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MCCD offers outdoor programs for August

WOODSTOCK – The McHenry County Conservation District offers a variety of ways for area families to get outside and enjoy the outdoors.

• Frogs, Turtles and Fun: 10:30 a.m. to noon Thursday at Pleasant Valley Conservation Area, 13315 Pleasant Valley Road, Woodstock. Explore the pond and creek to find out how these important creatures are doing. Participants should dress for muddy exploring and hiking, as well as bring a water bottle. The program is free for county residents and costs $5 for nonresidents. It is for children ages 8 to 10. The registration deadline is Saturday.

• Being a Butterfly: 2 to 3:30 p.m. Aug. 4 at Lost Valley Visitor Center in Glacial Park, Route 31 and Harts Road, Ringwood. After a short story about butterfly traits and a quick craft, the group will set out on a butterfly adventure. Participants should dress for a short hike and games outside. The program is free for county residents and costs $3 for nonresidents. It is for children ages 4 to 8, accompanied by an adult. The registration deadline is Wednesday.

• Nature’s Play Time – At the Pond: 10 to 11:30 a.m. Aug. 7 at Brookdale Conservation Area – Paulsen Road Shelter, 18410 Route 14, Woodstock. Parents can share a fun morning with their children in nature’s classroom while participating in activity stations that foster an appreciation of nature. Children will enjoy using natural materials to build their skills such as identifying and sorting shapes and colors, practicing their fine and gross motor skills and working with textures and patterns. After the activities and exploration, a snack will be provided. Participants should bring sunscreen, extra water and long sleeves or pants if bugs are bad. The program is free for county residents and costs $3 for nonresidents. It is for children 5 and younger, accompanied by an adult. The registration deadline is Aug. 2.

• Spider Watching: 7 to 8:30 p.m. Aug. 9 at Hickory Grove Highlands Conservation Area, 500 Hickory Nut Grove Lane, Cary. Evenings in the late summer are excellent times to see spiders while they work. The group will explore the prairie and woodland to search for web residents. Observation tools and a local guide will be used to find up to 12 common species of northeast Illinois. Participants should dress for the weather. The program is free for county residents and costs $5 for nonresidents. It is for children ages 9 to 13, accompanied by an adult. The registration deadline is Aug. 4.

• Prairie Play: 9:30 to 11 a.m. Aug. 10 at Kishwaukee Headwaters Conservation Area, 1606 Dean St., Woodstock. Participants will spend a morning at this beautifully restored site to explore and play among the tall prairie grasses and flowers. They can look for animal homes, explore for insects and examine McHenry County’s amazing prairie plants. The program is free and for children ages 6 to 12. The registration deadline is Aug. 5.

• The Ants Go Marching: 10:30 a.m. to noon Aug. 10 at Hickory Grove Highlands Conservation Area, 500 Hickory Nut Grove Lane, Cary. This time of year, ants generally are considered a nuisance as they invade picnics, campsites and occasionally homes. But ants are fascinating insects that deserve more respect. Attendees will learn how they contribute to the natural world. Participants should dress for exploring and bring a water bottle. The program is free for county residents and costs $2 for nonresidents. It is for children ages 6 to 8, accompanied by an adult. The registration deadline is Aug. 5.

• Meteor Showers and Summer Constellations Ages 8+: 8 to 10 p.m. Aug. 12 at Marengo Ridge Conservation Area, 2411 N. Route 23, Marengo. This is a good time of the year for watching one of the most well-known meteor showers, the Perseids. Participants can listen to the stories of heroes such as Hercules and Perseus whose constellations can be seen along with other characters in their adventures. They should come prepared to be outside for the evening and bring a lawn chair or blanket. The program is free for county residents and costs $2 for nonresidents. It is for adults and children ages 8 and up. The registration deadline is Aug. 7.

• Discovery Days: 10 to 11:30 a.m. Aug. 16 at Rush Creek Conservation Area, 20501 McGuire Road, Harvard. Participants will enjoy a morning of fun walking from station to station – playing games, making a craft, eating a snack and more. All activities are based around the special theme of the day. The program is free for county residents and costs $3 for nonresidents. It is for children ages 2 to 6, accompanied by an adult. The registration deadline is Aug. 11.

• Family Scavenger Hunt: GPS Special: 1 to 2:30 p.m. Aug. 17 at Rush Creek Conservation Area, 20501 McGuire Road, Harvard. Discover Rush Creek on this GPS adventure as participants visit waypoints and answer questions to complete the scavenger hunt and claim a prize. They should bring their own GPS unit. The conservation district has a limited number of units to lend on a first-come, first-served basis. Participants should have working knowledge of a GPS unit. No lessons will be provided. Call Prairieview Education Center to reserve one ahead of time at 815-479-5779. The program is free for county residents and costs $2 for nonresidents. It is for adults and families. The registration deadline is Aug. 12.

• Insect Songs: 1 to 2:30 p.m. Aug. 24 at Rush Creek Conservation Area, 20501 McGuire Road, Harvard. Field crickets, tree crickets, cicadas and katydids all add to the cacophony of a summer afternoon. Together, the group will learn about their calls and try to catch them in the act. The program is free for county residents and costs $2 for nonresidents. It is for adults and families. The registration deadline is Aug. 19.

• Cooking With the Sun: 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. Aug. 25 at Lost Valley Visitor Center in Glacial Park, Route 31 and Harts Road, Ringwood. Participants will discover how to harness the sun’s energy to cook food. They will make their own pizza box solar cooker and taste treats that have been cooked using the sun’s energy. The program is free for county residents and costs $5 for nonresidents. It is for adults and children 8 and older. The registration deadline is Aug. 20.

Registration is accepted online at www.MCCDistrict.org, by phone (free programs only) at 815-479-5779, by mail at Prairieview Education Center, 2112 Behan Road in Crystal Lake or walk-in at Lost Valley Visitor Center, Route 31 and Harts Road in Ringwood.

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