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Celebrate Earth Day month with a Forest Preserve program

Illustration of an earth and tree being held in hands
(Photo via Shutterstock)

Earth Day is almost here, and the Forest Preserve District has many ways you can pay tribute to Mother Earth in April.

There are fun things to do throughout Earth Day month to clean up, recycle and upcycle. Here are the programs: 

Fishing For Trash: 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays, April 6-April 28, Hidden Lakes Trout Farm at Hidden Oaks Preserve, Bolingbrook. Celebrate Earth month and earn a gift by picking up litter around the preserve. Visit The Tackle Box bait shop at Hidden Lakes Trout Farm to get a bucket and a picker. Free, all ages. 

Spring Cleanup: 10 a.m.-noon Saturday, April 13, Rock Run Rookery Preserve, Joliet. Clean up the shoreline of the Des Plaines River to get a great sense of accomplishment. Dress for the weather and wear waterproof footwear and gloves. Free, ages 14 or older. Register by April 12. 

Recycle Your Bicycle – Monee Reservoir: 7 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday, April 13-Sunday, April 28, Monee Reservoir, Monee Township. Recycle your bicycle to make a difference locally and around the world for those in need. Bikes are donated to Working Bikes, workingbikes.org. No bike is too old or rusty. The bike drop is located on the north side of the concessions parking lot. 

Recycle Your Bicycle – Four Rivers: 8 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Saturday, April 13, to Sunday, April 28, Four Rivers Environmental Education Center, Channahon. Clean out the garage and make a difference by recycling your bicycle. No bike is too old or rusty. Bikes are donated to Working Bikes, workingbikes.org, for those in need locally and globally. The bike drop is located just to the left of the kayak launch at the McKinley Woods – Kerry Sheridan Grove parking lot. 

Volunteer Morning: 9 a.m. to noon, Tuesday, April 23, Hadley Valley – Bruce Road Access, Homer Township. Get some fresh air and exercise while helping your community. Activities will include brush control. Space is limited, and registration is required. To get started, complete a waiver online. For information, contact Emily Kenny at 815-722-7364 or [email protected]. Ages 10 or older. 

Trashy Hacks: 1-2 p.m. Saturday, April 27, Isle a la Cache Museum, Romeoville. Don’t throw out that garbage – it’s gold! Check out different ways to deal with household waste. Discover fun and interesting ways to upcycle broken, used and old items. Bottlecap necklaces, tin can windchimes, eggshell air plant pots, wine cork critters and more are all ready for you to try. Free, all ages. Register by April 25. 

Volunteer Morning/City Nature Challenge: 9 a.m.-noon, Sunday, April 28, Joliet Junior College. Ages 10 or older. Volunteers will perform brush control and take part in the City Nature Challenge. Space is limited, and registration is required. To get started, complete a waiver online. For information, contact Emily Kenny at 815-722-7364 or [email protected].

If you can’t make any of these programs, and you still want to contribute something to nature during Earth Day month, you can take part in the Chicago Wilderness Alliance’s 2024 City Nature Challenge on your own. 

To join, you can create an account at iNaturalist.org or download the iNaturalist app (App Store and Google Play). Share your observations of wild plants and animals to the website or app during the challenge timeframe: April 26 through April 29.

Illinois counties that are included in the challenge are Cook, DuPage, Grundy, Kane, Kankakee, Kendall, Lake, McHenry and Will.

“Your nature sightings become data that help scientists and land managers better understand and protect nature for all of us,” according to the Alliance’s website. “Last year, people made more than 8,000 observations of 1,300 species in our region during the four-day challenge  including the first-ever documentation of a species of moss!”

And if you would like to contribute to making the planet more hospitable all year, check out the Forest Preserve District's Volunteer Services opportunities. 

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