JDCF and the Planetary Studies Foundation (PSF) invite the public to a night sky viewing event. As part of the Perseid meteor shower that will be taking place, PSF planetary geologist, Dr. Paul Sipiera will be sharing his expertise in the area of meteorites beginning around 7:30 p.m. At 8:30 p.m., Diane Sipiera, Executive Director of PSF, will tell stories about the nighttime sky and explain how the indigenous American’s interpreted their sky. PSF’s amateur astronomers will be using their telescopes so that the audience can view various heavenly bodies. PSF will have its traveling meteorite exhibit on hand as well. The event is free and RSVP’s are not required.
Each year, JDCF focuses on a theme. Our theme for 2017 is the "Year of the Prairie". For some, the word “prairie” simply conjures an endless sea of grass. For others, “prairie” evokes a veritable symphony of sights, smells, and sounds from bird calls, buzzing insects, and the wind rustling the grass, to vibrant purple and yellow wildflowers, minty Monarda, and peppery grey-headed coneflower seeds. No matter how familiar you are with prairies and the flora and fauna that call them home, there will be something to discover during JDCF’s Year of the Prairie. In addition, our calendar also features signature events such as our annual Camp Casper, Moonlight Frog Walk, Bluebird Trail Walk, and Fall Forest Walk. All of these events are free to the public, so join us!
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Learn about some of our nocturnal friends, owls and bats. This program, geared towards a middle school grade level, introduces the life cycle of the owl and its food and habitat. It also identifies the characteristics that make the owl a perfect predator and member of the raptor family. Participants will get to dissect an owl pellet to see exactly what an owls eats. Basic information about bats will also be covered with an emphasis on how they navigate by echolocation.
Join us for an evening owl-prowl hike at Casper Bluff. This year, we will be joined by the Northern Illinois Raptor Rehab and Education Center who will bring along a few of their feathered friends for an educational program and meet and greet with live owls before we head out on the trails. There will be hot chocolate to warm you up after the hike, but be sure to dress for the weather and bring your flashlight! The family-friendly event is free to the public and RSVP’s are not required.