St. Charles Park District: Fall adventures abound at Hickory Knolls

Roll up your sleeves and come out to Nature Helping Hands Day from 10 a.m. to noon Sept. 25 at Hickory Knolls.

During this drop-in event, you’ll meet the restoration crew, learn about restoration work and even get to try out equipment such as the water pumps used during controlled burns.

“Many people enjoy a walk in a natural area, but when they see restoration work happening, it can be a pretty radical sight and can even look destructive,” said Chris Gingrich, assistant superintendent of outdoor education. “They may ask: Why are trees being cut down? Why were some of those plants killed or removed? We hope that residents who participate in Nature Helping Hands Day have a better understanding of the ‘why’ behind restoring native habitats.”

Families will have a chance to see and try out equipment, learn about native plants, collect seeds, and tour the expanded native plant propagation area to see how the park district uses seeds to grow its own plant stock.

Nature Helping Hands Day is just one activity this fall aimed at helping families better understand their local natural areas.

Nature photography for children

Does your child have a good eye? Sign them up for Nature Through the Lens from 1 to 3 p.m. Sept. 26. Not only will your child walk away with some beautiful photos of nature, they will be able to identify the plants in the images.

Led by a Hickory Knolls program facilitator, the class will provide nature education through basic plant identification and photography skills such as color, lighting, zoom, focus and close up versus landscape images.

Nature-inspired stories

Through a partnership with the St. Charles Public Library, you and your little ones can listen to nature-inspired stories.

Library staff will host Twinleaf Tales from 10 to 10:30 a.m. on the first Friday of every month through December. Listen to a story, make a craft inside the Discovery Center and then head outside to play in the Hideout or explore the natural area.

A story time for children who aren’t ready for ghost stories around a campfire will be hosted by the library Oct. 14. The Not-So-Scary Campfire will be from 7 to 7:45 p.m. You will enjoy a fall evening outdoors around a campfire, minus the scary stories. Library staff will share entertaining tales, and marshmallows will be roasted.

Squirrel’s picnic

The squirrel’s picnic for children age 6 and older will be from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Sept. 21. Your child will build a table for squirrels in your backyard to eat on. Find the perfect dining spot, sprinkle with seeds and watch from afar as squirrels dine in style.

For information about park district programs, visit