McHenry County Conservation District’s winter program offerings are loaded with both indoor and outdoor nature enthusiast adventures. Registration is required for all programs.
• Learn about the short-eared owl, an Illinois endangered species, during An Afternoon With the Short-eared Owls. Begin the afternoon with a short indoor presentation and then enjoy a winter hike at dusk to search for these special creatures. Bring binoculars if you have them and dress for the weather. The program will be from 3:30 to 5 p.m. Sunday. The program is free for residents, $2 for nonresidents.
• Explore the Powers Walker House in “History House: After Dark.” The program is from 7 to 8 p.m. Dec. 18. The program is free for county residents, $5 for nonresidents.
• Investigate old ways to celebrate the winter solstice while creating new traditions, including a candlelight night hike ending at a warm campfire, during the Solstice Night Hike. Dress for the weather and for outdoor activities. The hike is about a half mile on potentially snowy trail conditions. The program is from 7 to 9 p.m. Dec. 21. The program is $5 for county residents, $7 for nonresidents.
• Get into some comfy pajamas and enjoy an evening of games and activities all about local nocturnal animals during Nature at Night Pajama Party. The program will be from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Dec. 28. The cost is $3 for residents, $5 for nonresidents.
• Round up some friends for a frosty hike, then sample several kinds of chili with a variety of toppings and a dessert cooked over the campfire during A Very Chilly Crawl. Dress for the weather. Soft drinks are included; alcohol is BYO, with a valid ID. The program will be from 3:30 to 6 p.m. Jan. 26. The cost is $12 for residents, $15 for nonresidents.
Additional programs in the new year include Sites Seldom Seen: Greenwood, Paint and Sip: Capture a Live Turtle on Canvas and Full Moon Pizza Party. For information and to register, visit www.mccdistrict.org.