W700 Dean St., St. Charles
Fee: $10/person


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