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Beat CabinFever with Forest Preserve Sustainability or Beekeeping Programs

Enroll in the Forest Preserve District of Will County’s “Bee a Beekeeper!” program to help reverse the decline of bees and to enjoy a new hobby. (Photo by Forest Preserve staff/Chad Merda)

Looking for a way to beat cabin fever this winter? The Forest Preserve District of Will County is offering two programs that will get you out of the house and learning about important nature topics. Here are the two multi-installment programs:

Eco-warriors invited to sustainability series

If you’ve been wanting to do more to help planet Earth, or you’ve been trying your best but need more inspiration going forward, consider signing up for the Forest Preserve District of Will County’s three-part “Leap into Sustainability” program. This new, free program is designed to help beginners as well as veteran sustainability fans, said Angela Rafac, an interpretive naturalist at Four Rivers Environmental Education Center in Channahon, where the program will be held.

“The program is for anyone who wants to make a difference in their personal or professional lives,” she said. “And it’s also for people who want to get a refresher or find new ways to stay motivated.”

The workshops will take place from 9-11 a.m. on three Saturdays, Feb. 1, 15 and 29. Registration is required by the Thursday before each session; call 815-722-9470 or go to ReconnectWithNature.org. Each session is an independent offering, and people can sign up for one, two or all three.

“We all need to be more conscious of how our daily actions affect nature,” she said. “What we need to realize is that our lifestyles impact the forest and the water. We need people to take action and want to take action. We need eco-warriors.”

Help reverse the decline of honeybees with beekeeping course

If you want to find a new, fun hobby that can also reverse the decline of honeybees, enroll in the Forest Preserve District of Will County’s “Bee a Beekeeper!: Introduction to Successful Beekeeping” program. The six-week course runs from 6-8 p.m. on Tuesdays, Feb. 18-March 24 at  Plum Creek Nature Center in Crete Township. Call 708-946-2216 by Feb. 14 to reserve a spot or sign up at ReconectWithNature.org. The program costs $60 per person and it is for ages 18 or older.

The course will cover beekeeping’s history and cost, the anatomy and life cycles of bees, hive equipment and management, and colony dynamics. People who have taken the course in the past have found it very educational and helpful, said Kate Caldwell, a Forest Preserve District interpretive naturalist who oversees the program, which will be taught by veteran beekeeper Mike Rusnak.

Honeybee numbers have been declining for years and that threatens the production of crops that depend on bees for pollination, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Honeybee populations are being challenged by man-made pressures including pesticides, monocultures and transportation stress.

“This class will make participants part of the solution,” Caldwell said. “Becoming a sustainable beekeeper will help promote plant diversity by changing the factors that lead to bee decline.”

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