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Discover winter, holiday crafts

WOODSTOCK – The McHenry County Conservation District offers families ways to get outdoors during December.

• Natural Ornament Making: 2:30 p.m. Dec. 1 at Prairieview Education Center, 2112 Behan Road, Crystal Lake. Celebrate the season by crafting ornaments. Create handmade ornaments using natural materials. Each participant will bring home a craft. The program is free for county residents and $3 for nonresidents. It is for children ages 6 to 12 accompanied by an adult. The registration deadline is Monday.

• Discovery Days: 10 to 11 a.m. Dec. 7 at Lost Valley Visitor Center in Glacial Park, Route 31 and Harts Road, Ringwood. The event includes a game, craft and other educational activities based on the theme of the day. There will be a short walk if weather allows. The program is free for county residents and $3 for nonresidents. It is for children ages 2 to 6 accompanied by an adult. The registration deadline is Dec. 2.

• Life in a Wigwam: 7 to 8:30 p.m. Dec. 7 at Lost Valley Visitor Center in Glacial Park, Route 31 and Harts Road, Ringwood. Learn about the Metis people of the 18th century at this active program. There will be role-playing games, activities and crafts to learn about the lives of this Native American and fur trader mixed culture. Note: There is a separate but simultaneous program for adults on the same subject. The program is free for county residents and $5 for nonresidents. It is for children ages 5 to 11. The registration deadline is Dec. 2.

• Life with the Metis: 7 to 8:30 p.m. Dec. 7 at Lost Valley Visitor Center in Glacial Park, Route 31 and Harts Road, Ringwood. Join living history interpreters as they discuss the life of the Metis in the mid- to late-18th century. Who were they? What did they wear? How did they make a living? There is a separate but simultaneous program for children ages 5 to 11 on the same subject. The program is free for county residents and $6 for nonresidents. It is for adults 14 years and older. The registration deadline is Dec. 2.

• Make Your Own Wooden Toys: 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. Dec. 8 at Prairieview Education Center, 2112 Behan Road, Crystal Lake. Learn how to make wooden toys. The wood used for these projects comes from a nonnative, invasive plant called European buckthorn. Participants will learn about the plant and why MCCD crews work so hard to remove it from natural areas. The program is free for county residents and $3 for nonresidents. It is for children ages 8 to 13 accompanied by an adult. The registration deadline is Dec. 3.

• Owl Walk: 5 to 7 p.m. Dec. 9 at Lost Valley Visitor Center in Glacial Park, Route 31 and Harts Road, Ringwood. Search for sights and sounds of the owls that reside at Glacial Park during the winter months. First, there will be a hike to listen for owls. Next, participants will head inside, where a slide presentation and a live owl will introduce hikers to these magnificent creatures. Dress for the weather and for walking one mile over hilly terrain. The program is free for county residents and $6 for nonresidents. It is for adults 14 years and older. The registration deadline is Dec. 4.

• Introduction to Snowshoeing: 7 to 8 p.m. Dec. 11 at Lost Valley Visitor Center in Glacial Park, Route 31 and Harts Road Ringwood. An indoor lesson will teach what one needs to know to go snowshoeing in McHenry County. How should you dress, where can you go and what equipment do you need? Staff from 2K Adventure Gear will showcase winter gear and share advice. The program is free for county residents and $6 for nonresidents. It is for adults 14 years and older. The registration deadline is Dec. 6.

• Walk Like Thoreau: 2 to 4 p.m. Dec. 15 at Prairieview Education Center, 2112 Behan Road, Crystal Lake. Share in an experience based on one of Thoreau’s often-quoted essays, “Walking.” The program will begin inside with a reading and then travel to a local site. The site will be chosen by staff just before the date to include wildness and sensory-loaded scenery. Reading the essay in advance is recommended but not required. Find it online, at a local library or bookstore or borrow a copy from the district. For information, call 815-678-4532, ext. 8117. The program is free for county residents and $6 for nonresidents. It is for adults 14 years and older. The registration deadline is Dec. 10.

• Solstice Night Hike: 6:30 to 8 p.m. Dec. 21 at Prairieview Education Center, 2112 Behan Road, Crystal Lake. The winter solstice brings the longest, darkest night to the northern hemisphere. For centuries, this event has been a call for celebration. Participants will investigate old ways to celebrate this celestial event while creating new traditions. A new tradition includes a luminary-candlelight night hike, ending at a warm campfire. Participants should be prepared for outdoor activities. Participants are asked not to bring flashlights. The program is free for county residents and $2 for nonresidents. It is for adults and families ages 6 and older. The registration deadline is Dec. 16.

Registration is accepted online, by phone at 815-479-5779, mail or walk-in at Prairieview Education Center, 2112 Behan Road in Crystal Lake.

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