Thorn Creek Nature Preserve Celebrates 30 Years

Thorn Creek officials

Cory Singer, Mae Brandon, Mayor John Ostenburg, Bonita Dillard, Gary Kopycinski, David Sevier, Dr. Jon Mendelson, Robert McCray, Marcy DeMauro, and Nella Piccolin. (Photo: Jane Nicoll)

Photo gallery available here  

Park Forest, IL—(ENEWSPF)— Thorn Creek Nature Preserve launched a year-long celebrated its 30 year anniversary Saturday. The year began with an Earth Day celebration.

President of Friends of Thorn Creek Woods Dr. Jon Mendelson described the intent of setting land aside as a preserve, “The Nature Preserve system was established in 1963 by an act of the legislature, and it was a system designed to identify and to protect the pieces of Illinois nature that were considered of the highest quality.”

“It wasn’t a change in ownership. It wasn’t a change in ownership; it was simply putting certain restrictions and, more importantly, certain protections, on the land,” Mendelson said.

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Junior Ecologists Brenden Jones and Charles Packheiser (Photo: ENEWSPF)

The Thorn Creek Nature Center is housed in an historic building, originally Immanuel Lutheran Church of Matteson, IL, built in 1862. The building was later the Village Bible Church of Park Forest.

The Thorn Creek Nature Preserve is comprised of 985 acres of oak-hickory woodland. Thorn Creek and its tributary streams flows through it. Over 3½ miles of trails wind through the woodland. The trail leads to Owl Lake and on to a wetland overlook. The preserve also shelters the historic Hornick Farm.

There is no charge to use the trail for individuals or groups of less than ten. Groups of ten or more must pre-register for a fee of $5 per person, and must be led by a naturalist.

The center, located at 247 Monee Road in Park Forest, runs a number of programs for schools, youth groups, scout troops and other organizations throughout the year. It is open Thursday through Sunday from noon to 4:00 p.m. The trails are open daily, year round, from dawn to dusk.

For more information, call 708-747-6320.

Photo gallery available here 

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Therese Caldwell and Ashley Shelton of the Junior Ecologists Club, Vanessa Caldwell, representing Roots and Shoots. (Photo: ENEWSPF)