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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

Note: Thorn Creek Nature Center parking lot will be closed to the public Monday – Wednesday until 2 p.m. June 7-30, 2021 to host Park Forest Parks and Recreation Summer Camp.

Note: Thorn Creek Nature Center parking lot will be closed to the public Monday – Wednesday until 2 p.m. in July, 2021 to host Park Forest Parks and Recreation Summer Camp.



  

 

 

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.



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.net; https://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…

Unfortunately, Thorn Creek Nature Center will remain closed to the public for the foreseeable future. While this precludes normal public programming, we will be scheduling monthly outdoor programs for limited numbers of participants. These programs will be announced on the following websites: 

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

Our Naturalists continue to work at the nature center and from home. April is working one-on-one with volunteers for trail projects, nature center cleaning and other projects. She can be reached as usual by phone and email: 708-747-6320 and thorn_creek@att.net.


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 


Wednesday Walkers spring2014 reduced


AUGUST PROGRAMS

SEASONS AT THORN CREEK WOODS
Saturday, August 21, 2021
10:30 a.m. – Noon
Ages 13 – adult
9 participants maximum

Discover the woods in a new way. Join naturalists to explore the woods and track seasonal changes throughout the year. Observe birds and insects, identify trees and flowers, follow tracks and much more.  Meet in front of nature center. Please bring your own hand sanitizer, face mask, binoculars, water bottle and be prepared to follow the social distancing of 6 feet. Participants should be able to walk 2 miles outdoors on natural surface trails across uneven terrain. Trails can be wet, muddy and slippery.


SOUNDS OF INSECTS HIKE                                              
Sunday, August 29, 2021
6:30-8:30 p.m. 

Free! 
Ages 13-adult;
9 registrants maximum


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. Meet in front of nature center. Please bring your own hand sanitizer, face mask, binoculars, water bottle and be prepared to follow the social distancing of 6 feet. Participants should be able to walk 2 miles outdoors on natural surface trails across uneven wet/ muddy terrain.


SEPTEMBER PROGRAMS

SEASONS AT THORN CREEK WOODS - FUNGI 
Saturday, September 18, 2021
10:30 a.m. – Noon. All ages
Registration required by Tuesday, September 14, 2021: 708.747.6320. 

Come join us to learn about the world of fungi. Find out how they are essential decomposers. Explore the life cycle of the Fungi Kingdom especially how their anatomy makes then able to regrow under favorable conditions. 


GARLIC FOR SALE – One Day Only   
Saturday, September 18, 2021
7 a.m. - Noon

Park Forest Farmers Market, 152 Main Street 

Thorn Creek Nature Center booth at Park Forest Farmers Market, 152 Main Street next to Dollar General.  Call Thorn Creek Nature Center for information: 708.747.6320.

Garlic bulbs of 20 varieties, all grown at Thorn Creek’s Historic Farm, will be sold for eating and for planting this fall. We have garlic to buy at $3/bulb to benefit Thorn Creek Nature Center and planting information will be available.

 

SEPTEMBER NIGHT HIKE      
Sunday, September 19, 2021
6:30-8:30 p.m.
Free!
Ages 12-adult.
Registration required by Wednesday, September 15, 2021: 708.747.6320.
 

Come join us to explore the autumn woods at night just before the equinox. We hike on the full moon eve, using our natural night vision to enjoy the preserve. Participants should be prepared to walk more than 2.5 miles outdoors on natural surface trails across uneven terrain. 

 

PRAIRIE SAMPLER AND TRAIL WORKDAY 
Saturday, September 25, 2021
1-3 p.m
Free! 

Ages 12 - adult, children under 15 must be accompanied by an adult.
Registration required by Tuesday, September 21, 2021: 708.747.6320.

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


OCTOBER PROGRAMS

AFTERNOON WITH FRIENDS OF THORN CREEK WOODS- HONEYBEES
Saturday, October 9, 2021
1-3 p.m.
Park Forest Village Hall, 350 Victory Drive
Free!
Ages 12-adult.
Registration required by Tuesday, October 5, 2021: 708-747-6320

Bees organize into efficient communities that not only produce quantities of honey but pollinate plants we all depend on. Join us for a talk by the President of the Cook-DuPage Beekeeping Association about the world of honeybees and pollination. Honey for sale. At our annual gathering of nature lovers which is open to the public, there will be a short Friends meeting, the presentation and refreshments 

 

SEASONS AT THORN CREEK WOODS - BIRDS 
Saturday, October 16, 2021
10:30 a.m. – Noon
All ages
Registration required by Tuesday, October 12, 2021: 708.747.6320.

We’ll watch for our year-round resident birds but also the look for birds arriving to spend their winter here. Find out about the extraordinary migration patterns of birds. Trails can be wet, muddy and slippery.

