I only went out for a walk and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in. ~ John Muir, 1913
 
Featured Events
 


Maple Sirup Experience Programs

Click here for more information


 
Follow us on Facebook
 

Upcoming Programs for All Ages

For those programs requiring advanced registration and payment, space is limited.  Classes could be cancelled if minimum enrollment is not met by the registration deadline.  Please contact us for availability after the registration deadline has passed. 


To Register for a program, please click the program title!


Family Nature Exploration Day
Saturdays, April 1, May 6, & June 3; 10:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m.
Bring your family out at any time throughout the day.  Create a fun make-and-take craft, take a guided hike at 11:00 a.m., and don’t miss the feeding of the turtles, snakes, and other critters at 1:00 p.m. 
Free.  No registration required.

Sundays in the Saphouse
Sundays, April 2, 9. 16. 23. & 30; 12:00-4:00 p.m.
Enjoy Sundays exploring the nature of Funks Grove! Start your adventure at the Sap House on the lawn near the Covered Bridge where each week a new topic will be featured.  Indoor displays and activities will get you ready for your outdoor exploration.  Check out binoculars and field guides or grab an exploration pack full of items to assist you on your adventure! See the Topic per Date below:
April 9: Letterboxing Adventure
Learn what letterboxing is and follow clues to 7 locations at Sugar Grove to learn more about the site and the plants and animals that call it home!  Earn a prize for completing the challenge!
April 16:  Rabbits & Ribbits
Learn about the Easter bunny’s native relative the Eastern Cottontail Rabbit---pet a pelt, learn to identify tracks and scat, and find out what you should do if you find young rabbits in your yard.  Then explore the world of frogs and toads!  Imitate their calls and find out where to spy them.
April 23:  Garlic Mustard Smackdown
What is an exotic, invasive species and why is managing for them important?  Learn all about our #1 nemesis, help us wrangle it, and taste some garlic mustard salad.
April 30:  Spring Woodland Wildflowers
The only time of year you’ll see these beauties is spring and they won’t be around for long!  Check out an ID card to take on your flower foray!
Free.  No registration required.


Bird House Building Workshop CLASS IS FULL
Saturday, April 22; 11:00 a.m. - Noon
Join us to build a bird house at this exciting workshop! The house will attract House Wrens, as well as Chickadees and Nuthatches while the entry hole is small enough to exclude House Sparrows. All materials are hand cut and pre-drilled by Nature Center volunteers who will also be on-hand to provide assembly instruction and assistance. This program is suitable for individuals and families. Pre-registration and payment is requried. Space is limited. Limit of 2 kits per family.
Fee: &8/kit for Nature Center or JWP Audubon Members; $10/kit for non-members
Registration deadline: April 15


Family Nature Exploration Day
Saturdays, January 7 & February 4; 10:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m.
(There will be no March Family Nature Exploration Day due to our Maple Sirup Experience Tours. 
Bring your family out at any time throughout the day.  Create a fun make-and-take craft, take a guided hike at 11:00 a.m., and don’t miss the feeding of the turtles, snakes, and other critters at 1:00 p.m. 
Free.  No registration required.

Acoustic Irish Music Jam Session and Blacksmith Demonstration
Saturdays, April 15, May 20, June 17,  
10:00 a.m. - Noon
Acoustic musicians of all levels are invited to join an Irish-music jam session!  Bring your instrument or just enjoy the music! For more details, email mtyner@iwu.edu.  The public is also invited to watch members of the Illinois Valley Blacksmiths Association as they work at the Forge across from the Nature Center parking lot.    
Free.  No registration required

Tuesday Night Trail Runs

Every Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. through October 24th, 2017
Sugar Grove Nature Center in Funks Grove invites you to venture out to enjoy the trails or roads on Tuesday evenings.  The usual trail route is 5 miles, and is well marked.  Easy-to-follow road routes of 4 or 7 miles are also an option.  Don’t miss the post run party in the corn crib!  Refuel and refresh while socializing with others.  Snacks and water are provided, and you are encouraged to bring other beverages.  Make it an adventure to look forward to each week! 
Fee: Free, donations appreciated. No registration required.


Family Campfire Programs
Friday, April 21: Flowers in the Forest; 6:00-7:30 p.m.
Sunday, May 7: Fun with Fungi; 2:00-3:30 p.m.
Friday, June 9: Crafty Raccoons; 6:30-8:00 p.m.
Learn about a different nature-related topic each month, then gather aournd the campfire where we will enjoy s’mores and the company of other families that love the outdoors!
Free/members; $5/non-members.  Registration and prepayment required one week prior to event.

