Kids and Nature

Kids and Nature:

Kids and NatureChildren love to explore, and they will be thrilled to find interesting plants and animals on their own.  Good habitats are spread around the county.  Choose a promising area where the weather will be conducive to animal and human activity and let the kids lead you through the trails.  Simple field guides such as: The Young Birder’s Guide to Birds of Eastern North America  (Peterson Field Guides) [Paperback] Bill Thompson III (Author), Julie Zickefoose (Illustrator)  and child-sized binoculars like the Bushnell 12x25mm Powerview Compact Binoculars will enhance their experience.  Be sure to point out plants and animals that the kids are missing.  Larger and more colorful animals are easier for children to perceive.  Common wildlife like red-winged blackbirds, ducks, geese, deer, toads, and frogs are all kid favorites.

There are a number of ways to get kids involved in nature.
A list of local organizations with programs for kids includes:

1.  McHenry County Conservation District:

2.  McHenry County Audubon

3.  Moraine Hills State Park

4.  Local Park Districts or Departments, check your local community calendar

5.  Crystal Lake Nature Center:  330 N. Main Street, Crystal Lake, IL 60014:

6.  Environmental Defenders of McHenry County:

7.  Volo Bog State Natural Area:


Habitats in McHenry County:

1. Grasslands:  Good grassland habitats exist at Glacial Park (Ringwood), Pleasant Valley (Woodstock), Moraine Hills State Park (McHenry), Volo Bog State Natural Area (Ingleside), North Branch Preserve (Richmond), Goose Lake (Hebron), HUM trail (Union & Marengo), Hickory Grove Park (Cary), The Hollows (Cary), Lake in the Hills Fen (Lake in the Hills), Kishwaukee Headwaters (Woodstock), Silver Creek (Cary), Prairie View Education Center(Oakwood Hills), Lake Elizabeth (Richmond), Marengo Ridge (Marengo), & Chain-O-Lakes State Park (Spring Grove), Boloria Meadows (Bull Valley)

2. Wetlands:  Good wetland habitat exists at Volo Bog State Natural Area (Ingleside), Moraine Hills State Park (McHenry), Glacial Park (Ringwood), Pleasant Valley (Woodstock), Lyons Prairie (Cary), Alden Sedge Meadow (Alden), West Woodstock Prairie (Woodstock), Cotton Creek Marsh (Island Lake), Exner Marsh (Lake in the Hills), Fel-Pro RRR (Cary), Silver Creek (Cary), Goose Lake (Hebron Trail), Lake Elizabeth (Richmond), Chain-O-Lakes State Park (Spring Grove)

3. Forests & Savannas: Good forest and savanna habitats exist at Glacial Park (Ringwood), Coral Woods (Marengo), Marengo Ridge (Marengo),  Pleasant Valley (Woodstock), Harrison Benwell Preserve (Wonder Lake), Dufield Pond (Woodstock), Ryders Woods (Woodstock), Rush Creek (Harvard), Fel-Pro RRR (Cary), Camp Algonquin (Algonquin), High Point (Alden), Hickory Grove (Cary), Winding Creek (Alden), Chain-O-Lakes State Park (Spring Grove), Boloria Meadows (Bull Valley), Boone Creek (Bull Valley)

4.  Bogs and Fens:  Good bog and fen habitats exist at Volo Bog State Natural Area (Ingleside), Moraine Hills State Park (McHenry), Glacial Park (Ringwood), Lake in the Hills Fen (Lake in the Hills), Alden Sedge Meadow (Alden), Boger Bog (Bull Valley)

5.  Rivers and Streams:  Good river and stream habitats exist at McHenry Dam (McHenry), Glacial Park (Ringwood), Hickory Grove River Access (Cary), Fox Bluff Preserve (Cary/Algonquin), Pleasant Valley (Woodstock), Becks Woods (Harvard), Lyle C. Thomas Memorial Park (McHenry), Nippersink Canoe Base (Spring Grove), Camp Algonquin (Algonquin), Chain-O-Lakes State Park (Spring Grove), Winding Creek (Alden)

6.  Shrublands:  Good shrubland habitat exists at Glacial Park (Ringwood), Marengo Ridge (Marengo), Stickney Run (Prairie Grove), Volo Bog State Natural Area (Ingleside), Moraine Hills State Park (McHenry), Brookdale (Harvard/Woodstock), Rush Creek (Harvard), Pleasant Valley (Woodstock), Silver Creek (Cary), Chain-O-Lakes State Park (Spring Grove)

7.  Lakes that attract migrant waterfowl: Crystal Lake, Wonder Lake, McCullum Lake, Goose Lake (Hebron), Pistakee Lake (Fox Lake), Three Oaks Recreation Area (Crystal Lake), Lake Elizabeth (Richmond)