REGISTRATION

Registration is required for all programs unless otherwise noted. To register for programs, use our Online Program Registration.

If you have any questions, call Creek Bend Nature Center at 630-444-3190 or email programs@kaneforest.com. Thank you!


PAYMENT

Credit cards can only be accepted for online registrations. When registering via phone or email, required fees must be paid at the program with cash or check payable to the Forest Preserve District of Kane County unless otherwise noted. Checks can be mailed to:

Creek Bend Nature Center
LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
37W700 Dean St.
St. Charles, IL 60175

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.


Program Waiver and Release

The Forest Preserve District of Kane County (FPDKC) is committed to conducting its programs and activities in a safe manner and holds the safety of participants in high regard. The FPDKC continually strives to reduce risks and insists that all participants follow safety rules and instructions that are designed to protect the participant's safety. All registrants will be asked to sign a waiver and release.


Photo Release

By registering for a program, you consent to and authorize the use of any photographs and other audiovisual materials for promotional purposes, including printed material, educational activities, exhibitions, or for any other use for the benefit of the District.


SPECIAL ACCOMMODATIONS

Please let us know at least two weeks in advance by calling the program manager at 630-444-3191. 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: 630-444-3950 or 630-232-5980, TTY Relay: 800-526-0844, email 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 for all programs unless otherwise noted. To register for programs, use our Online Program Registration.

If you have any questions, call Creek Bend Nature Center at 630-444-3190 or email programs@kaneforest.com. Thank you!


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.

  • Wednesday, Aug. 14; 10:30 - 11:00 a.m.
  • Wednesday, Sept. 11; 10:30 - 11:00 a.m.
  • Wednesday, Oct. 9; 10:30 - 11:00 a.m.
  • Wednesday, Nov. 13; 10:30 - 11:00 a.m.

Creek Bend Nature Center
LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
37W700 Dean St., St. Charles
FREE; no registration needed.


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, July 18; 9:30 - 10:30 a.m. "All A'Buzz for Pollinators"
Creek Bend Nature Center/LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
37W700 Dean St., St. Charles
Fee: $5/child; advance registration required.

Thursday, Aug. 15; 9:30 - 10:30 a.m. "Crazy for Crayfish"
Creek Bend Nature Center/LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
37W700 Dean St., St. Charles
Fee: $5/child; advance registration required.

Thursday, Sept. 19; 9:30 - 10:30 a.m. "Chippy Chipmunks"
Creek Bend Nature Center/LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
37W700 Dean St., St. Charles
Fee: $5/child; advance registration required.

Thursday, Oct. 17; 9:30 - 10:30 a.m. "V is for Vulture"
Creek Bend Nature Center/LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
37W700 Dean St., St. Charles
Fee: $5/child; advance registration required.

Thursday, Nov. 21; 9:30 - 10:30 a.m. "The Bears"
Creek Bend Nature Center/LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
37W700 Dean St., St. Charles
Fee: $5/child; advance registration required.


 

Youth Kayak Fishing Experience

Get out on local lakes with a professional kayak fishing instructor from Chi-Yak Adventures. Using water crafts specifically designed for anglers, you're sure to get into secret spots not reachable from shore. Whether you're looking to learn the skills involved in fishing from a watercraft or to pick up a few pointers for improving your angling skills, this is the program for you! Take one, two, or all three sessions. We'll provide the pedal kayak, safety equipment, kayaking instruction and fishing gear required to get you out on the water safely and catching fish effectively! Bring your own tackle box, water, sunscreen and a snack. For youth entering grades 6-12.

Wednesday, July 17; 8-12:30 p.m. *CANCELLED*
Big Rock Forest Preserve
46W072 Jericho Rd., Big Rock
Fee: $99/person; advance registration required.

Tuesday, July 30; 8-12:30 p.m.
Grunwald Forest Preserve
02S035 Lorang Rd., Elburn
Fee: $99/person; advance registration required.


