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 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

Treat your child to story times at Creek Bend Nature Center. This popular program series is for children (infants through 5-year olds) and their caregivers. St. Charles Public Library staff will read books, accompanied by finger plays, songs and more. All are welcome to enjoy the interactive exhibits in the Nature Center, following the program. All story times are free. This is a drop-in program. No registration required.

  • Wednesday, Feb. 12; 10:30 - 11 a.m.
  • Wednesday, March 18; 10:30 - 11 a.m.
  • Wednesday, April 15; 10:30 - 11 a.m.
  • Wednesday, May 13; 10:30 - 11 a.m.

Creek Bend Nature Center
LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve

37W700 Dean St., St. Charles;
FREE


DRAWING FROM LIFE: LOCAL WILDLIFE FOR KIDS (AGES 8 AND UP)

Using taxidermy specimens, like the red fox and great horned owl, available at Creek Bend Nature Center, students will learn how to sketch quick animal studies from life. Supplies will be available for use in this 2-hour workshop. Or, bring your own pencil and sketchbook! Professional local artist Tina Druce-Hoffman is offering this class. If you've always wanted to learn to draw, paint, or improve your artistic skills, this class is for you. Each class will include time in the field and in the art classroom.

Saturday, March 14; 1 - 3 p.m.
Creek Bend Nature Center
LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
37W700 Dean St., St. Charles
Fee: $45/person


PJs and Stories in the woods

Spend an evening away from the TV and with a good book! Bring your family out to the nature center in the woods, for a special after-hours program among the exhibits. Pajamas are encouraged, but not required! St. Charles Public Library staff will read stories, lead fun games and songs, and share a seasonal craft activity. We'll enjoy toasty mugs of hot cocoa at the end of our time together. This is a drop-in program. No registration required.

  • Thursday, March 19; 6:30 - 7:30 p.m.
  • Thursday, April 16; 6:30 - 7:30 p.m.
  • Thursday, May 21; 6:30 - 7:30 p.m.

Creek Bend Nature Center
LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve

37W700 Dean St., St. Charles;
FREE


Nature Tykes (for 3-year olds)

In this program geared for 3-year olds with their parents, grandparents or guardians, we'll explore the natural world through a variety of activities, led by our naturalist staff. Sessions include a combination of stories, nature hikes, songs, games or crafts. A parent or caregiver must accompany child.

Owl Eyes
Thursday, Jan. 23; 9:30 - 10:30 a.m.
Creek Bend Nature Center
LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
37W700 Dean St., St. Charles
Fee: $5/child

Ice Is Nice
Thursday, Feb. 27; 9:30 - 10:30 a.m.
Creek Bend Nature Center
LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
37W700 Dean St., St. Charles
Fee: $5/child

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle!
Thursday, March 26; 9:30 - 10:30 a.m.
Creek Bend Nature Center
LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
37W700 Dean St., St. Charles
Fee: $5/child

Happy Birthday, Earth Day
Thursday, April 23; 9:30 - 10:30 a.m.
Creek Bend Nature Center
LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
37W700 Dean St., St. Charles
Fee: $5/child

Animal Moms
Thursday, May 28; 9:30 - 10:30 a.m.
Creek Bend Nature Center
LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
37W700 Dean St., St. Charles
Fee: $5/child


Little Naturalists (for 4-5-year olds)

In this hour-long program for 4-5 year olds, children will discover the wonders of nature through stories, nature hikes, songs, games or crafts. Note: This is a "drop-off" program; adults and siblings may enjoy the trails or wait in the nature center, during program.

Owl Eyes
Thursday, Jan. 23; 1 - 2 p.m.
Creek Bend Nature Center
LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
37W700 Dean St., St. Charles
Fee: $5/child

Ice Is Nice
Thursday, Feb. 27; 1 - 2 p.m.
Creek Bend Nature Center
LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
37W700 Dean St., St. Charles
Fee: $5/child

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle!
Thursday, March 26; 1 - 2 p.m.
Creek Bend Nature Center
LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
37W700 Dean St., St. Charles
Fee: $5/child

Happy Birthday, Earth Day
Thursday, April 23; 1 - 2 p.m.
Creek Bend Nature Center
LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
37W700 Dean St., St. Charles
Fee: $5/child

Animal Moms
Thursday, May 28; 1 - 2 p.m.
Creek Bend Nature Center
LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
37W700 Dean St., St. Charles
Fee: $5/child


Tracking & Survival Day 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 first through sixth grades. Call 630-444-3190 or email programs@kaneforest.com to register for Week in the Woods summer day camps. Detailed camp information will be provided upon registration. Advance registration is required.

