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, Feb. 9; 10:30 a.m. - 11 a.m.
  • Wednesday, March 9; 10:30 a.m. - 11 a.m.
  • Wednesday, April 13; 10:30 a.m. - 11 a.m.
  • Wednesday, May 11; 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, 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

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

Thursday, April 21; 9:30 a.m. - 10:30 a.m. "Searching Space"
Creek Bend Nature Center
LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
37W700 Dean St., St. Charles
Fee: $5/child

Thursday, May 19; 9:30 a.m. - 10:30 a.m. "Power of Pollinators"
Creek Bend Nature Center
LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
37W700 Dean St., St. Charles
Fee: $5/child


Week in the Woods Summer Camp

Explore woodland wonders, get your feet wet in local streams, and learn new skills during these five-day nature camps! Naturalists will lead hikes, activities, games and nature-based crafts based on a different nature theme each day. Summer camp is for two different age groups: (1) children ages 4-5 and (2) children entering grades 1st through 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, June 13 - Friday, June 17; 9 a.m. - 12 p.m. "Summer Unplugged"
Fabyan Forest Preserve
1925 Batavia Ave., Geneva
Fee: $125/child
*Entering grades 1st - 6th

Monday, June 20 - Friday, June 24; 9 a.m. - 12 p.m. "Budding Naturalists"
Creek Bend Nature Center
37W700 Dean St., St. Charles
Fee: $125/child
*Ages 4-5

Monday, June 27 - Friday, July 1; 9 a.m. - 12 p.m. "Tracking & Survival"
Johnson's Mound Forest Preserve
41W600 Hughes Rd., Elburn
Fee: $125/child
*Entering grades 1st - 6th

Monday, July 11 - Friday, July 15; 9 a.m. - 12 p.m. "Nature Exploration"
Creek Bend Nature Center
37W700 Dean St., St. Charles
Fee: $125/child
*Ages 4-5

Monday, July 18 - Friday, July 22; 9 a.m. - 12 p.m. "STEAM in Nature"
Burnidge Forest Preserve
14N035 Coombs Rd., Elgin
Fee: $125/child
*Entering grades 1st - 6th

Monday, July 25 - Friday, July 29; 9 a.m. - 12 p.m. "Nature's Super Heroes"
LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
37W700 Dean St., St. Charles
Fee: $125/child
*Entering grades 1st - 6th


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.


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.

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


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

It's maple sugaring time! Come to Creek Bend Nature Center to explore art, science, and folklore of the "sugar bush" or maple grove. You'll learn how to identify and tap a maple tree, and you can try your hand at drilling and setting a tap. We'll simmer sap over an open fires and watch as it thickens to syrup. Relax with a mug of steaming hot cocoa and enjoy sparkling ice cream with a drizzle of syrup in the Maple Cafe. Treat yourself to a sample of local maple syrup, and purchase some to take home! Maple Sugaring Flyer

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


Fungus Monitor training

Are you fascinated by fungi? Do you like to walk in the woods? If so, why not become a fungus monitor in a Kane County Forest Preserve of your choice? No experience is needed, just a desire to learn, observe and collect/report data. During this monitor training session, you will learn the basics of mushroom anatomy, ecology and identification as well as procedures for conducting a fungus monitoring visit and collecting and submitting scientific data. Fungus monitoring sites will be assigned to volunteers at the end of the training session. This program is for ages 16 and above.

Saturday, March 12; 10 a.m. - 1 p.m.
Creek Bend Nature Center/LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
37W700 Dean St., St. Charles
FREE


City Nature Challenge

The City Nature Challenge is a citizen science data collecting bio-blitz. This four-day event challenges residents to photo-document nature in their city, from April 29 - May 2, in order to understand and appreciate urban biodiversity. New this year, we are creating a specific Kane County initiative. You can join people from over 350 cities around the world observing plants and animals in your own county. Join us the first day of the event to learn how the challenge works and how to use the iNaturalist app to report your data. We'll then explore LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve together to get you started as a bio-blitz scientist!

Friday, April 29; 10-11 a.m.
LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
37W700 Dean St., St. Charles
FREE


Welcome Spring!

The spring equinox brings with it the promise of more sunlight, warmer temperatures and a sense of renewal. During this program, we'll discuss the reasons behind the seasonal change, share stories about spring cultural traditions and explore wildlife habits during an invigorating and informative naturalist-led hike.

