McHenry County Conservation District  •  18410 US Highway 14 •  Woodstock, IL 60098  •  815-338-MCCD(6223)

  Special Events

Lost Valley Ventures — Family Exploration Programs!  — Ongoing, topics change monthly
Living History Events at Powers-Walker House
Oct. 9, Nov. 9
  Children’s Story Time Oct. 12 & Nov. 9
OUTDOOR FEST — September 20   The Big Sit, Bird Watching Event — October 12
100 Oaks for 100 Years — October 18  

Star Party — October 18

Cache your way across Mchenry County GEOTOUR — Ongoing


OUTDOOR FEST—A Celebration of Green Healthy Living


Saturday, September 20

3:00–7:00 p.m.

Fel-Pro RRR Conservation Area
1520 Crystal Lake Rd., Cary






Come out for a pick-up game of basketball or bags, disc golf lessons or a fly fishing clinic, and stay for the food and enjoy live music. Visit with exhibitors for the latest in outdoor recreation equipment to ways to live a more environmentally-friendly life.


• Live Music • Disc Golf • Bags • Pick-up Games • Exhibitors •
• Food • Fun Run • Geocaching • Fly Fishing Clinics

3–4:30 p.m. Jeff Trudell (acoustic rock favorites) • 5–7 p.m. Miles Over Mountains (Bluegrass)

1 Mile Fun Run @ 2:30 p.m., Registration/Check-In opens at 1:45 p.m.
Kick off your festival experience with a run on our shady, paved trail over gently rolling terrain. Get a boost of energy for the rest of the afternoon, enjoy the scenery, and take a sneak peek at the vendor displays. PLUS, all Fun Runners will receive a gift for participating in this healthy lifestyle activity! All ages welcome; youth ages 13 & under must be accompanied by an adult. Pre-registration is recommended. Call Prairieview Education Center at (815) 479-5779.

Donate your old bike—Bike Drive! Working Bikes is a 501(c)3, not-for-profit that donates 6,000 used bicycles each year to humanitarian organizations around the world. Bicycles are life changing tools. With a bicycle, people in under served communities gain access to education, jobs, and healthcare that might otherwise be inaccessible. Donate your old bikes, parts and accessories in any condition at this bike drive. All donations are tax deductible. For more information, visit or call 773-847-5440.


Participating exhibitors: Akasha (yoga and meditation); Alpine Accessories; Environmental Defenders of McHenry County; Food Shed Co-op; Friends of Moraine Hills State Park; Friends of the Fox River; Friends of Volo Bog; Green Earth Farm; Kapital Electric (solar energy company for residential use, will display a solar panel and an electric vehicle charger); LL Bean; McHenry County College Sustainability Center; McHenry County Bicycle Advocates; Paper or Plastic Sports (disc golf); Tom’s Rain Barrels; Working Bikes; WPPC (The Wildflower Preservation and Propagation Committee). Food and beverages provided by MJ’s of McHenry [Top]

Special Guest Author Presentation & Book Signing

Robin Wall Kimmerer, Author
Braiding Sweetgrass & Gathering Moss

Saturday, September 27, 7:00 p.m.
Lost Valley Visitor Center, Glacial Park

Robin will share her insights, scientific knowledge, and teachings. As a botanist, Robin has been trained to ask questions of nature with the tools of science. She embraces indigenous teachings that consider plants and animals to be our oldest teachers. In a rich braid of reflections, she circles toward a central argument: that the awakening of a wider ecological consciousness requires the acknowledgement and celebration of our reciprocal relationship with the rest of the living world. Books available for sale that evening as well as at Read Between the Lynes in Woodstock. For additional information call the Prairieview Education Center at 815-338-6223. [Top]

Lost Valley Ventures—Family Exploration Programs!

Lost Valley VenturesSaturdays, 2–3:30 p.m.
No program November 22 or 29.

Are you looking for something the whole family can do for free on a Saturday afternoon? Come to Glacial Park for our Saturday exploration programs.

Topics change monthly: SeptemberFun with Flowers; OctoberBird Migration; NovemberWhite-tailed Deer and include a nature lesson, game, and a hike. Programs are held primarily outdoors, so dress for the weather and walking. No registration required. All ages are welcome.

This program is intended for families and cannot accommodate organized groups. Youth groups are welcome to call to schedule a program for their group. Check out our “Education and Recreation Opportunities for Youth Groups” brochure for more information. [Top]

Living History Events at Powers-Walker House, Glacial Park

demonstrating historical land survey methodsvolunteer in historical attire knittinga cavalry man and his horseyarn spinning demonstrationplaying old-time games at Powers-Walker House

No registration required. Drop in any time during the open hours.

Living History Open House—Twilight 

Thursday, October 9, 5:00–8:00 p.m.

