Pumpkin Smash highlights Forest Preserve programs

It’s time to make plans to smash and compost your post-Halloween pumpkins and to learn about wild turkeys, milkweed, migratory birds and more. The Forest Preserve District of Will County is here to help with a wide variety of programs and hikes. Online registration is available on the Event Calendar at ReconnectWithNature.org. Here is the lineup:

Sensory Sunday: 11 a.m.-noon, Sunday, Oct. 30, Four Rivers Environmental Education Center, Channahon. This independent program offers guests with sensory-processing needs a chance to experience exhibits and trail on their own terms. The visitor center will be open only to registered participants during this time. Staff will be on hand to help visitors learn about our local habitat through interactive exhibits, activities and/or crafts. Free, all ages. Register by Oct. 29.

WonderKids – Turkeys!: 10-11:30 a.m. Tuesday, Nov. 1, Isle a la Cache Museum, Romeoville. Learn about wild turkeys during November’s installment of this monthly program for children ages 2 to 5. Participants will enjoy singing, story time, table activities, crafts and an outside activity. Free, ages 2-5. Register by Oct. 30.

Volunteer Morning: 8 a.m.-noon, Thursday, Nov. 3, Evans-Judge Preserve, Custer Township. Make a difference in your community by volunteering for the Forest Preserve District. Activities will include brush control. Complete an online wavier at ReconnectWithNature.org to participate. If you have a 2022 waiver on file, RSVP to volunteer services supervisor Emily Kenny at 815-722-7364 or [email protected]. Ages 10 or older.

Birding in the Preserves (Zoom Webinar): 7-8 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 3, online. Learn about birds and birding on this virtual hike through one of Will County’s forest preserves. Armed with this new information, you can then go out on your own to find birds in the preserves and record information as a citizen scientist. Free, all ages. Register online for the Zoom link.

Forest Animal Thanksgiving: 10-11 a.m. Friday, Nov. 4, Hidden Oaks Nature Center, Bolingbrook. This program will celebrate Thanksgiving for the animals. Participants will hear a story for inspiration and then heads outdoors to create a celebration of their own. Free, ages 3-5. Register by Nov. 3.

Migratory Bird Hike: 8-10 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 5, Lake Renwick Heron Rookery Nature Preserve, Plainfield. Join the Forest Preserve District for a guided hike in search of amazing waterfowl, soaring eagles and beautiful songbirds. Bring binoculars; a limited supply will be available for loan. Free, ages 7 or older. Register by Nov. 3.

Pumpkin Smash: 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 5, Plum Creek Nature Center, Crete Township. Don’t trash it, smash it! Come to the visitor center to crash, wreck and otherwise obliterate your Halloween pumpkin. Drop in anytime between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. and choose from different smashing stations. Your jack-o’-lantern will then be composted by the Forest Preserve District. Composting pumpkins keeps waste out of landfills, reduces greenhouse gas emissions and creates organic fertilizer. Remove candles and all added decorations before coming to smash your pumpkin. Free, all ages.

Scout Day – Fall Adventure: 10 a.m.-noon or 1-3 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 5, Four Rivers Environmental Education Center, Channahon. Get your Scouts ready to explore the world of geology through hands-on activities that may correlate with some badge/patch requirements. Stations will be indoors and outdoors and include s’mores around a fire. Free, all ages. Register by Nov. 4.

Winged Souls and Milkweed: 2-3 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 5, Isle a la Cache Museum, Romeoville. Learn the basics of the recent Day of the Dead holiday, then go outside to gather and prepare milkweed seeds for the Forest Preserve. Take home some milkweed seeds for your own garden to feed monarchs next spring. Wear long pants, closed-toe shoes and protective gloves. Free, ages 10 or older. Register by Nov. 3.

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