 

Summer Camps

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 age groups: (1) Children entering 1st through 5th grades and (2) Children entering 5th through 8th grades. Register online at www.kaneforest.com/register, call 630-444-3190 or email programs@kaneforest.com. Detailed camp information will be provided upon registration.

July 15 to July 19; 9:00 a.m. - noon; "Circles of Life" *Kids entering grades 1st - 5th*
Johnson's Mound Forest Preserve
41W600 Hughes Rd., Elburn
Fee: $149/child

July 22 to July 26; 9:00 a.m. - noon; "Mad Science" *Kids entering grades 5th - 8th*
Creek Bend Nature Center/LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
37W700 Dean St., St. Charles
Fee: $149/child


 

Walk and Roll! A Guided Stroller Experience

Feeling cooped up with your little one this summer? Then pack up your stroller and hit the trail for a naturalist-guided hike! We'll stick to paths that are friendly for your baby buggy, and point out interesting nature findings along the way.

Friday, Aug. 2; 9-10 a.m.
Muirhead Springs Forest Preserve
42W855 Bahr Rd., Hampshire
FREE


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.

Registration is required for all programs unless otherwise noted. To register for programs, use our Online Program Registration.

If you have any questions, call Creek Bend Nature Center at 630-444-3190 or email programs@kaneforest.com. Thank you!

 


 

YARN ART SOCIAL CIRCLE

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. 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, July 27; 4:30 - 6:00 p.m.
Barbara Belding Lodge
6N921 IL Rte. 25, St. Charles
FREE; advance registration required.

Saturday, Aug. 24; 4:30 - 6:00 p.m.
Barbara Belding Lodge
6N921 IL Rte. 25, St. Charles
FREE; advance registration required.

Saturday, Sept. 21; 4:00 - 5:30 p.m.
Creek Bend Nature Center
37W700 Dean St., St. Charles
FREE; advance registration required.

Saturday, Oct. 19; 4:00 - 5:30 p.m.
Creek Bend Nature Center
37W700 Dean St., St. Charles
FREE; advance registration required.

Saturday, Nov. 16; 4:00 - 5:30 p.m.
Creek Bend Nature Center
37W700 Dean St., St. Charles
FREE; advance registration required.


Creek Exploration SERIES

Get your feet wet in local waterways this summer! Our Fox River watershed is composed of streams, creeks and rivers that support a wealth of aquatic wildlife. Bring the whole family out to discover the unique riverine systems right in your own backyard. And what better way to learn about them than to actually get into them?

Crazy for Crayfish

Learn about the different types of crayfish that call Illinois home, including some species that are transplants to this region! We'll get into the creek to discover crayfish in their native habitats during this catch and release program. Register for one session only. Participants must wear closed-toe shoes that can get wet. Apply sunscreen and/or bug spray prior to the program.

Tuesday, July 16; 1:00 - 2:00 p.m.
Creek Bend Nature Center/LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
37W700 Dean St., St. Charles
FREE; advance registration required.

Thursday, July 18; 1:00 - 2:00 p.m.
Creek Bend Nature Center/LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
37W700 Dean St., St. Charles
FREE; advance registration required.


Bird Watching Walks

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

Saturday, July 20; 9:00 - 10:00 a.m.
Muirhead Springs Forest Preserve
42W855 Bahr Rd., Hampshire
FREE; advance registration is required.

Sunday, Aug. 18; 9:00 - 10:00 a.m.
LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
37W700 Dean St., St. Charles
FREE; advance registration is required.

Sunday, Aug. 18; 9:00 - 10:00 a.m.
LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
37W700 Dean St., St. Charles
FREE; advance registration is required.

Saturday, Sept. 14; 10:00 - 11:00 a.m.
Bowes Creek Woods Forest Preserve
9N420 Crawford Rd., Elgin
FREE; advance registration is required.

Sunday, Nov. 10; 10:00 - 11:00 a.m.
Campton Forest Preserve
4N379 Town Hall Rd., St. Charles
FREE; advance registration is required.


