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, Dec. 14; 10:30 a.m. - 11 a.m.
  • Wednesday, Jan. 11; 10:30 a.m. - 11 a.m.
  • Wednesday, Feb. 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, Dec. 15; 9:30 a.m. - 10:30 a.m. "Oh, Deer!"
Creek Bend Nature Center
LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
37W700 Dean St., St. Charles
Fee: $5/child

Thursday, Jan. 19; 9:30 a.m. - 10:30 a.m. "Whoooo Are You?"
Creek Bend Nature Center
LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
37W700 Dean St., St. Charles
Fee: $5/child

Thursday, Feb. 16; 9:30 a.m. - 10:30 a.m. "It's Freezing out There!"
Creek Bend Nature Center
LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
37W700 Dean St., St. Charles
Fee: $5/child


Secrets of Snow Workshop

Drop your middle school student off at Creek Bend Nature Center to discover the outdoor world and uncover the secrets that an Illinois winter holds. This workshop will incorporate hands-on experiments, scientific activities, fun games, and an adventurous hike through a winter wonderland. Come prepared for indoor classroom activities as well as outdoor exploration.

Wednesday, Jan. 4; 10 a.m. - 12 p.m.
Creek Bend Nature Center
LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
37W700 Dean St., St. Charles
Fee: $20/person


Save the Date: Summer Camp 2023

Summer will be here before you know it! Make plans now for your child to spend a week in the woodlands, prairies, and wetlands of Kane County with a professional District naturalist. More information on camp time, themes and locations will be available in March 2023.

  • Monday, June 12 - Friday, June 17
  • Monday, June 19 - Friday, June 23
  • Monday, June 26 - Friday, June 30
  • Monday, July 10 - Friday, July 15
  • Monday, July 17 - Friday, July 21
  • Monday, July 24 - Friday, July 28


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.


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, Dec. 17; 4-5 p.m.
Creek Bend Nature Center
37W700 Dean St., St. Charles
FREE

Saturday, Jan. 14; 4-5 p.m.
Creek Bend Nature Center
37W700 Dean St., St. Charles
FREE

Saturday, Feb. 11; 4-5 p.m.
Creek Bend Nature Center
37W700 Dean St., St. Charles
FREE


Early 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 share a few interesting stories along the way.

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


Ramble at Twilight

The winter solstice is almost upon as the hush begins to fall on a crisp winter day. Join us for a hike as the sun starts to dip below the horizon. We will look for tracks and listen for animals as we make our way thru the woods. Warm up with some hot chocolate at the end of the program.

Thursday, Dec. 15; 4-5 p.m.
LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve * Meet at Shelter #1
37W700 Dean St., St. Charles
FREE


Owl Prowl

Bundle up and come out for an owl prowl in the winter woods. We'll begin at the shelter with an introduction to the world of owls, and then head out on the trail to call and listen for these birds of the night. If we're lucky, we'll not only hear an owl, but will get to see one glide silently past us in search of dinner.

Sunday, Dec. 18; 4:30-5:30 p.m.
Hampshire Forest Preserve
44W780 Allen Rd., Hampshire
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!

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


Birding 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.

Saturday, Jan. 7; 10-11 a.m.
Tekakwitha Woods Forest Preserve
35W076 Villa Maria Rd., St. Charles
FREE


Tracking along the Winter Trail

Learn about the various types of animal signs you can discover while exploring Kane County trails and natural areas. While you might not encounter wildlife during your winter walks, in this program we'll teach you how to identify animal tracks and to hone your observational skills in order to recognize the subtle clues that animals leave behind.

Sunday, Jan. 22; 10-11 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 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 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.

Saturday, Jan. 28; 9:30-11 a.m.
LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
37W700 Dean St., St. Charles
Fee: $25/person

Saturday, Feb. 11; 9:30-11 a.m.
Camp Tomo Chi-Chi Knolls
40W095 Freeman Rd., Gilberts
Fee: $25/person

Sunday, Feb. 26; 9:30-11 a.m.
LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
37W700 Dean St., St. Charles
Fee: $25/person

Sunday, March 18; 9:30-11 a.m.
Camp Tomo Chi-Chi Knolls
40W095 Freeman Rd., Gilberts
Fee: $25/person


Late 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 share a few interesting stories along the way.

