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Article updated: 7/29/2013 5:20 PM

Conservation programs offered this summer for whole family

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Submitted by MCCD

Nature discoveries and activities are planned with McHenry County Conservation District this summer. Visit the district's website, www.MCCDistrict.org, to view the programs in greater detail or sign up to receive the quarterly magazine "Landscapes."

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Registration is accepted online; by phone (free programs only) at (815) 479-5779; by mail at Prairieview Education Center, 2112 Behan Road in Crystal Lake; or walk-in at Lost Valley Visitor Center, Route 31 and Harts Road in Ringwood.

Being a Butterfly: After a short story about butterfly traits and a quick craft, you will set out on a butterfly adventure from 2 to 3:30 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 4, at Lost Valley Visitor Center in Glacial Park, Route 31 and Harts Road, Ringwood. This introduction to the butterfly world will enhance your observation skills. Dress for a short hike and games outside. Program for children ages 4 to 8 is free for county residents and $3 for nonresidents. Accompanied by an adult. Registration deadline is July 31.

Nature's Play Time -- At the Pond: Nature provides a wonderful place where children can learn and grow. Share a fun morning with your child in nature's classroom while participating in activity stations that foster an appreciation of nature from 10 to 11:30 a.m. Wednesday, Aug. 7, at Brookdale Conservation Area-Paulsen Road Shelter, 18410 Route 14, Woodstock.

Children will enjoy using natural materials to build their skills such as identifying and sorting shapes and colors, practicing their fine and gross motor skills, and working with various textures and patterns. After the activities and exploration, a snack will be provided.

Bring those summer essentials for your little one: sunscreen, extra water, long sleeves or pants, if bugs are bad, etc. The program for ages 5 and younger is free for county residents and $3 for nonresidents. Youngsters must accompanied by an adult. Registration deadline is Aug. 2.

Spider Watching: Spider watching can be as interesting and entertaining as bird or butterfly watching.

Evenings in late summer are excellent times to see spiders while they work. Explore the prairie and woodland to search for web residents from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Friday, Aug. 9, at Hickory Grove Highlands Conservation Area, 500 Hickory Nut Grove Lane, Cary.

Observation tools and a local guide will be used and a little bit of patience will pay off. They hope to find up to 12 common species of northeast Illinois. Dress for the weather and time outside off the beaten path. Program for youth ages 9 to 13 is free for county residents and $5 for nonresidents, accompanied by an adult. Registration deadline is Aug. 4.

Prairie Play: Spend a morning at this restored site to explore and play among the tall prairie grasses and flowers from 9:30 to 11 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 10, at Kishwaukee Headwaters Conservation Area, 1606 Dean St., Woodstock. Look for animal homes, explore for insects, and examine McHenry County's amazing prairie plants. Program for youth ages 6 to 12 is free. Registration deadline is Aug. 5.

The Ants Go Marching: This time of year ants can be a nuisance, as they invade our picnics, campsite and occasionally homes. But ants are quite strong insects that deserve more respect. Learn how ants contribute to the natural world from 10:30 a.m. to noon Saturday, Aug. 10, at Hickory Grove Highlands Conservation Area, 500 Hickory Nut Grove Lane, Cary. Dress for exploring; bring a water bottle. Program is for youth ages 6-8, accompanied by an adult. Registration deadline is Aug. 5.

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