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, Feb. 8; 10:30 a.m. - 11 a.m.
  • Wednesday, March 8; 10:30 a.m. - 11 a.m.
  • Wednesday, April 12; 10:30 a.m. - 11 a.m.
  • Wednesday, May 10; 10:30 a.m. - 11 a.m.

Creek Bend Nature Center
LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
37W700 Dean St., St. Charles
FREE


little saplings

In this monthly program geared for 3-5 year-olds, we'll explore the natural world through a variety of activities specific to the theme of the month. Sessions include a combination of stories, nature hikes, songs, games, or crafts. A parent or caregiver must accompany child.

Thursday, 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

Thursday, March 16; 9:30 a.m. - 10:30 a.m. "Bird is the Word"
Creek Bend Nature Center
LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
37W700 Dean St., St. Charles
Fee: $5/child

Thursday, April 20; 9:30 a.m. - 10:30 a.m. "Rascally Raccoons"
Creek Bend Nature Center
LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
37W700 Dean St., St. Charles
Fee: $5/child

Thursday, May 18; 9:30 a.m. - 10:30 a.m. "Spring has Sprung"
Creek Bend Nature Center
LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
37W700 Dean St., St. Charles
Fee: $5/child


Summer CampS 2023

Explore the 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 three different age groups: (1) children ages 4-5; (2) children entering grades 1st through 5th; and (3) children entering grades 6th through 8th. 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 12 - Friday, June 16

"Tools of the Trade: Becoming a Naturalist" (entering grades 6th - 8th)

9 a.m. - Noon

Fabyan Forest Preserve

1925 Batavia Avenue, Geneva

Fee: $145/child

Monday, June 19 - Friday, June 23

"Nature Exploration" (ages 4-5)

9 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.

Creek Bend Nature Center/LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve

37W700 Dean Street, St. Charles

Fee: $145/child

Monday, June 26 - Friday, June 30

"Tracking & Survival" (entering grades 1st - 5th)

9 a.m. - Noon

Johnson's Mound Forest Preserve

41W600 Hughes Road, Elburn

Fee: $145/child

Monday, July 10 - Friday, July 14

"Fun and Fit in the Forest" (entering grades 1st-5th)

9 a.m. - Noon

Creek Bend Nature Center/LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve

37W700 Dean Street, St. Charles

Fee: $145/child

Monday, July 17 - Friday, July 21

"Nature's Super Heroes" (entering grades 1st - 5th)

9 a.m. - Noon

Burnidge Forest Preserve

Fee: $145/child

Monday, July 24 - Friday, July 28

"STEAM in Nature" (entering grades 1st - 5th)

9 a.m. - Noon

Creek Bend Nature Center/LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve

37W700 Dean Street, St. Charles

Fee: $145/child


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, Feb. 11; 4-5:30 p.m.
Creek Bend Nature Center
37W700 Dean St., St. Charles
FREE

Saturday, March 11; 4-5:30 p.m.
Creek Bend Nature Center
37W700 Dean St., St. Charles
FREE

Saturday, April 8; 4-5:30 p.m.
Creek Bend Nature Center
37W700 Dean St., St. Charles
FREE

Saturday, May 6; 4-5:30 p.m.
Creek Bend Nature Center
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, 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


Bird Watching Walks

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

Friday, March 17; 10-11 a.m.
Grunwald Farms Forest Preserve
02S035 Lorang Rd., Elburn
FREE

Saturday, April 2; 10-11 a.m.
Rutland Forest Preserve
41W230 Big Timber Rd., Hampshire
FREE

Friday, May 19; 10-11 a.m.
Big Rock Forest Preserve
46W072 Jericho Rd., Big Rock
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. Relax with a mug of steaming hot cocoa, a donut, or a cookie in the Maple Cafe. After a day of fun, purchase some of your own locally-sourced maple syrup to take home, while supplies last. (Cash or check only, please.)

Saturday, March 4 & Sunday, March 5; 12 p.m. - 3 p.m.
Creek Bend Nature Center
37W700 Dean St., St. Charles
FREE; nominal fee for refreshments in the Maple Cafe.


Frog and Toad Discovery

Kane County forest preserves are home to more than a dozen species of frogs and toads. Our naturalist will explain the anatomical differences between frogs and toads and introduce you to our most common species. Learn how to tell one amphibian from another by call alone. Explore the pond and wetlands for the different stages of frog and toad life cycles. Leave with an understanding of how important frogs and toads are to our wetland communities.

Sunday, April 16; 10-11 a.m.
LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
37W700 Dean St., St. Charles
FREE


Earth Day, Birth Day

Help celebrate all that Planet Earth provides us on this special day, the anniversary of our first Earth Day. Originally held on April 22, 1970, Earth Day is now an annual global event celebrated by a billion people in more than 190 different countries to demonstrate support for environmental protection and sustainability. Learn about the history and significance of Earth Day, then join a naturalist-guided hike through the springtime woodlands to pick up trash in our own effort to give back to the birthday planet.

Saturday, April 22; 9:30-11 a.m.
LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
37W700 Dean St., St. Charles
FREE


EARTH DAY Tree Planting event

Each year, the Forest Preserve District of Kane County hosts a planting event in honor of Earth Day. We need the public's help to plant hundreds of trees on this special occasion. The District's Natural Resources staff will dig the holes, while volunteers do the planting. Come place the trees in pre-dug holes, tamp-down dirt, add water and mulch -- it's easy! Earth Day events are perfect for individuals, families, scouts or other groups. You're welcome to plant one tree, or stay and plant throughout the entire event -- it's up to you! Be sure to arrive at 9 a.m. sharp. We'll plant until 12 p.m. or until we run out of stock -- whichever comes first! Groups of 10 or more, please contact our Volunteer Coordinator at 630-208-8662 or email us to RSVP. Individuals or groups of less than 10 do not need to register in advance.

