Program highlights various district forest preserves

by Keith Beebe
KANE COUNTY—Local families looking to get a little more in touch with nature should take a hike … to the various forest preserves in Kane County.

The Forest Preserve District of Kane County is offering its Take A Hike program throughout the year, encouraging people to visit and experience a different forest preserve in the county each month. Participants will also complete a specific activity at each preserve.

There’s also a bit of incentive involved in visiting each preserve, as anyone who completes a minimum of six activities will receive a special patch.

The Forest Preserve District of Kane County website lists the Take A Hike program as ideal for Scouts, youth groups, as well as anyone looking for a bit of exercise while experiencing what each forest preserve has to offer. The preserve highlighted this month is Oakhurst Forest Preserve in Aurora. Fitchie Creek Forest Preserve in Elgin will be highlighted during August, with Campton Forest Preserve in Campton Township, Otter Creek Forest Preserve in South Elgin, Jon J. Duerr Forest Preserve in South Elgin, and Elburn Forest Preserve to be highlighted in September, October, November and December, respectively.

“It’s a fun way to get people out to the preserves that they aren’t familiar with,” said Valerie Blaine, nature program director with the Kane County Forest Preserve. “We get a lot of calls from Scouts and families, but we haven’t had anyone come in yet with their six completed activities. I think people will start coming in (with those) in the fall.”

The idea for the Take A Hike program was thought up during a community affairs committee meeting, which the Forest Preserve District of Kane County website defines as a monthly event to consider programming, policies and marketing as it relates to the district’s environmental education, Nature Center and community programming.

Blaine said the Forest Preserve implemented several ideas and suggestions for the Take A Hike program that were submitted during that initial meeting.

“There are a lot of wonderful, natural areas in the (Kane County) Forest Preserve District, and we’d like to encourage people to go out and get to know some of these preserves,” she said. “We’re really fortunate to have forest preserves and natural areas so close by. I’ve lived elsewhere and had to drive hours to get to a nice park, and the forest preserves (in Kane County) are right here (in front of us) and available to everybody.”

A new set of forest preserves will be highlighted by Forest Preserve District of Kane County in 2012.