Saturday, March 20; 10-11 a.m.
Johnson's Mound Forest Preserve
41W600 Hughes Rd., Elburn
FREE


Animal Egg Hunt

Spring-time is egg-time within our local forest preserves, and it's not just the bunnies doing the egg laying. Discover the many animals that hatch from eggs of all sizes and shapes during this family friendly hike. Afterwards, join our Naturalist on an interactive egg hunt.

Saturday, April 16; 10-11 a.m.
Creek Bend Nature Center/LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
37W700 Dean St., St. Charles
FREE


Earth & Sky Extravaganza

Celebrate the earth and the skies above! It's both International Dark Sky Week AND Earth Day, and we've got stellar activities for all ages! With the user-friendly Globe at Night app, we'll record data about the brightness of the night sky. Find a star whose light left it the day you were born. Go on a night-sky scavenger hunt. Learn how to tell time with the Big Dipper. Create a nature-made bird feeder to take home and make moon craters. Enter our Draw-an-Alien contest. With earthly and other-worldly activities, there will be a galaxy of fun for everyone!

Friday, April 22; 7-8:30 p.m.
Creek Bend Nature Center/LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
37W700 Dean St., St. Charles
FREE


Beginner Birding Workshop

Are you curious about the birds visiting your backyard feeder? Do the songs of a spring woodland pique your interest? Then this beginner workshop is for you! Join District Naturalists as we discuss the basics of bird watching, while also highlighting some essential gear. This program will include classroom discussion and time on the trail. In addition, participants will leave with their very own set of binoculars!

Saturday, April 30; 9:30-11 a.m.
Creek Bend Nature Center/LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
37W700 Dean St., St. Charles
Fee: $15/person


Family Phenology

What is phenology? Officially, phenology is the study of the timing of seasonal events in nature, but you can think of it as nature's calendar. Come on this Naturalist-guided hike to learn more about the science of phenology, things to look for during a phenology study, and how to start your own phenology adventure. Learn to look more closely at the natural world and see how much things change during the course of each season. You will also get your own pocket phenology notebook to take into the field and record your findings!

Saturday, May 7; 9:30-10:30 a.m.
Tekakwitha Woods Forest Preserve
35W076 Villa Maria Rd., St. Charles
Fee: $5/person


Spring Birding Walk

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

Friday, May 13; 9-10 a.m.
Burnidge Forest Preserve
14N035 Coombs Rd., Elgin
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 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, Feb. 3; 10 a.m. - Noon
Paul Wolff Campground
38W235 Big Timber Rd., Elgin
FREE

Thursday, March 3; 10 a.m. - Noon
Johnson's Mound Forest Preserve
41W600 Hughes Rd., Elburn
FREE

Thursday, April 7; 10 a.m. - Noon
Rutland Forest Preserve
41W230 Big Timber Rd., Hampshire
FREE

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

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

Thursday, March 17; 5-7 p.m.
Prairie Green
698 North Peck Rd., Geneva
FREE

Thursday, April 21; 5:30-7:30 p.m.
Tekakwitha Woods Forest Preserve
35W076 Villa Maria Rd., St. Charles
FREE

Thursday, May 19; 6-8 p.m.
Johnson's Mound Forest Preserve
41W600 Hughes Rd., Elburn
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, Jan. 30; 10 - 11 a.m.
Dick Young Forest Preserve
2S326 Nelson Lake Rd.
FREE

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

Sunday, March 27; 10 - 11 a.m.
Otter Creek Forest Preserve
37W870 Hopps Rd., Elgin
FREE

Sunday, April 24; 10 - 11 a.m.
Tekakwitha Woods Forest Preserve
35W076 Villa Maria Rd., St. Charles
FREE

Sunday, May 22; 10 - 11 a.m.
Grunwald Forest Preserve
02S035 Lorang Rd., Elburn
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, April 3; 10 - 11:30 a.m.
Elburn Forest Preserve
45W061 IL Rte. 38, Elburn (Rte. 38 entrance, meet at picnic shelter)
FREE

Sunday, May 1; 10 - 11:30 a.m.
Lone Grove Forest Preserve
49W055 Perry Rd., Maple Park
FREE


Women's Weekend: A Nurturing Nature Retreat

Immerse yourself in a restorative weekend in nature with a community of women naturalists and nature lovers. This women's retreat is an expanded version of our popular Nurtured by Nature hikes. Connect with like-minded souls during gentle outdoor activities as we explore the benefits of Shinrin-yoku, yoga, artistic creation and other therapeutic pursuits. Day 1 of this 2-day retreat will culminate in a night hike and a gathering around a communal campfire. After a shared breakfast on Day 2, we will leave refreshed and renewed. Participants need to provide a tent and sleeping gear; we will supply snacks, all meals, activity instruction and supplies, and access to indoor bathrooms, shower, and kitchen. We require registration at least 2 weeks prior to the program and full payment at time of registration. This program is for ages 18 and above.