Monday - Friday, June 22-26; 9 a.m. - noon
Johnson's Mound Forest Preserve
41W600 Hughes Rd., Elburn
Fee: $175/child


STEM in Nature Day 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 first through sixth grades. Call 630-444-3190 or email programs@kaneforest.com to register for Week in the Woods summer day camps. Detailed camp information will be provided upon registration. Advance registration is required.

Monday - Friday, July 13-17; 9 a.m. - Noon
Burnidge Forest Preserve
14N035 Coombs Rd., Elgin
Fee: $175/child


Summer Unplugged Day 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 first through sixth grades. Call 630-444-3190 or email programs@kaneforest.com to register for Week in the Woods summer day camps. Detailed camp information will be provided upon registration. Advance registration is required.

Monday - Friday, Aug. 3-7; 9 a.m. - noon
Creek Bend Nature Center
LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
37W700 Dean St., St. Charles
Fee: $175/child


Junior Naturalist Camp

Discover the sights and sounds of a different forest preserve each day! During this camp partnership between the Forest Preserve District of Kane County and the Geneva Park District, campers will get their 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 third through fifth grades. Each day of camp will begin and end at Peck Farm Park. Campers will travel by bus to/from a different Kane County forest preserve, each day. Daily themes and forest preserve trips include:

  • 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 and Natural History: LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve, St. Charles and Fabyan Forest Preserve, Geneva

Session 1: Monday, June 15 - Friday, June 19
9 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Peck Farm Park
4038 Kaneville Rd., Geneva
Fee: $300/child
Activity Code: 3212806-01

Session 2: Monday, July 20 - Friday, July 24
9 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Peck Farm Park
4038 Kaneville Rd., Geneva
Fee: $300/child
Activity Code: 3212806-02

Session 3: Monday, Aug. 10 - Friday, Aug. 14
9 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Peck Farm Park
4038 Kaneville Rd., Geneva
Fee: $300/child
Activity Code: 3212806-03

Advance registration is required for Junior Naturalist Camp, with three ways to register:

  1. Online at www.genevaparks.org
  2. By phone at 630-232-4542
  3. In person at Sunset Community Center, 710 Western Avenue, Geneva. Detailed

Junior Naturalist Camp information will be provided upon registration.


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!

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.


By the Light of the Moon

Learn the legends of the moon on these monthly night hikes. Traditional cultures have names for each month's full moon, signifying important natural events of the season. Listen to the stories and learn a little astronomy by the light of the full moon. We'll enjoy a night hike, even if skies are cloudy.

Snow Moon
Sunday, Feb. 9; 5:30 - 6:30 p.m.
Camp Tomo Chi-Chi Knolls
40W095 Freeman Rd., Gilberts
Fee: $2/person

Worm Moon
Monday, March 9; 6:45 - 7:45 p.m.
LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
37W700 Dean St., St. Charles
Fee: $2/person

Pink Moon
Tuesday, April 7; 7 - 8 p.m.
Johnson's Mound Forest Preserve
41W600 Hughes Rd., Elburn
Fee: $2/person

Flower Moon
Thursday, May 7; 8 - 9 p.m.
Camp Tomo Chi-Chi Knolls
40W095 Freeman Rd., Gilberts
Fee: $2/person


Eagles on the Fox River

Learn about our national bird, the bald eagle, during a wintertime hiking exploration along the Fox River. During our riverside ramble, we'll search for eagles while the naturalist discusses this majestic bird's history, behavior, habitat and diet.

Saturday, Feb. 15; 10 - 11 a.m.
Jon J. Duerr Forest Preserve
35W003 Rte. 31, South Elgin
FREE


maple sugaring days

It's maple sugaring time! Come to Creek Bend Nature Center to explore the 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 fire and watch as it thickens to syrup. Before leaving, treat yourself to a sample of local, pure maple syrup, and pick up some to take home! Registration not required.

