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Get in the Holiday Spirit with a Fun Forest Preserve Outing

Photo for: Get in the Holiday Spirit with a Fun Forest Preserve Outing

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Now that we’ve had a splash of snow and a dash of winter-like temperatures, it’s time to start thinking of enjoying the upcoming holidays with a fun Forest Preserve outing. 

Here are some programs that should get you in a holiday mood and help you with your celebrations: 

Recycled Holiday Craft Workshop – 9-11:30 a.m. Saturday, November 16, at Four Rivers Environmental Education Center in Channahon. Make treasures from trash and celebrate the 11th year of this upcycled crafts program by using scraps that have been piling up. There will be a variety of projects to choose from. No experience is necessary. All materials are provided. Free; ages 16 or older. Register by Tuesday, November 12; 815.722.9470. (Only a few spots remain for this program.)

Green Gift Wrapping – 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Thursdays, November 21, December 5 and December 19, at Four Rivers Environmental Education Center. Most wrapping paper, gift bags and bows are not recyclable and Americans produce an extra 1 million tons of trash each week between Thanksgiving and New Year. This program will teach you how to create wrapping paper, bags, bows and gift cards from leftover materials. You can drop in anytime to learn some new ideas to make green gift wrapping a part of your holiday season. Free; ages 16 or older. Registration is not required.

Work Off the Turkey Volunteer Workday – 8 a.m.-noon, Saturday, November 30, at Hickory Creek Preserve – LaPorte Road Access in Mokena. Work off your Thanksgiving feast while you contribute to your community, support your local environment, meet fellow nature-lovers, and get some fresh air. The purpose of this workday is brush control. Please dress for outdoor work and the weather. Wear long pants, closed-toe shoes and work gloves. RSVP to Renee Gauchat, volunteer services supervisor, 815.722.7364 or 

Caroling Campfire – 6:30-8:30 p.m. Friday, December 6, at Plum Creek Nature Center. Bring the family for a night of fun at this winter campfire. We will sing holiday songs, tell stories and play games. The night will end with delicious s’mores prepared over an open fire. Dress for the weather. Free; all ages. Register by Wednesday, December 4; 708.946.2216. 

Holiday Nature Crafts – 10 a.m.-noon and 1-3 p.m. Saturday, December 7, at Plum Creek Nature Center. Deck the halls with nature-inspired trim, hot chocolate and quality family time while creating personalized woodland decorations. There will be something for adults and children alike to make and take home. All crafting abilities are welcome. Materials will be provided. Ages 5 or older; $3 per person. Register by Thursday, December 5; 708.946.2216.

Holiday Owl Hike – 4-6 p.m. and 7-9 p.m. Friday, December 27, and 4-6 p.m. Saturday, December 28, at Plum Creek Nature Center. Explore the secrets that our forest holds in the evening hours on a 1.5-mile hike. Join naturalists as they search for the elusive winged predator, the owl. Discover the natural history of Will County owls and why they call at this time of year. Enjoy an outdoor fire, hot cocoa and marshmallows. Bring your favorite mug and camping chair to sit by the fire. The 4 p.m. hikes are for all ages; the 7 p.m. hike is for ages 16 or older. Be prepared to walk 1.5 miles. Registration is required; 708.946.2216.

Hoot in the New Year – 7-9 p.m. Friday, January 3, and 4-6 p.m. and 7-9 p.m. Saturday, January 4, at Hickory Creek Preserve – LaPorte Road Access. Celebrate the New Year by joining a 1.5-mile hike to search for owls and discover more about these amazing predators at Hickory Creek Preserve. Enjoy a fire, hot cocoa and marshmallows. Bring your favorite mug and camping chair to sit by the fire. The 7 p.m. Friday and 4 p.m. Saturday hikes are for all ages; the 7 p.m. Saturday hike is for ages 16 or older. Registration is required; 708.946.2216.

Bonne Annee – A New Year Celebration! – 2-3:30 p.m. Saturday, January 4, Isle a la Cache Museum in Romeoville. Celebrate like it’s 1759! Ring in the New Year French-Canadian fur trader style with stories and games of Illinois Country. Enjoy a warm drink around a toasty fire. Make a vintage French craft to take home as a keepsake of this family-friendly event and the “Bonne Annee,” or Good Year, to come. Free; ages 6-12 (accompanied by an adult). Registration is required; 815.886.1467.

Online program registration also is available via the Event Calendar


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.


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