Explore snow, animal tracks and fluoride with the Forest Preserve District
Grab your favorite mug and a can of chili or soup and take part in the Forest Preserve District of Will County’s Soup-er Chili Hike to the Bridge program on Jan. 21 at Plum Creek Nature Center in Crete Township. (Photo by Forest Preserve staff | Chad Merda)

January Forest Preserve District of Will County programs will darken these gloomy days of winter. Sign up to hike to the big bridge near Plum Creek Nature Center, learn to track animals or make your own toothpaste! Online registration is available on the Event Calendar at ReconnectWithnature.org. Here is the lineup:

Rivers of Color – White as Snow: 11 a.m.-noon, Saturday, Jan. 21, Four Rivers Environmental Education Center, Channahon. Learn all about snow, how it forms, why there are different shapes and if there are different kinds. Take a hike, and then head indoors to watch snow crystals form in real time. Free, ages 10 or older. Register by Jan. 20.

Make a Snowflake: noon-4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Jan. 21 and 22, Four Rivers Environmental Education Center, Channahon. Celebrate the snow and create a wintry decoration for your home with this self-guided craft. Samples and supplies will be provided. Free, all ages.

Soup-er Chili Hike to the Bridge: noon-2 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 21, Plum Creek Nature Center, Crete Township. Bring your favorite mug and a can of chili or soup (non-cream soups only). Add your contribution to one of two pots on the fire, one for chili and the other for soup. The pots will simmer while participants hike to the big bridge and back. After the hike, enjoy a hot mug of chili or soup by the open fire. Free, ages 7 or older. Register by Jan. 20.

Track and Scat Hike: 1-2:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 21, Isle a la Cache Museum, Romeoville. Start inside the museum to learn about animals that leave tracks, trails and scat. And then hike outside to put your tracking skills to the test. Free, all ages. Register by Jan. 19.

Wander and Wonder Hike: 10-11:30 a.m. Sunday, Jan. 22, Raccoon Grove Nature Preserve, Monee Township. This program is for those who hike for discovery over destination. Try to ID a plant, listen to bird songs or take pictures. Free, ages 10 or older.

Fluoride Day: 3:30-5 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 25, Isle a la Cache Museum, Romeoville. Fluoride is Illinois’ state mineral and an important ingredient in toothpaste. Visit the museum to get the “tooth” about this mineral. Participants will have a chance to make their own toothpaste. Free, ages 7 and older. Register by Jan. 22.

For more information on the Forest Preserve District of Will County, visit ReconnectWithNature.org.