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SPRING IS FULL OF OPPORTUNITY IN THE FOREST PRESERVES OF COOK COUNTY

Mar 24, 2015

Get out of the house for lots of fun nature events and programs!

 

Despite yesterday’s late-season snow, warm spring weather will be here soon. With 69,000 acres of prairies, woods and wetlands; miles of hiking trails, bike paths, lakes and streams; and six nature centers, the Forest Preserves of Cook County is one the best places to stretch your legs, shake off the rust of winter and get back in touch with nature.

 

Once again this season, we are offering FREE transportation on the Nature Express to some of our most popular events. To learn more and register, visit fpdcc.com/natureexpress. Nature Express events are noted below.

 

All Forest Preserves events are family-friendly and free unless otherwise noted. For a complete list of spring events in the Forest Preserves of Cook County, to download our quarterly brochure and to get the most up-to-date information, visit our redesigned events page at fpdcc.com/events.

 

MAJOR EVENTS

 

SPRING BREAK-OUT!

Spring is here—time to “break out” and enjoy the outdoors. Youth and families are invited to come out and spread their spring wings! Activities are open to everyone and include nature hikes, archery, scavenger hunt, outdoor skills and more. For more information, call 708-386-4042 ext.22.

  • Tuesday, April 7 • 1 – 4 pm

Dan Ryan Woods Pavilion, 87th and Western, Chicago

***NATURE EXPRESS***

  • Thursday, April 9 • 1 – 4 pm

LaBagh Woods, 5400 N Cicero, Chicago

 

RECREATE IN CALUMET: Open Spaces, Green Places: A Bus Tour of the Calumet

Saturday, April 11 • 10 am – 2 pm

The Calumet Region is a contrast between heavy industry and unique protected public spaces. Join us as we tour a range of forest preserves while passing current and former industrial lands. The tour is free but pack your own lunch. Please register at fotfp.org/events to receive confirmation and meeting location information.

 

EARTH DAY CELEBRATION AND PRESERVES CLEAN UP

Saturday, April 18 • 9 am – 1 pm

Kickapoo Woods, 14498 S Halsted St, Riverdale

This year, we are celebrating Earth Day at Kickapoo Woods. Clean up the preserves in the morning, then afterward celebrate with fun nature activities.

 

EARTH DAY

Saturday, April 25 • 10 am – 3 pm

Sand Ridge Nature Center, 15891 S Paxton, South Holland

Join us for a day set aside as a reminder to be good stewards of our planet. Activities include hikes, puppet shows, crafts and Earth Day Jeopardy!

 

ARBOR DAY CELEBRATION

Saturday, April 25 • Noon – 4 pm

LaBagh Woods, 5400 N Cicero, Chicago

Enjoy tree planting, tree-caching and ID, scavenger hunts, art projects and more.

***NATURE EXPRESS***

 

MAY IS “SHARE THE TRAIL” MONTH

Look for our staff and volunteers along the trails with info and giveaways throughout the month of May. And be sure to check our Share the Trail web page at fpdcc.com/stt for updates in April.

 

CAMPING LEADERSHIP IMMERSION COURSE

May 2 – 3

Camp Sullivan, 14500 Oak Park Ave, Oak Forest

The Camping Leadership Immersion Course is offered to leaders of groups up to 30 as part of our upcoming camping program in May. The course includes instruction in leadership skills, camp equipment use and care, and group activities related to outdoor recreation and nature-based education. Trained group leaders will also be provided with camping equipment for a one-night campout at Camp Sullivan with their group. Registration begins April 1. Space is limited. Call 708-386-4042 x22 or email brian.arnoldt@cookcountyil.gov.

 

SPRING FESTIVAL

Sunday, May 3 • 10 am – 3 pm

Trailside Museum of Natural History, 738 Thatcher Ave, River Forest

Celebrate spring with a day of activities for all ages, including guided wildflower walks, dip netting, animal encounters, kids’ tree climb, puppet shows, craft corner, beekeeping demonstrations and more.