Saturday, April 30; 10 a.m. - Sunday, May 1; 10 a.m.
Freeman Kame-Meagher Forest Preserve (Camp Tomo Chi-Chi Knolls)
40W095 Freeman Rd., Gilberts
Fee:


Learn to Kayak

Our 2022 kayaking series begins with a beginner's lake-based paddling skills class in May. Participants will receive dry-land instruction on basic kayaking techniques from an experienced instructor and then hit the water to practice and expand upon these skills. Once you have mastered the basics of paddling, plan to join us for naturalist-guided kayaking excursions on the Fox River starting in June. 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, May 22; 10 a.m. - 12 p.m.
Oakhurst Forest Preserve
1680 Fifth Ave., Aurora
Fee: $69/person (includes use of kayak, personal floatation device and paddle)

Sunday, June 12; 10 a.m. - 1 p.m.
Voyageur's Landing Forest Preserve
50 Airport Rd., Elgin
Fee: $85/person (includes use of kayak, personal floatation device and paddle) or provide your own kayak for $45/person


Become a Citizen Scientist

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

COVID-19 precautions

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

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


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


Rain Gardening

Rain Gardening Program - Description to come soon!

Wednesday, March 16;
Barbara Belding Lodge
Brewster Creek Forest Preserve
6N921 IL Rte. 25, St. Charles
Fee: $10/person


An Introduction to Lichens: Nature's Collaborators

Join Matthew Nelsen (Research Scientist, Field Museum) & Todd Widhelm (Collections Manager, Field Museum) for an introduction to the world of lichens - symbiotic associations between fungi and algae. In this first of a 2-part series, we'll discuss the biology and diversity of lichen symbiosis, the roles lichens play in ecosystem functioning, and how lichens are used to monitor air quality and forest health. Learn more about those bright splashes of color you see on rocks and trees, the "reindeer moss" growing along the side of the road, and the "old man's beard" hanging from trees. You will gain an appreciation for the abundance and diversity of the often-overlooked associations between fungi and algae!

Thursday, April 7; 5:30-7 p.m.
Creek Bend Nature Center
LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
37W700 Dean St., St. Charles
Fee: $10/person


Chicagoland River Otters

Once extirpated in Illinois, river otters have made an impressive recovery in our local waterways. Otters were re-introduced in central and southern Illinois in the mid-90s and can now be found throughout the state. Biologist Chris Anchor of the Forest Preserve District of Cook County will the share the latest findings on local otter habits and otter research projects. His presentation will explore the natural history of river otters and preliminary telemetry results from the Chicagoland urban otter study.

Wednesday, April 27; 7-8:30 p.m.
Barbara Belding Lodge
Brewster Creek Forest Preserve
6N921 IL Rte. 25, St. Charles
Fee: $10/person


Sense of Place: Fabyan Forest Preserve

Many people know that Fabyan Forest Preserve boasts a remarkable old windmill, but did you know that the property also has historical connections to exotic wild animals, Mount Fuji, government codebreaking, and mummies? Come and walk the land with a naturalist as we revisit the past and explore the still-standing structures and gardens that paint a picture of the people and events here before us.

Tuesday, May 24; 6-7:30 p.m.
Fabyan Forest Preserve
1925 Batavia Ave., Geneva
Fee: $10/person


Listen Up: Tips and Tricks for Birding by Ear

Melodious sounds fill the air as our resident birds, some recently returned from their wintering grounds, go about their business of courtship and breeding. The songsters are relatively easy to spot in early spring, but once the trees leaf out it can be next to impossible to spot...that's when it's time to bird by ear! Indoor presentation will be followed by a field session to practice your new skills. Bring binoculars if you have them, as they'll help even if the birds are hard to see.

Saturday, June 4; 6-8 p.m.
Hickory Knolls Discovery Center
3795 Campton Hills Rd., St. Charles
Fee: $10/person