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350 Victory Drive
Park Forest, IL 60466
Ph: 708-748-1112
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Thorn Creek Nature Center

Other Link http://tcwoods.org

Features

  1. Trails
Open Friday - Sunday, noon to 4 pm
Call before you plan to visit the nature center.
Trails open daily year-round, dawn to dusk.
Trails are natural surface across uneven terrain.

For most programs registration is required two days before program.
*Programs sponsored by Thorn Creek Audubon Society


Nature Center Closed:  
12/23/16, 12/25/16, 12/30/16 and 1/1/17

Thorn Creek Nature Preserve
Thorn Creek Nature Preserve is a 985 acre oak and hickory woodland dotted with vernal ponds and dissected by Thorn Creek and its tributary streams. Over 3.5 miles of trails meander through woodland, floodplain forest, scenic ravines, and pine plantations. The Nature Center Loop Trail travels through young developing forest and shrubby, successional old fields and is a wonderful habitat for bird watching.

Thorn Creek, Woodland Trail & the Hornicek Farm
Crossing Thorn Creek twice, the Woodland Trail loops through floodplain forests, mesic and dry-mesic upland forests and pine plantations. Continue through the tunnel of pines and on to Owl Lake, a marsh that developed on and around a glacial pothole. A short walk on the Wetland Trail leads to an observation platform overlooking a large wetland complex. The preserve also shelters an historic farm, the Hornicek Farm, old field habitat and restored prairie.


FRIENDS OF THORN CREEK WOODS
Join Friends of Thorn Creek Woods and support the 985 acre Thorn Creek Nature Preserve and its Nature Center. Formed in 1969, Friends efforts ensured permanent protection for this unique open space enhancing Park Forest and the region. Friends of Thorn Creek Woods volunteers build and repair trails, create exhibits, monitor species, staff the nature center, lead programs, and raise funds for programs and improvements. Members enjoy a quarterly newsletter and sponsor Earth Day, plus Spring and Fall meetings. Annual family membership is $10 or $50 for an organization; life membership is $150. For more information: 708-747-6320 / thorn_creek@att.net; tcwoods.org / P.O. Box 159, Richton Park, IL 60471.


Upcoming Programs

Wednesday Walkers spring2014.jpg

WEDNESDAY MORNING WALKERS - WEEKLY PROGRAM
Wednesdays, September 7-December 14, 2016 & March 1-May 31, 2017, 9-10:30 a.m. Free! Ages 13-adult. Registration required two days before your first walk.

Follow the forest’s seasonal changes, enjoy light exercise and experience nature first-hand on 2 miles of winding trails.

WOODLAND CAROLS: ANNUAL FOOD DRIVE  
Saturday, December 10, Noon-2 p.m. $10 per person or 1 bag of groceries per person. Ages 12 and older. Registration required by Thursday, December 8.

Start your holiday season off right by giving to others at Thorn Creek Nature Center’s annual food drive music event. Savor all-you-can-eat homemade soup while listening to seasonal musical selections by popular area performers. The afternoon concludes with our annual sing-along! Bring a bag of groceries and the program fee will be waived. All items and proceeds will be donated to the Rich Township Food Pantry.

BEGINNING BIRDING FOR KIDS*
4 weekly session Sundays, January 15 through February 5, 1-3 p.m. and Saturday, February 11, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Ages 7-12, $20 prepaid for full 5 sessions. Registration and payment by Saturday, December 31.

Impress friends this spring with your birding smarts, binocular savvy and your very own life list of birds. Learn key shapes, markings, habits and songs for our most common local birds with crafts, activities, sounds and hikes.

BEGINNING BIRDING FOR ALL*
Saturday, February 11, 9 a.m.–1 p.m. Free! All ages.

Who is that feathered creature pecking at your feeder? Come to us. We know. Come watch and count birds, participate in "bird" activities, help with identifications, and make a simple bird feeder. Don’t miss our Beginning Bird Hike at 9 a.m.

HOO EATS WHOM*
Sunday, February 19, 2-4 p.m. Ages 8-12, $3 per person.

