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Thorn Creek Nature Center

Other Link http://tcwoods.org

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  1. Trails

THORN CREEK NATURE CENTER                        
247 Monee Road, Park Forest, IL 60466
708-747-6320 
thorn_creek@att.net

Website: http://tcwoods.org

  • Nature Center is open to the public Fridays noon-4 p.m.
  • Trails open daily year-round, dawn to dusk 
  • Trails are natural surface across uneven terrain 
  • Registration is required for programs.  Call or email the nature center the Monday before the program. 


      
 

 

Thorn Creek Nature Preserve is a natural area of over 1000 acres jointly owned by University Park, Park Forest and the Forest Preserve District of Will County.  A Management Commission was formed in the 1970’s, made up of the landowners plus Friends of Thorn Creek Woods, the citizens group responsible in large part for preservation of these woods. Together they manage this large dry mesic oak hickory forest dominated by 150-year old white and red oak trees with a rich understory of native shrubs, rare plants and spring wildflowers.



Workday March2018 by Dena Petraitis

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.nethttps://tcwoods.org; P.O. Box 32, Richton Park, IL 60471.


 

 

 
bridge
 
Visiting Thorn Creek Woods Nature Preserve

Come visit our oak-hickory woodlands. Our trails are open! It’s been a particularly lovely spring and summer, so please do come and see what nature has to offer.  When visiting remember:

  •  Visit alone or with members of your household
  •  Practice social distancing of at least 6 feet
  •  Wear a face covering when unable to social distance

And visit our webpage often…

  • Thorn Creek Woods - www.tcwoods.org 
  • Forest Preserve District of Will County - www.reconnectwithnature.org 
  • Village of Park Forest - www.villageofparkforest.com


TAKE PRECAUTIONS BEFORE VISITING THORN CREEK WOODS NATURE PRESERVE
 

The Commission is urging members of the public to adopt all outdoor recreation safety measures recommended by the state as they visit Thorn Creek Nature Preserve. Please review the guidelines issued by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources on Thursday, April 23, 2020:

• Bring alcohol-based hand sanitizer (containing at least 60 percent alcohol) and face coverings.

• Practice social distancing by keeping at least 6 feet of distance between yourself and others.

• Stay home if you are sick or feeling any symptoms, such as fever, coughing, troubled breathing, and/or flu-like symptoms.

• Visit alone or with members of your household.

• Stay local; visit preserves that are closest to where you live.

• If you arrive at a preserve and crowds are forming, please return another time/day to visit.

• Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash. If you don't have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your upper arm/elbow.


For information on the coronavirus contact your County Health Department.

Thorn Creek Nature Center 708-747-6320 or thorn_creek@att.net , https://tcwoods.org
Thorn Creek Woods Management Commission

 

 


Programs & Events 

Visit our website: http://tcwoods.org 
 

 
 

FEBRUARY PROGRAMS 

ANCIENT LIFE OF ILLINOIS- FOSSILS 
Saturday, February 12, 2022
1-3 p.m. 
Ages 10-adult 
Registration by Tuesday, February 8, 2022. Call 708-747-6320

Fossils-the preserved remnants of plants and animals-tell the story of life and landscape millions of years ago.   Presentation by the Earth Science Club of Northern Illinois explores the geologic forces that caused fossils to form and identifies the diversity of species that once existed in Illinois. See actual Illinois fossils. Sponsored by the Jim Marzuki Fund of Friends of Thorn Creek Woods. 


BIRDING BY SIGHT AND SOUND FOR KIDS            .
Sunday, February 27, 2022
1-3:30 p.m. 
$10 fee
Ages 7-12
Registration by Wednesday, February 23, 2022; call 708-747-6320. 

Learn simple ways to identify and observe birds, using binoculars, field guides, and bird call tapes. Learn our most common birds with fun games and crafts. The class includes a Beginner Bird Guide and other birding materials to take home.  Sponsored by the Thorn Creek Audubon Society.



MARCH PROGRAMS



Gourds_1
MAKE A GOURD BIRDHOUSE             
Sunday, March 6, 2022
1-2 p.m.  
$15 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 natural style birdhouse from a gourd to be a welcoming nesting space for birds in your own backyard. Birdhouses are increasingly important to cavity nesters like wrens and chickadees. This is a Partnership for Programming event sponsored by the Thorn Creek Audubon Society. All materials will be provided. 


PRAIRIE SAMPLER AND TRAIL WORKDAY  
Saturday. March 12, 2022
1-3 p.m. 
Ages 12-adult, children under 15 must be accompanied by an adult.

Get down and dirty at our Thorn Creek workday.  Help repair boardwalks, maintain trails, or weed and nurture our prairie sampler and butterfly gardens. Bring gloves, favorite tools and dress for the weather.


Spring_1


SEASONS AT THORN CREEK WOODS: SPRING   
Sunday, March 27, 2022
10:30 a.m. – Noon
Free
All ages

We’ll search for vernal indicators like wildflowers re-sprouting, tree buds unfurling, returning migrant birds or animals emerging from hibernation, choruses of frogs, and tender green shoots peeking through last year’s dead leaves. Sponsored by Thorn Creek Audubon Society. Trails can be wet, muddy, icy and snow covered.



APRIL PROGRAMS

Wildflowers_1


SEASONS AT THORN CREEK WOODS: WILDFLOWERS 
Saturday, April 2, 2022
10:30 a.m.-Noon
Free
All ages


Even in shady Thorn Creek Woods there is a unique bouquet of wildflowers that thrive here. Join us on a hike to discover which species are in bloom, learn their names and examine their physical appearance. Sponsored by Thorn Creek Audubon Society. Trails can be wet, muddy and slippery.


