GODFREY – The Nature Institute’s hiking trails, located at 2213 South Levis Lane in Godfrey, may be closed until March 1, but staff members of one of Illinois’ largest, private nature preserves are inviting the public out for these upcoming opportunities.
The next installment of TNI’s monthly “Moon Light Hikes” will be Tuesday, Feb. 3, at 7 p.m. Led by Bob Larson, former TNI board member, guests can take a night hike along the woodland trails through the Mississippi Sanctuary or Olin Nature Preserve, illuminated by the full moon. Terrain is light to moderate. These hikes are free and open to the public.
In partnership with LaVista CSA, “Tree Tapping” will be on Tuesday, Feb. 10 at 9:30 a.m. Join Eric and Crystal Stevens and TNI education director Patti Brown as they walk through the biology and history of maple trees, tapping with every day items, boiling and even tasting syrup. The event will begin at the entrance to the Oblates, 4350 Levis Lane in Godfrey. There is a suggested donation of $10 per person, which will benefit the missions of TNI and LaVista; only 30 spots are available for registration.
Another monthly event, “TNI Astronomy Association,” will meet on Thursday, Feb. 19, at 7 p.m., led by naturalist Eddie Agha. Guests can participate in a discussion of current astronomical events with Agha and other meeting-goers. Then participants will navigate the preserve to observe and record constellations (no telescopes are needed). Meetings are free and open to the public.
TNI Education Director Patti Brown will lead her first 2015 educator workshop on Saturday, Feb. 21 from 9 a.m. to noon. “Educator Workshop-PLT Environmental Experiences in Early Childhood” is for formal and informal educators to learn hands-on, environmental education activities for children. Participants must pre-purchase and bring Activity Guide along with them. The cost for this workshop is $30 (plus the activity guide fee), which includes training, resources and snacks.
“Branches, Bark and Buds: Winter Tree ID Hike” is on Saturday, Feb. 28, starting at 9 a.m. Join Brown while she hikes through the Olin Nature Preserve and the Mississippi Sanctuary. Learn quick ways to identify native trees, discover new trails and see the preserve in the winter season before it warms up. This hike is free and open to the public.
Saturday, Feb. 28, will also feature a pruning class; led by Ken Wheat at 1 p.m. Wheat is a Master Gardener of the Missouri Botanical Garden, Master Naturalist with University of Illinois and a former biology educator with the Edwardsville school district. This class is free and open to the public.
To register or learn more information about these upcoming events, visit www.TheNatureInstitute.org. People interested may also reach the TNI office at (618) 466-9930 or firstname.lastname@example.org.