 

INTERNATIONAL MIGRATORY BIRD WEEK

Wednesday – Friday, May 6 – 8 • 7:30 am

Sagawau Environmental Learning Center, 12545 W 111 St, Lemont

Enjoy our multi-day celebration of birds as they migrate across the Americas, and join in guided bird hikes.

 

INTERNATIONAL MIGRATORY BIRD DAY

Saturday, May 9 • 7:30 am – 3 pm

Sagawau Environmental Learning Center, 12545 W 111 St, Lemont

Spend the day celebrating migratory birds as they travel north to their breeding areas. Learn simple ways to identify and protect these birds.

 

INTERNATIONAL MIGRATORY BIRD DAY

Saturday, May 9 • 9 am – Noon

Sand Ridge Nature Center, 15891 S Paxton, South Holland

Join a naturalist to bird the best spots at Sand Ridge on this day to celebrate our feathered friends. Learn about migration theories, perils and some of the particulars of bird migration.

 

NATURE OBSTACLE COURSE & ARCHERY NIGHT

Thursday, May 14 • 4 – 6:30 pm

Bremen Grove, 16061 Oak Park Ave, Tinley Park

Families, try our outdoor challenge! Attempt our nature obstacle course—created from natural forest materials. Join our staff for archery instruction and activities. Obstacle course for all ages; archery for ages 10 & up. Call 708-386-4042 x23 to reserve a spot!

 

NATURE BLOCK PARTY: A CELEBRATION OF BIODIVERSITY

Saturday, May 16 • Noon – 4 pm

Eggers Grove, 11201 S Ave B, Chicago

Discover the flora and fauna of the urban preserves with restoration activities, bird and tree hikes, biking and more. Visit nearby William W. Powers Recreation Area for more activities.

***NATURE EXPRESS***

 

DES PLAINES CANOE AND KAYAK MARATHON

Sunday, May 17 • 8 am

Join the second oldest continual canoe race in the United States! Race begins at Oak Springs Rd in Libertyville and ends at Dam #2 in Mount Prospect. Free for spectators. Race start: 8 am. Activities at Dam #2 start at 11 am. Register canoemarathon.com.

 

AQUATIC CENTERS OPENING WEEKEND

Saturday – Monday, May 23 – 25 • 11 am – 7 pm

  • Whealan Pool Aquatic Center, 6200 W Devon, Chicago
  • Cermak Aquatic Center, 7600 W Ogden, Lyons
  • Green Lake Aquatic Center, 1100 River Oaks Dr., Calumet City

The Forest Preserves’ three Aquatic Centers open Memorial Day Weekend! Pools open for the summer on May 30 and will be open every day until September 7.

 

BIRDHOUSE BUILDING CONTEST

Crabtree Nature Center, 3 Stover Rd, Barrington Hills

Craft a creative birdhouse this spring! We’ll set them up along our trails, and visitors can vote for their favorites all summer. Limited entries. Call or visit fpdcc.com for details and birdhouse specifications.

Houses due May 26.

 

FREE SHAKESPEARE PRESENTED BY WALDORF THEATRE COMPANY

Wednesday, May 27 • 12 pm & 6 pm

Cummings Square, 536 N Harlem Ave, River Forest

Don’t miss an abbreviated version of one of William Shakespeare’s best plays! Enjoy outdoor theater on our historic stone stage. Each performance is under an hour. And, we’re hosting a special Outdoor Adventures before the 6 pm show. See the listing below for more information.

 

EXPLORE THE FOREST: 100 YEARS AND GROWING!

Sunday, May 31 • Noon – 4 pm

Crabtree Nature Center, 3 Stover Rd, Barrington Hills

Celebrate the Forest Preserves of Cook County. Climb a tree! Touch a fish! Check out restoration equipment! Try archery! See the many ways to enjoy the forest preserves. Special Muddy Activities at this Leave No Child Inside Event.

 

 

OTHER EVENTS

 

WELLNESS IN THE WOODS (series)

Reap the benefits of exercising outside in nature! These free, instructor-led workouts will show you how to work out outdoors and how you can utilize the natural features of our forest preserves to do so. All fitness levels welcome; programs can be tailored to participants’ abilities. Call 708-386-4121 for more information.

