This year’s Winterfest in DeKalb County is set for Jan. 18

Staff Report

University of Illinois Extension will host its annual Winterfest Saturday, Jan. 18, at the Natural Resource Education Center in Russell Woods Forest Preserve in DeKalb County, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Each year, people gather at the Natural Resource Education Center to meet up with friends old and new to share the joys of winter.

This is an opportunity to serve our communities with a family-friendly winter event to break up the season,” said Peggy Doty, Extension educator. “Winter is a season, not a precipitation, so we will be there, whether we have snow or not.”

Winterfest includes many fun and educational activities for all ages.

The day starts indoors at the bird-viewing window, where Doty will discuss birds and their behaviors as they come to the feeders. A morning hike for the whole family will leave the center at 10 a.m. Another one will step off at 3:30 p.m. These interpretive hikes are on forest trails. They are geared toward all ages, but everyone needs to be dressed for the weather and walking in snow. The winter woodland is full of interesting things; you just have to take the time to see it.

Phil Nielsen, of Waterman, will be in the park from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. giving horse-drawn wagon rides. If you love big horses and scenic rides through beautiful places, Winterfest is the place to be.

The Prairie Gems 4-H Club will be offering snacks and lunch items for reasonable cost. Support the local 4-H and enjoy a meal with your family or new friends. There is room to eat indoors, so you can relax and socialize. Come for one activity or come for the day. Activities are free, but donations are accepted to support the cost of materials.

Make-and-take crafts will be available all day. The annual reading of The Mitten by Jan Brett will take place at 2 p.m. in the Little Seeds Library. Candle-dipping will be offered from 10 a.m. to noon. Anyone interested in making their own candle using a pioneer method is welcome to participate.

Russell Woods Forest Preserve is 1 mile west of Genoa, Ill., on Route 72. For more information, call (815) 784-2000 or on the web at for event details.

From the Jan. 8-14, 2014, issue

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