Support Blandings Turtle Conservation in Kane County!

DSC_262_1_FINAL_Pingree 1.jpg

Calling all turtle lovers! Would you like to help the Blandings Turtle population thrive in Kane County? Participate in the Kane Forest Preserve Foundation’s “Adopt A Turtle” program! These ceremonial adoptions aid the Forest Preserve District’s conservation efforts and research above and beyond their current capacity, so that we can help this species get back on their (webbed) feet.

Who’s ready to become a turtle parent? We are so excited to see our Blandings babies soon; the countdown is on! Can’t wait until they arrive to learn more? Check out the links below for more information or search #KaneAdoptATurtle!

Adopt-A-Turtle information: http://bit.ly/KaneAdoptATurtleFlyer

Adopt-A-Turtle online form: http://bit.ly/KaneAdoptATurtleCC

Note: These are ceremonial adoptions. No turtles will be removed from Forest Preserve District property.

Nature Tykes & Little Naturalists

Little Naturalists 9 28 2017 IMG_1930.jpg

Spiders, bugs, and the great outdoors…does this sound like something your child would enjoy? Have them explore nature with the Forest Preserve District of Kane County! Our programs “Nature Tykes” and “Little Naturalists” are designed for young children who enjoy learning about the natural world.

At these hour long programs, we will focus on a different theme each month. Every session will begin with a short introduction to the topic, and feature a combination of games, stories, crafts, or nature hikes that are led by a District Naturalist. 3 year olds are invited to attend Nature Tykes, and Little Naturalists is geared for 4 and 5 year olds. Spiders, insects, and leaves are the topics we’ll be focusing on this fall.

A parent or caregiver must be present at Nature Tykes throughout the program. Little Naturalists is a “drop-off” program, and adults and siblings are welcome to wait in the nature center or enjoy the trails during the class. The sessions are listed below and are held at Creek Bend Nature Center:

  • Thursday, September 26: Insect Wonderland. Nature Tykes 9:30- 10:30 a.m., Little Naturalists 1- 2 p.m.
  • Thursday, October 24. Spider Mania. Nature Tykes 9:30- 10:30 a.m., Little Naturalists 1- 2 p.m.
  • Thursday, November 21. Leaf-O-Rama. Nature Tykes 9:30- 10:30 a.m., Little Naturalists 1- 2 p.m.

 

There is a fee of $5 per child, per session. To register for a session, call 630-444-3190 or email programs@kaneforest.com. Creek Bend Nature Center is located at 37W700 Dean Street, St. Charles.

Rusty Rodeo

Rusty Rodeo_Logo_2019

 

There’s an underwater invader in our local streams and rivers- and we want you to help us find them! Our culprit: The Rusty Crayfish. This tiny aquatic creature is considered an invasive species (non- native) and can negatively affect the health of an ecosystem if they are left unchecked. Are you ready to wrangle some of these creatures in? Will it be you that finds the biggest, longest, or most wanted of these Varmints? Join us and find out as we scour the common habitats of these wanted creatures at The Rusty Rodeo!

The rodeo will take place at Glenwood Park Forest Preserve, 1644 S River St. Participants are encouraged to wear closed-toed shoes and clothes that can get muddy and wet as much of our exploration will be done in the water! In addition to removing the crayfish, there will be music, and prizes for those who find crayfish within the winning categories. Sound like a good time? We’d love to see you there! The event will run from 11am-1pm and admission is FREE!

Get To Know A Naturalist: Erica Lemon

Erica_Kid_Bug

Erica examines a bug with a camper

 

Name: Erica Lemon

Alma Mater: University of Iowa

Hometown: Grew up in Burlington, IA. Now live in Pingree Grove, IL

Years worked at the Forest Preserve District: 14 (13 full time)

How and when did you become interested in being a naturalist?

In community college I really got interested in environmental science and it gave me the motivation to educate the public on our natural world.

What is your favorite part about being a naturalist?

Seeing the wonder in the eyes of all ages, but especially in little kids, when they see or learn something new.

What is the most important skill you have acquired through your career?

Being able to adjust the way I’m speaking depending on the knowledge level of my audience.

If you could take a hike anywhere in the world, where would it be?

Zion National Park.

What is one item you can’t live without?

Sugar haha!