Maple Sugaring Flyer

Saturday, March 7 & Sunday, March 8; Noon - 3 p.m.
LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
Creek Bend Nature Center
37W700 Dean St., St. Charles
FREE


skunk cabbage hunt

Did you know that some native flowers are hardy enough to pop up through a blanket of snow? Help our Naturalist search for the first wildflower of spring -- the strange and unusual skunk cabbage. Come ready to hike through the woods to find patches of this wonderful plant hiding low on the ground.

Saturday, March 14; 10 - 11 a.m.
Bliss Woods Forest Preserve
5S660 Bliss Rd., Sugar Grove
FREE


special private movie screening events!

Have you heard about the local piping plovers that have captivated bird lovers and nature enthusiasts? "Monty and Rose" tells the story of a pair of endangered piping plovers that successfully nested at Chicago's Montrose Beach in the summer of 2019 -- the first species to nest in Chicago in 64 years. The short, independent documentary by local filmmaker Bob Dolgan, chronicles these special birds and their legendary role in a proposed music festival that propelled the birds to national fame. "Monty and Rose" features interviews with key players in the story, including biologists, birders, volunteers, and the advocates who spoke out when the music festival was proposed. Join us after the screening for a Q&A session with the film producer, event co-sponsors Kane County Audubon and Forest Preserve District of Kane County, and other birding experts.

Tuesday, March 17 & Tuesday April 21; 7 - 8:30 p.m.
Barbara Belding Lodge
Brewster Creek Forest Preserve
6N921 IL Rte. 25, St. Charles
Fee: $5/person


spring equinox hike

Come celebrate spring! The equinox is the moment in time when the sun stands directly above the equator, and day and night are approximately equal length. For the Northern Hemisphere, it's when winter ends and spring begins. We'll go on a sunset hike to honor this event and hear how the natural world and many cultures celebrate this time of rebirth.

Friday, March 20; 6 - 7 p.m.
Dick Young Forest Preserve
39W115 Main St., Batavia
FREE


amphibians in the afternoon

Come April, frogs and toads will be gearing up for a busy spring. Hike along the wetland trails at Burnidge Forest Preserve to look for and learn about these noisy, native creatures!

Saturday, April 11; 4:45 - 5:45 p.m.
Burnidge Forest Preserve
38W235 Big Timber Rd., Elgin
FREE


EARTH DAY TREE PLANTING

Celebrate Earth Day with the Forest Preserve District! Volunteers are needed to help plant trees at Freeman Kame-Meagher Forest Preserve. We'll dig the holes, if you'll do the planting. Simply place tree in pre-dug hole, water, and mulch. Plant as many trees as you like, but be sure to arrive at 10 a.m. sharp! We'll plant trees until 1 p.m., or until we run out of trees -- whichever comes first. Groups of less than 10 do not need to register. Groups of 10 or more, call 630-762-2741 or email volunteer@kaneforest.com to RSVP.

Saturday, April 18; 10 a.m.
Freeman Kame-Meagher Forest Preserve
40W346 Freeman Rd., Gilberts
FREE


EARTH DAY birthday

The first Earth Day, on April 22, 1970, is credited with launching the modern environmental movement. Let's meet to carry on the legacy and celebrate the natural world. Come to enjoy a campfire program about the history and impact of Earth Day, and to discuss ways we can help protect this Earth we all call home. We'll conclude the evening with an invigorating twilight birthday hike! Meet at Creek Bend Nature Center for an introduction, prior to heading outdoors.

Wednesday, April 22; 5:30 - 7 p.m.
LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
Creek Bend Nature Center
37W700 Dean St., St. Charles
FREE


wildflower folklore

Learn the names and colorful stories of wildflowers during this naturalist-guided walk. We'll look for natives like Jack-in-the-pulpit, may-apple, and toothwort, and learn how they got their names. We'll also discover plants with multiple aliases, like wake robin, dog-tooth violet, and touch-me-not.

