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
 

 

RiverWatch Citizen Scientist Training Workshop

Saturday, April 27

9:00 a.m. -4:00 p.m.

Click here for more information

 
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Upcoming Programs for All Ages

Your interest may be the deciding factor to run a program!  Most programs require advanced registration. Click HERE for a program registration form.  Please try to register at least 7 days in advance.  Waiting until the last minute may result in a program being canceled due to low enrollment or missing out because it is full. Please register for classes by sending in a registration form, calling 309.874.2174 or emailing register@sugargrovenaturecenter.org.

Family Nature Exploration Day
Saturday, April 5; 10:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m.
Saturday, May 3; 10:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m.
Saturday, June 7; 10:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m. (This will run concurrently with National Trails Day.)
Bring the family out for a day of fun at the Nature Center!  A guided hike will take place at 11:00 a.m., stop inside to create a make-and-take craft
at any time, and don’t miss the feeding of the turtles and snakes at 1:00 p.m.!
Free; no registration required.

Blacksmith Demonstrations
Saturdays, April 19, May 17, & June 21; 10:00 a.m.-noon
The public is invited to observe members of the Illinois Valley Blacksmith’s Association as they work at the forge across the parking lot from the Nature Center.
Free; no registration required.

Acoustic Irish Music Jam Session
Saturdays, April 19, May 17, & June 21; 10:00 a.m.-noon
Acoustic musicians of all levels are invited to join an Irish-music jam session at the Nature Center. For more details, contact Martha Tyner at mtyner@iwu.edu.
Free; no registration required.

Twin City Amateur Astronomers Public Viewing Session: Mars in All its Glory
Saturday, April 26; 8:15-10:15 p.m.
Every two years the Red Planet makes its closest approach to Earth. Join us as we learn about our nearest planetary neighbor and examine its surface first hand with a telescope. A 20-30 minute presentation on the featured topic will be followed by a sky tour using a laser pointer, and telescope observing. Programs will be held even in the event of an overcast sky. The presentation will be given and tours of the Sugar Grove Observatory will be available.  Active rain, however, will cause a cancellation of the event. Phone Carl at 309.830.4085 or Lee at 309.824.2804 to confirm if you are unsure. For additional information, visit www.tcaa.us.
Free; no registration required.

Great Garlic Mustard Smackdown
Saturday, May 10, 10:00-11:30 a.m. OR 1:00-2:30 p.m.
Garlic mustard is an exotic invasive plant that crowds out native species, such as bluebells and spring beauties. Families, groups, and individuals of all ages are invited to take a stand against this bully of the forest! After a briefing on the enemy, you will be armed and sent into the woods. Snacks will be provided and prizes will be given to those showing bravery in combat.
Free; registration required.

Campfire Program: Snakes & Sssssssssss’mores
Saturday, May 24; 6:30-8:00 p.m.
Bring your family out for the first campfire program of the year! After learning all about these fascinating creatures, we’ll create a fun snake craft, then head out to the campfire for s’mores!
Fee: Free/members, $5/person non-members; registration required.

Twin City Amateur Astronomers Public Viewing Session: Star Birth and Open Clusters
Saturday, May 31; 8:45-10:45 p.m.
Star form from vast clouds of dust and gas in space. This explains why they so commonly occur in clusters. We will observe few prominent “open” star clusters this evening. A 20-30 minute presentation on the featured topic will be followed by a sky tour using a laser pointer, and telescope observing. Programs will be held even in the event of an overcast sky. The presentation will be given and tours of the Sugar Grove Observatory will be available.  Active rain, however, will cause a cancellation of the event. Phone Carl at 309.830.4085 or Lee at 309.824.2804 to confirm if you are unsure. For additional information, visit www.tcaa.us.
Free; no registration required.

Imagination Grove Fun Day
Friday, June 13; 10:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m.
While Imagination Grove, our nature play area, is open daily, we have designated this special day for you to meet other like-minded families that enjoy and appreciate nature-based play. 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, you 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.

Campfire Program: Discover Dads
Sunday, June 15; 7:00-8:30 p.m.
Treat Dad to an outing at the Nature Center for Father’s Day complete with s’mores! Discover how dads of the animal world help to take care of their families.
Fee: Free/members, $5/person non-members; registration required.

