Blue heron photo 
Jason Lindsey/


Upcoming outings and events

Kane County Forest Preserves A-Z Outing Series

Join us as we practice our sustainability goal and discover nature in our own backyard by visiting local forest preserves in Kane County from "A" to "Z". For questions, contact leader Jan Mangers.

Next Up:

Blackberry Maples, and Grunwald Farms forest preserves in Elburn, November 8, 2014

Come and enjoy the autumn woodlands as we hike two nearby destinations: the Blackberry Maples, and Grunwald Farms forest preserves. Blackberry Maples offers a .86 mile hiking path with bird watching and wildlife observation in a variety of habitats, including a gently sloping prairie that transitions to a mature maple forest, quality fens, and sedge meadows. Great Blue Herons have established a rookery here, with nests high in the treetops. Grunwald Farms features oak and hickory woodlands and a high-quality kame and fen with a 1.64 mile trail. We will meet at 9:00 am at Blackberry Maples.

Please wear sturdy hiking shoes, take precautions for the sun, mosquitoes and ticks, and bring water in your reusable container.

Date/Time: Saturday, November 8, 9:00am
Meetup Location: Blackberry Maples, 43W231 Main St., Elburn, IL
Second Location: Grunwald Farms, 02S035 Lorang Rd, Elburn, IL
Leader: Jan Mangers,, 630 917-1779
Level: Moderate

For more information about the Blackberry Maples Forest Preserve, go to, and for Grunwald Farms go to


So Far:

Almon Underwood Prairie Forest Preserve, January 11, 2014

On January 11 we started by hiking the Almon Underwood Prairie Forest Preserve, whose .65-mile trail features a series of small undulating gravel knolls that are part of the Kaneville Esker. This is Illinois' longest esker, deposited here between 10 and 20 thousand years ago. Click here for Jan's report!

Andersen Woods, February 8, 2014

Andersen Woods is part of a mixed forest along the Fox River Trail in St. Charles, and is included in the area know to the settlers as "little woods". We met at Norris Woods and walked along the trail until we reached Andersen Woods. The total hike was 2.8 miles. Click here for Jan's report!

Arlene Shoemaker Forest Preserve, March 8, 2014

The Arlene Shoemaker preserve is a wooded wetland "oasis" surrounded by urban development with plenty of evidence of wildlife. For more information about the Arlene Shoemaker Forest Preserve, go to

Aurora West Forest Preserve in Aurora, April 12, 2014

The last in the "A" series of our forest preserve outings, Aurora West is a 716-acre property, and part of the historical “Sugar Grove” in the early years of Kane County. As an ecological mosaic of prairie, marsh, and woodland communities, this preserve supports a host of native animals.

For more information about the Aurora West Forest Preserve, go to

Barnes and Bliss Forest Preserves in Aurora, May 10, 2014

We visited two "B" forest preserves, Barnes and Bliss. Starting with Barnes, we explored the short trail along Blackberry Creek. Then, a longer hike through the woods along a portion of the same Kaneville Esker we visited in January to view the wildflowers in bloom.

For more information about the Barnes Forest Preserves, go to and for Bliss,

LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve in St. Charles, June 9, 2014

It was a perfect evening at the LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve. We spotted many native plants in bloom, and quite a variety of birds. Click here for Jan's report!

Big Rock Forest Preserve in Big Rock, July 12, 2014

On this rainy yet magical morning, we hiked the 1.25 mile loop trail around Seigler Lake, with beautiful views over the water.

For more information about the Big Rock Preserves, go to

Bowes Creek Woods Forest Preserve in Elgin, August 9, 2014

On our Bowes Creek Woods outing, we hiked the 2.26 mile prairie loop trail, which features an oak grove and a creek, not to mention butterflies and song birds.

For more information about the Bowes Creek Woods Forest Preserve, go to


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