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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 and Sunday, noon to 4 pm
  • Trails open daily year-round, dawn to dusk
  • Trails are natural surface across uneven terrain
  • Registration required for programs
  • Nature Center Closed:  Friday, June 30 and Sunday, July 2-4th of July


    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.

 

PROGRAMS 
 
Wednesday Walkers spring2014.jpg

WEDNESDAY MORNING WALKERS - WEEKLY PROGRAM 
Wednesdays, 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 Thorn Creek Woods Nature Preserve’s winding trails. Trails can be wet or muddy, so please wear sturdy shoes.


THORN CREEK CHAMBER PLAYERS  
Friday, June 2. 7-9 p.m. Ages 12 or older; $10 per person, Purchase tickets by Wednesday May 31.

Cellist Ingrid Krizan and the Thorn Creek Chamber Players present a concert celebrating the advent of summer.  Join us for a fun-filled evening as the music echoes through the woods.  Refreshments will be provided.

HISTORIC FARM WALK
Sunday, June 4. 1-3 p.m. Free! All ages. Registration required by Friday, June 2.
Enjoy a summer day on the historic Hornicek Farm nestled in Thorn Creek Woods.  Tour the farm buildings, organic gardens and the old-fashioned flower gardens.  Meet brown-egg laying hens and maybe some blue egg layers too.  Sip lemonade and listen to music by Anna Stange. Meet at the Nature Center, and carpool to the farm.

FRIENDS OF THORN CREEK WOODS: BATS
Sunday, June 11, 1-3 p.m.  Free.  All ages. Registration required by Friday, June 9.
Bats! The only flying mammals on earth, bats are fascinating yet largely misunderstood creatures. Come learn from the Illinois Bat Conservation Program bat experts about the latest in acoustic monitoring and mist netting. Explore why we need bats as predators and how they care for their young. Program is sponsored by Friends of Thorn Creek Woods and Thorn Creek Audubon Society.

HIDDEN PONDS HIKE
Saturday, June 17, 1-4 p.m. Free! Ages 10 years or older. Registration required by Thursday, June 15.

Join us for a guided tour of vernal ponds, listening for the return of amphibian choruses and exploring the marshes of Owl Lake and beyond.

TRAIL WORKDAY   
Saturday, June 24, noon-4 p.m. Ages 15-adult. Registration is required 2 days before workday date.

Join the Thorn Creek trail work crew in building and repairing boardwalks and maintaining the trails throughout the preserve. Or help weed and nurture our Prairie Sampler. Bring a lunch and gloves and dress for the weather.  Wear sturdy shoes or boots.  Community groups are welcome.   


April JEC on boardwalk Apr2014.jpg


CREEK WALK FOR KIDS
Sunday, July 9, 1-3 p.m. Free!  Ages 5-12. Children younger than 6 years must be accompanied by an adult. Registration required by Friday, July 7.

Explore Thorn Creek by taking measurements and doing experiments to learn about creek water. Then we'll walk the creek and observe what lives there. We'll discover how many of these organisms transform to live on the land! Wear old clothes and boots. 

FIREFLIES NIGHT HIKE
Saturday, July 22. 7:30-9:30 p.m. Free!  All ages. Registration required by Thursday, July 20.
Fireflies or lightning bugs, no matter what you call them, their flashing light seen throughout the night heralds the official arrival of summer. Join a naturalist on this popular hike and discover why fireflies flash back and forth to each other and what it means. Let the magic of “lightning bugs” entrance you on this summer night adventure.

NATURE CAMP FOR SENIORS: INSECTS ABOUND                         
Monday, August 7, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Ages 50 or older; $5 per person. Registration required by Saturday, August 5.

We’ll put ourselves in the paws of Thorn Creek’s woodland creatures to discover clues to wild animals’ identities and explore adaptations animals have developed to find food and survive through the different seasons. We’ll make plaster replicas of tracks to take home. For part of the program we'll explore Thorn Creek Woods trails in search of tracks and other spoor.  Lunch will be provided.

INSECTS ABOUND FOR KIDS
Sunday, August 13, 1-3 p.m. Free.  Ages 12 and under. Children younger than 6 years must be accompanied by an adult. Registration required by Friday, August 11.
Discover what makes an insect unique. Explore the differences between insects, spiders, and other fascinating arthropods. On a hike we’ll search for insect habitats and gently capture a few types of arthropods to study and then release.

SOUNDS OF INSECTS NIGHT HIKE
Thursday, August 17. 7:30-9:30 p.m. All ages. Free!  Registration required by Tuesday, August 15.

Join us as we venture out on the trail listening for insect sounds on the night of the full moon.  Many insects become more active as the sun goes down.  We’ll listen and learn the distinct sounds of common local species and why they make these sounds.