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:

Dick Young Forest Preserve, Saturday March 21 2015

Join us at the Dick Young Forest Preserve as we welcome spring by transitioning from roadway potholes to prairie potholes—they're much easier on your constitution! We will also transition back to our earlier 9:00am starting time. The preserve is named for naturalist Dick Young who helped spearhead the effort to conserve this land and its unique features. The hike is about three miles through the prairie portion, with a highlight overlooking Nelson Lake.

Please dress for the weather, wear sturdy hiking boots and sunscreen, and bring a snack and water in your refillable bottle.

Date/Time: Saturday, March 21, 9:00am
Meetup Location: Dick Young Forest Preserve, Main St entrance, 39W115 Main St., Batavia, IL
Leader: Jan Mangers,, 630 917-1779
Level: Moderate

For more information about the Dick Young Forest Preserve, 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

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

On our Blackberry Maples and Grunwald Farms outing, we hiked the .86 mile Blackberry Maples loop, which features 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. Then we hiked the 1.64 mile Grunwald Farms trail through oaks, hickorys and pines. We couldn't find the Great Blue Heron rookery.

Click here for Jan's report!

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

Bliss Woods Forest Preserve in Sugar Grove, December 13, 2014

For our winter "bliss" outing we hiked over the wetlands, through the woods, and over part of the Kaneville Esker at the Bliss Woods Forest Preserve.

For more information about Bliss Woods Forest Preserve, go to

Brunner Family Forest Preserve and Buffalo Park Forest Preserve, January 24, 2015

Double the fun as we hiked two adjacent forest preserves for our January Hike. Starting with the Buffalo Park Forest Preserve, we hiked the .29 mile trail. Then at Brunner Family Forest Preserve we followed the Fourwinds Way Creek to the Fox River, approximately two miles. Acquired by the district in 2008, the area has been deemed some of the highest quality, unprotected habitat in the county.

For more information about the Brunner Family Forest Preserve, go to, and for more information about the Buffalo Park Forest Preserve go to

Campton Forest Preserve, Saturday, February 21, 2015

After a year of visiting one Kane County Forest Preserve per month (alphabetically), we have finally reached the "C"s! Campton is one of the District's earliest prairie restoration projects, bringing health back to the land and benefiting many kinds of wildlife. We hiked the outer perimeter 2.5 mile trail.

For more information about the Campton Forest Preserve, go to


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