Prairie in Bloom

Tallgrass prairie isn't just colored in shades of green and yellow -- it explodes with all hues of the rainbow. Join a District naturalist as we stroll through the flowering prairie to see first-hand the diversity of plant species and colors that compose our beautiful prairie ecosystems.

Saturday, July 27; 9:00 - 10:00 a.m.
Pingree Grove Forest Preserve
14N187 Rte. 20, Pingree Grove
FREE; advance registration required.


6th Annual Rusty Rodeo

The Rusty Crayfish is a tiny aquatic creature that is an invasive species in Kane County. Help naturalists round up as many Rusty Crayfish as we can find in an effort to reduce their numbers! Families are encouraged to join naturalists in the water with dip nets to collect, identify and remove some Rusties. Prepare to get wet! Wear closed-toe shoes and clothes that can get muddy. We will have some dip nets to loan, but please bring your own, if possible. No registration required; Two locations available.

Saturday, Aug. 10; 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
North Aurora Island Park
4 E. State St., North Aurora
FREE; no registration required.

Saturday, Aug. 10; 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
West side of the Fox River at the Historic Piano Factory Pedestrian Bridge, off Indiana St. in St. Charles
FREE; no registration required.


Perseid Meteor Shower Viewing

Fingers crossed for clear skies as we look skyward for the annual Perseid meteor shower! A naturalist will help hone your stargazing skills as we seek out the constellation Perseus and the meteors associated with it. Learn about the legend of Perseus and nearby constellations. Leave your flashlights at home, but bring a chair and blanket so you can relax and comfortably view the night sky.

Sunday, Aug. 11; 8:00 - 10:00 p.m.
Camp Tomo Chi-Chi Knolls
40W095 Freeman Rd., Gilberts
$2/person; advance registration required.


Orienteering for Beginners

Have you ever felt lost in a forest preserve? Do you have a compass in a drawer, but are not sure how to use it? Naturalists will teach you the map and compass skills needed to stay un-lost, while demonstrating how to follow clues and landscape features to keep yourself on course. Gain the confidence needed to enjoy the art of orienteering. Ages 9 and above.

Tuesday, Aug. 13; 4:00 - 5:30 p.m.
Creek Bend Nature Center/LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
37W700 Dean St., St. Charles
$2/person; advance registration required.


Geocaching 101

If you have a sense of adventure and love a good treasure hunt, join one of the fastest growing hobbies in the world -- geocaching. We'll teach you how to use a GPS handheld device and demonstrate the workings of the geocaching app. After learning the basics, you'll embark on a trail walk to discover the caches hidden in the forest preserve. Bring a fully charged smartphone; we will provide GPS units for use. Ages 9 and above.

Saturday, Aug. 31; 9:00 - 10:30 a.m.
Creek Bend Nature Center/LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
37W700 Dean St., St. Charles
$2/person; advance registration required.


VULTURES

Vultures often get a bad reputation, but they play an essential role as nature's garbage collectors. These birds of prey are scavengers that have unique adaptations to help them find food and keep clean. See for yourself with an up close and personal visit with a live vulture from Wings and Talons! The program is free, but donations to the non-profit Wings and Talons rehabilitation center will be accepted to help support animal care. 

Sunday, Sept. 8; 1:00 - 2:00 p.m.
LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
37W700 Dean St., St. Charles
FREE; advance registration required.


IT'S OUR FOX RIVER DAY

Join Forest Preserve District staff and volunteers for a watershed-wide clean-up effort during this unique annual event. Let's all work together to beautify the Fox River waterway, its shoreline and nearby forest preserve trails! Enjoy naturalist-led exhibits, live music and refreshments during this family-friendly day of service. Interested volunteers can register to participate at the Glenwood Park Forest Preserve location at https://friendsofthefoxriver.org/its-our-fox-river-day-2/ 

Saturday, Sept. 21; 9:00 a.m. - Noon
Glenwood Park Forest Preserve
1644 S. River St., Batavia
FREE


SOUND OF INSECT MUSIC

Cicadas may have stolen the spotlight this summer, but they are by no means the only insect that makes a lot of noise! Learn all about grasshoppers, crickets and katydids on this Naturalist guided hike. We’ll even try our hand at netting and observing some specimen on the trail.

