Join the Forest Preserves of Cook County and our partners virtually for the annual Live Healthy, Discover Nature event where “attendees” will learn about the many of ways to explore nature and improve health and wellbeing. There will also be programs about native wildlife in Cook County, trail safety and etiquette, DIY nature activities, bird banding and more.
Below is a schedule of events and list of available programs and activities to live healthy and discover nature any time. Keep an eye on this page as we add new options.
Facebook Live Schedule
- 9 am: Breakfast with Our Fox – Meet a red fox and learn about how it came to live at Trailside Museum of Natural History.
- 10 am: Bird-day Party! – Help celebrate our June bird birthdays! The screech owl is turning 2 and the vulture is turning 40. Want to help make their day special by mailing them birthday cards? Make or reuse a card and send it to Crabtree Nature Center at 3 Stover Rd, Barrington, IL 60010. We’ll share your cards live, deliver our birds some tasty treats, and tell you all about these lovable, hardworking animal ambassadors!
- 11 am: Meet Our Birds: Great Horned Owl – Take a close-up look at Sand Ridge Nature Center’s resident great horned owl and observe him during feeding time. Discover unique adaptations owls have that help them survive and thrive in the Chicago region and beyond.
- 12 pm: Discover Forest Bathing – Join us for a virtual forest bath and unlock the healing magic of the natural world by slowing down and immersing your mind, body and spirit to the beauty that surrounds you. Choose a location such as a window with a view of nature, your backyard, or neighborhood. Please follow safety guidelines for COVID-19.
- 1 pm: River Trail Puppet Playhouse Presents: “Melissa Gets A Tail” – Check out this 20-minute long puppet show in which a girl learns about how different animals’ tails help them.
- 2 pm: Screech..Screech..Hoot..Hoot – Meet a screech owl from Little Red Schoolhouse Nature Center.
- 3 pm: Bicycle Etiquette on the Trails – Learn our trail guidelines, important safety tips and some of the unique features of the Forest Preserve’s 350 miles of picturesque trails. Whether you are a mountain biker who thrives on the challenge of attacking the twists and turns, ups and downs of our “primitive” trails, a fitness enthusiast out to get some cardio, or an individual or group out for a relaxing stroll through the most beautiful natural lands in the county, you will want to check out this 12-minute live segment.
- 5 pm: Bird Banding – Join naturalists at Sagawau Environmental Learning Center to witness live research on birds using the scientific technique of banding to track migration.
Activities & Videos
- DIY: Make your own Gnome or Fairy Home – Invite your child outside to use their creativity and build a home for any magical creature using materials found outdoors.
- Check out this list of the 10 essentials you need to prepare for a day at the Forest Preserves.
- Nature Play at Home – This summer, bring nature home with you! Have you heard of nature play? Nature play is simply that: playing with and in nature. From trees to dirt, rocks and water, nature opens the door for numerous experiences and activities.
- Summer Solstice Celebration – Summer Solstice, the longest day of the year, is coming up on June 20. Learn about this astronomical event and how you can celebrate at home!
- Backyard Nature Obstacle Course – Check out these tips for collecting items from your home and backyard to make your own nature obstacle course.
- Seed Bombing – Learn how to make your own seed bomb. Seed bombs are a fun way to spread native plants to areas in need of habitats for pollinators and other organisms.
- Birdhouse Building Contest – Showcase your creative building skills and participate in this contest that highlights the need for nesting sites for birds. Birdhouses will be built by registered participants, displayed throughout the summer and voted on by visitors. Prizes will be awarded.
Partner Programs & Activities
- Suburban Aeroclub of Chicago—an AMA chartered Gold Member club #274—builds and flies model aircraft of all types including airplanes, seaplanes, gliders, helicopters, quad copters and drones. They also leverage STEM activities for youth to learn hands on skills, explore new options, and realize their full potential. Check out this instructional program to learn how to get started in the hobby. Learn about the activities and events they host at Tinley Creek Model Airplane Flying Field in Matteson and Midlothian Reservoir in Oak Forest. Check out their website or Facebook page to learn more.
- University of Illinois Extension presents “The World Beneath Our Feet,”a series of educational lessons about the importance of soil, with a focus on home composting and the importance of decomposers in our environment including:
- Claude’s Got the Scoop on Soil: Students learn about how soil is made, who really needs soil, and what happens to soil if you don’t take care of it.
- Adventures of Squirmin’ Herman the Worm: Lessons about worms and how to make your own worm bin (intended for 1st-3rd grade students).
- Brookfield Zoo – Join the Brookfield Zoo to learn about river otters with their #BringingTheZooToYou virtual series and Be a Nature Observer with at-home activities for grades Pre-K through 2nd.
- Friends of the Forest Preserves presents a “Summer Webinar Series: The Hidden Life of the Forest Preserves in Cook County, IL.” Join them from 11 am-12 pm on Wednesday, June 17, for the introductory webinar during which you’ll get a peek at the history of the forest preserves in Cook County, including how and why they were established and who is responsible for their care. You’ll get the inside scoop from the executive director of Friends, Benjamin Cox, who will reveal some of his favorite spots in the preserves that he thinks you’ll love to explore, and some tips on how to plan your visits.
- Palos RC Flying Club—an AMA Chartered Club – Chapter #263—provides a forum for club members in Chicago’s South Suburbs to exchange ideas and benefit from one each other’s experiences with the hobby of building and the sport of flying radio-controlled model aircraft. Watch this video compilation of the activities of the Palos RC Flying Club and visit their Facebook page to learn how you can participate.