 

  • Wednesday, April 22 • 6 – 8 pm

Caldwell Woods Warming Shelter

6350 W Devon Ave, Chicago

 

  • Saturday, May 9 • 9 – 11 am

Swallow Cliff Stairs

11918 S LaGrange Rd, Palos Park

 

 

OUTDOOR ADVENTURES (series)

Calling all outdoor adventurers! Meet up for wilderness skill building, hiking, exploring, nature-based art making and more. Call 708-386-4042 x23 to reserve your spot.

 

Animal Olympics

Wednesday, March 25 • 4:30 – 6:30 pm

Thatcher Pavilion, 8030 W Chicago Ave, River Forest

See how your abilities compare with those of native animals. This unique challenge teaches how native animals move, collect food, and make homes.

 

All About Water

Wednesday, April 29 • 5 – 7 pm

Saganashkee Slough Boat Launch, 11672 W 107th St, Willow Springs

Help us test a nearby lake to see how “healthy” it is; we’ll also use dip nets to find out what critters call the lake home and why clean bodies of water are essential. We’ll end with a quick paddle on the water.

 

On Stage and Behind the Scenes

Wednesday, May 27 • 5 – 7 pm

Cummings Square, 536 N Harlem Ave, River Forest

Celebrate nature and Shakespeare with improv, creative reuse and poetry. Make props and costume pieces, learn iambic pentameter and join in a performance workshop from Waldorf Theatre Company before a 6 pm performance.

 

 

PHOTO MEET-UPS (series)

The Forest Preserves of Cook County hosts a series of photo meet-ups for photographers of all skill levels. Each month, one of our naturalists will lead a brief tour of a natural area, highlighting interesting plants, scenic vistas and locations frequented by wildlife. Capture images and share tips with fellow photographers. All cameras are suitable, from SLR to point-and-shoot to smart phone.

 

  • Saturday, March 28 • 10 am

River Trail Nature Center

3120 N Milwaukee Ave, Northbrook

 

  • Saturday, April 25 • 10 am

Trailside Museum

738 Thatcher Ave, River Forest

Meet at nature center before traveling to nearby photo location.

 

  • Saturday, May 23 • 10 am

McClaughrey Springs

11700 Kean Ave, Palos Park

Hosted by Little Red Schoolhouse Nature Center

 

 

THIRD THURSDAYS (series)

Explore nature, art and more every month! Call 708-386-4042 x25 for more information and to register.

Cummings Square, 536 N Harlem, River Forest

 

Creative Reuse 101: Printmaking

April 16 • 3 – 5 pm

Learn basic printmaking techniques using found materials. Adults & families with children ages 5 & up. Registration encouraged.

 

Creative Reuse 101: Sticks and Stones

May 21 • 1 – 3 pm

Try using natural materials to create art. Make a self-portrait, a nature scene or musical instrument. All ages. Registration encouraged.

 

 

PADDLING (series)

Bring your own canoe or use one of ours! We have a limited number of boats available. Canoe instruction provided. Call 708-386-4042 x23 to reserve a spot.

 

Little Calumet River Trip

Saturday, April 4th • 11 am – 3 pm

Beaubien Woods Boat Launch, 950 E 134th St, Chicago

Explore the Little Calumet as we paddle from Beaubien Woods to Whistler Woods.  We’ll provide a free shuttle bus back to Beaubien Woods after we finish the paddle. Don’t forget to pack a lunch!

***NATURE EXPRESS***

 

Spring Birding Paddle

Saturday, May 9 • 10 am – 1 pm

Tower Road Boat Launch, between Dundee and Willow Rds, east of I-94, Northfield

Celebrate International Migratory Bird Day by joining Forest Preserves bird experts out on the water. Bird guides and binoculars available.

 

Tampier Lake Evening Paddle

Wednesday, May 20 • 6 – 8 pm

Tampier Lake Boat Launch, 31st St west of Wolf Rd, Orland Park

Pack a picnic and enjoy a spring evening canoeing with us. Beginners welcome!

Visit two of the treasures of the Forest Preserves of Cook County