Special Events

Experience McHenry County Conservation District by attending one of our upcoming special events!
Click the months below to reveal the events - updated quarterly. 


Great Outdoors Beer Trail_Banner 2021


In addition to these special events, we also offer other seasonal programs.

Register for a Program

Special Events

Cache Your Way Across McHenry County
Geo-Series: ongoing 
This GeoSeries is specifically designed to turn your next staycation, day trip or geocaching expedition into an extraordinary adventure. Cache Your Way Across McHenry County GeoSeries 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 GeoSeries Passport. 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! Complete all the caches and bring your passport to one of our facilities to claim a coin.  Find more information on our Geocaching page.


Challenge 2021: Aug. 2 through Nov. 30
Complete your answer sheet and claim your 2021 GeoCoin. This year’s theme celebrates the District's 50th Anniversary. All caches will be live on geocaching.com. Note: This is a separate program from the Geo-Series above. There are a limited number of coins—first-come, first-served; one coin per household. Find more information on our Geocaching page.

Lost Valley Nature Detectives
Self-guided Explorations
Winter is here. But that's no excuse to stay inside! Each month we will post links to virtual Nature Detectives activities and videos filled with things you can do from home! Stop by Lost Valley Visitor Center for new self-guided fun, or check out some past Nature Detectives activities on our E-Learning page.

Star Party 
Friday, August 27 |  6-10 p.m.
Rain/weather alternate August 28)
Coral Woods Conservation Area

Northwest Suburban Astronomer members will be on hand to point out highlights in the night sky as they aim their telescopes at globular and open star clusters in the Milky Way as well as at planetary nebulae and the Andromeda Galaxy. Dress for the weather, bring a flashlight covered with red plastic or cellophane (red light preserves everyone’s night vision), and insect repellent. You are welcome to bring your own telescope or binoculars. NSA members will be happy to provide guidance in their use.

The Great Outdoors Beer Trail
Saturday, September 25  |  2-6pm
Fel-Pro RRR

If you love sampling good craft beer and spending time outdoors, this event is for you! Walk the one-mile partially wooded, paved trail while visiting various regional brewers along the way. Play a pickup game of bags, listen to music, enjoy some tasty bites from local food trucks. The event is open to ages 21+. This is a dog-friendly event—a leash is required. The site is closed to all other users during the event and closes at sunset. 
Thank you to our sponsors: Shooting Star Native Seeds, Obenauf Auction Services, Gypsy Glen K9 Kastle and First Midwest Bank.

Buy Tickets
Early Bird: $40 (Before August 1)
Includes 3 oz. tastes from multiple brewers + souvenir tasting glass
VIP: $50 (Limited tickets available)
Includes one-hour early access & promo goodie bag
Late Bird: $45 (Before September 1)
Includes 3 oz. tastes from multiple brewers + souvenir tasting glass
Designated Driver: $10
Includes water/soda & commemorative glass

Theodore Roosevelt Visits the Powers-Walker House
Sunday, September 12 |  Noon - 4 p.m.
Powers-Walker House

Theodore Roosevelt was a complicated man of many talents: a rancher, an avid hunter, a war hero as a "Rough Rider", a
progressive statesman, a naturalist, a conservationist, a masterful politician, and the 26th President of the United
States. Join us at the Powers-Walker house for an afternoon with Lt. Col. Theodore Roosevelt and his trusty mount.

Sites Seldom Seen: Grasslands & Grazing at Pleasant Valley
Sunday, September 19 |  1 - 3:30 p.m.
Pleasant Valley

Step back in time to the 1850's 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 baking bread in the wood-burning cookstove and grinding herbs for winter use. Tour the historic farmhouse to learn more about its restoration, and visit with a Cavalry sergeant and his horse as they demonstrate the weapons of the era used to protect these frontier lands. Register

Star Party 
Friday, September 24 |  6-10 p.m.
Rain/weather alternate September 25)
Marengo Ridge Conservation Area

Northwest Suburban Astronomer members will be on hand to point out highlights in the night sky as they aim their telescopes at globular and open star clusters in the Milky Way as well as at planetary nebulae and the Andromeda Galaxy. Dress for the weather, bring a flashlight covered with red plastic or cellophane (red light preserves everyone’s night vision), and insect repellent. You are welcome to bring your own telescope or binoculars. NSA members will be happy to provide guidance in their use.

50th Anniversary Road Rally
Saturday, October 9  |  8 a.m. - 1 p .m.
(Ending Location) Brookdale Conservation Area - Paulson Rd. Shelter

Teams will work together to search for clues on this road rally scavenger hunt. Along the way, learn the fun, often quirky facts about the District properties and their early beginnings. The real goal is to create lots of laughter and good-natured team competition while discovering the little-known side of the District's history. We will all end up at Brookdale Conservation Area for a cookout and some fabulous prizes! Register

Weekend of Restoration XVIX. Water: The Essential Substance
October 2 and 3,
Saturday 8 a.m. to noon Sunday
Lost Valley Visitor Center, Glacial Park.
Cost: $25 per person; $15 Seniors (60+); $20 Students.
Registration Code: 7408

Welcome you back to Camp Hackmatack, as we partner with Hackmatack National Wildlife Refuge for an exciting weekend. Water is the theme  as we progress to the third of the ancient Greek elements that make up the universe: fire, earth, water, and air. Water is the universal solvent, the essential medium of life, the home of the first life on earth, and 60% of the human body. We will explore its mysterious properties and sing its praises.

