Scout Out Your Next Adventure

Calling all Scout leaders!

Are you looking for the next adventure for you and your scout group? Great news- with the Forest Preserve District of Kane County, you can discover local forest preserves with a Naturalist!

Our Naturalists can lead your group on an informative hike, or be the perfect complement to your campout! On informative hikes, a Naturalist will cover many different aspects of flora and fauna while helping your scouts work towards their next badge, patch, or pin. You can choose to do a “Seasonal Spotlight” hike that focuses on a variety of topics such as Spring Wildflowers, Trees and Their Leaves, The Amazing Prairie, Animal Tracks and Signs, and more. There are many exciting changes in the natural world every season, and we have a topic for every one of them! Complete with hands-on, interactive discussion and trail hiking, your scouts are sure to enjoy this excursion into nature.

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A Scout group inspects a tree trunk affected by beaver activity

All programs are 60-90 minutes long. Programs can be scheduled at any preserve and can be flexible depending on the needs of your group.  Reservations are required for these hikes. The fee is $2 per person with a minimum of $20 needed for a program. For more information about scheduling and fees, email programs@kaneforest.com or call 630-444-3190.

Creek Day: A Summer Camp Special

The best part of summer?  It depends on who you ask, but many would answer summer camp! A popular warm weather activity for generations both young and mature, camp has always been a time to explore nature and meet new friends. At the Forest Preserve District’s Week in the Woods summer camp, this still holds true! Throughout our week-long camps, there are a variety of activities every day such as crafts, outdoor games, and hikes that encourage kids to explore the natural world. A popular favorite activity of campers is Creek day, where they grab their bathing suits and head to Ferson Creek to play for the day. The creek is home to all kinds of aquatic creatures, such as crayfish, frogs, water skaters, and more; many of which we found on the most recent creek trip!

 

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Our Naturalists and their campers search the water with their nets

 

We had a gorgeous, sunny day to get out and explore the creek with our nets! The water was perfect to splash around in and yielded many different creatures that we caught to examine then release back into the creek. When we weren’t searching for the next best creature to drift along, the campers enjoyed swimming and learning to skip rocks; many of them showed awesome talent with it! At the end of the trip, it was clear that the campers had learned so much and gained an amazing appreciation of the creek as a not just a fun place to play, but also a habitat for the many creatures they found! Enjoy the pictures below of the trip and some of their finds! Keep scrolling for information on how to give your kids the opportunity to explore this summer…

 

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A tiny leopard frog

 

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Our nets caught many crayfish!

 

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A small nymph.

 

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A crayfish inside our “specimen bin” that was shortly after returned to it’s habitat.

 

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Another crayfish- these little guys were everywhere!

 

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Fish on! This little one was quickly returned to the water after swimming into our nets.

 

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One of our last finds of the day- a beautiful pair of shells.

 

Want your kids to explore the marvels of nature? Sign them up for Week in the Woods summer camp! Each nature camp runs for five days each, Monday through Friday. The dates are as follows:  “Summer Unplugged” August 5-August 9. Camp is for kids entering 1st-6th grade, and there is a fee of $175/child for the week. Advance registration is required, register by calling 630-444-3190 or email programs@kaneforest.com. 

Make it Memorable: Host Your Next Event in the Beautiful Forest Preserves of St. Charles

Within the wooded areas of the forest preserves of St. Charles sits our beautiful rental facilities, ready to make your next event a memorable experience. Creek Bend Nature Center and Barbara Belding Lodge have hosted many special occasions including weddings, birthday parties, and corporate events. At both properties, guests are treated to the views of our woodland areas while enjoying the comfort of our updated facilities.

 

Creek Bend calls LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve home, sitting just a few steps away from the banks of Ferson Creek. The home dates back to the 1930s and has a rich history. It also holds the nature center, an interactive space where visitors can learn about the preserve and the many creatures that live within it. There are plenty of rooms to rent within the house, including the grounds that have seen many beautiful outdoor wedding ceremonies and receptions.

 

 

 

 

Photography by @Nicodem Creative

 

Nestled in the woods of Brewster Creek Forest Preserve, the cozy venue also known as Barbara Belding Lodge sits, surrounded by woodland. The lodge houses multiple meeting rooms, a catering kitchen, seating for over 100 people, and an expansive outdoor deck that gives visitors a stunning view of the forest. Built on the former grounds of the YWCA Camp Tu-Endie-Wei, the lodge and 27-acre preserve sit on the Brewster Creek greenway. Consider the lodge for your next special event to create a lasting memory for you and your guests!

 

 

 

Photography by @KristaWeberPhotography

 

If either of these properties catches your eye, we encourage you to come visit us during open tours on Wednesdays from 3 p.m.-7 p.m. We would love to show you what our venues can offer you and your event. For more details, call 630-444-3064 or email events@kaneforest.com.

 

Check out our Facebook pages for more pictures from events held at these venues: 

@CreekBendEvents 

@barbarabeldinglodge

Best Birding Spots in Kane County Forest Preserves

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A pelican is spotted at Dick Young Forest Preserve by Erica Lemon, District Naturalist

Within the trees that reside in the Forest Preserve District of Kane County lives a wide variety of birds big and small. Throughout the year, different species can be spotted across the county, making our forest preserves an excellent destination for avid birders. Although some seasons may bring more excitement than others, you’re sure to hear birdsong any time of year and identify at least a few of our flying friends. Wondering when and where to go birding in Kane County? Keep reading!