 

PRAIRIE SAMPLER AND TRAIL WORKDAY 
Saturday, October 23, 2021
1-3 p.m
Free!
Ages 12 and older; children 15 or younger must be accompanied by an adult. 

Registration required by Tuesday, October 19, 2021: 708.747.6320.

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.


NOVEMBER PROGRAMS

DRAWING OWLS: ART PROGRAM AT THORN CREEK  
Sunday, November 7, 2021
1-2 p.m
All ages
Children younger than age 6 should be accompanied by an adult.
$5 per person.
Registration required by Wednesday, November 3, 2021: 708.747.6320.

Internationally known artist Pat Moore will help young artists draft from nature, studying real taxidermy specimens of the Great Horned Owl, Barred Owl and Barn Owl. During the hands-on program, each student will explore the basics of realistic drawing, shading and texture and create a naturalistic composition suitable for framing. All materials will be provided. 

 

PRAIRIE SAMPLER AND TRAIL WORKDAY    
Sunday, November 14, 2021
1-3 p.m.
Free!
Ages 12 and older; children 15 or younger must be accompanied by an adult.
Registration required by Wednesday, November 10, 2021: 708.747.6320.

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

 

SEASONS AT THORN CREEK WOODS - TREES 
Saturday, November 20, 2021
10:30 a.m. – Noon
All ages
Registration required by Tuesday, November 16, 2021: 708.747.6320. 

Walk the trails of Thorn Creek Woods amidst trees of all species, as they transition from their summer green leaves to shades of red, yellow, orange, gold, russet and even purple – the colors of autumn.  Discover not only why leaves change in the fall, but why different trees turn different colors. Trails can be wet, muddy and slippery.



DECEMBER PROGRAMS 

SEASONS AT THORN CREEK WOODS -WINTERTIME
Saturday, December 4, 2021
10:30 a.m. – Noon
All ages
Registration required by Tuesday, November 30, 2021: 708.747.6320. 

Come learn about the winter survival tactics of the mammals, reptiles, amphibians that call Thorn Creek Woods home. We’ll explore the different degrees of hibernation. Trails can be wet, muddy and slippery.

 

STORY OF THE LANDSCAPE HIKE                  
Saturday, December 11, 2021
1-3 p.m.
Free!
Ages 12-adult

Registration required by Tuesday, December 7, 2021: 708.747.6320.

Join our fall hike to “read” the landscape of Thorn Creek Woods.  Find out what the soils, slopes, depressions, stream channels, and tree communities in the woods can tell us. 

 

WILD ANIMAL TRACKS          
Saturday, December 18, 2021
1-3 p.m.
Free!
All ages
Registration required by Tuesday, December 14, 2021: 708.747.6320.

Tracks can be clues to wild animals’ identities and behaviors. Discover how animals survive through the different seasons.  We will walk the trails searching for tracks and other animal clues.  Bring home your own track replica. Program is sponsored by Thorn Creek Audubon Society.


JANUARY PROGRAMS

 

LEARN YOUR BIRDS BY SPRING                
Sundays, January 9, 2022 through February 13, 2022 (6 classes)
1-3:30 p.m.
Ages 11 or older.
$50 prepaid for full series.
Registration and payment by Wednesday, January 5, 2022: 708-747-6320.

Bird identification can be overwhelming but learning only a few birds each week makes it fun and easy!  Six weekly lessons and short hikes given by master birder Sue Zelek on the key shapes, markings, habits and songs for our local birds will make spring bird watching a snap! Price includes a Peterson’s Field Guide to Birds and other birding materials. Sponsored by the Thorn Creek Audubon Society. 

 

SEASONS AT THORN CREEK WOODS – TREES IN WINTER
Saturday, January 15, 2022
10:30 a.m. – Noon.
All ages.
Registration required by Tuesday, January 11, 2022: 708.747.6320.

Just like animals, trees have their own winter survival tricks. Come see Thorn Creek Woods for the trees and learn how they protect themselves from the harsh elements. Trails can be wet, muddy, icy and snow covered.

 

FEBRUARY PROGRAMS 

SEASONS AT THORN CREEK WOODS - OWLS
Saturday, February 5, 2022, 10:30 a.m. – Noon.
All ages.
Registration required by Tuesday, February 1, 2022: 708.747.6320.

What’s an owl’s favorite rock group? The Hoo.   Come join us for some hoots and howls over Thorn Creek’s elusive predatory birds- owls. We will be learning about our different species and what makes owls superb hunters. Trails can be wet, muddy and slippery.

 

ANCIENT LIFE OF ILLINOIS- FOSSILS 
Saturday, February 12, 2022
1-3 p.m.
Ages 10-adult
Registration by Tuesday, February 8, 2022: 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; 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.