Enjoy the twilight ambiance of this 1850’s house by candlelight and lamplight while enjoying a fall evening viewing the ever-changing colors in the Lost Valley Marsh. Smell the aromas and see what is being baked in the wood-burning stove. Don’t forget to check out new changes in the ongoing restoration of this historic house since the last time you visited.

Harvest Gathering of 1858 

Sunday, November 9, 12:00–4:00 p.m.

Step back in time to the 1850’s Powers-Walker House at harvest time. Try your hand at corn shelling, grinding corn into flour, or making a corn husk or yarn doll. Witness harvest activities like the baking of bread in the wood-burning cookstove and making candles for the wintertime. Tour the historic farmhouse to learn more about its restoration, or visit with a Cavalry sergeant and his horse as they demonstrate the weapons of the era used to protect these frontier lands.

Interested in taking a tour of the Powers-Walker House?

The Powers-Walker house will be open a variety of weekend afternoons. Look for the “open” sign and feel free to stop by for a free tour. You will learn about the architecture and furnishings of this restored Greek Revival home, as well as about the volunteer efforts to restore it to its original condition. Experience the “feel” of an 1850’s early settlement house and enjoy some peaceful time looking out over the restored marsh and wetlands. [Top]

Children's Story TimeChildren’s Story Time…

Sundays: 2:00–3:00 p.m. FREE

October 12, and November 9
Prairieview Education Center, Room 210, Crystal Lake

Enhance your sense of wonder by introducing fiction into your nature experience. Enjoy part of your Sunday afternoon listening to a story, taking an exploratory hike, and making a craft to take home based on the story. A different story will be read at each session:OctoberRed Leaf, Yellow Leaf  by Lois Ehlert; NovemberWhen Winter Comes by Nancy Van Laan.
No registration required; all ages welcome.[Top]

Perching birdThe Big Sit—Bird Watching Event

Sunday, October 12

Powers-Walker House—Glacial Park

Hosted by Hackmatack National Wildlife Refuge & Friends of Hackmatack National Wildlife Refuge

Celebrate National Wildlife Refuge week with birding’s most sedentary event, The Big Sit! an annual, international, noncompetitive birding event. The concept is simple: find a good spot for bird watching, sit in one spot for a designated time period, and count all the bird species you see or hear. The Big Sit! also falls in October, when fall migration is in full swing. This is the perfect opportunity to spot as many migrants as you can that pass through our area. Gather your closest bird-watching friends together for a bird-a-thon, a perfect excuse to share good stories, meet new friends, enjoy the outdoors and appreciate our fine feathered friends. (Photo by Bob Williams)

For more information visit Friends Hackmatack National Wildlife Refuge on the web @ [Top]

Telescope and StarsStar Party

hosted by Northwest Suburban Astronomers

Saturday, October 18, 7–10 p.m.
Marengo Ridge

Look at stars, galaxies, nebulae and star clusters with the help of NSA member telescopes. Observing highlights will include the Pinwheel, Whirlpool, Andromeda and other galaxies; The Hercules Cluster, The Double Cluster, The Pleiades and other star clusters; Lagoon, Trifid, Pacman and other nebula, and the planets Mars, Neptune and Uranus if conditions are good.

Dress for chilly evenings and bring a flashlight covered with red plastic or cellophane (red light preserves your night vision).

Please arrive around 7:00 p.m. or come early and hike the trails. You are welcome to bring your own telescope or binoculars. In the event of inclement weather the event will be canceled. [Top]

100 Oaks for 100 Years

Saturday, October 18, 1:00–4:00 p.m. FREE
Lost Valley Visitor Center, Savanna Room—Glacial Park

Bring your family and friends out to help us plant 100 oak trees! One hundred years ago there were oaks on this spot, and our goal is to restore the area to the oak savanna it once was. This is your chance to be part of planting the 100 oaks to be around for the next 100 years! Stop in anytime or stay and visit oak specialists, make an oak craft and listen to stories of majestic oaks.(Photo by Paul Litke)[Top]

Cache Your Way Across McHenry County
GEOTOURchecking the geocache coordinates

Official Launch Date: August 1, 2014

GeoTours are specifically designed to turn your next staycation, day trip or geocaching expedition into an extraordinary adventure. Cache Your Way Across McHenry County GeoTour highlights 15 of the best District spots where gamers will be led along unique trails, under bridges, to historic sites, or in the middle of a majestic oak woodland. At each stop, cachers will be introduced to a variety of interesting facts, fun tidbits, stories, quizzes and a question to answer in your GeoTour Passport. There is a special first-to-find prize in all the caches. Those who complete all 15 caches will earn the District’s newest geocoin. A couple of the caches have travel bugs. Please move these bugs along and do not keep them; you will get your own to keep when you successfully complete the tour! Once you complete all the caches, bring your passport to one of our visitor centers to claim a coin; or e-mail a copy to

Download passports and program information from our website starting August 1—

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