Saturday, April 25; 9:30 - 10:30 a.m.
Johnson's Mound Forest Preserve
41W600 Hughes Rd., Elburn
FREE


pollinator workshops: Herb garden

Herbs can do far more than simply spice up your kitchen life -- they provide nectar for and play host to an amazing array of pollinators! Participants will be given all the tools necessary to build a pollinator-friendly culinary herb garden, for use by both home cooks and local butterflies. Plants, pots, and information on proper garden maintenance will be provided. Forest Preserve District Naturalists will highlight some of the gorgeous butterfly species that may be attracted to your hard work!

Sunday, May 3; 10 - 11 a.m.
LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
Creek Bend Nature Center
37W700 Dean St., St. Charles
Fee: $15/garden (or $25 for both an herb garden and a butterfly house.)


hiking for health

Head outdoors and take the first step toward a healthy lifestyle! Spending time in nature has been shown to reduce anxiety and depression, help alleviate attention deficits, and stimulate general good health. We'll hike to explore nature, while doing some invigorating exercises and fun nature activities along the way.

Sunday, May 17; 10 - 11 a.m.
Oakhurst Forest Preserve
1680 Fifth Ave., Aurora
FREE


POLLINATOR WORKSHOPS: build a butterfly house

Bring a hammer and your creativity to create a stylish butterfly house that will beautify your home. Participants will work with pre-cut wood and tacks to assemble this simple building project. We'll provide painting supplies so you can add your own special finishing touches! Houses are for decorative purposes only.

Sunday, May 17; 10 - 11 a.m.
LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
Creek Bend Nature Center
37W700 Dean St., St. Charles
Fee: $15/house (or $25 for both a butterfly house and an herb garden.)


attention webelos!

Earn your "Into the Woods" badge with a Forest Preserve Naturalist. We'll cover all the badge requirements during a hike focused on tree and plant identification, a seed planting activity, and a nature center visit. Take your potted seeds home and watch them grow!

Saturday, March 21; 10 - 11 a.m.
LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
Creek Bend Nature Center
37W700 Dean St., St. Charles
Fee: $5/child


Explore the Kane County Forest Preserves with a Naturalist Led Hike

Bring your group on an adventurous hike through one of our beautiful preserves! We'll cover many aspects of our local flora and fauna. Scout groups, school groups, etc., are welcome on our guided naturalist hikes! Contact us today to find out more about scheduling and fees. Call 630-444-3190 or email programs@kaneforest.com for more information.


SENIOR STROLL: BLANDING'S TURTLE ECOLOGY AND CONSERVATION IN KANE COUNTY

What moves slowly, can survive 70+ years, and often lives dangerously? Join us to find out as we learn from Forest Preserve Wildlife Biologist Bill Graser about the ecology and conservation of the Blanding's turtle in Kane County. We will discuss the turtle's habitat requirements, life history, population status, and effort underway to secure the species' future in Kane County. Seniors are invited to join district naturalists each month on a pleasant stroll in our natural areas. Each month we visit a different site, learning about the natural and cultural history of the area. During winter months, our strolls move indoors and feature a nature topic. No registration is required for this free program.

Thursday, Feb. 6; 10 a.m. - 12 p.m.
The Barbara Belding Lodge
Brewster Creek Forest Preserve
6N921 Rte. 25, St. Charles
FREE


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, Feb. 20; 3:30 - 5:30 p.m.
Glenwood Park Forest Preserve
1644 S. River St., Batavia
FREE

Thursday, March 19; 5 - 7 p.m.
Jon J. Duerr Forest Preserve
35W003 Rte. 31, South Elgin
FREE

Thursday, April 16; 5:30 - 7:30 p.m.
Big Rock Forest Preserve
46W072 Jericho Rd., Big Rock
FREE

Thursday, May 21; 6 - 8 p.m.
Fox River Shores Forest Preserve
701 N. Williams Rd., Carpentersville
FREE

nature inspired fine art series:

We are fortunate to have professional local artist Tina Druce-Hoffman offer a series of workshops and classes centered around a nature theme. If you've always wanted to learn to draw, paint, or improve your artistic skills, these programs are perfect for you! Each class will include time in the field and in the art classroom.

