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Thorn Creek Nature Center

Other Link http://tcwoods.org

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  1. Trails

Thorn Creek 40th Yr Anniversary Logo


THORN CREEK NATURE CENTER                       
247 Monee Road, Park Forest, IL 60466
708-747-6320    
thorn_creek@att.net
Visit our website: http://tcwoods.org

Open Friday and Sunday, noon to 4 pm. Call before you plan to visit the nature center.
Trails open daily year-round, dawn to dusk
Trails are natural surface across uneven terrain

Nature Center Closed:
Sunday, April 21 – Easter
Friday, May 24 and Sunday, May 26 – Memorial Day

Registration is required for programs. Call or email the nature center two days before the program.

Nature Center building can be rented for gatherings. Programs for schools, youth groups, scouts, seniors, homeschoolers, and other groups are offered both at the preserve and off-site.  Call for information.

Forty years ago, June 1978, Thorn Creek Woods Nature Preserve was dedicated as an Illinois Nature Preserve. It is one of the largest forested areas in northeastern Illinois...the fifth largest in the Illinois Nature Preserves system. This large dry mesic oak hickory forest is dominated by 150-year old white and red oak trees with a rich understory of native shrubs, rare plants and spring wildflowers. A walk through the Woods is a 3.5-mile nature adventure. The preserve also features Thorn Creek Nature Center in an 1861 white steepled building, and the historic Hornicek Farm.

FRIENDS OF THORN CREEK WOODS
Join Friends of Thorn Creek Woods and support the 985 acre Thorn Creek Nature Preserve and its Nature Center. Formed in 1969, Friends efforts ensured permanent protection for this unique open space enhancing Park Forest and the region. Friends volunteers build and repair trails, create exhibits, monitor species, staff the nature center, lead programs, and raise funds for programs and improvements.  Members enjoy a quarterly newsletter and sponsor Earth Day, plus Spring and Fall meetings. Annual family membership is $20 or $50 for an organization; life membership is $200. For more information: 708-747-6320; thorn_creek@att.net; tcwoods.org; P.O. Box 32, Richton Park, IL 60471.  

PROGRAMS
Registration Required for All Programs.  Please call Thorn Creek Nature Center at 708-747-6320 to register.


WEDNESDAY MORNING WALKERS – WEEKLY PROGRAM
 
Wednesdays, 9-10:30 a.m. Starts March 6. Free!  Ages 13-adult. Registration required two days before your first walk.

Follow the forest’s seasonal changes, enjoy light exercise and experience nature first-hand on 2 miles of Thorn Creek Woods Nature Preserve’s winding trails.

BEGINNING BIRDING FOR KIDS
4 weekly sessions Sundays, January 13 through February 3, 1-3:30 p.m. and Saturday, February 16, 9 a.m.-noon. Ages 7-12. $20 prepaid for full 5 sessions. Registration and payment by Wednesday, January 2: 708-747-6320.

Impress your friends this spring with your birding smarts, binocular savvy and your very own life list of birds you have seen. Learn key shapes, markings, habits and songs for our most common local birds with crafts, activities, sounds and hikes. Price includes your own field guide to birds. Sponsored by the Thorn Creek Audubon Society.

birding
BEGINNING BIRDING FOR ALL              
Saturday, February 16. 9 a.m.–noon. Free! All ages.

Who is that feathered creature pecking at your feeder? Come to us. We know. Watch and count birds, participate in “bird” activities, and get help with identifications. Make a bird feeder to take home, play the beaks game and other activities. Don’t miss our Beginning Bird Hike at 9 a.m. 

TRACKING ANIMALS IN WINTER
Sunday, February 24. 1-3 p.m. Free! All ages.

Children younger than age 6 must be accompanied by an adult. How do animals survive winter’s chills? We’ll put ourselves in the paws of Thorn Creek’s woodland creatures and follow the trails in search of tracks and spoor. We’ll make plaster replicas of tracks to take home. Program is sponsored by Thorn Creek Audubon Society.

WOODCOCK WATCH        
Saturday, March 2. Rain date: Saturday, March 9. 5:00 -7:00 p.m. All ages. Free.

The arrival of the Woodcock is one of spring’s most sought-after sights. Join expert birder Sue Zelek for this evening program and watch the fantastic aerial courtship displays of the Woodcock. Meet at Nature Center and carpool to GSU. This field trip is sponsored by Thorn Creek Audubon Society.

MAKE A GOURD BIRDHOUSE
Sunday, March 10. 1-2 p.m. $10 per house; limit one per person. All ages; children younger than age 6 must be accompanied by an adult.
 

This is a fun family workshop to create a welcoming nesting space for birds in your own backyard. Join artist and teacher Pat Moore to make a natural style birdhouse from a gourd. This is a Partnership for Programming event sponsored by the Thorn Creek Audubon Society. All materials will be provided.

SPRING CLEAN UP & TRAIL WORKDAY AT THORN CREEK WOODS
Sunday, March 17. Noon-4 p.m. Free!  All ages; children younger than 15 must be accompanied by an adult.
 

Shake the winter blahs and come help in the annual spring cleaning. There will be indoor and outdoor work preparing for spring. Come help build or repair boardwalks and maintain the trails throughout the preserve. Or come weed and nurture our Prairie Sampler and butterfly garden. Bring a lunch and gloves and dress for the weather. 

FOLLOW THE FOX
Sunday, April 7. 1-3 p.m. Free. Children younger than 12. Children younger than 6 years must be accompanied by an adult.

Be the fox, following your daily routine along Thorn Creek trails! Look for signs of active bird and mammal neighbors. Call and listen to find your mate and prey, scout out den sites for spring, sniff and mark logs, cache food, mark your territory, and above all, keep out of the way of the coyotes! This program is sponsored by the Thorn Creek Audubon Society. 


Spring Wildflower hike for Kids cropped
EARTH DAY AT THORN CREEK: WOODLAND WILDFLOWERS
Saturday, April 20. 1-4 p.m. Free.  All ages. 

A family program to celebrate the wildflowers that grow and bloom each spring before the tree leaves unfurl in Thorn Creek Woods.  Join a guided hike to view the flowers that may be blooming at that time. Activities include a slideshow, wildflower bingo, coloring and milkweed planting plus refreshments and our Spring Raffle. Sponsored by Friends of Thorn Creek Woods.

SPRING HIGHT HIKE
Sunday, April 28. 7-9 p.m. All ages.  Free
 

Join us for a meandering night hike unraveling some woodland mysteries and listening for the first sounds of spring.

TREES FOR KIDS  
Saturday, May 11. 1-3 p.m. Free!  Children 5-12 years. Children younger than 6 years must be accompanied by an adult.
 

What kinds of trees make up Thorn Creek Woods? Where do different types grow in the woods? How do trees grow? Join us to find out and make a tree banner to take home. Sponsored by Thorn Creek Audubon Society.

FLOWER MOON HIKE 
Tuesday, May 14. 7:30-9:30 p.m. Free! Ages 10 years or older.


The abundant blooms of spring flowers and trees in May helped the Potawatomi keep track of the seasons.  Join us around the night of the Flower Full Moon. On our hike we’ll listen for nocturnal animals and explore the idea that darkness helps predators.