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

Hummingbird Festival
Pollination Celebration

Saturday, September 2

10:00 am - 2:00 pm

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Program Registration

Some programs below require advanced registration and payment. Space is limited.
Classes could be cancelled if minimum enrollment is not met by the registration deadline.
Please contact us at 309-874-2174 or email register@sugargrovenaturecenter.org
for more information or to check availability after the registration deadline.

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

Programs for Kids

Little Wonders: Shapes & Patterns in Nature
Ages 3-5 (with an adult chaperone)
Wednesday, October 11; 10:00-11:30 a.m. or 1:00-1:30 p.m.

Shapes and patterns are everywhere! Especially in nature! Kids and their
adult chaperones will discover shapes and patterns in snakes, flowers,
leaves, and so much more in this hands-on, interactive class.  A snack
will accompany story time and a fun craft will be created.
Fee: $5/child members, $8/child non-members with an adult chaperone. Registration required 

Nature Exploration Club CLASS IS FULL
Ages 6-12
Tuesdays, June 13-July 25 (6 sessions, no class on July 4); 10:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m.
Discovery and exploration will be emphasized in this exciting program. Along with environmental themes, show-and-tell, and projects, participants will enjoy plenty of unstructured time in nature.
Fee for series: $100/members, $125/non-members.
Registration and prepayment required by June 6.

Creek Stomp
Ages 6-8; Tuesday, August 1; 10:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m.
Ages 9-12; Wednesday, August 2; 10:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m
Kids will love getting wet and muddy as they explore the banks and depths of a nearby creek!  Learn about some of the creatures we might encounter, then head out to creek to see what we can find!
Fee: $25/child members, $30/child non-members.  Please bring a lunch. 
Registration and prepayment required by July 25.

The Art of Animals at Miller Park Zoo
Ages: 10-18
Monday, August 7: Invertebrates; 9:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m.
Science meets art in this unique collaboration by Miller Park Zoo and Sugar Grove Nature Center.  Participants will meet some animals and study their physical characteristics, then use this information in sketching a few subjects. All art material will be provided, please bring a lunch.
Fee: $20 per session/member; $25 per session/non-member (Nature Center or Zoo). 
Registration and prepayment required.  Class will take place at Miller Park Zoo.

Programs for All Ages

Family Nature Exploration Day
Saturdays, August 5 and October 7; 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.

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 FULL
Friday, August 25; 6:00-7:30 p.m.
While most bugs are an important part of the ecosystem, some bugs are just bad news! This story, told by Elizabeth Burns from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, centers on exotic invasive insects that lurk in firewood and the damage they can cause. See specimens up close, create a craft, then head out to the campfire to burn some firewood and roast some marshmallows for s'mores!
Free/members; $5/non-members.  Registration and prepayment required one week prior to event.

Imagination Grove Fun Day
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.

Programs for Adults

A Toast to Nature: Turtles & Martinis, The Effect of Climate Change on Turtles
Ages 21+
Friday, July 21; 7:00-8:30 p.m.
Fee: $10/members; $15/non-members
Using egg incubation treatments with simulated heat waves, Tony Breitenbach is examining the impact of climate change on embryonic development in turtles. He will discuss his research while we sip on turtle martinis*. Afterwards, snacks and lively discussion will be served!

Nature Camp for Grown-Ups!
Ages 18+
Why should kids get to have all of the fun?  Do you remember the fun you had at day camp as a kid?  Did you always want to go to camp, but didn’t have the opportunity?  Do you need an excuse to unplug and reconnect with nature? Experience, Explore, & Enjoy the nature of Funks Grove at these three Nature Camps designed for adults wanting to remember what it feels like to be a child without all the distractions of everyday life.  Each day will be filled with learning, hikes, activities, and, of course, a craft and snack!  See topics per date below:
 Nature Camp at NIGHT!
Tuesday, August 9, 6:00 p.m.-11:00 p.m. Canceled
Enjoy dinner followed by evening activities and excursions to learn about the bugs, bats, and bizarre beings that come alive after the sun sets!  Then, the Twin City Amateur Astronomers will wow you with a tour of their observatories and some night sky viewing.
Fee: $30/session members, $40/session non-members. 
Registration and prepayment required one week prior to start date.

Beginning Blacksmith Classes
Ages 16+
Saturday, September 16; 8:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. Class FULL
Saturday, September 30; 8:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Class FULL
In this hands-on program, you will work side-by-side with a blacksmith who will give you guidance and encouragement every step of the way. By the end of the day, you will have one or two small completed projects to take home. The class will be offered twice in September. Choose between the 16th or the 30th.
Participants are asked to wear a long-sleeved shirt and long pants made of cotton or wool; no shorts or open-toed shoes, please. Safety glasses must be worn and will be provided if needed. Fee: $50/members of Sugar Grove Nature Center or Illinois Valley Blacskmith Association, $60/non-members; lunch, tools, and materials included. Registration and prepayment requried one week before the class date.