Forest Preserve Presents February Fun with Mardi Gras, Birds and Soup-er Chili Hike

Here are some of the online and in-person Forest Preserve District of Will County programs being offered in February. Registration is available via the Event Calendar at Zoom links will be emailed upon registration. Masks must be worn for indoor and outdoor in-person programs.

History at Home: Mardi Gras

6 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 16, Zoom webinar. Free, ages 16 or older. 815.886.1467

Celebrate Mardi Gras or “Fat Tuesday” with the Forest Preserve District by indulging in the history of this unique celebration. The program will explore the celebration’s French origins and its traditions from masks to beads. So, cuddle up in front of your computer and grab a slice of King Cake as we take a bite out of Mardi Gras history. Registration is required.

Endangered Species Spotlight: Turtles – Virtual Home School & Remote Learner Program

10 a.m. Wednesday, Feb. 17, and Thursday, Feb. 18, Zoom webinars. Free, for students in grades 3-8. 815.886.1467

Students will learn about a local endangered species, the Blanding’s turtle, by meeting one of the Forest Preserve District’s animal ambassadors housed at Isle a la Cache Museum. They’ll discover what special adaptations help these semi-aquatic turtles survive and how a species can become endangered. Students will also learn what they can do to help local endangered species. Registration is required.

Bird Feeding Without Feeders

7 a.m. Thursday, Feb. 18, Zoom Webinar. Free, ages 16 or older. 708.946.2216

How did seed-eating birds eat before bird feeders? This presentation on restoring native landscaping in your yard reveals how valuable it is to our native birds. Forest Preserve District native landscapes will be showcased to give inspiration. And the birds agree – it’s not too early to be planning your native garden. Information will be provided on native plant sources. Registration is required.

Winter Bird Feeding for Beginners

9 a.m. Wednesday, Feb. 24, Zoom webinar. Free, all ages. 815.722.9470

Just like many other animals, different birds like different types of foods. This Forest Preserve District program will help you discover new feeders or new food that will bring your favorite birds to your yard. View different feeders in action and learn how to create the bird haven of your dreams just in time for spring migration. Registration is required.

Leafing Through Time Book Club

6:30-8 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 24, Isle a la Cache Museum, Romeoville. Free, ages 21 or older. 815.886.1467

Join the Forest Preserve District on the fourth Wednesday of the month to discuss an important work of fiction or non-fiction that helps connect us to our natural and cultural history. The winter “Leafing Through Time Book Club” series is BYOB (beer or wine only, please). The novel for February is “The Night Watchman” by National Book Award-winning author Louise Erdrich. This story is based on the extraordinary life of Erdrich’s grandfather, who worked as a night watchman and carried the fight against Native dispossession from rural North Dakota all the way to Washington, D.C. Registration is required by Tuesday, Feb. 23.

Breakfast with the Birds

8 a.m. Friday, Feb. 26, Zoom webinar. Free, all ages. 815.886.1467

This is a special chance to bird watch in Forest Preserve District locations from the comfort of your home. Log into a live broadcast streaming via Zoom to take in the wonderful sights of the birds of Isle a la Cache. The camera will be on our very active bird feeders. A naturalist will be in the background, sharing information about what you’re seeing as well as ways you can turn your yard into a winter bird haven. So, grab some breakfast and coffee while you log into Zoom for this relaxing program. Registration is required.

Soup-er Chili: Hike to the Bridge Series

1-3 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 27, Plum Creek Nature Center, Crete Township. Free, ages 10 or older. 708.946.2216

What’s more fun in the winter than a long hike to get your blood pumping followed by a campfire with your favorite comfort food? Strap on your hiking boots, bring your favorite mug and a can of soup (non-cream) or chili. Forest Preserve District staff will have two pots on the fire – one for chili and the other for soup to add your contribution. We’ll let them simmer over an open flame while we set out for the bridge! Once back, enjoy a piping hot mug of food warmed over the open fire. Given the nature of the program, we cannot adhere to any dietary restrictions.