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.

REGISTRATION

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. If the weather is mild, we'll take the activities outdoors! 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, Aug. 10; 10:30 a.m. - 11 a.m.
  • Wednesday, Sept. 14; 10:30 a.m. - 11 a.m.
  • Wednesday, Oct. 12; 10:30 a.m. - 11 a.m.
  • Wednesday, Nov. 9; 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, Aug. 18; 9:30 a.m. - 10:30 a.m. "Flower Power"
Creek Bend Nature Center
LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
37W700 Dean St., St. Charles
Fee: $5/child

Thursday, Sept. 15; 9:30 a.m. - 10:30 a.m. "Lots of Life in a Log"
Creek Bend Nature Center
LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
37W700 Dean St., St. Charles
Fee: $5/child

Thursday, Oct. 20; 9:30 a.m. - 10:30 a.m. "Let's Go Batty!"
Creek Bend Nature Center
LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
37W700 Dean St., St. Charles
Fee: $5/child

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


Passport to Adventure

Take an adventure this summer at area museums with the Passport to Adventure program. Participating sites in the Kane County Forest Preserve District include Creek Bend Nature Center at LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve in St. Charles, the Fabyan Villa Museum in Geneva, 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 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. The Passport program will be using the Adventure Lab digital geocaching app this year. More information about the program is available at 630-444-3190.


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!

REGISTRATION

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.


Wild Market Days

Are you a regular visitor at nearby farmer's markets? If so, keep an eye out for the Forest Preserve District of Kane County at your local market this summer. We've already scheduled information tables for the following markets in Dundee and Elgin, with others planned for St. Charles, Campton Hills, and more. Watch our website and social media pages for updates throughout the season. See you at the market!

Friday, Aug. 19; 3:00-7:00 p.m.
Elgin Farmer's Market (Be an Environmentalist Day)
Spring St. between Chicago St. & Fulton St., Elgin
FREE

Saturday, Aug. 27; 8:00-11:00 a.m.
Dundee Farmer's Market
319 N. River St., East Dundee
FREE


It's Our Fox River Day

Join us for a Fox River clean-up, exhibits 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 camaraderie, 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/its-our-fox-river-day/ or email CleaveRobb@kaneforest.com or McKittrickBarb@kaneforest.com.

Saturday, Sept. 17; 9 a.m. - 12 p.m.
Glenwood Park Forest Preserve
1644 S. River St., Batavia
FREE

Saturday, Sept. 17; 9 a.m. - 12 p.m.
Jon J. Duerr Forest Preserve
35W003 Rte. 31, South Elgin
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. 25; 12 p.m. - 3 p.m.
Oakhurst Forest Preserve
1680 Fifth Ave., Aurora
FREE; nominal fee for crafts and refreshments


Fall Birding Hikes

The cool days of fall are perfect for enjoying a hike while looking and listening for birds. This program is offered both early and late in the fall to enjoy the variety of avian species that are active during different parts of the season; register for one or both sessions! You will learn basic bird identification skills and be treated to stories about the special adaptions and lifestyles that make birds so special.

Thursday, Sept. 29; 9-10 a.m.
Kenyon Farm Forest Preserve
8N700 Barry Rd., South Elgin
FREE

Saturday, Nov. 12; 10-11 a.m.
Kenyon Farm Forest Preserve
8N700 Barry Rd., South Elgin
FREE


Seeds to Sprouts

Fall is the time for seed production and distribution. We'll explore the woods and prairies, looking for different types of seeds on a naturalist-led walk. Learn how our native seeds are dispersed and the strategies they use for survival and growth. We'll share other fun facts and folklore about local plants as we stroll through the autumn splendor.

Saturday, Sept. 24; 9:30-10:30 a.m.
Burnidge Forest Preserve
14N035 Coombs Rd., Elgin
FREE


NEW: Yarn ARt Social

Join Naturalist Erica for a monthly circle of conversation over yarn art. Bring your own knit, crochet, or other yarn art project to work within a group of like-minded yarn enthusiasts. Share tips and patterns with others while picking up pointers and ideas from friends old and new. This new series of programs will meet monthly at the cozy Creek Bend Nature Center. Yarn crafters of all skill levels are welcome. Register for one class or the entire year! Children under age 18 must be accompanied by an adult.

Saturday, Oct. 22; 4-5 p.m.
Creek Bend Nature Center
37W700 Dean St., St. Charles
FREE

Saturday, Nov. 19; 4-5 p.m.
Creek Bend Nature Center
37W700 Dean St., St. Charles
FREE


Colors of Autumn Hike

Celebrate the changing season during this fun and informative fall hike. Learn about different native tree species and the fascinating changes they undergo at this time of year as winter approaches. We will also explore the strategies that our local animals use to prepare for the chilly temperatures ahead.

Sunday, Oct. 30; 9:30-11 a.m.
LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
37W700 Dean St., St. Charles
FREE


Nature Crafting for the Holidays

Join us to create some eco-friendly decor for the holidays using items we can find right in our own backyards! Using found things like milkweed pods, sticks, pinecones and more, we'll do a craft together to get our imaginations working and then we'll share ideas to help create our own holiday creations.

