December 2014 Happenings at Thorn Creek Nature Center

Park Forest, IL—(ENEWSPF)—December 2, 2014. Thorn Creek Nature Center is nestled at the beginning of a three and half mile trail system that meanders through Thorn Creek Nature Preserve.   Housed in a small white wooden church building built in the mid-1860’s, the nature center houses several displays for both adults and children.   Stop in and learn about mammals, Illinois fossils, insects, birds and much more!   Talk with a naturalist and learn about the history of the building and how it became a nature center. At nearly 1000 acres, Thorn Creek Nature Preserve is home to majestic oaks, hickory trees, white-tailed deer, owls, woodpeckers and much more.   Be sure to dress for the weather and wear sturdy shoes on your walk.   Generally the nature center is open Friday-Sunday, noon to 4 p.m. For the holidays, the nature center will be closed December 19, 20, 21, 26, 27 and 27. Trails are open daily, dawn to dusk.   Stop out and visit us!                                    

Thorn Creek’s Junior Ecologists Club offering monthly fun-filled nature activities for young people age 9 to 12 has its next meeting Saturday, December 6 from noon to 3 p.m.   Young people should be prepared to get muddy, dress for the weather, wear boots and long pants, and bring a water bottle. Junior Ecologists Club is a free program and registration is required by Thursday, December 4.

Join us for a nocturnal exploration of the woods on Twelfth Month Night Hike, Saturday, December 6 from 6 to 8:30 p.m. Winter nights are especially magical when the trees are bare and the air is crisp.   There are lots of interesting things going on at night that you can’t experience in the daytime. Be sure to dress for the weather. The hike is free and for adults and children over 10 years old. Registration required; call the nature center 708-747-6320.

Warm up to the Winter Solstice with Woodland Carols on Saturday, December 13 from noon to 2 p.m. at Thorn Creek Nature Center.   Savor homemade soups while listening to holiday music by popular area performers.   The event is an annual holiday food drive for the Rich Township Food Pantry. Admission is $10/person or one bag of non-perishable grocery items per person. You won’t want to miss this!

Local favorite Anna Stange rings in the holidays with her signature heart-felt folk songs and humor. Rock-funk fusion guitarists Christopher Kondrath and Robb Zetti provide inspired seasonal improvisations, and cellist Ingrid Krizan creates another unique “Bach & I” performance. Bring your most jolly voices and feel free to bring your favorite musical instrument to jam and join in our traditional holiday sing-along, warming us through the longest night of the year!    

Donation items can be dropped off at the nature center during open hours, Friday-Sunday, noon-4 p.m.   Acceptable items are: non-perishable food items (including boxed, canned and dry foods) especially cereals and peanut butter; personal care items for men and women, especially toothpaste, deodorants and razors; ziplock quart and gallon size bags; baby formula; and disposable diapers (adult and infant).   Items will be accepted through Saturday, December 13.  

Please call Thorn Creek Nature Center, 247 Monee Road, Park Forest at 708-747-6320, or email [email protected] to register for Woodland Carols or for information on the food drive.     Help a local family enjoy the December holidays by making a food donation today!

“Animals in Winter” program will be held Sunday, December 14, 1-3 p.m. at Thorn Creek Woods Nature Preserve. Have you ever wondered how animals spend the winter? Join us to explore how different animals survive the winter in Illinois. If there is no snow, no worries! We’ll still walk the trails to search for animal signs.

Participants should be prepared for the cold weather and be able to walk a mile outdoors on natural surface trails across uneven and possibly snow-covered ground.The “Animals in Winter” program is free and open to ages 8 and older, and registration is required by December 12.

The perfect winter gift giving present for art lovers and for nature lovers is now available.   Inspired by the Thorn Creek Nature Center, “Prairie Chapel”, is an original graphite drawing by local artist Marikay Peter Witlock.  Through a generous donation by the artist, the “Prairie Chapel“ print is available with a donation to Friends of Thorn Creek Woods of $75 or more. 100% of donated dollars will benefit Thorn Creek Woods Nature Preserve.

The “Prairie Chapel” print is a limited edition of 300 signed and numbered prints, with image size of 13” x 17” and finished size of 18” x 21”. It is printed on acid free 80 lb. paper. Friends of Thorn Creek Woods is a tax-exempt 501(c) (3) organization. Donations to Friends, over the value of the Prairie Chapel print (valued at $75) are tax-deductible.  

For more information or to register for programs, contact Thorn Creek Nature Center, 247 Monee Rd, Park Forest, 708-747-6320, email [email protected], orstop in the nature center between noon and 4 p.m. on Friday through Sunday. Three and a half miles of Thorn Creek trails are open daily from dawn to dusk. Trail walkers should be aware that our south bridge across Thorn Creek was badly damaged by spring storms and was removed. The new north bridge across Thorn Creek is open and all the trails are open. Walkers should plan their hikes to allow for coming back around the trails to cross at the north bridge only. There are signs and maps at the trail head kiosk, in the nature center and on the trails.

Source: Thorn Creek Nature Center