Park Forest, IL—(ENEWSPF)—February 6, 2017. As old man winter howls down from the north and blankets Thorn Creek Woods, the hardy birds and mammals tuck themselves into the nooks of trees and bed down amongst fallen leaves. Hikers wear extra layers of clothes and are eager to make the first human tracks in the snow. Will you be the first to explore the woods after fresh snow has fallen?
At nearly 1000 acres, Thorn Creek Nature Preserve is home to majestic oaks, hickory trees, white-tailed deer, owls, woodpeckers and much more. Be sure to dress for the weather and wear sturdy shoes on your walk.
Thorn Creek Nature Center is nestled at the beginning of a three and half mile trail system that meanders through the Preserve. Housed in a small white wooden church built in the mid-1860’s, the nature center will soon be filled with materials and exhibits all about birds.
Stop in the Nature Center to warm up with for hot chocolate or coffee, watch birds at our viewing window, and view the displays. The nature center is open Friday and Sunday, noon to 4 p.m. and trails are open daily, dawn to dusk.
Come to “Beginning Birding for All” open house, Saturday, February 11 from 9 a.m. to12 p.m. for help with all things birds! For basic bird identifications – and tricky ones, too -, choosing binoculars, bird feeding and feeder tips, local bird checklists and more. Birders of all levels are welcome.
Make a bird feeder to take home, play the beaks game, examine the size and mass of birds and other activities with our Beginning Birding For Kids. Join our naturalists for Beginning Birding Hike at 9 a.m.
Beginning Birding for All is free and for all ages. Call or email to register for the event. Additional parking is available at New Community Church just north of the nature center.
The Beginning Birding for All event is sponsored by the Thorn Creek Audubon Society. The TCAS mission is to promote the enjoyment and appreciation of birds, to educate adults and children concerning our natural environment, to preserve, protect and restore wildlife habitat, and create awareness of local conservation issues. Find information on TCAS meetings, field trips and membership at thorncreekaudubonsociety.org.
The Thorn Creek event will prepare you for participating in the Great Backyard Birding count – an annual count hosted by Audubon and Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Across America and Canada people watch and count birds with the results providing a snapshot of the whereabouts of more than 600 bird species. “When thousands of people all tell us what they’re seeing, we can detect patterns in how birds are faring from year to year,” said Janis Dickinson, director of Citizen Science at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.
Anyone can be part of the GBB Count! It’s easy. Just watch and count birds in your backyard or on trail for at least 15 minutes, then report what you saw at www.birdcount.org for the GBBC days February 17 through 20.
Entangle yourself in a group-constructed woodland web of life at “Hoo Eats Whom” Sunday, February 19 from 2-4 p.m.
Discover first-hand the interdependence of producers, consumers, predators and decomposers. Which one would you prefer to be, in the end? Then dissect an owl pellet to examine just “hoo” is the predator’s prey.
This web of life program is sponsored by Thorn Creek Audubon Society in a partnership with Thorn Creek Nature Center to provide quality environmental education in our area.
The “Hoo Eats Whom” is for children 8-12 years old. Children younger than 6 years must be accompanied by an adult. Fee is $3 per person. Registration is required by Friday, February 17.
Celebrate our creatures living in Thorn Creek Woods at “Tracking Animals in Winter” on Sunday, February 26, 2-4 p.m. How do these animals survive winter’s chills? What adaptations have they developed to keep warm and find food?
We’ll put ourselves in the paws of active woodland creatures and follow the trails in search of tracks and other spoor. We’ll even make plaster replicas of tracks to take home.
Participants should be prepared for the cold weather and be able to walk a mile outdoors on natural surface trails across uneven and possibly snow-covered ground. The “Tracking Animals in Winter” program is free and open to all ages, but registration is required by February 24. Children younger than age 6 must be accompanied by an adult. If weather is inclement this program will still take place inside the Nature Center.
Register now to “Make a Gourd Birdhouse” at a fun family workshop. Join artist and teacher Pat Moore Sunday, March 5 to make a natural style birdhouse from a gourd. There will be two session: 1-2 p.m. or 2:30-3:30 p.m. Program is for all ages and fee is $10 per house. All materials will be provided. Registration is required. This program is sponsored by Thorn Creek Audubon Society, our Partners for Programming.
Thorn Creek Nature Woods Nature Preserve is located at 247 Monee Road, Park Forest. For more information or to register for programs, please call 708-747-6320 or email [email protected]. Visit our new website at www.tcwoods.org.
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