Do you have any hobbies outside of work?

I crochet and I’m into nature photography.

What is your favorite genre of music?

80’s rock and pop.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve been given?

Don’t worry about things you can’t change. Though I struggle following that piece of advice!

Do you have a favorite animal and/or plant species?

Turkey Vultures.

What has been your proudest moment in your career?

Hiking with a group of Aurora High Schoolers. There was one student that looked like someone 100% not interested in nature, not dressed quite right for the outdoors, ear buds in, hat backwards, stayed at the back of the group. As the hike went on, he kept kind of inching his way closer to the front of the group. About half way through, he was walking right with me and asking all sorts of relevant questions. By the end of the hike, he told me he would love to do “something like this” when he was finished with school!

What is your favorite event at the Forest Preserve District?

Monarchs & Milkweed, hands down!

What is one piece of advice you would give to an aspiring naturalist? 

Focus on the part of nature you enjoy most, we can all learn from each other to expand in other areas!

 

View the slideshow for a few examples of Erica’s nature photos!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Get To Know A Naturalist: Barb McKittrick

Barb Program 034

Barb presenting at a program

 

Name: Barb McKittrick

Alma Mater: Aurora University (BS Biology) and Northwestern University (MBA)

Hometown: Batavia; born and raised on Chicago’s lovely northwest side!

Years worked at the Forest Preserve District: 7

How and when did you become interested in being a naturalist?

I learned to love nature as a kid growing up in Chicago. Believe it or not, Chicago is a haven for urban wilderness, with a wonderful network of forest preserves, parks and protected places – several of which were right in my neighborhood. While I didn’t start out my career as a naturalist, I did get my degree in biology and worked at the molecular scale of science for many years. It was only years later when I started volunteering for a youth science organization that I realized that people actually get paid for inspiring others to appreciate and care for our natural places, and decided that I wanted to be a naturalist as my second career!

What is your favorite part about being a naturalist?

Seeing people’s faces light up when they discover something new out on the trail – whether it be the spicy scent of crushed wild bergamot, the pert call of a chickadee, or the warty bark of a hackberry tree.

What is the most important skill you have acquired through your career?

The ability to take the time to really and truly see. It is so easy to get so busy that we don’t stop and appreciate the little wonders that make a walk in the woods (or prairie or wetland) meaningful. I’ve been known to be guilty of this! Being a naturalist has taught me to slow down, to observe closely, and to be grateful.

What are you most excited for as you move into your new position?

I am so excited to have the opportunity to lead the great team of FPDKC Naturalists as the new Environmental Education Manager. I look forward to building upon the tremendous success of current programs like the Kane County Certified Naturalist program, special events like the recent Monarchs & Milkweed festival, and our slate of public programs for children, families, and adults. I’ll be looking at ways we can more actively partner with other regional agencies and organizations to best serve our patrons and at improvements we can make to our Creek Bend Nature Center facility and grounds to maximize each visitor experience. My goal is to touch as many people as possible with our nature programs and preserves in order to foster a connection with nature wherever it’s found – be it in a forest preserve, a city park, or your own back yard.

If you could take a hike anywhere in the world, where would it be?

That’s a hard one, because there is so much variety in nature and each place has it’s own special beauty. I’m so fortunate to have traveled the world during my past corporate life, but one place I’ve never been and would love to explore is Japan. There is a special hike there called the Kumano Kodo Pilgrimage that follows ancient trails through deep, forested valleys. I’d like to go there someday.

What is one item you can’t live without?

Coffee!

Do you have any hobbies outside of work?

I enjoy biking, kayaking, backpacking, home brewing and reading. But my favorite time is time spent with family and friends.

What is your favorite genre of music?

Alternative rock.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve been given?

Well, it’s not exactly first-hand advice, but I really like Rachel Carson’s words: “Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts.”

Do you have a favorite animal and/or plant species?

Fungi are amazing!

What has been your proudest moment in your career?

Seeing employees I’ve mentored go on to accomplish great things.

What is your favorite event at the Forest Preserve District?

I started a monthly hiking program called “Trek with a Naturalist” and it is my favorite event – and one that I get to repeat every single month with a lot of interesting and like-minded people!

What is one piece of advice you would give to an aspiring naturalist?

Slow down and appreciate the details and intricacies of nature.