Friday, Sept. 27; 10:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.
Muirhead Springs Forest Preserve
42W855 Bahr Rd., Hampshire
FREE; advance registration required.


ECOLAB: SCIENCE OF SEED DISPERSAL

Do you know how to tell if a plant is a popper? A dropper? Or a plopper? Come to Creek Bend Nature Center and learn about the amazing and unique ways that different plants disperse their seeds. After we study the various methods of seed transportation, we’ll embark on a hike to see real-life examples of seed dispersal techniques. The program will culminate with each participant creating a craft that demonstrates their chosen seed dispersal approach.

Saturday, Sept. 28; 9:30 - 11:00 a.m.
Creek Bend Nature Center
37W700 Dean St., St. Charles
FREE; advance registration required.


Harvest of the Acorn Moon Fall Festival

Celebrate autumn’s arrival with the Forest Preserve District! At this popular, family-friendly festival, we’ll have pumpkin painting, mule-drawn hayrides, games, crafts, folk music and refreshments. New this year, in celebration of the Forest Preserve District’s upcoming 100-year anniversary, is the exciting Traveling Science Center! This mobile museum features informative, engaging exhibits on the biodiversity and natural resources of our region. Admission to all activities and the Traveling Science Center is free. Nominal fee for crafts and refreshments. No registration required.

Sunday, Sept. 29; Noon - 3 p.m.
Oakhurst Forest Preserve
1680 Fifth Ave., Aurora
FREE; nominal fee for crafts and refreshments.


Moon & Star Party

If you've ever looked at our Moon and wondered about its mysteries, this is the program for you! Learn about the movement of the Moon around our planet and the important role that Earth's Moon plays in all of our lives. After a brief indoor presentation, we'll join friends from the Fox Valley Astronomical Society for a Moon & Star Party! Weather permitting, you'll be able to explore the features of the Moon and other wonders of the night sky through their impressive telescopes.

Tuesday, Oct. 8; 6:30 - 8:30 p.m.
Creek Bend Nature Center/LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
37W700 Dean St., St. Charles
FREE; advance registration required.


Fall Color Hike

Who doesn’t love to see the beautiful color changes in Kane County’s autumn woodlands?  During this program, we’ll explore Tekakwitha Woods Forest Preserve to learn about the science behind leaf color changes as we enjoy a Naturalist-led hike.

Friday, Oct. 11; 11:00 a.m. - Noon
Tekakwitha Woods Forest Preserve
35W076 Villa Maria Rd., St. Charles
FREE; advance registration required.


Fall Family Scavenger Hunt

Grab your family and friends to embark on an outdoor scavenger hunt. Meet a Naturalist at the preserve shelter to gather directions and supplies, and then hit the trails to see if you can find everything on the list! Once done, head back to the shelter to claim your prize on a first come, first serve basis.

Saturday, Oct. 26; 9:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.
Johnson's Mound Forest Preserve
41W600 Hughes Rd., Elburn
FREE; advance registration required.


Fall into winter: discovering seasonal changes

What steps do local plants and animals take during autumn to prepare for the upcoming winter? During this lovely woodland stroll, learn about the adaptations that help botanical and wildlife species undergo the seasonal changes they must make in order to survive.

Saturday, Nov. 16; 10:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.
Bliss Woods Forest Preserve
5S660 Bliss Rd., Sugar Grove
FREE; advance registration required.


Wild About Turkeys

At this time of the year, many people think of turkeys as the roasted centerpieces of their family feasts. Join District Naturalists for a guided hike as we discuss the many differences between the domestic turkeys we enjoy for dinner and the wild turkeys that inhabit our forest preserves. Wild turkeys are seriously impressive birds!

