Forest Preserve offers exploration, hiking programs
Explore the Forest Preserve District of Will County’s Isle a la Cache Museum campus in Romeoville on the fourth Saturday of each month through December to learn about the French fur traders and the Potawatomi who once called this area home. (Photo by Forest Preserve staff | Chris Cheng)

Explore the Isle a la Cache campus on April 23 or enjoy a happy hour and a hike on April 28 during two programs that feature this Romeoville preserve. Or sign up for hikes to learn about birds or the area’s industrial past. Online program registration is available on the Event Calendar at ReconnectWithNature.org. Here are the programs:

(Romeoville) Museum Campus Exploration Day: 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, April 23, Isle a la Cache Museum. This is your chance to explore all the buildings at the Forest Preserve District’s Isle a la Cache Museum and learn about the French fur traders and Potawatomi who once called this area home. Drop in for self-guided exploration during normal operating hours. This program will repeat on the fourth Saturday of the month through December. Free, all ages.

(Homer Glen) Morning Bird Hike: 8-10 a.m. Sunday, April 24, Messenger Woods Nature Preserve. Join the Forest Preserve District on this guided hike in search of birds as they migrate through our area or arrive to set up nesting spots. Beginners are welcome and encouraged as this is a great way to gain birding knowledge. Free, ages 16 or older. Registration is required by April 23; sign up online or call 708-946-2216.

(DuPage Township) Steel and Stone Hike: 9-11 a.m. Sunday, April 24, Keepataw Preserve. In the heart of Will County, Joliet lives up to its nickname: the City of Steel and Stone. Thousands of immigrants worked at steel mills and the quarries that harvested stone from the area’s bedrock. Today we can see relics of these industries throughout the forest preserves. Get a brief introduction to Keepataw Preserve’s industrial past and then hike the preserve’s trails. Free, ages 10 or older. Registration is required by April 22; sign up online or call 815-886-1467.

(Romeoville) Happy Hour Fire and Isle: 5-8 p.m. Thursday, April 28, Isle a la Cache Museum. Take a break and hang out by the fire at Isle a la Cache’s happy hour. Don’t forget to bring an adult beverage (beer and wine only, please) and a camp chair to relax. Settle in for a chat with friends old and new. De-stress with an optional nature walk around the island. Leisurely explore the museum’s temporary exhibit, “The Way We Worked,” on loan from the Smithsonian Institution. Stop by for a quick visit after work or kick up your feet and stay the entire time. Free, ages 21 or older. Registration is required by April 26; sign up online or call 815-886-1467.

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