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Columns

Conservation@Home: Explore your local nature trails

John Church
John Church

Happy summer! Hopefully you will have plenty of opportunities to enjoy nature during this summer. “Nature RX: How Spending Time in Nature is Good for Our Mind, Body, and Soul” is a focus of The Conservation Foundation.

A recent survey identified the Richard Young Forest Preserve on Route 71 near Yorkville as the top nature trail/outdoor experience in Kendall County.

The first Saturday in June is recognized as National Trails Day. Events held throughout the United States help promote awareness of the benefits that trails provide, encourage people to discover their local trails and help create excitement for the outdoors.

Although summer can mean traveling to vacation sites across the country, there are many wonderful natural spots to explore right here in Kendall County and which offer benefits to our “mind, body, and soul.”

This spring, TCF’s Kendall County Advisory Council surveyed members, local officials, agency staff, U. of I. Master Naturalists, businesses and individuals to solicit input as to their favorite nature walks/experiences in Kendall County.

Numerous wonderful sites were suggested, but the top location identified was the Richard Young Forest Preserve. That seems like an appropriate top location since it was named in honor of Dick Young of Oswego, one of the leading conservationists in the county for years.

The preserve, which opened in 1999, has over 100 acres of beautiful natural area with trails surrounded by prairie and woodlands with bluffs, ravines, wetlands, creek and overlooks. Some portions of the trails are ADA-friendly. It is adjacent to Lyon Forest Preserve.

Other sites in the “Top 10” (12 due to ties) are Lyon Forest Preserve, Hoover Forest Preserve, Jay Woods Forest Preserve, Hudson Crossing Park, Silver Springs State Fish and Wildlife Area, Baker Woods Forest Preserve and Ellis House/Equestrian Center, Harris Forest Preserve, Violet Patch Park, Maramech Forest Preserve, Fox River Trail, and Millbrook South Forest Preserve. Numerous other sites also received mention.

The “Nature RX” program is part of the TCF mission to “improve the health of our communities by preserving and restoring natural areas and open space, protecting rivers and watersheds, and promoting stewardship of our environment.”

Controlling invasive species is also a part of that mission. On Tuesday, Aug. 7, interested persons can attend “Identifying and Controlling Invasive Plants in the Home Landscape” at 7 p.m. at the Oswego Public Library, 32 W. Jefferson St., Oswego.

The program is co-sponsored by The Conservation Foundation, University of Illinois Extension, and the Oswego Public Library. To register for the program, go to the library’s calendar at oswego.lib.il.us/evanced/lib/eventcalendar.asp, then go to the Aug. 7 program date and click on it.

For more information on programs and events, phone 630-553-0687, ext. 204.

• John Church is the Kendall County program director at The Conservation Foundation.

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