Friday, Nov. 22; 10:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.
Pingree Grove Forest Preserve
14N187 Rte. 20, Pingree Grove
FREE; advance registration required.


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 programs, use our Online Program Registration.

If you have any questions, call Creek Bend Nature Center at 630-444-3190 or email programs@kaneforest.com. Thank you!


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. *The January program is an indoor travelogue. The February program will go back to the outdoor stroll.* No registration required for this free program.

Thursday, Aug. 1; 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
Tyler Creek Forest Preserve
401 Davis Rd., Elgin
FREE; donations accepted; no registration needed.

Thursday, Sept. 5; 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
Fitchie Creek Forest Preserve
39W933 Russell Rd., Elgin
FREE; donations accepted; no registration needed.

Thursday, Oct. 3; 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
Johnson's Mound Forest Preserve
41W600 Hughes Rd., Elburn
FREE; donations accepted; no registration needed.

Thursday, Nov. 7; 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
Oakhurst Forest Preserve
1680 Fifth Ave., Aurora
FREE; donations accepted; no registration needed.

Thursday, Dec. 5; 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
Barbara Belding Lodge at Brewster Creek Forest Preserve
6N921 IL Rte. 25, St. Charles
FREE; donations accepted; no registration needed.


NURTURED BY NATURE

Experience the healing effects of nature. Studies show that time outdoors can relieve stress, boost your immune system, improve sleep, and contribute to overall good health. During this new monthly series, we'll incorporate gentle stretching, deep breathing, and a focus on awareness during these hikes designed to nurture the mind, body, and spirit. This program is for ages 18 and above.

Sunday, Aug. 11; 10:00 - 11:00 a.m.
Pingree Grove Forest Preserve
14N187 Rte. 20, Pingree Grove
FREE; advance registration required.

Thursday, Sept. 8; 10:00 - 11:00 a.m.
Campton Forest Preserve
4N379 Town Hall Rd., St. Charles
FREE; advance registration required.

Thursday, Oct. 6; 10:00 - 11:00 a.m.
Tekakwitha Woods Forest Preserve
35W076 Villa Maria Rd., St. Charles
FREE; advance registration required.

Thursday, Nov. 3; 10:00 - 11:00 a.m.
Hampshire Forest Preserve
44W780 Allen Rd., Hampshire
FREE; advance registration required.


Trek with a Naturalist

Get your 10,000 steps in during these invigorating naturalist-led hikes. 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, July 18; 6:00 - 8:00 p.m.
Burnidge Forest Preserve
14N035 Coombs Rd., Elgin
FREE; advance registration required.

Thursday, Aug. 15; 5:30 - 7:30 p.m.
Burlington Prairie Forest Preserve
13N240 Engel Rd., Burlington
FREE; advance registration required.

Thursday, Sept. 19; 4:30 - 6:30 p.m.
Camp Tomo Chi-Chi Knolls
40W095 Freeman Rd., Gilberts
FREE; advance registration required.

Thursday, Oct. 17; 4:00 - 6:00 p.m.
Campton Forest Preserve
4N379 Town Hall Rd., St. Charles
FREE; advance registration required.

Thursday, Nov. 2; 9:00 - 11:00 a.m.
Prairie Green Forest Preserve
698 Peck Rd., Geneva
FREE; advance registration required.


Explore the Fox River by Kayak

Our 2024 kayaking series begins with a beginner's lake-based paddling skills class, followed by shorter and less-strenuous river sessions. As the summer progresses, choose increasingly longer and more technical paddles for intermediate skill levels. Participants will receive dry-land instruction on basic kayaking techniques from an experienced instructor each session, and then hit the water to practice these skills. Participants meet at the take-out location and are shuttled to the put-in location. Choose any number of sessions to take. Boaters must be at least 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.

