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MCCD offers winter exploration programs

WOODSTOCK – The McHenry County Conservation District offers families a way to get outdoors for winter explorations.

• Winter Constellations: 7 to 8:30 p.m. Jan. 18 at Brookdale Conservation Area, 18410 Route 14, Woodstock. Under a hushed winter sky, participants will learn to identify a few major constellations and listen to the stories behind them. Dress for the weather and come prepared to be outside for part of the program, which is free for county residents and $5 for nonresidents. It is for adults and families. The registration deadline in Jan. 13.

• An Afternoon with the Short-Eared Owls: 4 to 5:30 p.m. Jan. 19 at Lost Valley Visitor Center in Glacial Park, Route 31 and Harts Road, Ringwood. The short-eared owl is an Illinois endangered species, but visits Glacial Park every winter. Participants will take a winter hike at dusk to search for these special creatures. Attendees should bring binoculars if they have them, and dress for the weather. The afternoon will begin with a short indoor presentation at the Lost Valley Visitor Center. The program is free for county residents and $2 for nonresidents. It is for adults and families ages 8 and up. The registration deadline is Jan. 14.

• Animal Tracks, Traces and Trails: 1 to 2:30 p.m. Jan. 19 at Rush Creek Conservation Area, 20501 McGuire Road, Harvard. Winter snowfall provides the perfect opportunity to search for animal tracks and traces. Participants will search for animal clues on the trails and discover animal behaviors. Dress for the weather; the entire program will be outdoors.  The program is free for county residents and $2 for nonresidents. It is for children ages 6 to 12. The registration deadline is Jan. 14.

• Fantastic Fur: 10 to 11:30 a.m. Jan. 21 at Lost Valley Visitor Center in Glacial Park, Route 31 and Harts Road, Ringwood. Participants will learn about fur-bearing animals of Illinois. How does their fur help them survive and are there different types of fur? Discover the answers to these questions and more. The program will include an outdoor hike, so dress for the weather. The program is free for county residents and $5 for nonresidents. It is for children ages 6 to 12. The registration deadline is Jan. 16.

• Well Planned Garden: 7 to 8:30 p.m. Jan. 24 at Prairieview Education Center, 2112 Behan Road, Crystal Lake. Gather with new and seasoned gardeners as they plan for the next garden season. Companion planting, organic pest control and other methods used to create a more sustainable garden also will be discussed. Participants should feel free to bring their garden journals to share their own discoveries. The program is free for county residents and $6 for nonresidents. It is for those 14 years and older. The registration deadline is Jan. 19.

Register online at www.mccdistrict.org, by phone at 815-479-5779, by mail or by walk-in at Prairieview Education Center, 2112 Behan Road in Crystal Lake.

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