Sunday, April 19 from 1 to 4 p.m.


A guided tour of the wet areas of Thorn Creek Woods.

Spend some time in Thorn Creek Woods and you will notice little patches of color making its way into the brown and gray woodland. Spring beauties are poking their little white and pink heads out, the greens of the wild leeks and onions are becoming more and more visible in the floodplains and the leaf buds are looking forward to opening as warm weather becomes a reality. The woodland has also become louder as the days get longer. Chorus frogs will be singing their little hearts out, birds are voicing their opinions during territorial disputes and the sounds of hikers echo through the trees.
     Join naturalists April Richards and Ingrid Krizan for a guided tour of the wet areas of Thorn Creek Woods on our Hidden Ponds Hike, Sunday, April 19 from 1 to 4 p.m. Discover vernal ponds, listen for the return of amphibian choruses and explore the marshes of Owl Lake and beyond. These low lying areas provide vital habitat for woodland creatures and are an integral part of the Thorn Creek ecosystem. Participants will enjoy a 3 mile hike on natural surface trails across uneven terrain. The hike is free and for those aged 10 years and up. Registration required by Friday, April 17. Telephone: 708-747-6320 • Email:




Saturday, April 25 from Noon to 4 p.m.


Celebration of a life: Jon Mendelson and Thorn Creek Woods.

image002On this Earth Day, the legacy of Jon Mendelson, the long time GSU professor, field ecologist and chair of Thorn Creek’s Management Commission who died last November, will be honored. A dedicated champion of open space, and a force of nature in his own right, he worked tirelessly to acquire land for Thorn Creek Woods, and to study and protect local watersheds. Jon taught courses in ecology to generations of GSU students and was caretaker for the Preserve’s historic farm.

     Join us to celebrate Jon’s life with remembrances by family, colleagues and friends, displays highlighting his work in the woods, photographs, music and a hike to explore the habitat of the salamanders, frogs and toads he studied. Mendelson’s drawings, his crafted gourd mobiles, and his Thorn Creek Woods T-shirt design, with their whimsical takes on natural flora and fauna, will be on view.

     Maps and photos from the many ecological field studies he conducted in these woods, and the nature essays that graced the pages of Thorn Creek News for many years will be displayed. A new trail bench along the trail he walked countless times will be dedicated to his memory. Enjoy a 3 mile hike on natural surface trails across uneven terrain. Thorn Creek Nature Center, 247 Monee Road, Park Forest, IL 60466. For information: 708-747-6320; or Email:



Sunday, May 3 from 7 to 9 p.m.


Walk with us on the night of the Flower moon.

The abundant blooms of spring flowers and trees in May helped the Potawatomi keep track of the seasons. On our hike we’ll listen for nocturnal animals and explore the idea that darkness helps predators. Free! All ages. Registration required by Friday, May 1. Telephone: 708-747-6320 • Email:



Saturday, May 9 from 1 to 4 p.m.


Meet ten common woodland flowers.

Even in shady Thorn Creek Woods there is a unique bouquet of wildflowers that thrive here. Join us on a hike to discover which species are in bloom. We will learn the names and physical appearance of ten common woodland flowers. Free! All ages. Registration required by Thursday, May 7. Telephone: 708-747-6320 • Email:



Monday, May 18 from 9:30 a.m. to Noon


Make a difference in a natural environment!

Get down and dirty and help Master Gardeners from the University of Illinois Extension Service care for Thorn Creek's Prairie Sampler. Located in front of the Nature Center, the small prairie that was nurtured by the late Jim Marzuki needs your help with weeding, pulling tall goldenrod, and trimming out woody plants. Then, we will plant and water the newly acquired plants. Telephone: 708-747-6320 • Email:



Sunday, May 31 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.


Discover the naturalist in you.

Celebrate the beauty of the summer woods in this program for women only. Discover the naturalist in you as you explore the woods, observing birds and insects, identifying trees and flowers, following tracks and much more. Adult women; $5 per person. Registration required by Friday, May 29. Telephone: 708-747-6320 • Email:

Available now and throughout the year


For Children and Adults

The Nature Center at Thorn Creek Woods Nature Preserve offers educational programs throughout the year for schools, home school groups, day cares, preschools, youth groups, and also families and adult groups. Minimum group size for a program is 10; maximum is 20. Larger groups may be accommodated based on staff availability. Click to view or download our Nature Education Programs for Children and Adults brochure.



Just published by the FRIENDS of Thorn Creek Woods!

Spr-2015-coverTHORN CREEK NEWS

Spring 2015

Click to read or download Thorn Creek News newsletters









Sunday, April 12, 2015


Park Forest Historical Society

fr6-smallOn Sunday, April 12, 2015, the Park Forest Historical Society inducted into the Park Forest Hall of Fame, FRIENDS of Thorn Creek Woods, Jon Mendelson and Judy Dolan Mendelson. FRIENDS was nominated by the Board of the Park Forest Historical Society and Jon and Judy by Penny Chamberlain. (click image for larger captioned view)  To read all about it, see THORN CREEK NEWS; Spring 2015, pg. 15

Let us know!


Share your observations of birds—or critters or plants

Let us know what birds (and other critters and plants) that you observe in the woods this year. Tell us what you observed and where in the preserve. How? Leave a note or the blue Trail Watcher sheet in the Drop Box at the front door to nature center. Email us at You can also stop in the nature center Friday-Sunday from noon to 4 p.m.

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