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  Forest Preserve District Announces 2017 Event Schedule
  Posted: 10/17/2016
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Looking for something fun to do throughout the coming year? The Forest Preserve District has a variety of events planned for 2017 that will be sure to please. From dog sledding demonstrations and fishing derbies to kite flying and a nature celebration, the events scheduled for 2017 will offer a wealth of options. Open to all ages, most events are free of charge, with some offering food or other items for purchase.

Next yearís event season kicks off with one of the Forest Preserveís most popular events, "Musher Mania." Held in partnership with the Siberian Husky Club, this annual program is planned for Saturday, January 14 from noon-4 p.m. at Monee Reservoir. The day includes watching sled dog teams in action, playing on snowshoes and roasting s'mores by the fire. Enjoy ice-sculpting demonstrations and a panning for gold activity, among other features. You can even have your photo taken with a husky.

From Saturday, January 28 through Saturday, March 11, the District's Four Rivers Environmental Education Center in Channahon will host "Water|Ways," a traveling exhibit from the Smithsonian Institution that examines the significance that water has in the human experience from a variety of perspectives: historic, environmental, economic, political, artistic and more. Locally focused exhibits and public programs also will be offered during the six-week exhibition. Viewing hours are Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday,10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Thursday, 10 a.m.-8 p.m.; Sunday, noon-5 p.m. The one exception to the hours is on February 16, when it will be open from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. The exhibit is made possible by the Smithsonian Institutionís Museum on Main Street program and Illinois Humanities.

The Forest Preserve will celebrate spring with a "Jammin' Family Kite Fly," held Saturday, April 29 from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. at Plum Creek Nature Center in Beecher. Members of the Illinois Kite Enthusiasts will engage the public with displays of synchronized kite dancing, 90-foot flying kites and intermittent candy drops. Bring your own kite to join in the fun or make one in the nature center.

On Saturday, June 3, an "Adult Fishing Derby" will be held from 7 a.m.-1 p.m. at Monee Reservoir. Adults can find their favorite spot along the shore and try their luck at reeling in their best catch yet. Sponsored by Cabela's, the event is $10 per person and will have prizes for the most pan fish, biggest bass and biggest catfish. One container of bait is provided. Registration is encouraged.

Experience 18th-century Illinois on Saturday, June 10 as the District refreshes its annual "Island Rendezvous" and updates it for today's families. The event will be held from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. at Isle a la Cache Museum in Romeoville, and will connect the past with the present with interactive crafts, games, activities, live music and gifted storytellers. Food will also be available for purchase.

On Saturday, June 17, experience art, music and nature while strolling paved trails at Four Rivers Environmental Education Center. "Arts & Nature on the River" will be held from noon-4 p.m., providing those who attend an opportunity to watch, listen and participate in a sampling of creative arts inspired by the natural world. See performances and demonstrations, and explore activities and exhibits. Discover something new at every bend of the trail.

A "Kids' Fishing Derby" will be held Saturday, August 5 from 7 a.m.-1 p.m. at Monee Reservoir. Sponsored by Cabela's, the event is sure to reel in plenty of excitement. Prizes will be awarded in three age categories for the largest fish, smallest fish and most fish caught. Even if the fish aren't biting, everyone goes home a winner; each participant receives a goody bag and ice cream. Open to ages 5-15, the derby is $5/person.

Rounding out 2017's District events is a celebration which puts the spotlight on hummingbirds. "Hummingbird Fest and Nature Celebration" will be held Saturday, August 19 from 1-5 p.m. at Plum Creek Nature Center.

Enjoy presentations, wildlife viewing and vendors selling garden-related items and locally crafted products. Thorn Creek Audubon Society will be on site, banding hummingbirds and recording important statistics. Attendees can also adopt a hummingbird through the Lincoln Land Association of Bird Banders, or try their skill at slacklining, tree climbing or cycling on the trail.

As if that weren't enough, other events to further connect the public to Will County Forest Preserves are planned. These include "Wellness Walking Wednesdays," scheduled May -September; "Music in the Moonlight" free summer concerts; and "Food Truck Fridays" held at some of our most popular preserves this coming summer. Watch for more details on these fun opportunities.

In addition, more than 250 public programs are scheduled at Forest Preserve visitor centers in 2017.

For more information, visit our event calendar in the coming weeks. Most events and programs are held in accessible facilities or along accessible pathways, with some on uneven natural terrain.

With so many event and program offerings from which to choose, there's something for every interest.

Photo by Chad Merda
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