Forest Preserve programs feature history, hiking and campfire cooking
(Photo courtesy of Paul Dacko)

The Forest Preserve District of Will County will host programs that take participants back to the 19th century to learn about pioneer-era mountain men or the Potawatomi Trail of Death. Also on tap are bird hikes, nature painting and campfire cooking lessons. Register online on the Event Calendar at ReconnectWithNature.org. Here is the lineup:

Mountain Men (Zoom Webinar): 6:30-7:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 15, online. The year is 1842. Illinois is still a frontier state. Join the Forest Preserve as John is interviewed about his extraordinary life as one of the mountain men who inherited the fur trade from French voyageurs. Free, ages 13 or older. Registration is required by Sept. 15.

Twilight Outdoor Nature Painting: 5-7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 16, Hidden Oaks Nature Center, Bolingbrook. Follow step-by-step instructions to make a twilight tree masterpiece. This program is perfect for beginners and all equipment is included. Participants may bring their own adult beverages to enjoy (beer and wine only, please). Light refreshments will be available. Cost: $20 per person. For ages 21 or older. Register by Sept. 13.

Campfire Cooking: 5-7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 16, Goodenow Grove Nature Preserve, Crete Township. Make meals and desserts using pie irons, foil packets and Dutch ovens at the Goodenow Grove campground. All ingredients will be provided. After eating your fill, stay awhile and enjoy a relaxing campfire. Or better yet, reserve a campsite and stay the night. Cost: $20 for those 13 and older; children 12 and younger are free. Register by Sept. 14.

Morning Bird Hike: 8-10 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 17, Monee Reservoir. Join a guided hike in search of migrating birds. Birders of all experience levels are welcome. Bring binoculars and your favorite bird guide. Free, ages 16 or older. Register by Sept. 16.

Migratory Bird Hike: 8-10 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 17, Lake Renwick Preserve – Turtle Lake Access, Plainfield. Join the Forest Preserve for a guided hike in search of amazing waterfowl, soaring eagles and beautiful songbirds. Bring binoculars and dress for the weather. Meet in the parking lot at the Plainfield Township offices on Lockport Street. Free, ages 7 or older. Register by Sept. 15.

History at Home – Trail of Death (Zoom Webinar): 2-2:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 17, online. Between September and November 1828, more than 850 Potawatomi made the journey from Indiana through Illinois, eventually ending in Kansas in what became known as the Trail of Death. In this brief virtual overview, learn more about the forced removal and commemorate the lives of the people who lived it. Free, ages 13 or older. Register by Sept. 17.

Paws on Industry at Joliet Iron Works: 10-11:30 a.m. Sunday, Sept. 18, Joliet Iron Works Historic Site, Joliet. Joliet’s once thriving industrial plant rivaled Pittsburgh’s steel power and was the attraction for many immigrants coming to this area. You and your dog are invited to explore the stone foundations with an interpretive naturalist. All dogs must be on a leash no longer than 10 feet and be socialized for crowds. Owners are responsible for picking up after their pets. Free, ages 16 or older. Register by Sept. 16.

Anyone who requires an auxiliary aid or service to participate in a Forest Preserve program should mention their request when registering or submit a request online at ReconnectWithNature.org no later than 48 hours before the program.