Forest Preserve District of Will County hosts Earth Day-related programs in April
Volunteers remove plastic garbage from the shoreline at Rock Run Rookery in Joliet during a past Earth Day clean-up effort. This year’s Shoreline Cleanup is set for April 23. Sign up online at ReconnectWithNature.org. (Photo by Forest Preserve staff | Chad Merda)

Give planet Earth a big hug in April by signing up for a Forest Preserve District of Will County program. You can recycle an old bicycle and clear trash around a lake or a shoreline. Or you can participate in Earth Day-related activities at the District’s newest nature center during a sneak peak of Hidden Oaks in Bolingbrook before it reopens to the public this summer.

Here are the programs:

Recycle Your Bicycle: Saturday, April 9, to Sunday, April 24. Drop off your unused bikes at Monee Reservoir, 27341 Ridgeland Ave., Monee. Hours are 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily. The bikes will be donated to Chicago-based Working Bikes, an organization that refurbishes and distributes bikes globally and locally for individuals who are in need. No bike is too old or rusty! The bike drop is located on the north side of the parking lot.

Earth Day Cleanup and Campfire: 4 to 7 p.m. Friday, April 22, at Monee Reservoir. After participants collect litter around Monee Reservoir, there will be a green-minded social with refreshments around the campfire. Staff will share information about the site’s plastic-free initiatives, bike upcycling partnership and fishing line recycling program. This free event is for ages 10 or older. Registration is not required.

Shoreline Cleanup: 10 a.m. to noon Saturday, April 23, at Rock Run Rookery, located on Youngs Road, south of Route 6, in Joliet. Learn about plastic pollution and spend some time making a difference by cleaning up the site’s shoreline. Wear waterproof shoes and clothes that can get dirty. Cleanup equipment will be provided. The free program is for ages 13 and older. Register online at ReconnectWithNature.org.

Hidden Oaks Sneak Peak for Earth Day: Celebrate the Forest Preserve’s newest acquisition from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday, April 23, at Hidden Oaks Nature Center, 419 Trout Farm Road, north of Boughton Road, in Bolingbrook. The site was acquired in February from the Bolingbrook Park District and when it reopens this summer, it will become a destination for nature education and recreational engagement in the northern part of the county. Meet the staff and ask questions, participate in a nature-based scavenger hunt, enjoy a bonfire with tasty marshmallows, make and take a native seed bomb and have fun with some classic outdoor play. See if you can hit all the activities in recognition of Earth Day and earn a prize. Registration is not required for this free, all-ages program.

To search for more ways to reconnect with nature year-round, check out the Event Calendar on the Forest Preserve District’s website, ReconnectWithNature.org.

Will County Forest Preserve press release