Set out on a safari, pick up trash, learn about amphibians and assess your carbon footprint during online and in-person programs offered in April by the Forest Preserve District and Thorn Creek Nature Center in honor of Earth Day.
Earth Day was founded in the spring of 1970 to protect this orb we call home and to reverse some of the damage that had already been done. The green holiday celebrated its 50th birthday last year and is going strong. So check out this list of ways to celebrate Mother Earth:
Earth Day Safari at Monee Reservoir: 7 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays, April 3-25, Monee Reservoir. Free, all ages.
Explore the trails at Monee Reservoir, and then stop by the visitor center to pick up an adventure pack to begin your own safari through the preserve! Using official safari gear, discover the hidden gems that our natural areas hold. The safari backpack includes a safari hat, binoculars, critter containers, magnifying lenses, a journal, a critter net, reference books and more. Registration is not required.
Earth Day Safari at Plum Creek Nature Center: 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturdays and noon-4 p.m. Sundays, April 3-25, Plum Creek Nature Center. Free, all ages.
Explore the trails at Plum Creek Nature Center! Stop by the visitor center to pick up an adventure pack to begin your own safari through the preserve. Using official safari gear, discover the hidden gems that our natural areas hold. The safari backpack includes a safari hat, binoculars, critter containers, magnifying lenses, a journal, a critter net, reference books and more. Registration is not required.
Recycle Your Bicycle: 7 a.m.-6 p.m. April 10-25, Monee Reservoir. Free, all ages.
Be green and celebrate Earth Day by dropping off your bikes on the north side of the visitor center's paved parking lot. No bike is too old or rusty! Bikes are given to Working Bikes, an organization that refurbishes bicycles for kids, individuals with disabilities and families in developing countries for transportation. Registration is not required.
River Cleanup at Four Rivers: 10 a.m.-noon Saturday, April 10, Four Rivers Environmental Education Center. Free, ages 13 or older.
Make a difference in your community and spend some time this Earth month helping clean up Four Rivers’ shoreline. Upon arrival, you will receive a crash course in the plastic pollution problem in our waterways. Then your group will be assigned a socially distanced spot to remove trash. Please dress for the weather and plan on getting dirty. Waterproof footwear is highly recommended, and gloves are required. Register online by Thursday, April 8 or call 815.722.9470.
Earth Day at Thorn Creek – Amphibians: 2-4 p.m. Saturday, April 17, Thorn Creek Woods Nature Preserve. Free, ages 13 or older.
Join an Earth Day hike at 2 p.m. to explore woodland vernal ponds and wetlands while listening for the calls of the wetland inhabitants! Learn which frogs, toads and salamanders live in these woods and why water is so important to them. Meet in front of the nature center. This event is sponsored by the Jim Marzuki Fund for Public Programming. Please bring your own hand sanitizer, a face mask, binoculars and a water bottle and be prepared to follow the social distancing protocol of 6 feet. Registration is required by Monday, April 12: 708.747.6320.
Earth Day Hike: 6:30-8 p.m. Thursday, April 22, Lower Rock Run Preserve – I&M Canal Access. Free, all ages.
Celebrate Earth Day on a fun and invigorating hike that will remind you of all the precious gifts Earth has given us and how we can help protect them in our daily lives. Then we will head to the preserve shelter to settle in and enjoy the sunset. Register online by Wednesday, April 21, or call 815.722.9470.
Put Your Foot Down on Earth Day (Zoom Webinar): 7-8 p.m. Thursday, April 22. Free, ages 16 or older. Humans consume 1.6 planets’ worth of resources every year, according to the Global Footprint Network. Find out how to use the Global Footprint Calculator to adjust your resource consumption. Practical ideas and discussion will be a part of this Zoom presentation. Registration is required.
Fishing for Trash: 7 a.m.-6 p.m. April 27-May 2, Monee Reservoir Visitor Center. Free, all ages.
Visit Monee Reservoir and help keep the preserve trash-free for patrons and wildlife. Stop by the concessions window to pick up a trash bag and gloves, and then fill the bag with any trash you collect. Bring the bag back to the concessions window and receive a token gift for your efforts. Registration is not required.
Stay up-to-date on the happenings in Will County's forest preserves by subscribing to The Citizen, our weekly digital newsletter that provides subscribers with updates on Forest Preserve news, upcoming events, and other fun and useful information for the whole family. If you're only interested in programs, subscribe to The Weekly Five, which outlines the five must-do programs each week. Signing up for either newsletter is easy and free of charge.