Hiking events

Forest reserve programs feature history, hiking and campfire cooking

(Photo courtesy of Paul Dacko)

The Will County Forest Preserve District will host programs that will take participants back to the 19e century to learn more about the mountain people of the pioneer era or the Potawatomi Trail of Death. Ornithological hikes, nature painting lessons and cooking lessons around a campfire are also on the program. Register online for the events calendar at ReconnectWithNature.org. Here is the schedule:

Mountain Men (Zoom Webinar): 6.30-7.30 p.m. Thursday 15 Sept., online. The year is 1842. Illinois is still a frontier state. Join the forest reserve as John is interviewed about his extraordinary life as one of the mountain dwellers who inherited the fur trade from French voyageurs. Free, from 13 years old. Registration is required before September 15.

Painting Nature Exterior Twilight: 5-7 p.m. Friday September 16, Hidden Oaks Nature Center, Bolingbrook. Follow the step-by-step instructions to create a twilight tree masterpiece. This program is perfect for beginners and all equipment is included. Attendees may bring their own adult beverages (beer and wine only, please). Light refreshments will be available. Cost: $20 per person. For ages 21 and over. Register before September 13.

Campfire cooking: 5pm-7pm Friday 16 September, Goodenow Grove nature reserve, canton of Crete. Prepare meals and desserts using pie irons, foil pouches and Dutch ovens at Goodenow Grove Campground. All ingredients will be provided. After you’ve eaten your fill, stay a while and enjoy a relaxing campfire. Or better yet, book a campsite and stay the night. Cost: $20 for ages 13 and up; children 12 and under are free. Register before September 14.

Morning Bird Hike: 8am-10am Saturday September 17, Monee Reservoir. Take part in a guided hike in search of migrating birds. Bird watchers of all experience levels are welcome. Bring binoculars and your favorite bird guide. Free, from 16 years old. Register before September 16.

Migratory Bird Hike: 8am-10am Saturday September 17, Renwick Lake Reserve – access to Turtle Lake, Plainfield. Join the forest reserve for a guided hike in search of incredible waterfowl, soaring eagles and magnificent songbirds. Bring binoculars and dress for the weather. Meet in the Plainfield Township Office parking lot on Lockport Street. Free, from 7 years old. Register before September 15.

Home Story – Death Trail (Zoom Webinar): 2 p.m.-2.30 p.m. Saturday 17 Sept., online. Between September and November 1828, over 850 Potawatomi made the journey from Indiana to Illinois, eventually ending in Kansas on what became known as the Trail of Death. In this brief virtual overview, learn more about forced distancing and commemorate the lives of those who experienced it. Free, from 13 years old. Register before September 17.

Paws on Industry at Joliet Iron WorksSunday, Sept. 18, 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., Joliet Iron Works Historic Site, Joliet. The once thriving industrial plant of Joliet rivaled the iron and steel powerhouse of Pittsburgh and attracted many immigrants coming to that area. You and your dog are invited to explore the stone foundations with an interpretive naturalist. All dogs must be on a leash no longer than 10 feet and socialized for crowds. Owners are responsible for picking up their pets’ feces. Free, from 16 years old. Register before September 16.

Anyone requiring an auxiliary aid or service to participate in a Forest Preserve program must mention their request when registering or submit an application online on ReconnectWithNature.org no later than 48 hours before the program.