Join us for a weekend of learning, exploration, and restoration as we plant native trees and shrubs to restore the land. We will spend most of our time outdoors, so come dressed for the weather. Fee includes lunch and supper on Saturday and continental breakfast Sunday morning. There are several motels within 15 minutes of the park and camping in the park is free for this event only! Join us this weekend and make a difference! Visit our Facebook Page @MCCDWEOR. Register

The Big Sit
Sunday, October 10  |  7 a.m. - 5 p .m.
Lost Valley Visitor Center, Glacial Park

Celebrate National Wildlife Refuge Week with birding's most sedentary event. The Big Sit is an annual, international, noncompetitive birding event. Find a good spot for bird watching and count all the bird species you see or hear. In October, fall migration activities are in full swing, enjoy them with a pair of binoculars, your notebook, and a good lawn chair with friends. Dress for the weather. For more information, visit mchenryaudubon.org. This event is hosted by Friends of Hackmatack National Wildlife Refuge and McHenry County Audubon Society with support from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.
Also of interest: McHenry County Audubon will host bird-watching circles Sunday, September 19, from 7-10 a.m., and 4-7 p.m. at Boone Creek Conservation Area and Pleasant Valley Conservation Area.

Archaeological Awareness
Sunday, October 10 |  Noon - 4 p.m.
Powers-Walker House

See demonstrations of a stone grinder, flintknapper, and other prehistoric skills. Try your hand at throwing an atlatl while pretending you are on a prehistoric big game hunt. A mounted cavalryman will be on hand to explain the archaeology of the Little Big Horn site. Archaeologists will describe how prehistoric technologies are discovered and interpreted. Examples of artifacts will be on display, including those found at the Powers-Walker House. Bring your own arrowheads or prehistoric tools for identification by professional archaeologists.

OAKtober Planting Party at the Big Woods
Saturday, October 16  |  1 - 4 p.m.
Marengo Ridge Conservation Area

Join us for our 6th annual OAKtober Planting Party! Work with District staff and volunteers to reforest the heart of Marengo Ridge, as part of the District's long-term efforts to restore the "Big Woods" that once covered a third of our county in oak woodlands. plan to hike a short distance off-trail to the planting site where you will learn why this work is so important. Dress for getting dirty and bring work gloves if you have them. Great opportunity for families to spend time in nature together and for students and Scouts to earn service hours!

Inspired By Nature - Staff Art Exhibit
October 17, 2021 - January 2, 2022
Artist Reception: Sunday, October 17 |  1 - 3 p .m.
Lost Valley Visitor Center, Glacial Park

The staff and volunteers of the McHenry County Conservation District have talent! Join us for the opening of the "Inspired By Nature" art show featuring the work of past and present staff and volunteers. Art mediums will include painting, photography, woodworking, and more! This exhibit is part of our year-long celebration of the McHenry County Conservation District's 50th Anniversary. Refreshments will be served.

Twilight at the Farmhouse
Thursday, October 21 |  6 - 8 p.m.
Powers-Walker House

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 of what is baking in the wood-burning stove. We think of candlelight at the end of the day as peaceful, but try doing detailed work in dim lighting! See how the early settlers tried to get the remains of their work done at day's end.


Harvest Time in 1858
Sunday, November 7 |  Noon- 4 p.m.
Powers-Walker House

Step back in time to the 1850's 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 baking bread in the wood-burning cookstove and grinding herbs for winter use. Tour the historic farmhouse to learn more about its restoration, and visit with a Cavalry sergeant and his horse as they demonstrate the weapons of the era used to protect these frontier lands.

Full Moon Hike
Friday, November 19 |  7 - 8:30 p.m.
Kishwaukee Headwaters

Join us for a full moon hike through the prairie as you discover full moon stories from cultures around the world. Leave your flashlights at home and let the moon light the way. Register

Inspired By Nature - Staff Art Exhibit
October 17, 2021 - January 2, 2022

Lost Valley Visitor Center, Glacial Park

The staff and volunteers of the McHenry County Conservation District have talent! Enjoy "Inspired By Nature", featuring the work of past and present staff and volunteers. Art mediums will include painting, photography, woodworking, and more! This exhibit is part of our year-long celebration of the McHenry County Conservation District's 50th Anniversary. 

Inspired By Nature - Staff Art Exhibit
October 17, 2021 - January 2, 2022

Lost Valley Visitor Center, Glacial Park

The staff and volunteers of the McHenry County Conservation District have talent! Enjoy "Inspired By Nature", featuring the work of past and present staff and volunteers. Art mediums will include painting, photography, woodworking, and more! This exhibit is part of our year-long celebration of the McHenry County Conservation District's 50th Anniversary.