Top 5 Things to Do in the Preserves This Week Feb. 24, 2017

1. Go native with your landscaping. Get a head start on your garden by identifying native plants to include in it at Native Landscaping 101: All About Plants on Sunday, Feb. 26 at 1 and 3 p.m. at Fullersburg Woods in Oak Brook. At this 90-minute program, you’ll learn about the benefits of native plants and how their root structures differ from ornamentals’. Get tips and tricks for planting natives in your yard to attract pollinators and other wildlife. The program costs $7 per person and is for ages 18 and up. Register online or at 630-850-8110.

2. Where CSI meets nature. Discover how to identify wild mammals living in DuPage County by studying real skulls and bones, learning basic natural history, and using techniques that unravel wildlife mysteries at WSI: Wildlife Scene Investigations on Sunday, Feb. 26 from 2 ‒ 3:30 p.m. at Willowbrook Wildlife Center in Glen Ellyn. The program costs $3 per person and is for ages 9 and up (under 18 with an adult). Register online or at 630-942-6200.

3. Spot a short-eared owl. Venture into the hunting grounds of the short-eared owl, where you may get a glimpse of one of twilight’s silent hunters, on a Short-Eared Owl Hike Tuesday, Feb. 28 from 4:30 ‒ 6:30 p.m. at Springbrook Prairie in Naperville. The program costs $5 per person and is for ages 12 and up (under 18 with an adult). Register online or at 630-850-8110. This is one of two upcoming birding programs that you won’t want to miss!

4. Celebrate Dr. Seuss’ birthday!
Join a nationwide celebration of literacy — held each year on the birthday of Dr. Seuss — by reading “The Lorax” with a ranger and then taking a guided hike at Read Across America Day: Read and Hike on Thursday, March 2 from 11 a.m. ‒ 12:30 p.m. at Hidden Lake in Downers Grove. For free program is for ages 10 and under with an adult. Register online or at 630-933-7248.

5. Tap into sweet traditions. Enjoy a sugaring adventure through the woods to discover how Native Americans and pioneers made maple syrup at Maple Syrup! Kids’ Day Off on Friday, March 3 from 9 a.m. ‒ 2 p.m. at Fullersburg Woods in Oak Brook. Learn how to identify and tap maple trees, collect sap, and boil sap into syrup. There are two programs — one for ages 6 ‒ 8 and one for ages 9‒ 13. Cost is $60 per person. Register online or by calling 630-850-8110. Or discover how sap becomes syrup at Maple Sugaring on Saturday and Sunday, March 4 and 5, from 9 a.m. ‒ 4:30 p.m. at Kline Creek Farm in West Chicago. See how to tap trees with tools from the 1890s, help check the collection buckets, watch sap thicken over the fire, and try a taste of real maple syrup. These one-hour tours start at 9 and 10:30 a.m. and 12:30, 2 and 3:30 p.m. The program costs $5 per person and is for ages 6 and up (under 18 with an adult). Register online or by calling 630-876-5900.

Nurture nature by helping at one of these upcoming Volunteer Restoration Workdays. Help remove nonnative plants or spread seeds. For ages 8 and up; under 14 must be accompanied by an adult. Register at (630) 206-9630 at least five business days prior (10 days for groups of five or more). Read this blog by volunteer Jason Halm about how volunteering helps cure the winter blues. 

March 1                 Springbrook Prairie 
March 4 Springbrook Prairie 
March 11 Churchill Woods 
 Springbrook Prairie 
March 18 Churchill Woods 
 Springbrook Prairie 
March 19 Springbrook Prairie 

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