October Forest Preserve programs include ‘Harvest Hustle’ virtual 5K

The Forest Preserve District of Will County will begin October with a virtual 5K, a spooky scavenger hunt and a 19th-century farmstead open house. Other early October programs focus on crows, bees and birding. Special programs for Spanish speakers and those with sensory sensitivities also will be offered. Online registration is available on the Event Calendar at ReconnectWithNature.org. Here is the lineup:

(MULTIPLE LOCATIONS) Choose from one of 11 pre-selected Forest Preserve District of Will County trails to run your own “Harvest Hustle Virtual 5K” from Oct. 1-Oct. 31. Download a running app to your smartphone that will track your run, run the 3.1 miles, take a screenshot of your route and submit it online. For trail choices and the submission link, visit ReconnectWithNature.org. The first 100 to submit screenshots will receive “Harvest Hustle” long-sleeved shirts. Free; all ages.

(CHANNAHON) Wear your favorite costume and search for spooktacular items during the Forest Preserve District’s “Spooky Scavenger Hunt” in McKinley Woods from 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Tuesdays-Saturdays, and noon-4 p.m. Sundays, Oct. 1-Oct. 31. Some items may be natural, while some may be SUPER-natural! Stop by Four Rivers Environmental Education Center to get a map of the route and a list of items. Free; all ages.

(CHANNAHON) Learn about the extreme intelligence of crows and what sets them apart from the rest of the pack during a “Murder of Crows Hike” from 9-11 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 2, at the Forest Preserve District’s Four Rivers Environmental Education Center. Free; ages 12 or older. Register online by Sept. 30 or call 815-722-9470.

(NAPERVILLE) Celebrate the fall harvest season by visiting a historic 19th-century farm during a “Riverview Farmstead Open House” from noon-4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 2, at the Forest Preserve District’s Riverview Farmstead Preserve. Tour the original buildings, discover the history of the site and enjoy farm-related activities and a petting zoo. Free; all ages.

(CRETE TOWNSHIP) Meet local beekeeper Mike Rusnak at the Forest Preserve District’s Plum Creek Nature Center to discuss the art of beekeeping from 12:30-2:30 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 3, during the “Meet a Beekeeper” program. Ask questions and chat with Rusnak and other beekeeping enthusiasts. Rusnak 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; ages 18 or older.

(CHANNAHON) The Forest Preserve District will offer a “Sensory-Friendly Playdate – Big Birds” program for families of children with sensory-processing needs from 10-11 a.m. Sunday, Oct. 3, at Four Rivers Environmental Education Center. Attendees will have a chance to experience the visitor center and its trail on their own terms as well as learn about the big birds, such as pelicans, that visit the preserve. The program will include games and crafts. Free; ages 3-7. Register online by Oct. 1 or call 815-722-9470.

(SHOREWOOD) Take a “New Moon Hike” to uncover the mysteries of the forest in the dark with a Forest Preserve District of Will County naturalist from 6-7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 6, at Hammel Woods – Route 59 Access. The hike will begin in the light of day, but once the sun sets, participants will welcome the night with only the hidden moon above. Free; ages 5 or older. Register online by Tuesday, Oct. 5, or call 815-722-9470.

(ZOOM WEBINAR) Learn all about birding by attending this Forest Preserve District “Birding the Preserves” virtual hike from 7-8 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 7, online. The webinar will cover a specific preserve and which trails to take to find birds. Armed with this information, you can go out on your own to find birds and contribute to citizen science by recording what you see. Register online for the Zoom link.

(ROMEOVILLE) An “Island Stroll for Spanish Speakers” will be offered by the Forest Preserve District from 10-11 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 9, at Isle a la Cache Museum. Learn about the many plants and animals that call this island home. The hike is intended for Spanish speakers, though English speakers are welcome. A Spanish-speaking interpreter will accompany the naturalist on the hike. Free; all ages. Register online by Oct. 7 or call 815-886-1467.

(CHANNAHON) Explore the Forest Preserve District’s McKinley Woods during this “October in the Woods – Off-trail Adventure” from 1-2:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 9, at Four Rivers Environmental Education Center. The group will look for animal tracks or scat and fungi and also see or hear migrating birds. Free; all ages. Register online by Oct. 8 or call 815-722-9470.

(ROMEOVILLE) Tour the Forest Preserve District’s replica Potawatomi dwelling during the “Longhouse Living” program from 10 a.m.-noon, Saturday, Oct 9, at Isle a la Cache Museum. Learn about everyday life for the Potawatomi and discover how longhouses are built and used by Native peoples. This is a drop-in program; come anytime between 10 a.m. and noon. Free; all ages.

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