Saturday, Aug. 17; 10:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Meeting at: McCullough Park; 150 W. Illinois Ave., Aurora
Paddle Distance: 5.5 miles with portage/ Skill Level: Intermediate
Fee: $89/person (includes use of kayak, personal floatation device and paddle.) Or provide your own kayak for $45/person. Advance registration required.

Saturday, Sept. 21; 10:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Meeting at: Fox River Shores Forest Preserve; 716 Williams Rd., Carpentersville
Paddle Distance: 6 miles with picnic lunch/ Skill Level: Intermediate
Fee: $89/person (includes use of kayak, personal floatation device and paddle.) Or provide your own kayak for $45/person. Advance registration required.

Sunday, Oct. 6; 10:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Meeting at: McCullough Park; 150 W. Illinois Ave., Aurora
Paddle Distance: 5.5 miles with portage/ Skill Level: Intermediate
Fee: $89/person (includes use of kayak, personal floatation device and paddle.) Or provide your own kayak for $45/person. Advance registration required.


The National Park Service in Our Region: Places To Experience Our Cultural History

While popular images of the National Park Service (NPS) often focus on spectacular scenic sites in the American West or significant historic sites out east, the NPS has a meaningful presence in and near Illinois. National Monuments and Trails, National Heritage Areas, National Historic Landmarks, and sites on the National Register of Historic Places contribute to our understanding of the region's cultural history in tangible, visible forms that make "history come alive." As significant as these sites are, some remain less known and underappreciated. Dr. Norm Moline, an Illinois Humanities Road Scholar who also has served on the Illinois Historic Sites Advisory Council, will showcase some culture-related National Monuments and National Heritage Areas in our state, National Historic Landmarks in northern Illinois, and National Register of Historic Places in Kane County. Discover the cultural history that is literally right before our eyes! Ages 18 and above.

Illinois Humanities is supported in part by the National Endowment for the Humanities: Democracy Demands Wisdom and the Illinois General Assembly [through the Illinois Arts Council Agency], as well as by contributions from individuals, foundations, and corporations.

Saturday, Aug. 3; 9:30 - 11:00 a.m.
Barbara Belding Lodge at Brewster Creek Forest Preserve
6N921 IL Rte. 25, St. Charles
FREE; advance registration required.


Women's Weekend: A Nurturing Nature Retreat

Immerse yourself in a restorative weekend in nature with a community of women naturalists and nature lovers. Connect with like-minded souls during moderate outdoor activities as we explore the benefits of nature hiking, botanizing, yoga, artistic creation and other therapeutic pursuits. Day One activities will include a cast iron cooking class and lunch preparation led by “Dutch Oven Diva” Lesley Tennessen, followed by afternoon activities and relaxation before we end our day with some s’mores and comradery around the campfire. After breakfast on Day Two, we will end our time together with a wellness meditation session led by Jennifer Falbo from Phoenix Rising Solutions, LLC. Overnight participants need to provide a tent and sleeping gear; those that prefer not to spend the night are welcome to leave for the evening to sleep in their own beds, and then return the following morning. 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. Ages 18 and above.

Saturday, Sept. 7; 10 a.m. - Sunday, Sept. 8; 10 a.m.
Camp Tomo Chi-Chi Knolls
40W095 Freeman Rd., Gilberts
$149/person; advance registration required.


KCCN Information session

Want to learn about Kane County’s fastest-growing nature-education program for adults? Attend the free informational session to find out what all the excitement is about! During this introduction, you’ll learn about the dates, details, cost, and tremendous benefits of this award-winning program.

Thursday, Nov. 7; 7:00 - 8:00 p.m.
Hickory Knolls Discovery Center
3795 Campton Hills Rd., St. Charles
FREE; advance registration required.


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 "Learn from the Experts" programs, call 630-444-3190, or email programs@kaneforest.com. Telephone reservations are accepted Monday - Thursday, from 8 a.m. - 4 p.m. Payment is due at the program, with checks payable to Geneva Park District. No online registration is available for Learn from the Experts programs.


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.


It's the Bombus!