Saturday, April 22; 9:00 a.m. - 12 p.m.
Tekakwitha Woods Forest Preserve
35W076 Villa Maria Rd., 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, Feb. 2; 10 a.m. - Noon
Glenwood Park Forest Preserve
1644 S. River St., Batavia
FREE; donations accepted

Thursday, March 2; 10 a.m. - Noon
Creek Bend Nature Center/LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
37W700 Dean St., St. Charles
FREE; donations accepted

Thursday, April 6; 10 a.m. - Noon
Muirhead Farmhouse within Muirhead Springs Forest Preserve (Farmhouse address below)
42W814 Rohrsen Rd., Hampshire
FREE; donations accepted

Thursday, May 4; 10 a.m. - Noon
Oakhurst Forest Preserve
1680 Fifth Ave., Aurora
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.

Thursday, Feb. 16; 3:30-5:30 p.m.
Otter Creek Forest Preserve
37W870 Hopps Rd., Elgin
FREE

Thursday, March 16; 5-7 p.m.
Raceway Woods Forest Preserve
17N702 Western Ave., Carpentersville
FREE

Thursday, April 20; 5:30-7:30 p.m.
Raymond Street Forest Preserve
09N888 Raymond St., Elgin
FREE

Thursday, May 18; 6-8 p.m.
Bliss Woods Forest Preserve
5S660 Bliss Rd., Sugar Grove
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, Feb. 26; 10-11 a.m.
Schweitzer Woods Forest Preserve
16N690 Sleepy Hollow Rd., West Dundee
FREE

Sunday, March 26; 10-11 a.m.
LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve (Meet at the Barn)
37W700 Dean St., St. Charles
FREE

Sunday, April 23; 10-11 a.m.
Johnson's Mound Forest Preserve
41W600 Hughes Rd., Elburn
FREE

Sunday, May 21; 10-11 a.m.
LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve (Meet at Barn)
37W700 Dean St., St. Charles
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.

Saturday, April 15; 10-11:30 a.m.
Elburn Forest Preserve
45W061 Rte. 38, Elburn
FREE

Saturday, May 20; 10-11:30 a.m.
Tekakwitha Woods Forest Preserve
35W076 Villa Maria Rd., St. Charles
FREE


Learn to Kayak

Our 2023 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 21; 10 a.m. - 12 p.m.
Oakhurst Forest Preserve
1680 Fifth Ave., Aurora
Fee: $69/person (includes use of kayak, personal flotation device and paddle)


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


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


Corn: The History and Impact of Illinois' Most Important crop

Despite the miles upon miles of corn planted in the Midwest, few residents understand the plant's origins or the crop's impact on modern life. In the early nineteenth century, corn was a dietary staple; it was ground into meal for baking and cooking, dried and cooked for food, and even distilled into whiskey. More commonly, though, it was fed to livestock. Corn was particularly important for fattening hogs, since pork was the meat that preserved best in early days. Today, entire industries are based on corn. From food and food additives like corn sweeteners to chemicals, plastics, livestock feeds, food supplements, and ethanol, this plant originally developed by the early peoples of the Americas is found everywhere. Farm hobbyist and corn enthusiast Chuck Bauer will share the fascinating story behind Illinois' most abundant and important crop!

Sunday, April 16; 11:30-1:00 p.m.
Creek Bend Nature Center/LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
37W700 Dean St., St. Charles
Fee: $10/person


Fire Ecology

Fire is one of the many helpful tools used in land management. Particularly prairie ecosystems. This LFE will take an in depth look at the role fire has played historically, and how it is used today for restoration, enhancement and maintenance of natural areas. Details on when to burn, proper technique, and all of the intricacies of implementing a burn will be discussed.

Tuesday, April 18; 6-7 p.m.
Peck Farm Park
4038 Kaneville Rd., Geneva
Fee: $10/person


Sense of Place: Camp Tomo Chi-Chi Knolls

Join Naturalist Erica Lemon to learn about the diverse history of the land that makes up present-day Camp Tomo Chi-Chi Knolls and the surrounding Freeman Kame Forest Preserve complex. From glaciers to horse farms to scout group campouts, Camp Tomo has seen a lot of natural and cultural change! We will start indoors with a short presentation, and then head outdoors to hike the trails and explore this beautiful preserve.

Sunday, May 7; 9:30-11 a.m.
Camp Tomo Chi-Chi Knolls
40W095 Freeman Rd., Gilberts
Fee: $10/person


Salt Smart

The impact of winter salt, or chlorides, on aquatic life lags well into the summer months. The first step to shortening the lag and reducing the impact is to reduce any wasted excess of winter salt usage. By shoveling first and using only the amount of salt that is needed, where it is needed, we can help to fix salt drainage issues before winter ends. The Salt Smart Collaborative is a regional alliance of people and organizations working to reduce the amount of chlorides reaching our local rivers and streams. Jennifer Hammer from The Conservation Foundation will share resources and best practices on how all of us can act Salt Smart to be part of the solution.

Monday, March 6; 6:30-8 p.m.
Creek Bend Nature Center/LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
37W700 Dean St., St. Charles
Fee: $10/person


A Kane County Turtle Primer

Our area is home to six turtle species, including one that is endangered throughout much of its range. Using artifacts as well as specimens from the Hickory Knolls turtle pond, we'll delve into ID traits and discuss the habitats each species calls home. With lots of opportunities for hands-on interaction, this class will be turtle-y awesome!

Thursday, March 16; 6:30-8:30 p.m.
Hickory Knolls Discovery Center
3795 Campton Hills Dr., St. Charles
Fee: $10/person