In any season there is guaranteed to be activity. Summer is typically quieter time as most birds are off rearing their young in nests and trees. However, you can still find and hear many species! Spring is considered one of the most exciting seasons for birding as there are not only many native species out, but migrating species visit during this time as well. Birds can be heard singing throughout the trees and found sporting their courtship plumage as they search for a mate. As for fall and winter, there are bird species aplenty as well; although you’ll have to brave the cold to see them! Owls are a popular bird seen during the wintry months, and the Great Horned Owl nests during this time- which has been found at multiple forest preserves in Kane County including Fabyan Forest Preserve and Johnson’s Mound.

Kane County’s forest preserves offer a range of landscapes and habitats, which makes for a great variety of birds:

Tekakwitha Woods: Excellent for songbirds and waterfowl due to its location along the Fox River. This preserve tends to be busiest bird-wise during spring and fall migration.

Jon Duerr Forest Preserve: Also a great location to view songbirds, and is located on the Fox River. The river acts as “bird highway” during migration, and this preserve has quite the record for sightings. Reported sightings include Prothonotary Warblers, Blackburnian Warblers, and Summer Tanagers. 211 species have been spotted here, making this a highly recommended spot!

Dick Young Forest Preserve: Due to the many different habitats at the preserve (prairie, woodland, and wetlands) there are a variety of birds that can be spotted here such as grassland and wetland birds. The woodlands are filled with warblers in the springtime, and the marsh hosts all manners of waterfowl during migration season such as egrets, mergansers, teals, and even white pelicans are known to stop here! Overall, 249 species have been reported at this site.

Bliss Woods Forest Preserve: There are certain species of birds that have very specific habitat requirements which means that they can’t be found just anywhere. Bliss Woods provides an essential interior woodland habitat that many birds, such as the Pileated Woodpecker, can be found in. Another bird known to inhabit these woods is the Red Headed Woodpecker, just one of the 150 species that have been reported at the preserve.

 

While there are many spots around the county that are excellent for birding, these are just a few that come highly recommended from our Naturalist staff. If you have a favorite birding spot, comment below, we’d love to know!

A Match Made in Heaven: Creek Bend Wedding Shoot

Love is in the air at Creek Bend Nature Center! This venue sits on LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve and is just steps away from Ferson Creek. It’s the perfect natural setting for any wedding or special event! In early May, we were lucky to host various vendors and photographers as they collaborated on a wedding shoot. The photos are stunning, and we are so proud to have served as the backdrop for these pictures! Scroll down to experience the beauty of Creek Bend:

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Interested and want to know more about Creek Bend?

Open tours are every Wednesday, 3 p.m.-7 p.m.

Or

Call 630-444-3064 or email events@kaneforest.com

 

Venue: Creek Bend Nature Center in St. Charles, IL

Photographers:

Expedition Joy Photography @expeditionjoy

Polished Arrow Photography @polishedarrowphotography

Vintage Rentals: Forget Me Knot Vintage Rentals @forget.me.knot.rentals

Signage: Illumination Custom Designs @illuminationcustomdesigns

Florals: Florals by Debi Barone, Dundee, IL

Make-Up: @laurenn_nelsonn

Dress: @missstellayork from @crystalbrideofficial

Coffee Cart: @barista_of_chicagoland

Cakes: @ericakorencakery

Invitations and Paper Goods: @heritagecreativeco

 

How to Prevent Invasive Species

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Invasive brush at Glenwood Park. 

Spring is in the air, and summer is on its way! This means that plants are growing and flowers are blooming once again. However, the change of seasons also suggests the return of some rather not-so-welcome plant species; the invasive kind. Invasive plants are not native to the area in which they grow, spread quickly, and can cause damage to the environment around it. So, what are some ways that you can prevent invasive species from inhabiting our local environment?

 

If it looks suspicious, leave it there.

There are a few invasive species that can appear to be beautiful or interesting. A good guideline to follow is if you don’t know what it is, leave it there. This prevents the spreading of their seeds to other areas through transport. There are plenty of native species that would make a much better (and safer) bouquet.

 

Proceed with caution.

If you’ve spent an afternoon out in nature, be sure to clean off any clothing items before moving to another environment. Seeds can often cling to shoes, pants, etc. and make a new home anywhere they may fall. Washing them is often the most effective way of getting rid unwanted hitchhikers. Pets can also carry seeds that may cling to their fur, so be sure to give them a good cleaning as well.

 

Keep it native.

Spring and summer is prime time to do gardening to keep your yard looking lush. When selecting plants, try to choose only native plants that will create a better environment for their neighboring greenery. Native plants also help to prevent the spread of invasive species to create a natural defense system right in your backyard!

 

Educate others and yourself.

Think you may have spotted an invasive species? The best step you can take is to remove it. Illinois houses many invasive species; from grasses to vines, these unwanted guests take many forms. A few common examples are garlic mustard and Japanese stillgrass. If you are unsure, research if the plant is invasive or not, and exercise caution when transporting them to the trash.

 

Volunteer!

Invasive species can be found all over Kane County. The good news is, the Kane County Forest Preserve hosts many removal programs for invasive species, and we can always use your help! For more information about these removals, visit our website at http://www.kaneforest.com