Entangle yourself in a woodland web of life; then dissect an owl pellet to examine just "hoo" is the predator’s prey.

TRACKING ANIMALS IN WINTER*
Sunday, February 26, 2-4 p.m. Free! All ages.  Children younger than age 6 must be accompanied by an adult.

How do animals survive winter’s chills? We’ll put ourselves in the paws of woodland creatures and follow the trails in search of tracks and other spoor, then we’ll make plaster cast tracks to take home.

MAKE A GOURD BIRDHOUSE*
Sunday, March 5. Two sessions: 1-2 p.m. or 2:30-3:30 p.m. $10 per house; limit one per person.  All ages; children younger than age 6 should be accompanied by an adult.

This is a fun family workshop to create a welcoming nesting space for birds in your own backyard. Join artist and teacher Pat Moore to make a natural style birdhouse from a gourd. All materials will be provided.

"CHILI" EVENING HIKE
Sunday, March 12, 7-9 p.m. $5 per person fee. All ages.

Let’s listen, adjust our eyes, ears and even our walking styles to catch a glimpse of the active lives of the nocturnal woods! After our chilly stroll, warm up with a mug of homemade chili.

WOODS MUSIC
Friday, March 17, 7-9 p.m. $10 per person. Ages 12 or older.

Celebrate the advent of spring with woods music. The generous donation of the musicians’ time and expertise allows all proceeds to benefit Thorn Creek Woods Nature Preserve.

VIXEN’S TREK*
Saturday, March 25, 2-4 p.m. Free. Children younger than 12. Children younger than 6 years must be accompanied by an adult.

Be the fox, following your daily routine along Thorn Creek trails observing wild neighbors, hunting, and then calling to other fox!

SPRING CLEAN UP DAY
Sunday, March 26, Noon-4 p.m. Free! All ages; children younger than 15 must be accompanied by an adult.

There will be indoor and outdoor work preparing for spring. Bring a lunch and gloves and dress for the weather.

MARCH INTO SPRING HIKE
Sunday, April 9, 1-3 p.m. Free! All ages.

We’ll search for vernal indicators like wildflowers re-sprouting, tree buds unfurling, returning migrant birds or animals emerging from hibernation, choruses of frogs, and tender green shoots peeking through last year’s dead leaves.

MAKE A GOURD BIRDHOUSE*
Sunday, March 5. Two sessions: 1-2 p.m. or 2:30-3:30 p.m. $10 per house; limit one per person. All ages; children younger than age 6 should be accompanied by an adult.

This is a fun family workshop to create a welcoming nesting space for birds in your own backyard. Join artist and teacher Pat Moore to make a natural style birdhouse from a gourd. All materials will be provided.

"CHILI" EVENING HIKE
Sunday, March 12, 7-9 p.m. $5 per person fee. All ages.

Let’s listen, adjust our eyes, ears and even our walking styles to catch a glimpse of the active lives of the nocturnal woods! After our chilly stroll, warm up with a mug of homemade chili.

WOODS MUSIC
Friday, March 17, 7-9 p.m. $10 per person. Ages 12 or older.

Celebrate the advent of spring with woods music. The generous donation of the musicians’ time and expertise allows all proceeds to benefit Thorn Creek Woods Nature Preserve.

VIXEN’S TREK*
Saturday, March 25, 2-4 p.m. Free. Children younger than 12. Children younger than 6 years must be accompanied by an adult.

Be the fox, following your daily routine along Thorn Creek trails observing wild neighbors, hunting, and then calling to other fox!

SPRING CLEAN UP DAY
Sunday, March 26, Noon-4 p.m. Free! All ages; children younger than 15 must be accompanied by an adult.

There will be indoor and outdoor work preparing for spring. Bring a lunch and gloves and dress for the weather.

MARCH INTO SPRING HIKE
Sunday, April 9, 1-3 p.m. Free! All ages.

We’ll search for vernal indicators like wildflowers re-sprouting, tree buds unfurling, returning migrant birds or animals emerging from hibernation, choruses of frogs, and tender green shoots peeking through last year’s dead leaves.