A bumblebee's a bumblebee, right? Yes, and no. In Illinois, there are twelve species of bumblebees, collectively known by their genus name Bombus. They play a critical role in the ecology of our prairies and woodlands. In this presentation, you'll learn about bumblebee diversity, ecological niches, and efforts to preserve and protect this important group of pollinators. We'll begin with an indoor presentation, then head out to the prairie to find different species at work. Choose either of the two sessions.

Saturday, July 20; 9:30 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.
Creek Bend Nature Center at LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
37W700 Dean St., St. Charles
Fee: $10/person; advance registration required.

Tuesday, July 23; 6:30 - 8:00 p.m.
Creek Bend Nature Center at LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
37W700 Dean St., St. Charles
Fee: $10/person; advance registration required.


Our Urban Forests

Our valuable and beautiful trees don't all grow in forest preserves. Trinity Pierce, Chicago Region Trees Initiative Stewardship Manager at The Morton Arboretum, will explore the local urban tree canopy using mapping data and an interpretive tree walk. She will highlight the importance of species diversity and suggest excellent native trees that can thrive in cities, towns and suburbs in northern Illinois. Learn about planting the right tree in the right place, and about other opportunities for community forestry engagement.

Tuesday, Aug. 20; 6:30 - 8:00 p.m.
Creek Bend Nature Center at LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
37W700 Dean St., St. Charles
Fee: $10/person; advance registration required.


Fall Wildflowers

Head on out to beautiful Dick Young Forest Preserve to enjoy the final wildflower colors of summer. Learn to identify prairie flowers and listen to some interesting lore and cultural history about the different plant species found in the autumn tallgrass prairie. By the end of this program, you’ll have a new appreciation for this rare and beautiful ecosystem that inspired Illinois’ nickname: “The Prairie State.”

Sunday, Sept. 1; 9:00 - 11:00 a.m.
Dick Young Forest Preserve
39W115 Main St., Batavia
Fee: $10/person; advance registration required.

 


 

Vexing Vectors: Understanding mosquitoes

Do all mosquitoes bite? The answer might surprise you! Learn about these interesting (and yes, annoying) creatures from Geneva Park District Naturalist Morgan Brown. We will discuss the life cycle of mosquitoes, what it means to be a disease vector, and why mosquitoes like certain humans more than others. We will also look at ways to reduce mosquito numbers and protect ourselves from getting bitten. 

Thursday, Sept. 19; 6:00 - 7:30 p.m.
Peck Farm Park
4038 Kaneville Rd., Geneva
Fee: $10/person; advance registration required.


Astronomical curiosities: Eclipses, auroras & Meteor showers

The night sky is full of wonders, some of which can be seen every night and some that appear less frequently. Members of the Fox Valley Astronomical Society (FVAS) will share the science behind the more fleeting curiosities of eclipses, auroras and meteor showers during an indoor presentation. Weather permitting, our FVAS friends will set up telescopes outside and welcome you to observe the night sky immediately after the presentation.

Tuesday, Sept. 24; 7:30 - 9:30 p.m.
Creek Bend Nature Center/LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
37W700 Dean St., St. Charles
Fee: $10/person; advance registration required.


Unveiling the hidden world beneath our feet: exploring Common Mycorrhizal networks

Join us as we uncover the fascinating world of mycorrhizae, one of the oldest, and most ubiquitous symbioses on the planet. In this talk by Dr. Joanna Weremijewicz, Associate Professor of Biology at North Central College, we will explore this plant-fungus partnership in communities, both natural and agricultural. We will then delve into the topic of common mycorrhizal networks (CMNs), popularly known as the “wood-wide-web,” and the consequences of CMNs for plant interactions when interconnected individuals compete for water and nutrients. Join us to gain a deeper appreciation for these hidden, but vital, networks below our feet!

Saturday, Oct. 5; 9:30 - 11:00 a.m.
Hickory Knolls Discovery Center 
3795 Campton Hills Dr., St. Charles
Fee: $10/person; advance registration required.


