Funks Grove National Trails Day Celebration
June 4, 2016; 10:00 a.m.- 3:00 p.m.
presented by the Illinois Grand Prairie Master Naturalists
Event Headquarters: Sugar Grove Nature Center
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 seminars, informational booths, fun activities, and so much more! Check-in at NTD Celebration Headquarters to pick up your hiking passport and begin your journey.
This free event will feature activities and hikes for adults, families with children, and even leashed four-legged friends. Special opportunities for Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts are planned, too! We encourage you to pack a picnic lunch and plan to 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!
Check back later for more detailed descriptions of the various event activities.
Hummingbird Festival & Pollination Celebration
Saturday, August 27, 2016; 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
Plan to attend our 9th Annual Hummingbird Festival & Pollination Celebration! Celebrate hummingbirds, bees, and butterflies – the vital pollinators for countless varieties of plant life in Funks Grove. Enjoy entertainment, education, food, and fun at this FREE event!
What is pollination and why are pollinators important? Join us to find out! All ages are encouraged to learn about hummingbirds and other pollinators from experts during programs, guided hikes, and garden tours. Browse an assortment of products available from Wild Birds Unlimited of Normal. Visit with Wild Ones members to learn about native landscaping. Buzz on down to our Sap & Honey House to see a bee hive up-close, sample honey, and learn from members of the Illinois State University Beekeeping Club! Children will especially enjoy watching puppet shows, making crafts, and overcoming obstacles in a life-sized game of migration.
We are excited to welcome back Vern Kleen of Springfield, Illinois, to the Festival again this year. Vern is one of the few licensed hummingbird banders in the United States. During the day he will demonstrate trapping, banding, and releasing hummingbirds. Celebration participants will have the chance to “adopt” a bird to receive updates if it is recaptured.
This event is FREE. No registration is required.
Saturday, October 22, 2016; 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Admission only $3/person, 3 years & under, free!
There is a small fee for some activities. Members are invited to pick up
4 free activity tickets at the membership table!
The sound of leaves crunching under your feet, a refreshing chill in the air, and the unmistakable aroma of fall leaves… it must be time for Sugar Grove Nature Center’s Autumn Celebration!
Visit our pumpkin patch and choose your favorite to take home and carve or stop by and decorate it at the pumpkin salon! Enjoy fall color walks, a scarecrow factory, and entertainment with an autumn theme. Children will delight in old-fashioned fun like bobbing for apples and pumpkin bowling. Step back in time to visit a 1750’s trading post and frontiersman’s camp, and meet other historical reenactors.
Explore booths featuring handmade, nature-inspired items. Watch the Illinois Valley Blacksmith’s and Central Illinois Woodturners demonstrate their skills. Indulge in seasonal favorites like apple cider and caramel apples. Roast marshmallows at the campfire, tour the Sugar Grove Observatory, and explore over 7 miles of hiking trails on a delightful autumn day. Guests will also enjoy live music on-state during the event!
A complete schedule and description of activities is available here.
Maple Sirup Experience Tours
First Saturday in March, 2017
Late winter is the time of year when buckets decorate the sugar maples throughout Funks Grove. Have you ever tasted ‘sweet water’ dripping from a spile? Here’s your chance! Join us for the Sugar Grove Nature Center Maple Sirup Experience. Gather around the fire at the sirup camp to learn how the Native Americans and early settlers collected and prepared sap. Visit the sugar shack where the smell of maple sirup hangs in the air. Journey into the sugarbush to tap a tree. Stop inside the Nature Center to sample a variety of sweet treats made with maple sirup including candy, cookies, fudge and more! Tours last approximately 2.5 hours and begin promptly at 9:30 a.m., noon, and 2:30 p.m. Tour size is limited and advanced registration is required. Dress for the weather, as you will be outside for a major portion of the program.
$5/adults, $3/children (ages 4-16) members, $7/adults, $5/children (ages 4-16) non-members.
Children 3 and Under are Free
Registration & prepayment required. Fees are non-refundable unless the program is cancelled.
Experience an important part of Funks Grove heritage!