DJ FILE - Outdoors

Park history hikes

Newly established history hikes will start this weekend at Kankakee River State Park. They will be at 10 a.m. Saturdays and Sundays and will be conducted by seasonal conservation educator Kelly Holem, of Wilmington.

The history hikes will focus on the geology of the park, plus “a lot of cultural history,” focusing on Native Americans of the area and early settlers, Holem said.

Meet at the Visitor Center, just inside the main park entrance off Illinois Route 102.

The 2-mile hikes will be held on Rock Creek Trail. Come prepared with bottled water, appropriate footwear, sunscreen and bug spray.

Turtle Time

Kelly Holem will conduct programs for youth and others at the Visitor Center, which will be open 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday-Monday, but will be closed Tuesday-Wednesday.

The center will feature interactive displays that focus on what the park has to offer.

Nature activities for kids will be available, with Turtle Time at 1 p.m. Thursdays, Saturdays and Mondays. Meet and mingle with the park’s resident box turtles. Learn about the diet and behaviors of these creatures while assisting with their daily feeding.

Monee kids fishing

A kids’ fishing derby will be held from 7 a.m. to noon Saturday at Monee Reservoir, midway between Monee and Peotone, on Ridgeland Road, south of Pauling Road between Illinois Route 50 and I-57.

The annual event, sponsored by the Forest Preserve District of Will County, is for kids ages 5-15. The cost is $5 per person.

Prizes will be awarded for the largest fish, smallest fish and the most fish caught in three different age categories. Even if the fish aren’t biting, everyone goes home a winner because each participant receives a goody bag and ice cream.

Registration is required, but walk-up registration will be held, or call 708-534-499.

Midewin for Kids

Can You Dig It — an archaeology program for kids, at a Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie archaeology site, will be held 10 a.m. to noon, Saturday starting at the Welcome Center, off Illinois Route 53, north of Wilmington.

Other kids programs starting from the Welcome Center will be:

The Skinny on Mammals — a program on the characteristics of mammals, including pelts, skulls and tracks, 10 a.m. to noon Aug. 7.

Batty Evening — learn about our mosquito-eating flying mammal friends, 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. Aug. 8. Wear closed-toed shoes, bring insect repellent.

Fun with Fossils — learn about real fossils, 10 a.m. to noon Aug 9.

Registration is required by calling 815-423-6370 or email

Perseids on the Prairie

Friends of the Sands will host a star gazing and Perseid Meteor Shower viewing for all ages beginning at 7 p.m. Aug. 11 at the Kankakee Sands Seed Barn, off U.S. Route 41 between Lake Village and Morocco, Ind.

Bring lawn chairs or blankets to sit on. Bring a favorite night-time snack to share. For more information and to RSVP for the event, contact Tom or Susan at

Kankakee Sands workday

A volunteer workday of removing invasive plant species from restoration plantings at The Nature Conservancy’s Kankakee Sands will be held from 9 a.m. to noon Aug. 11.

Meet at the sands office at 3294 N U.S. Route 41, north of Morocco, Ind.

Volunteers will be removing plants, such as common teasel, sweet clover and/or spotted knapweed. Depending on soil conditions, volunteers will either pull plants by hand or use machetes to chop the plants at ground level.

For more information or to RSVP, contact Tony Capizzo at

Great Lakes action plan

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will hold the last of six informal public engagement sessions on the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Action Plan III at 2-4 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 7 at the EPA Region 5 office at 77 West Jackson Blvd., Chicago.

Visitors should allow extra time to pass through building security check.

Interaction with technical experts will be limited to participants who are physically in the room. However, individuals also will be able to participate virtually through a webinar. Participants will be able to view and hear a video and a presentation on the conference dial-in line 866-299-3188.

EPA and its federal partners are currently developing the plan, which will outline restoration priorities and goals for 2020-2024. Its focus will be on: Toxic substances; invasive species; nonpoint source pollution impacts on nearshore health; habitat and species; and future restoration actions.

The proposed plan is expected to be available for formal public comment this fall.

For more information on GLRI and Action Plan III, visit: the website

Pond management

Illinois Department of Natural Resources regional fisheries administrator Rob Miller will present a pond management workshop at electrofishing demonstration at 6 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 6, at Dale DeYoung’s pond at 3528 E. 3000N Road (Armour Road) east of Bradley.

The program is sponsored by the Kankakee County Soil and Water Conservation District, IDNR and Logan Hollow Fish Farm. Miller will also discuss fish species selection, stocking rates, aquatic plant control and other pond management topics and will answer questions after the demonstration.

Please RSVP by phoning Emily Janes at the SWCD office at 815-937-8940 ext. 3 or email

SWCD pond fish sale

The Kankakee County Soil and Water Conservation District’s fall pond stocking fish sale is underway, with orders due Sept. 7 and the pick-up day scheduled for 7 a.m. Friday, Sept. 14 at the SWCD office at 685 Larry Power Road, Bourbonnais. Grass carp orders are due by Aug. 24.

For order forms, call the SWCD office at 815-937-8940 ext. 101, or visit the website Pond fish also may be ordered from other area county SWCDs.