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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 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 $20 or $50 for an organization; life membership is $200. 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.


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. 

AUTUMN BROCHURE

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.

THORN CREEK CHAMBER PLAYERS
Friday, September 15. 7-9 p.m. Ages 12 or older; $10 per person. Purchase tickets by Wednesday, September 13.

Cellist Ingrid Krizan and the Thorn Creek Chamber Players present a concert celebrating autumn. Join us for an evening of music echoing through the woods.

KNOW YOUR OAKS HIKE
Sunday, September 17, 1-3 p.m. Free!  All ages. Registration required by Friday, September 15.

Join a naturalist on a hike to discover tips and tricks to help you identify some of the local oak tree species.

FALL WORKDAY AT THORN CREEK WOODS  
Sunday, September 24, Noon-4 p.m. Free!  All ages; children 15 or younger must be accompanied by an adult. Registration required by Friday, September 22. 

There will be indoor chores plus outdoor trail and prairie work to be done. Groups and community service are welcome.

AUTUMN NIGHT HIKE
Thursday, October 5, 7-9 p.m. Free.  Adults and children over 16 years old, Registration required by Tuesday, October 3. 

Come join us to share the smells, sounds and sights of Thorn Creek Woods at night. Naturalist will guide us in a "quiet time" experience to take in the nocturnal activities occurring in the woods before winter sets in.

FALL COLORS WALK FOR KIDS
Saturday, October 21, 1-3 p.m. Free.  Ages 12 or younger. Registration required by Thursday, October 19.

Walk amidst trees of all species transitioning from their summer green leaves to shades of red, yellow, orange, gold, russet and even purple – the colors of autumn. Program is sponsored by Thorn Creek Audubon Society.

OWLS & THE MOON: ART PROGRAM AT THORN CREEK
Sunday, October 29, Two sessions: 1-2 p.m. or 2:30-3:30 p.m.  All ages.  Children younger than age 6 should be accompanied by an adult. $5 per person per session. Registration required by Friday, October 27.

Under the guidance of local artist Pat Moore, come capture the after-dark lives of owls and the moon by creating owl and moon masks decorated with feathers, sequins and more.

FOXES & COYOTES: AN AFTERNOON WITH FRIENDS OF THORN CREEK WOODS
Sunday, November 5, 12-3 p.m. Free.  Ages 12-adult. Registration required by Friday, November 3.                                                     

After a short Friends meeting, John Yunger, professor of Biology at Governors State University, will discuss the red and gray foxes and coyotes of our region. Bring a pot luck dish to share.

ANIMALS IN AUTUMN - FOR KIDS   
Sunday, November 12, 1-3 p.m. Free. Ages 9-12. Registration required by Friday, November 10.

Explore how plants and animals prepare for the cold weather and darker days. Create a bird feeder, conduct an experiment and look for clues on a hike in the preserve.  Sponsored by Thorn Creek Audubon Society.

STORY OF THE LANDSCAPE HIKE
Sunday, December 3, 1-3 p.m. Free.  All ages. Registration required by Friday, December 1.

Join our fall hike to “read” the landscape of Thorn Creek Woods.  Find out what the sizes and locations of trees, tree rings, slopes, depressions, stream channels and more can tell us.

WOODLAND CAROLS: ANNUAL FOOD DRIVE
Saturday, December 9, Noon-2 p.m. $10 per person or 1 bag of groceries per person. Ages 12 and older. Registration required by Thursday, December 7. 

Savor homemade soup while listening to holiday tunes by local musicians. Bring a bag of groceries and program fee will be waived. All items and proceeds will be donated to the Rich Township Food Pantry.