The Forest Preserve District is partnering with the Village of Homer Glen to offer a series of 2021 programs that will encourage area residents to enjoy nature and outdoor activities at both forest preserve and village locations.
The programs will cover a wide variety of topics including wildflower viewing, gardening, bicycling and nature exploration.
“The Forest Preserve District is excited to partner with the Village of Homer Glen to provide nature and outdoor recreation-based programming for its residents,” said Lynn Kurczewski, the District’s director of visitor services. "The partnership will help increase awareness of the District and encourage visitation to local forest preserves including Messenger Marsh, Messenger Woods Nature Preserve and Hadley Valley."
Homer Glen has championed the goal of community and nature in harmony since the village's inception in 2001, said Amy Blank, the village's communications and recreation coordinator.
"What better way to celebrate that ideal, especially during the Village’s 20th Anniversary year, than with programs that get residents communing with nature," she said. "For quite some time, the Village has desired to offer its residents more nature programming. With this partnership, the Forest Preserve District has generously come up with an amazing roster of programs that we know our residents will love."
Registration is required for each program. To sign up, call 815.727.8700. Programs are being offered at both Forest Preserve and Village locations, and you do not need to be a resident of Homer Glen to attend.
Here is the lineup:
Wildflower Walk: 10 a.m.-noon, Saturday, April 24, Messenger Woods Nature Preserve. Free, ages 10 or older.
Explore with a naturalist beautiful Messenger Woods Nature Preserve, well-known for its spring wildflower diversity and abundance. Learn about the various species, and what makes them special. Meet at Hawthorn Grove Shelter.
Getting Your Garden Ready for Spring: 1-2 p.m. Sunday, May 2, Village of Homer Glen’s Heritage Park Pavilion. Free, ages 18 or older.
Offered as part of the Village’s Heritage Park Anniversary Picnic, this program will introduce you to easy steps to start a vegetable garden. Topics include soil preparation, seed selection and companion planting – a tried-and-true method of planting specific vegetables and/or flowers together to create a healthy, bountiful garden.
Family Bike Ride: 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday, May 15, Hadley Valley – Gougar Road Access. Free, all ages. Registration is required by Thursday, May 13.
Join the Forest Preserve for an afternoon of biking in the fresh air with your family. The bike ride will begin at the Gougar Road Access of Hadley Valley and loop around the Spring Creek Greenway Trail. Various family-based activities will be offered along the 2.5-mile, crushed limestone route.
Creeker Seekers: 9:30-11:30 a.m. Tuesday, June 22, Messenger Woods Nature Preserve. Free, ages 5 or older.
Bring your boots and a sense of wonder as we immerse ourselves in the cool waters of Spring Creek in the name of science! We’ll flip over some rocks in search of aquatic critters big and small. We’ll count the frogs and hopefully meet some fishy friends. A naturalist will be guiding you off trail, so be prepared by wearing long pants and proper footwear. No flip-flops allowed.
LEGO Gone Wild!: 9:30-11:30 a.m. Tuesday, July 20, Messenger Woods Nature Preserve. Free, ages 5 or older.
Explore the outdoors with a naturalist to seek pollinators that live among us using binoculars, bug boxes, insect nets and more. Discover how pollinators and people fit together in nature and how important they are to our very existence! Once we harness some inspiration, we’ll get building with LEGO blocks. The strong STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math) aspect will be our little secret.
Planting Natives: 3-4 p.m. Saturday, August 7, 319 Garden at Heritage Park, Homer Glen. Free, ages 18 or older.
During this outdoor presentation offered in partnership with the Village of Homer Glen and their Sidewalk Art Chalk Event, learn why native plants are a better fit for your yard and their importance to birds, bees and butterflies. We’ll identify which natives are growing in the 319 Heritage Park garden and how to grow them in your own yard. This is the year to get your native garden growing! The 319 Garden is located along the concrete sidewalks, just off the parking area at Heritage Park.
Nature Explorers: 9:30-11:30 a.m. Tuesday, August 17, Messenger Woods Nature Preserve. Free, ages 5 or older.
Bring the little ones out for a forest adventure! We’ll hop, skip and jump in the woods while discovering colored flowers, leaf shapes and patterned bugs. We’ll become nature detectives and investigate signs of animal activity to determine who’s living in the forest. A naturalist will be guiding you off trail, so be prepared by wearing long pants and proper footwear. No flip-flops allowed. The program will include hiking preserve trails over uneven terrain for up to 1 mile.
Gardening for Monarchs: 7-8:30 p.m. Wednesday, September 29, Homer Glen Village Hall. Ages 18 or older. Free, but donations will be accepted on behalf of The Nature Foundation of Will County, which supports Forest Preserve programming through grants.
Learn what natives to plant and how to grow them in your yard to provide valuable nectar sources and habitats for these important pollinators. This program is presented by longtime Forest Preserve volunteer and University of Illinois Certified Master Gardener Phyllis Schulte. Schulte has been a site steward with the District for 30 years; she received her Master Gardener Certification in 1995. She is actively involved with the Illinois butterfly monitoring and the Field Museum citizen science projects. She presents programs throughout the region on the importance of native plants and monarch butterflies.
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