National Trails Day
presented by the Illinois Grand Prairie Master Naturalists
Saturday, June 7; 10:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m.

Through a unique partnership between the Funks Grove Cemetery Association, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, and Sugar Grove Nature Center, over 7 miles of hiking trails can be enjoyed in Funks Grove. Explore the diversity of plants and animals that live in the prairie, woodland, and savanna habitats. Visit creeks and streams where herons hunt and beavers are busy. Get to know the trails of Funks Grove!

A variety of activities will take place in the Nature Center, on the grounds, and throughout the trails. Take part in guided hikes led by Master Naturalists or explore on your own. Enjoy informational booths, fun activities, and so much more! Stop in any time between 10:00 a.m. & 2:00 p.m., check-in at NTD Celebration Headquarters to pick up your hiking passport, and begin your journey. There is no cost, and registration is not required.

This event will feature activities and hikes for adults, families with children, and even four-legged friends. Special opportunities for Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts are planned, too! We encourage you to pack a picnic lunch and stay all day! Explore and enjoy the nature of Funks Grove! Get your heart pumping, take a deep breath of fresh air, and leave your stress at the trailhead. There is no wi-fi in our forest, but we promise you will find a better connection!

Keep an eye on our website, www.sugargrovenaturecenter.org for more information and a complete schedule of events.

Free; no registration required.

Inside Out Arts Fair
A Collaboration Between Inside Out: Accessible Art Cooperative & Sugar Grove Nature Center
Saturday, June 21; 10:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.

Inside Out: Accessible Art and Sugar Grove Nature Center in Funks Grove are planning an amazing art-centered collaborative outdoor experience for all ages! Joining us for an art show and sale will be the artists of Main Gallery 404, Harold Gregor Gallery, and Joann Goetzinger Studios, as well as approximately 25 artist members of Inside Out: Accessible Art. All participating galleries are from downtown Bloomington. Each will donate a percentage of their art sales to benefit Sugar Grove Nature Center. Art demonstrations, talks, and hands on activities for kids of all ages will be scheduled throughout the day. Interested area artists are welcome to bring their supplies and join in an open plein air painting event to take place throughout the day.

Performing artists and other local organizations will also be included. Currently scheduled are Peace of Heart Band, the Irish Music Jam Session, spinners/weavers/knitters from Mary Lynn’s Yarn Garden, the Society for Creative Anachronism, Illinois Valley Blacksmith Association, and Twin City Amateur Astronomers, with more to be announced! Food will be available for purchase and bringing you own picnic is a welcome option. More activities are being added as the planning continues. 

Sugar Grove Nature Center staff and Inside Out: Accessible Art Cooperative members are planning this event to further their shared missions of education and service to our local communities. We hope you will watch our websites and social media pages and share the invitation to this event with friends and family!

Free; no registration required.

Twin City Amateur Astronomers Public Viewing Session: Ringed Worlds of the Solar System
Saturday, June 21; 9:00-11:00 p.m.
Saturn is known as the ringed wonder of the solar system. But, did you know that Jupiter, Uranus, and Neptune also have rings?  A 20-30 minute presentation on the featured topic will be followed by a sky tour using a laser pointer, and telescope observing. Programs will be held even in the event of an overcast sky. The presentation will be given and tours of the Sugar Grove Observatory will be available.  Active rain, however, will cause a cancellation of the event. Phone Carl at 309.830.4085 or Lee at 309.824.2804 to confirm if you are unsure. For additional information, visit www.tcaa.us.
Free; no registration required.

Great American Backyard Campout
A partnership of Children’s Discovery Museum and Sugar Grove Nature Center
Saturday, June 28, 3:00 p.m. - Sunday, June 29, 10:00 a.m.
Grab your sleeping bag and tent and join us as we celebrate the great outdoors!  Bring your family and enjoy nature-related science and art activities, listen to the sounds of the woods as you take a night hike, view the stars with the Twin City Amateur Astronomers, explore Imagination Grove, or just sit by the campfire for stories and songs.  A campfire dinner and light breakfast are included.  Payment must accompany registration.
Fee: $8/person members of Sugar Grove Nature Center or the Children’s Discovery Museum, $10/non-members. Children under the age of 3 are free.  Children under 18 must be accompanied by an adult. Registration required by calling the Children’s Discovery Museum at 309.433.3444.