Singing Bird and the importance of native american women in Illinois History

Dressed in her native regalia, Kim Sigafus will be giving a history of the natives in Illinois, with a focus on native women – often considered to be “The Hidden Half.” Her primary stories will be about women such as Singing Bird (Blackhawk’s wife) and Hononegah. Kim will bring the audience into these women’s day-to-day lives, including their courting, marriage, and child-rearing. She will also talk about the women’s roles in their husbands’ lives and how those lives affected the history of Illinois. Kim will bring native items that women would have used in their daily lives and discuss the role women played within the family unit. The audience will be able to pick up and view the items, learn native language and music, and get the chance to play the drum in this interactive experience.

Sunday, Oct. 13; 9:30 - 11:00 a.m.
Barbara Belding Lodge at Brewster Creek Forest Preserve
6N921 IL Rte. 25, St. Charles
Fee: $15/person; advance registration required.


Bye Bye Buckthorn, Hello baby oaks

Delnor Woods in St. Charles has undergone a remarkable transformation, from a neglected woodland with thickets of buckthorn and honeysuckle to a wooded community with a thriving, diverse understory and oak regeneration. Restoration ecologist Patrick Bochenek will lead us on a walk us through the steps of this project, telling how the team read the landscape to make management decisions, how the area has responded and detailing the challenges faced in restoring it. Please meet at the Wing Ave. entrance on the east side of Delnor Woods Park.

Sunday, Oct. 26; 8:00 - 9:30 a.m.
Delnor Woods Park
Wing Ave., West of N. 11th Ave., St. Charles
Fee: $10/person; advance registration required.


Glacial Lake Pingree Circle Tour

Enjoy a state-state-of-the art motor coach tour in and around the bed of the now-extinct, but once vast, Glacial Lake Pingree. The motor coach will stop at key locations that give evidence to the natural history and continuing significance of this Ice Age wonder. While en route, Kane County Certified Naturalist David Schoenknecht will provide a multimedia experience and share new scientific research on Glacial Lake Pingree. The motor coach departs and returns to Creek Bend Nature Center. Refreshments will be provided. Registration, with full payment, due by October 11. KCCN coupons cannot be used for this program.

Saturday, Oct. 26; 9:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.
Begin and end at Creek Bend Nature Center 
37W700 Dean St., St. Charles
Fee: $40/person; advance registration required.


Fall Tree Identification 

Identifying trees in autumn can be a unique challenge. Some species retain their leaves late into the season, while others drop their leaves at the first appearance of cool temperatures and shorter days. Environmental Education Manager Barb McKittrick will explain how to identify trees with and without their leaves during this fully-outdoors class. The program will begin with a review of basic tree anatomy and identifying features then traverse the woodlands examining leaves, bark, twigs, and fruit to identify a number of common native hardwood trees.

Saturday, Oct. 19; 10:00 a.m. - Noon
Bliss Woods Forest Preserve
5S660 Bliss Rd., Sugar Grove
Fee: $10/person; advance registration required.


Sense of Place: Bliss Woods 

As part of the Forest Preserve District’s upcoming 100-year anniversary celebration, join Volunteer Steward Mary Ochsenschlager to hear the fascinating story of one of our first forest preserves. During this two-part program, learn about the geological and cultural history of Bliss Woods Forest Preserve. During Session One, Mary will present a lively lecture in the shelter about the land’s rich history. In Session Two, join Mary for a hike along the preserve trails to experience first-hand the history of the land. Registration for this program includes both sessions.

Tuesday, Sept. 17; 5:30 - 7:00 p.m.
Bliss Woods Forest Preserve
5S660 Bliss Rd., Sugar Grove
Fee: $10/person; advance registration required.

Tuesday, Sept. 24; 5:30 - 7:00 p.m.
Bliss Woods Forest Preserve
5S660 Bliss Rd., Sugar Grove
Fee: $10/person; advance registration required.