With the Fourth of July holiday and beautiful summer days fast approaching, the Forest Preserve District of Will County has a long list of fun programs to try. Online registration is available on the Event Calendar at ReconnectWithNature.org. Here is the lineup:
Discovery Isle – Snakes! 1-3 p.m. Wednesday, June 28, Isle a la Cache Museum, Romeoville. Learn about the snakes that call Will County home. Grab a snake scavenger hunt sheet from the front desk and follow the outdoor trails to see if you can find all the snake markers. This is a drop-in program. Fee, all ages.
BYOB Bingo: 6-8 p.m. Wednesday, June 28, Hickory Creek Preserve – LaPorte Road Access, Mokena. Socialize while playing bingo outdoors. Bring your own beer, wine or food for a little extra fun as you compete for prizes. Free, ages 21 or older.
Fish Tales Photo Contest: 6 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturday, July 1 through Thursday, Aug. 31, at Monee Reservoir, Monee Township. Register your catch with a photo submission. One $50 Forest Preserve gift card winner will be drawn at random from submissions in each of three categories: catfish, bass and panfish. Winners will be notified Sept. 1. Free, all ages.
Lake Renwick Migratory Bird Viewing: 8 a.m. to noon Saturdays through Aug. 12, Lake Renwick Heron Rookery Nature Preserve, Plainfield. See herons, egrets, cormorants and eagles during these weekly viewing program while preserve access is restricted for nesting season. Volunteers and staff will be on hand to answer questions. Free, ages 7 or older.
Birding for Beginners – Habitat: 9-10:30 a.m. Saturday, July 1, Four Rivers Environmental Education Center, Channahon. Learn how to use location as a tool to identify birds. Hike to diverse habitats and put your knowledge to the test. Previous experience is not required. Free, ages 12 or older. Register by June 30.
Joliet Iron Works Tour: 9:30-11 a.m. Saturday, July 1, Joliet Iron Works Historic Site, Joliet. Explore the old stone foundations of this once-thriving industrial plant. An interpretive naturalist will share the fascinating stories of the men and machines who worked at the site. Free, ages 16 or older. Register by June 29.
Monarch’s First Flight: 10-10:30 a.m. Saturday, July 1, through Friday, Sept. 22, Plum Creek Nature Center, Crete Township. Visit the nature center to see caterpillars in their various life stages. Monarchs emerging from their chrysalides will be tagged and released. A naturalist will be on hand to answer questions and give tips on how create a butterfly-friendly yard. Call 708-946-2216 before visiting to ensure there are monarchs ready to be released. Free, all ages.
Summer Spinner Challenge: 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays; noon to 4 p.m. Sundays; Saturday, July 1, through Sunday, July 30, Hidden Oaks Nature Center, Bolingbrook. Pick up a spinner card from the front desk and then head to the play area or take a hike spinning to see which challenge to do first. Search for items, roll logs, act like an animal and more. When you are challenged out, visit the front desk for a reward. Free, all ages.
Early Morning Bird Hike: 7-9 a.m. Sunday, July 2, Kankakee Sands Preserve, Custer Township. Join an early-morning guided bird hike in a preserve that features great habitat for prairie birds. Beginning birders are welcome. Bring your favorite binoculars and bird guide. Free, ages 16 or older. Register by July 1.
Meet a Beekeeper: 12:30-2:30 p.m. Sundays July 2 and Aug. 6, Plum Creek Nature Center, Crete Township. Local beekeeper Mike Rusnak will discuss the art of beekeeping. Ask questions, chat and troubleshoot with Rusnak, who has more than 15 years of beekeeping experience to share. Pick up specific beekeeping tips or simply learn more about the world of beekeeping. Free, all ages.
For more information on the Forest Preserve District of Will County, visit ReconnectWithNature.org.