March ushers in the official start of spring, and soon you’ll begin seeing signs of it everywhere. Once the snow melts, you may even be able to smell it as the ground starts to thaw to welcome early blooming wildflowers like spring beauties.For some, spring means longer, warmer days. This cycle of warm, sunny days followed by cold, winter nights triggers the flow of maple sap, one of the sweetest signs of the season.
Some naturalists at our Fullersburg Woods Nature Education Center in Oak Brook shared their favorite signs that spring is in the air.
● “Every year near the Flat Bridge at Fullersburg Woods, red-winged blackbirds flock to a few trees in early spring and vocalize loudly. Today I heard the first few blackbirds singing in their favorite location! I know more will be arriving soon to join them in the cacophony of spring.” ~ Naturalist Jennifer Rydzewski
● “Skunk cabbage is another sign that winter is ending to me. And seeing skunks — the actual animals — and they are out!”
~ Naturalist Keriann Dubina
● “By far, my favorite sound of spring is the sandhill cranes that soar overhead when the sun is warm enough and the thermals are strong enough to help carry them through on their migration. They have a unique sound and fly overhead in waves.”
~ Natural Sciences Education Manager Debbi Gayon
Let us help you discover how spring is in the air with a variety of fun programs.
See how sap becomes syrup as you tap with tools from the 1890s, check the collection buckets, watch sap thicken over the fire, and try a taste of real maple syrup. This program is free, but there is a suggested admission donation of $5 per person ages 3 and up to enter the farm. Registration not required. Questions? Call 630-876-5900.
|March 1, 7, 8, 14, 15, 21, 22, 28 & 29||1 – 4 p.m.||Kline Creek Farm|
Volunteer Restoration Workdays
Help improve a prairie or woodland by collecting seeds or removing nonnative plants. Ages 8 and up; under 18 with an adult. Free. Register online or at 630-206-9630 at least five days in advance (10 days by phone for groups of five or more).
|March 7, 8, 14, 15, 21 & 22||9 a.m. – Noon||Maple Grove|
|March 7, 11, 21 & 25||10 a.m. – Noon||Danada|
|March 14 & 28||9 a.m. – Noon||Springbrook Prairie|
|March 21||9 a.m. – Noon||Churchill/Glacial|
|March 21||9 a.m. – Noon||Churchill Woods|
|March 28||9 a.m. – Noon||Willowbrook|
|March 8||10 – 11 a.m.||Herrick Lake|
|March 22||10 – 11 a.m.||Wood Dale Grove|
Aquatic Invasive Species Workshop
Whether you paddle, fish or simply enjoy strolling along the water, make a difference by becoming a Protect Your Waters volunteer. Learn how to help ecologists look for invasive zebra mussels and how you can teach forest preserve visitors about aquatic invaders. Ages 18 and up. Free. Register at 630-206-9630 or email@example.com.
|March 11||6 – 7:30 p.m.||Blackwell|
Get Sticky! Maple Syrup Day
Discover the sweet secret of turning tree sap into syrup and enjoy samples along the way on a 75-minute guided tour. Tours depart every 20 minutes until 2 p.m. All ages. $10 per person. Register online or at 630-850-8110.
|March 21||10 a.m. – 3:15 p.m.||Fullersburg Woods|
Inside and Out: Family Life
Take a walk through the preserve to learn about plant and animal families. Then step inside the mansion to explore the Peabody bedroom suite and discuss married life in the early 1900s. Ages 12 and up; under 18 with an adult. $10 per person. Register online or at 630-206-9566.
|March 21||1 – 2:30 p.m.||Mayslake|
Nature Detectives: Signs of Spring Walk
Spring starts March 19, so join us on a leisurely 1-mile walk through the woods in search of budding leaves, chattering birds, active insects, that fresh "spring" smell, and other signs of the season. Ages 12 and up; under 18 with an adult. $5 per person. Register online or at 630-580-7025.
|March 21||1 – 2:30 p.m.||St. James Farm|
Sunset Walk at the Overlook
Drink in the sunset from 190 feet above the surrounding landscape, and hear about plants and wildlife on a 1.5-mile walk. All ages; under 18 with an adult. $10 per person. Register at the hike, online or at 630-933-7248.
|March 21||5:30 – 7 p.m.||Greene Valley|
A Breath of Fresh Air: Spring Meditation
Learn about the science behind meditation as a physical, mental and emotionally beneficial exercise, and then put that science into practice during a leisurely guided walk. Ages 18 and up. $5 per person. Register online or at 630-206-9566.
|March 28||9:30 – 11 a.m.||Springbrook Prairie|
|March 28||1:30 – 3 p.m.||Mayslake|
Fishing: Trout Fishing for Kids
Introduce your young anglers to trout fishing at this preseason event just for them! Bait provided. Ages 15 and under with an adult. Free. No registration. Questions? Call 630-933-7668.
|March 28||8 a.m. – Noon||Wood Dale Grove|
|March 29||10 – 11:30 a.m.||Blackwell|