Friday, Feb. 17; 10-11 a.m.
LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
37W700 Dean St., St. Charles
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 4 & Sunday, March 5, from noon - 3 p.m. at Creek Bend Nature Center in LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve.

Saturday, March 4 & Sunday, March 5; 12 p.m. - 3 p.m.
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


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, 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

Thursday, Jan. 5; 10 a.m. - Noon *Travelogue: Natural Wonders of Nova Scotia*
Barbara Belding Lodge at Brewster Creek Forest Preserve
6N921 IL Rte. 25, St. Charles
FREE; donations accepted

Thursday, Feb. 2; 10 a.m. - Noon
Glenwood Park Forest Preserve
1644 S. River St., Batavia
FREE; donations accepted


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.

Saturday, Dec. 3; 9-11 a.m.
Les Arends Forest Preserve
2S731 Rte. 31, Batavia
FREE

Saturday, Jan. 7; 9-11 a.m.
Big Rock Forest Preserve
46W072 Jericho Rd., Big Rock
FREE

Saturday, Feb. 16; 3:30-5:30 p.m.
Otter Creek Forest Preserve
37W870 Hopps Rd., Elgin
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, Dec. 4; 10-11 a.m.
Hannaford Woods Forest Preserve
441 Courtney Circle, Sugar Grove
FREE

Sunday, Jan. 29; 10-11 a.m.
Les Arends Forest Preserve
2S731 Rte. 31, Batavia
FREE

Sunday, Feb. 26; 10-11 a.m.
Schweitzer Woods Forest Preserve
16N690 Sleepy Hollow Rd., West Dundee
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.

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.

Learn from the experts programs

These classes about local ecology are taught by experts in the field. This award-winning program series is co-sponsored by the Forest Preserve District of Kane County, the St. Charles Park District, and the Geneva Park District. These programs are for ages 18 and above. Registration is required.


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.

Geology Field TRIP REVISITED

We can't emphasize it enough: Landforms give us life forms. We'll review the glacial processes that produced our Fox River, as well as the kames, moraines, kettles and eskers that typify Kane County's geography. We'll then head out to hike the formations and discuss how the topography impacts the plants and animals that call them home.

Saturday, Feb. 4; 10 a.m. - 12 p.m.
Hickory Knolls Discovery Center
3795 Campton Hills Dr., St. Charles
Fee: $10/person


NASA's James Webb Space Telescope -- Plus a Star Party

The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) is the largest, most powerful space telescope ever built. Together with leaders of the Fox Valley Astronomical Society (FVAS), we'll explore the fascinating first images recently released by NASA from the JWST that help unlock the history, and reveal the beauty, of our universe. Our presenters will bring you the captivating story of what the JWSP is and how it works. Immediately following the presentation, we will have a star party! Our friends from the FVAS will set up telescopes outside and welcome you to observe the night sky. Weather permitting, this is your chance to directly observe planets and deep space objects that inspire a true appreciation for our dark skies.

Friday, Dec. 9; 6:30-9 p.m.
Creek Bend Nature Center/LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
37W700 Dean St., St. Charles
Fee: $10/person


Plastic Litter in Freshwaters: Abundance, Distribution, and Future Directions

Plastic litter is found all over the world, including freshwater ecosystems. Plastic litter comes in a wide variety of shapes, sizes, and material types. Research on the sources, movement, and biological interactions of plastic litter in freshwaters is a critical part of prevention and removal strategies. This presentation will review the current state of knowledge on plastic litter, its distribution and abundance in local ecosystems, and upcoming policy and educational initiatives which may limit the scope of pollution in the future.

Wednesday, Jan. 25; 7:00-8:30 p.m.
The Barbara Belding Lodge at Brewster Creek Forest Preserve
6N921 IL Rte. 25, St. Charles
Fee: $10/person


Winter Birds

Kane County has a fair number of year-round birds as well as an interesting array of species that visit us only in winter. We'll learn the field marks and habitat preferences for many of cold-weather feathered friends and, weather permitting, head out to see how many we can find out on the trails. As this program date coincides with the Great Backyard Bird Count, information on this annual event also will be shared.

Saturday, Feb. 18; 9-11 a.m.
Hickory Knolls Discovery Center
3795 Campton Hills Dr., 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, Feb. 19; 9:30-11 a.m.
Creek Bend Nature Center/LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
37W700 Dean St., St. Charles
Fee: $10/person