Sunday, Nov. 20; 10-11 a.m.
Creek Bend Nature Center
37W700 Dean St., St. Charles
Fee: $5/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


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.


Senior Stroll

Seniors are invited to join District naturalists each month to explore a different preserve and learn about the natural and cultural history surrounding the land. Dress for the weather - these outdoor programs celebrate the change in seasonal surroundings! Each meeting includes a pleasant ramble lasting about an hour, followed by social time in the shelter. No registration required for this free program.

Thursday, Sept. 1; 10 a.m. - Noon
Dick Young Forest Preserve
39W115 Main St., Batavia
FREE; donations accepted

Thursday, Oct. 6; 10 a.m. - Noon
Jon J. Duerr Forest Preserve
35W003 Rte. 31, South Elgin
FREE; donations accepted

Thursday, Nov. 3; 10 a.m. - Noon
Campton Forest Preserve
4N379 Town Hall Rd., St. Charles
FREE; donations accepted

Thursday, Dec. 1; 10 a.m. - Noon *Holiday Potluck*
Barbara Belding Lodge at Brewster Creek Forest Preserve
6N921 IL Rte. 25, St. Charles
FREE; donations accepted, bring a dish to pass


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, Aug. 18; 6-8 p.m.
Brunner Family Forest Preserve
18N681 Illinois 31, Dundee
FREE

Thursday, Sept. 15; 4:30-6:30 p.m.
Elburn Forest Preserve
45W061 Rte. 38, Elburn
FREE

Thursday, Oct. 20; 4-6 p.m.
Voyageur's Landing Forest Preserve
50 Airport Rd., Elgin
FREE

Saturday, Nov. 5; 9-11 a.m.
Aurora West Forest Preserve
40W032 Hankes Rd., Aurora
FREE


Mindful & Meditative series:

There are many ways to experience the natural world. Many of our programs involve interpreting local plants, wildlife, geology and cultural history while other programs embrace recreating in nature. The focus of these mindful, meditative programs is on channeling the therapeutic potential of spending time in nature.

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, Aug. 14; 10 - 11 a.m.
Raceway Woods Forest Preserve
17N702 Western Ave., Carpentersville
FREE

Sunday, Sept. 11; 10-11 a.m.
Lone Grove Forest Preserve
49W055 Perry Rd., Maple Park
FREE

Sunday, Oct. 9; 10-11 a.m.
Campton Forest Preserve
4N379 Town Hall Rd., St. Charles
FREE

Sunday, Nov. 6; 10-11 a.m.
Muirhead Springs Forest Preserve
42W855 Bahr Rd., Hampshire
FREE

Healing Hikes

These monthly meditative walks are for anyone ages 18 and above who is grieving the loss of a loved one. The hikes are over gentle terrain, and will include poems, nature activities, and periods of silent reflection so that we can access the healing powers of nature and community. Please dress for the weather, bring a photo of your loved one(s), and wear comfortable walking shoes. Registration is suggested, but not required.

Sunday, Sept. 4; 10 - 11:30 a.m.
Hoscheit Woods Forest Preserve
6N327 IL Rte. 25, St. Charles
FREE

Sunday, Oct. 2; 10 - 11:30 a.m.
Grunwald Farms Forest Preserve
02S035 Lorang Rd., Elburn
FREE


Explore the fox river by kayak

Tour our local waterways during these paddling adventures! Each session, participants will receive dry-land instruction on basic kayaking techniques from an experienced instructor from Rocktown Adventures. 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. Boaters must be >=16 years old 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. We require registration at least 1 week prior to the program and full payment at time of registration.

Sunday, Aug. 14; 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.; Paddle Distance: 4-5 miles; Skill Level: Beginner/Intermediate
Meet at Ferson Creek Park
St. Charles
Fee: $85/person (includes use of kayak, personal floatation device and paddle) or provide your own kayak for $45/person

Sunday, Sept. 11; 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.; Paddle Distance: 3-4 miles with portage; Skill Level: Intermediate
Meet at Glenwood Park Forest Preserve
1644 S. River St., Batavia
Fee: $85/person (includes use of kayak, personal floatation device and paddle) or provide your own kayak for $45/person

Sunday, Oct. 9; 10 a.m. - 3 p.m.; Paddle Distance: 4-5 miles with portage; Skill Level: Intermediate
Meet at McCullough Park
150 W. Illinois Ave., Aurora
Fee: $85/person (includes use of kayak, personal floatation device and paddle) or provide your own kayak for $45/person


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. 2; 6:30-9:30 p.m.
Creek Bend Nature Center/LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
37W700 Dean St., St. Charles
Fee: $20/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.

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.


Waterfowl Identification Workshop

For birding enthusiasts looking to sharpen their waterfowl identification skills, Wildlife Technician Sadie Dainko will discuss the characteristics and ecology of a variety of species that fly over our region, including diving ducks, dabbling ducks, perching ducks, stiff-tailed ducks, mergansers, geese and swans. Sadie will cover key identification characteristics that make each species unique, such as markings, color patterns, silhouette shapes, flight patterns, habitat and migration timing. You will leave this class with the confidence and knowledge needed to identify the vast array of waterfowl that migrate over Kane County each year.

