Community, Park Forest

Summer 2016 Programs at Thorn Creek Nature Center

Park Forest, IL—(ENEWSPF)—July 20, 2016.  Looking for something to do with the kids this summer? Come visit Thorn Creek Nature Center and take a hike in Thorn Creek Woods. Thorn Creek Nature Center has several exhibits, including a children’s fossil find, mammal and amphibian displays, bird viewing window and much more! Thorn Creek Woods allows hikers to view wildlife such as deer and their fawns over three and a half miles of trails. Pack a picnic lunch and come on out for a day of free fun! Thorn Creek Nature Center, located at 247 Monee Road, Park Forest is open Friday and Sunday, noon-4 p.m., closed on Saturdays. Call before you plan to visit the nature center. The trails are open daily from dawn to dusk.

Let the magic of “lightning bugs” entrance you on a summer night adventure Saturday, July 30 from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. Fireflies or lightening bugs, no matter what you call them, their flashing light seen throughout the night heralds the official arrival of summer. Join our naturalist on this popular night hike and discover why fireflies flash back and forth to each other and what it all means. Participants should be prepared to walk over 1 mile outdoors on natural surface trails across uneven terrain. Fireflies Night Hike is a free program for all ages. Registration required by Wednesday July 27.

Calling all kids ages 50 years and older! Join us for Nature Camp for Seniors: Insects Abound on Monday, August 8 from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Discover what makes an insect unique. Explore the differences between insects, spiders, and other fascinating arthropods. Search for insects in a meadow, learning their unique sounds and special relationships with plants. For part of the program we’ll explore Thorn Creek Woods trails. Lunch will be provided. Participants should be prepared to walk ½ mile outdoors on natural surface trails across uneven terrain. Program is open to those age 50 years and up. Fee is $5 per person and registration is required by Saturday, August 6.

Help the Lorax find and protect the different species of trees in Thorn Creek Woods at Trees Big and Small-The Lorax program, Sunday, August 28 from 1-3 p.m. Musical clues and a reading of the favorite Dr. Seuss tale will help you to identify trees by leaves and bark. Find seedlings and young saplings, count the rings to find the oldest trees and measure the width of the trunks. Is the thickest trunk necessarily the oldest? Discover the inner workings of forest ecology.  The Lorax program is free and for children age 12 years or younger. Children under 8 must be accompanied by an adult. Registration is required by Friday, August 26.

Workdays are a fun way to give back to Thorn Creek Woods Nature Preserve! Join the Thorn Creek Trail Work crew in building and repairing boardwalks and maintaining the trails throughout the preserve.
Trail Workdays is Sundays, July 24 and August 14, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. and is for ages 15-adult. Bring a lunch and gloves and dress for the weather. Wear sturdy shoes or boots. Refreshments will be provided. Outdoor work is on natural surface trails across uneven terrain. Registration for the Workdays is required and make sure to let us know of a group of 4 people or more. Community groups are welcome.

Get down and dirty and help Master Gardeners from the University of Illinois Extension Service care for our Prairie Sampler every third Monday from May through September. Prairie Sampler Work Day will be Monday, August 15 from 9:30 a.m. to noon. Children under 15 must be accompanied by an adult, and registration is required by Saturday, July 18. Bring your own gloves, hand clippers, kneelers if you like. Dress for the weather and wear sturdy shoes or boots. Refreshments will be provided.

As the sun goes down many animals are just becoming active, and even though it is hard to see them with the fading light, you know they are there because of their calls. Join a naturalist at Thorn Creek Woods on Thursday, August 18, 7:30 -9:30 explore the Sounds of the Insects Night Hike on the night of the full moon. You can hear a very special group of insects that have the gift of song like no other. Sunset is the best time to explore and listen to these gifted songsters as we bid adieu to the day shift and welcome in the night shift! We’ll listen and learn the distinct sounds of common local species and why they make these sounds. Please note that this program will take place outdoors, hiking preserve trails over uneven terrain. This program is free and for all ages Registration required by August 16.

Wednesday Morning Walkers enjoy a morning walk with a naturalist on a weekly basis each Wednesday 9 – 10:30 a.m. Meander through Thorn Creek Woods and watch the forest’s summer changes unfold. Registration is required two days before your first walk; call or email the nature center. Walkers age 13 through adult are invited.

Stop out and visit us at 247 Monee Road, Park Forest, 708-747-6320, [email protected]. And visit our website at