September Sparkles at Thorn Creek Nature Center

Park Forest, IL—(ENEWSPF)—September 3, 2013. Late summer is a special time at Thorn Creek Nature Center.  Besides the joys of walking the cool, green-canopied trails of Thorn Creek Nature Preserve, there are many other activities, events and programs for everyone.  

Wednesday Morning Walkers can enjoy the early morning and late summer’s floral delights on these leisurely (or brisk – take your choice) trail walks. The group walks on Wednesdays, 7:30-9 a.m.  Trails can be wet or muddy, so please wear sturdy shoes.   Age 11 through adult are invited.  Call or email the nature center if you are interested.

Oak trees are common in area woodlands, but are they all the same? Find out which oaks are found in our region and how you can tell them apart even when the leaves are gone. Join local ecologist Jon Mendelson Sunday, September 15, 1-3 p.m., for the Know Your Oaks Hike through Thorn Creek Woods.  Jon is a retired professor of Environmental Biology at Governors State University where he taught for 28 years.  His principal research interest during that period was and continues to be, the ecology of trees of Thorn Creek Woods.

This program is free and for all ages, and will take place on natural surface trails across uneven terrain. Registration is required for this program. 

Lend a helping hand and join volunteers for the annual Fall Clean-up Day on Sunday, September 22 from 9 a.m.-2 p.m.  Come out and have fun sprucing up the nature center, doing outdoor cleanup and trail repairs.  Children must be with an adult.  Refreshments.  All ages; children under 15 must be accompanied by an adult.  Registration for a group of 6 people or more is required: 708.747.6320.

Thorn Creek’s Junior Ecologists Club offering monthly fun-filled nature activities for young people age 9  to 12 has its next meeting Saturday, September 28 from noon to 3 p.m.   They will explore the woods, track seasonal changes and discover woodland plants and animals. Last month the group saw tiny hummingbirds up close at the annual Hummingbird Festival in Park Forest.

Young people should be prepared to get a muddy, wear boots and long pants, and bring a water bottle and insect repellent. Junior Ecologists Club is a free program and registration is required by Thursday, September 26.

Mark your calendar for our annual celebration of garlic and organic growing during the Thorn Creek Garlic Fest on Saturday, October 5 from 12-4 p.m.  Join garlic lovers from all over the area in discovering the many varieties of garlic.  Enjoy demonstrations on garlic preparation and try your hand at garlic braiding.  Spend your time gathering information on garlic, including its uses, planting techniques and how to cook with garlic.  Over 20 varieties of organic garlic will be for sale.   All garlic is organically grown on Thorn Creek’s Historic Farm.  Bake Sale, Raffle and a nature hike at 2 p.m.

Parking is located in the field across from the nature center.  Admission is $5 per car; $1 per bicycle.  Garlic Fest is for all ages, so bring the entire family!   

For more information or to register for programs, contact Thorn Creek Nature Center, 247 Monee Rd, Park Forest, 708-747-6320, email [email protected] or stop 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 the April storms.  The south bridge is closed; it is unsafe to use.  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.