LANDSCAPE PAINTING FOR TEENS AND ADULTS

We are fortunate to have professional local artist Tina Druce-Hoffman offer a series of workshops and classes centered around a nature theme. If you've always wanted to learn to draw, paint, or improve your artistic skills, any of our Fine Art Series programs are perfect for you! This series of six classes constitutes a professional beginning course on painting landscapes in watercolor or gouache. Basic composition and theory will be discussed during this six-week program, with all classes meeting indoors. Note: This program is for ages 14 and above. A class supply list will be provided at registration.

Mondays -- Jan. 13 - Feb. 17; 6 - 9 p.m.
Barbara Belding Lodge
Brewster Creek Forest Preserve
6N921 IL Rte. 25, St. Charles
Fee: $200/person

DRAWING FROM LIFE: LOCAL WILDLIFE FOR KIDS (AGES 8 AND UP)

Using taxidermy specimens, like the red fox and great horned owl, available at Creek Bend Nature Center, students will learn how to sketch quick animal studies from life. Supplies will be available for use in this 2-hour workshop. Or, bring your own pencil and sketchbook! Professional local artist Tina Druce-Hoffman is offering this class. If you've always wanted to learn to draw, paint, or improve your artistic skills, this class is for you. Each class will include time in the field and in the art classroom.

Saturday, March 14; 1 - 3 p.m.
Creek Bend Nature Center
LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
37W700 Dean St., St. Charles
Fee: $45/person

artistic nature journaling (Ages 18 and up)

Explore the outdoors with a nature sketchbook in hand. Document the natural world in using a pencil and watercolor, or any of your preferred mediums. Weather permitting, at least an hour each class will be spent outside, so dressing appropriately for the weather is encouraged. A smart-phone is recommended for documentation, but is not entirely necessary. Class supply list will be available at sign up.

Mondays: April 13 - May 18; 6 - 9 p.m.
Creek Bend Nature Center
LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
37W700 Dean St., St. Charles
Fee: $200/person


senior stroll

Seniors are invited to join District Naturalists each month on a leisurely stroll through a Kane County forest preserve. Note: Registration not required for Senior Stroll programs. Donations are accepted to cover the cost of refreshments. We consider "seniors" as anyone age 50 (or better!) but adults of all-ages are welcome.

Thursday, March 5; 10 a.m. - Noon
Johnson's Mound Forest Preserve
41W600 Hughes Rd., Elburn
FREE

Thursday, April 2; 10 a.m. - Noon
Rutland Forest Preserve
41W230 Big Timber Rd., Hampshire
FREE

Thursday, May 7; 10 a.m. - Noon
Bliss Woods Forest Preserve
5S660 Bliss Rd., Sugar Grove
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, March 29; 9 - 10 a.m.
Big Rock Forest Preserve
46W072 Jericho Rd., Big Rock
FREE

Sunday, April 19; 9 - 10 a.m.
Dick Young Forest Preserve
39W115 Main St., Batavia
FREE

Sunday, May 24; 9 - 10 a.m.
Johnson's Mound Forest Preserve
41W600 Hughes Rd., Elburn
FREE


wild edible plants

Have you ever taken a drink of dandelion wine, or a sip of sumac tea? Most of our modern-day wild plants can potentially be used for food or medicinal purposes. Learn how early people used native plants to provide everything from a holiday feast, to a cure for the common cold. Join the Naturalists as we hike to identify wild edible plants and learn about how people today use these botanicals. This program is for ages 18 and above.

Sunday, April 26; 10 - 11:30 a.m.
Creek Bend Nature Center
LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
37W700 Dean St., St. Charles
FREE


learn to kayak

Our 2020 kayaking series begins with a beginner's lake-based paddling skills class. 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 in the summer. Boaters must be 16 years old and be able to hold their breath under water, while wearing a properly fitted life jacket. They must also be able to independently turn from a face down, to a face-up position, keeping their head above water. They must also 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 one week prior to the program, and full payment at the time of registration.

