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Summer 'Woods Walk' challenge, nature programs planned

6/1/2015, 10:49 p.m.
The Will County Forest Preserve District is holding a variety of programs designed to get people out into nature.
Take a hike and snap some photos during the Forest Preserve District of Will County’s “Woods Walk” challenge and photo contest, which both began June 1. Photo courtesy of Ron Molk

Bluebirds will be the focus of a “Morning Bird Hike” at the Forest Preserve District of Will County’s Plum Creek Nature Center on July 4.

Bluebirds will be the focus of a “Morning Bird Hike” at the Forest Preserve District of Will County’s Plum Creek Nature Center on July 4.

Here is information on two programs being held by the Will County Forest Preserve District:

‘Woods Walk’ challenge and photo contest under way

Explore new trails or visit old favorites during the Forest Preserve District of Will County’s 2015 “Woods Walk” challenge, which kicks off on Monday, June 1, and lasts through Saturday, Oct. 31.

Participants who hike seven of 10 designated trails will earn a medal suitable for attaching to a backpack, hat or walking stick. Hike all 10 preserve trails to receive an additional gift.

Trails selected for this year’s “Woods Walk” are located in: Channahon, Frankfort, Joliet, Manhattan, Mokena, Monee, New Lenox, Park Forest and Plainfield. Starting June 1, maps of the trail segments included in this year’s “Woods Walk” and the program’s official travel log will be available on the District’s website, ReconnectWithNature.org.

Travel logs can be downloaded from the website or picked up at one of four District visitor centers: Sugar Creek Administration Center in Joliet, Isle a la Cache Museum in Romeoville, Monee Reservoir in Monee and Plum Creek Nature Center in Beecher. Travel logs also will be mailed to individuals who call 815-727-8700. Each participant in the Woods Walk Challenge should have his or her own travel log.

Bring your camera on your outings so you can enter your pictures in the District’s “Woods Walk” photo contest by Oct. 31. The top three entries will be awarded prizes, and the photos will be published on the District’s web site.

Discover nature with the forest preserve district

The Forest Preserve District of Will County will offer several reoccurring nature programs throughout the summer including:

The “Fun FACT Friday” program runs from 1 to 3 p.m. every Friday from June 5 through Aug. 28 at Plum Creek Nature Center, 27064 S. Dutton Road, Beecher. The Friday Activity and Craft Time (FACT) program may include pond exploration, hikes, nature crafts and more. The program will be held indoors or outside. Dress for the weather. Registration is not required for the free, all-ages program.

Guided “Lake Renwick Bird Viewing” tours will be held from 10 to 11 a.m. every Wednesday and 8 a.m. to noon every Saturday through August 15 while visitation is restricted at Lake Renwick Heron Rookery Nature Preserve, located on Renwick Road, 0.5 mile east of Route 30, Plainfield. Herons, egrets and cormorants will be nesting and raising their young on rookery islands during this time. Registration is not required for the free program, which is for ages 7 and older.

Sessions of “Nature Play Day” will be held from 10 to 11:30 a.m. at Plum Creek Nature Center, 27064 S. Dutton Road in Beecher on these Wednesdays: June 10, July 8, Aug. 12 and Sept. 9. Activities may include hikes, stories, games, dancing or playing. The program is for ages 1 to 5 who are accompanied by an adult. Be prepared for indoor and outdoor activities. Registration is required; call 708-946-2216.

“Discovery Isle” will be offered from 1 to 3 p.m. every Wednesday from June 17 through Aug. 26 at Isle a la Cache Museum, 501 E. Romeo Road, Romeoville. Each session will feature a different activity or demonstration focusing on plants, animals or history. Programs may be held indoors or outside. Registration is not required for the free, all-ages program.

“Morning Bird Hikes” will take place from 8 to 10 a.m. at Plum Creek Nature Center, 27064 S. Dutton Road in Beecher on these Saturdays: June 6, July 4, Aug. 1 and Sept. 5. Enjoy the bustling activity of many different birds at Goodenow Grove Nature Preserve. Dress for the weather and bring binoculars and your favorite bird guide. The program includes a 1.5 mile hike on natural surface trails across uneven terrain. The free program is for ages 16 and older. Registration is required; call 708-946-2216.

For more information on these programs or other Forest Preserve District offerings, visit ReconnectWithNature.org.