Garlic Mustard Smackdown
Saturday, April 22; 10:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m. & Sunday, April 23; 12:00-4:00 p.m.
The garlic mustard plant is exotic and invasive, making it an enemy of our beloved bluebells and the other beautiful spring flowers of the forest.  It takes valuable resources and crowds out the native plants that wildlife relies on and are unique to our area.  You can help!  At the top of every hour, staff will be giving a briefing on the target, then supplying you with the necessary equipment to eradicate this nemesis (gloves and a garbage bag).  Stay as long as you want.  Come with friends, family, or even an organization! 
Free.  No registration required.


Twin City Amateur Astronomers Public Viewing Sessions: Wonders of Jupiter

Saturday, April 29; 8:30-10:30 p.m.
Jupiter is the fifth planet from the Sun and the largest in the Solar System. It is a giant gas giant planet with a mass one-thousandth that of the Sun, but two and a half times that of all the other planets in the Solar System combined.   A 20-30 minute presentation on the featured topic will be followed by a sky tour using a laser pointer and telescope observing.  Programs will be held even in the event of an overcast sky, but active rain will cause a cancellation of the event.  When uncertain if a session has been cancelled, check for updates on Facebook (Twin City Amateur Astronomers - TCAA) or twitter (@tc_astro).  For more information, visit www.tcaa.us.
Free.  No registration required.


Twin City Amateur Astronomers Public Viewing Sessions: Summer Binocular Objects

Saturday, May 27; 9:00-11:00 p.m.
You don’t need a large telescope to see object in the Milky Way, or deep space as a matter of fact. Learn what to look for and where you will find it using simple binoculars under a dark night sky.  A 20-30 minute presentation on the featured topic will be followed by a sky tour using a laser pointer and telescope observing.  See description on April 20 for information on weather cancellations.
Free.  No registration required.

National Trails Day
Saturday, June 3; 10:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m.
Lace up your hiking boots and explore over 7 miles of trails!  Take part in guided hikes led by Illinois Grand Prairie Master Naturalists or explore on your own.  Learn about Illinois mammals, frogs and toads, geocaching, first aid and trail safety, nature journaling, and much more! Check-in at National Trails Day Celebration Headquarters to pick up your hiking passport and begin your journey.  This event will feature activities and hikes for adults, families with children, and even leashed four-legged friends.  Special opportunities for scouts are planned, too!  We encourage you to pack a picnic lunch and plan to stay all day.
Free.  No registration required.


Imagination Grove Fun Day
Thursday, June 8; 10:00-2:00 p.m.
Friday, July 14; 10:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m.
Tuesday, August 15; 10:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m.
While Imagination Grove, our nature play area, is open daily, we have desinated these special days for you to meet other like-minded families that enjoy and appreciate nature-based play.  Stop out anytime between 10:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m. and bring a nature item from home to trade at the Nature Trading Post: shells, nuts, rocks, or anything else you would like to trade.  We will supply lemonade and snacks, your bring energy and imagination!
Free, although a donation such as birdseed, sugar (for hummingbirds), or toilet paper would be appreciated.  See our website for complete wish list.  No registration required.

Arts Fair
A Collaboration Between Inside Out: Accessible Art Cooperative & Sugar Grove Nature Center
Saturday, June 17; 10:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.
Join us for a day of immersion in the arts!  All ages are encouraged to take part in workshops, make-and-take activities, and environmental arts!  Artists will be on hand for this show and sale of original art.  Bring your supplies and join in an open plein air painting event that will take place throughout the day.  Performing artists and other local organizations, such as the Irish Music Jam Session, Illinois Valley Blacksmith Association, with more to come!  Food will be available for purchase and bringing your own picnic is encouraged.  More activities are being added as the planning continues. Please watch our websites and social media pages and share the invitation to this event with friends and family!
Free Admission!  No registration for event, some workshops will require pre-registration.
No registration required.


Twin City Amateur Astronomers Public Viewing Sessions: Wonders of Saturn

Saturday, June 24; 9:00-11:00 p.m.
Saturn is the sixth planet from the Sun and the second-largest in the Solar System after Jupiter. It is a gas giant with an average radius about nine times that of Earth. It is surrounded by an amazing ring system.  A 20-30 minute presentation on the featured topic will be followed by a sky tour using a laser pointer and telescope observing.  See description on April 20 for information on weather cancellations.
Free.  No registration required.