Prairie Sample and Work Day_2


PRAIRIE SAMPLER AND TRAIL WORKDAY 
Sunday, April 10, 2022 
1-3 p.m.
 
Free
Ages 12 - adult, children under 15 must be accompanied by an adult

Get down and dirty and help care for Thorn Creek’s Prairie Sampler with weeding, pulling tall goldenrod, and trimming out woody plants.  Help repair boardwalks and maintain trails.  Bring gloves, favorite tools and dress for the weather. Trails can be wet, muddy and slippery.


Earth Day_2

EARTH DAY AT THORN CREEK: WILD WATER 
Saturday, April 23, 2022 
1-3 p.m.
Free
All ages

A family program to celebrate the waters of Thorn Creek Woods. Explore the creek, the marshes and the low-lying ponds that are home to many species such as amphibians, dragonflies, damselflies and amazing soil critters. Enjoy games and crafts, exhibits, refreshments, our Earth Day Raffle, and Sounds of Spring. Join the 2 p.m. guided hike. The event is sponsored by Jim Marzuki Fund for Public Programming. 




MAY PROGRAMS


Prairie Sample and Work Day_1

PRAIRIE SAMPLER AND TRAIL WORKDAY 
Saturday, May 7, 2022 
1-3 p.m.
     
Free
Ages 12 - adult, children under 15 must be accompanied by an adult.

Get down and dirty at our Thorn Creek Workday. Help repair boardwalks, maintain trails, or weed and nurture our Prairie Sampler and butterfly gardens. Bring gloves, favorite tools and dress for the weather. Trails can be wet, muddy and slippery.


SEASONS AT THORN CREEK WOODS: BIRDS
Sunday, May 15, 2022
10:30 a.m. – Noon. 
Free
All ages

Let’s watch for our year-round resident birds and also look for birds arriving to spend the summer here. Find out about the extraordinary migration patterns of birds. We’ll have some binoculars, field guides and identifiers available. If you have your own bring them along. Sponsored by Thorn Creek Audubon Society. 



JUNE PROGRAMS

SEASONS AT THORN CREEK WOODS-WETLANDS 
Saturday, June 11, 2022 
10:30 a.m. – Noon
Free
All ages 

We’ll explore our woodland vernal ponds and wetlands, listening for the calls of the many inhabitants. Learn the names of the water loving creatures of Thorn Creek Woods. Sponsored by Thorn Creek Audubon Society.


Prairie Sample and Work Day_3
PRAIRIE SAMPLER AND TRAIL WORKDAY
Saturday, June 18, 2022
1-3 p.m. 
Free
Ages 12 - adult, children under 15 must be accompanied by an adult.

Get down and dirty at our Thorn Creek Workday. Help repair boardwalks, maintain trails, or weed and nurture our Prairie Sampler and butterfly gardens. Bring gloves, favorite tools and dress for the weather. Trails can be wet, muddy and slippery.


JULY PROGRAMS

Pollinators
SEASONS AT THORN CREEK WOODS: POLLINATORS
Saturday, July 16, 2022
10:30 a.m. – Noon
Free
All ages

We’ll look for pollinators such as bees, wasps, flies, moths, butterflies, beetles and thrips and observe the important job they do helping plants grow.   Even hummingbirds and bats are pollinators! And we’ll learn how seeds are then created. Sponsored by Thorn Creek Audubon Society. 


Fireflies_1
FIREFLIES NIGHT HIKE               
Saturday, July 23, 2022
7:30-9:30 p.m. 
Free
Ages 13-adult

Fireflies or lightning bugs, no matter what you call them, their flashing light seen throughout the night heralds the official arrival of summer. Join a naturalist on this popular hike and discover why fireflies flash back and forth to each other and what it means. Let the magic of “lightning bugs” entrance you on this summer night adventure.  


AUGUST PROGRAMS


Nature Camp for Seniors_3
NATURE CAMP FOR SENIORS: INSECTS ABOUND 
Monday, August 1, 2022
9 a.m. – 1 p.m. 
Ages 50 or older
$5 per person.

Calling all kids ages 50 years and older to explore butterflies, dragonflies, ladybugs, cicadas, and more. Explore the differences between insects, spiders and other fascinating arthropods. Search for insects in a meadow and the nature center's prairie and butterfly garden, learning their unique sounds and their special relationships with plants. Make an insect banner to take home. Lunch will be provided. 



Insects_1

SEASONS AT THORN CREEK WOODS- INSECTS AND ARTHROPODS OH MY!
Saturday, August 6, 2022
10:30 a.m. – Noon
Free
All ages

Join us to observe the wide variety of these fascinating creatures. Discover what makes an insect unique. Understand the difference between insects, spiders, and other arthropods such as harvestman. On a hike we will observe their habitats and see them in action! Sponsored by Thorn Creek Audubon Society. 


Insects_2
SOUNDS OF INSECTS HIKE
Sunday, August 14, 2022
6:30-8:30 p.m. 
Free
Ages 13-adult
Registration required by August 8, 2022 -Call 708-747-6320             

Join us as we venture out on the trail at dusk listening for musical and mechanical insect sounds.  Many insects become more active as the sun goes down.  We’ll listen and learn the distinct sounds of common local species and why they make these sounds. 




Open Positions


Click on the link below to view job openings: 

Assistant Naturalist - Thorn Creek Nature Preserve