Sunday, Aug. 21; 10:00-11:30 a.m.
Creek Bend Nature Center at LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
37W700 Dean St., St. Charles
Fee: $10/person


Field Trips Revisited:

Learning in a classroom is rewarding, but nothing matches the satisfaction and fun of learning in the field. Whether you're a participant in our Kane County Certified Naturalist (KCCN) program or a member of the general public with a passion for the outdoors, these interactive outings will immerse you among our local ecosystems and provide hands-on learning opportunities beyond those introduced in KCCN.

Wetland Field Trip Revisited

Let's head back to the water! Fall is a great time to observe how energy transfers through aquatic ecosystems. From plants to insects to vertebrates like fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals, we'll identify organisms and examine their roles in their communities. Using dip nets and D nets we'll explore pond and creek and compare the adaptations of aquatic insects that live in still water with those of macroinvertebrates that live in moving water.

Thursday, Sept. 1; 6-7:30 p.m.
LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
37W700 Dean St., St. Charles
Fee: $10/person

Prairies Field Trip Revisited

The tallgrass prairie evolves through the spring and summer seasons, sporting different colors and textures with the progression of different flowering species. Come and discover the late summer blooms, insects, birds and other residents that make the fully mature tallgrass prairie such a unique and special ecosystem.

Sunday, Oct. 16; 9-10:30 a.m.
Dick Young Forest Preserve
39W115 Main St., Batavia
Fee: $10/person


On the Trail of Eliza Steele

Eliza Steele's book, A Summer Journey in the West, details her 1840 stagecoach trip from Chicago to Peru, Illinois. It provides one of the most vivid accounts ever written of the northeast Illinois prairie on the cusp of disappearing beneath the plow. To aid Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie's (NTP) mission to restore 20,000 acres of Will County to native prairie, Heritage Program Manager Joe Wheeler and Midewin Botanist Michelle Pearion have closely examined Eliza Steele's narrative. During this two-hour field excursion to Midewin NTP, Wheeler will examine the route Eliza took and compare it to the modern environment along those same roads and trails. We'll then take to the trails of the Midewin prairie, where Pearion will compare Eliza's account to more contemporary observations of the prairie and explain how her 1840 writings can help modern-day prairie restoration projects.

Friday, Sept. 9; 10 a.m. - 12 p.m.
Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie *Meet and start at Welcome Center*
30239 S. State Rte. 53, Wilmington, IL
Fee: $10/person


Nature in the Dark of Night

What is so special about a deep, dark night sky? Together, International Dark-sky Association delegate Adam Kreuzer and Environmental Education Manager Barb McKittrick will explain what makes dark skies so important to wildlife and people, and then provide practical tips for us all to fight light pollution and help preserve dark skies. We'll then head out to experience the joys of a trail hike after dark, peeking into the nighttime lives of local animals and plants while learning about nocturnal ecology.

Tuesday, Sept. 13; 7-8:30 p.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.

Sunday, Oct. 2; 9-11 a.m.
Johnson's Mound Forest Preserve
41W600 Hughes Rd., Elburn
Fee: $10/person


Dive into Glacial Lake Pingree! Part One

Over a dozen Kane County Forest Preserves and a half-dozen distinct watersheds bear witness to the past existence of an ancient and immense body of water. Glacial Lake Pingree extended south to north from Lily Lake to Crystal Lake and east to west from Randall Road to Route 47. Many of our local streams spring from the bed that was Glacial Lake Pingree and even now, evidence of the lake's rich bottomlands, islands, and shorelines is easily detected. Kane County Certified Naturalist David Schoenknecht will take us on a two-part dive into Glacial Lake Pingree. Part One will be an indoor presentation and Part Two (in spring 2023) will be a car-caravan field trip, "The Glacial Lake Pingree Circle Tour," through numerous preserves exploring the remnants of the primal lake. Once you learn about Glacial Lake Pingree, you will "see" it everywhere!

Sunday, Oct. 15; 10-11:30 a.m.
Barbara Belding Lodge at Brewster Creek Forest Preserve
6N921 IL Rte. 25, St. Charles
Fee: $10/person


Sense of Place: Hickory Knolls

Today it's a thriving natural area, but over the past 150 years the land we know as Hickory Knolls has undergone many changes. Rich in glacial deposits, the site provided sand and gravel for a growing river town. Some parts were farmed; others served as pastureland. It also holds relics from past indigenous cultures and many remnants from the St. Charles School and Home for Boys. An introduction featuring historic photographs will be followed by an interpretive walk through woodlands, wetlands and prairie.

Saturday, Nov. 5; 9-10:30 a.m.
Hickory Knolls Discovery Center
3795 Campton Hills Dr., 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. 10; 7-8 p.m.
Hickory Knolls Discovery Center
3795 Campton Hills Dr., St. Charles
Fee: $10/person