Saturday, May 16; 10 a.m. - Noon
Oakhurst Forest Preserve
1680 Fifth Ave., Aurora
Fee: $69/person (includes use of kayak, personal flotation device, and paddle.)


beginner's backpacking adventure

If you've always yearned to try backpacking, but didn't have the confidence to do so, here's your chance to try a local trip with professional guides! Created especially for novice backpackers with limited outdoor experience, our adventure will include an "Introduction to Backpacking" training session, guided backpacking to the campsites, travelogues, naturalist-led hikes, chef-prepared meals, and evening campfires. Our guides will be an outdoor adventure leader from Rocktown Adventures and a District Naturalist. Expect to hike 3-5 miles per day over gently rolling terrain with packs weighing up to 35 pounds. All meals and group gear are included and we'll provide a personal gear list to all registrants. This program is for ages 18 and above.

Friday, June 5 at Noon - Sunday, June 7 at Noon
Freeman Kame-Meagher Forest Preserve
(Camp Tomo Chi-Chi Knolls entrance)
40W095 Freeman Rd., Gilberts
Fee: $299/person


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.


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, to use for identification.

Sunday, Jan. 26; 9:30 - 11 a.m.
Creek Bend Nature Center
LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
37W700 Dean St., St. Charles
Fee: $10/person


Conservation@Home -- Inviting Nature into Your Yard

Join Jim Kleinwachter of The Conservation Foundation to learn how to create a more eco-friendly yard. Under the Conservation@Home program, Jim helps teach homeowners how to reduce water run-off, increase wildlife habitat, and improve their soil. The benefits of doing so include reducing water and chemical use, creating more area for birds and butterflies, and minimizing time spent lawn mowing. This program will cover a variety of techniques for transforming your yard, including the use of rain barrels, rain gardens, and the selection and use of native plants to solve yard problems. Participants will receive a butterfly attraction and identification pamphlet, a native plant guide, and the option of getting a free yard evaluation from the Conservation@Home team.

Saturday, Feb. 15; Noon - 1:30 p.m.
Creek Bend Nature Center
LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
37W700 Dean St., St. Charles
Fee: $10/person


Winter Wildlife Tracking

Our wildlife neighbors may be shy about showing themselves, but they certainly do not shy away from leaving evidence of their presence. Tracks, trail patterns, scat and other signs abound, and are particularly easy to find during the cold-weather months. We'll begin this interactive class indoors, with an overview of local fauna and tracking techniques, then head outdoors to practice what we've learned. You'll never look at 'bare' ground the same again.

Saturday, Feb. 1; 10 - 11:30 a.m.
Creek Bend Nature Center
LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
37W700 Dean St., St. Charles
Fee: $10/person


fabulous fox water trail

Did you know that agencies in Wisconsin and Illinois have partnered with the National Park Service to create the Fabulous Fox Water Trail? Kane County Development Executive Planner Karen Miller will explain the work that has been done to create the water trail and will share with us the exciting recreational and stewardship opportunities that are now available right in our own backyard. She'll discuss ongoing efforts to earn National Water Trail status for the Fox River, and show how this designation would further increase public access and help protect and restore the waters and natural areas along the river. Our Fox River is a priceless and beautiful resource. Join us to learn how you can enjoy the river and support the drive towards a National Water Trail designation!

Saturday, March 21; 10 a.m. - Noon
Creek Bend Nature Center
LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
37W700 Dean St., St. Charles
Fee: $10/person


dazzled by the stars

Amateur astronomer and published author Bob King of Duluth, Minnesota, brings the night sky to life in this two-part presentation. With a good dose of humor, and a lot of amazing science, Bob will first provide an overview of the planets, starts and constellations of the late spring sky. After the indoor presentation, we'll head outside for a close-up look at Venus and an assortment of star clusters and galaxies through a telescope. Bob will share tips for night sky viewing from our backyards. Prepare to be amazed!

Tuesday, May 19; 8 - 10 p.m.
Barbara Belding Lodge
Brewster Creek Forest Preserve
6N921 IL Rte. 25, St. Charles
Fee: $15/person


Herps in a changing world

Climate change is not just about melting glaciers, but is also about how warmer temperatures are exacerbating the effects of anthropogenic land use changes on our local species, like Blanding's Turtles. Join Dr. Leigh Anne Harden of Benedictine University, as she shares how climate change affects the phenology, physiology, and behavior of reptiles and amphibians, and what we can do to help species survive in a changing world.

Wednesday, April 22; 7 - 8:30 p.m.
Hickory Knolls Discovery Center
3795 Campton Hills Rd., St. Charles
Fee: $10/person