Special Events

Experience McHenry County Conservation District by attending one of our upcoming special events!
Click the months below to reveal the events - updated quarterly. 

In addition to these special events, we also offer other seasonal programs.
Register for a Program

Special Events

Cache Your Way Across McHenry County
Geo-Series: ongoing 
This GeoSeries is specifically designed to turn your next staycation, day trip or geocaching expedition into an extraordinary adventure. Cache Your Way Across McHenry County GeoSeries highlights 15 of the best District spots where gamers will be led along unique trails, under bridges, to historic sites, or in the middle of a majestic oak woodland. At each stop, cachers will be introduced to a variety of interesting facts, fun tidbits, stories, quizzes and a question to answer in your GeoSeries Passport. Those who complete all 15 caches will earn the District’s newest geocoin. A couple of the caches have travel bugs. Please move these bugs along and do not keep them; you will get your own to keep when you successfully complete the tour! Complete all the caches and bring your passport to one of our facilities to claim a coin.  Find more information on our Geocaching page. 

Lost Valley Nature Detectives
Self-guided Explorations
Winter is here. But that's no excuse to stay inside! Check out our E-Learning page  for links to Nature Detectives activities and videos filled with things you can do from home! Stop by Lost Valley Visitor Center for new self-guided fun, puzzels, games and explore the Passport to Adventures exhibit.

Living History Open House: Over There and Over Here
Sunday, July 17  -  Noon - 4 p.m.
Powers-Walker House, Glacial Park 

Come visit this Greek Revival 1854 restored house and learn more about the families that once called it home. This open house features the Miller family who inhabited the area during the World War I era. Volunteers in historical attire will be on hand to answer questions. Enjoy the war-time memorabilia and listen to the stories of both the home-front and the soldiers' perspective from this important conflict that changed our world.
First Friday Concert: The StingRays
Friday, August 5  -  7-8:30 p.m.
Lost Valley Visitor Center, Glacial Park 

The StingRays play the greatest music ever written and play it with the energy, passion and authenticity of the artists whose music they love. Excellent musicians, everyone LOVES the StingRays Rock and Roll. Their music, great rapport with audiences, their look and the famous StingRay moves have made them repeated favorites at festivals, concert series, casinos, clubs, corporate events and parties throughout the Midwest. The StingRays love interacting with audiences through trivia, dance contests and even joining people in the audience. The StingRays always get the crowd dancing and singing to songs. This is a free special event and all ages are welcome. Registration is not required. Children ages 13 and under must be accompanied by an adult family member.

Powers-Walker House: Life and Times of WWII
Sunday, August 14  -  Noon - 4 p.m.
Powers-Walker House, Glacial Park 

Come visit this Greek Revival 1854 restored house and learn more about the families that once called it home. This open house features the Schaeffer and Steinmetz families, who lived in the area during the World War II era. Volunteers in historical attire will be on hand to answer questions. Enjoy the war-time memorabilia and listen to the stories of both the home-front and the soldiers' perspective from this important conflict that changed our world.
First Friday Concert: Gina Gonzalez
Friday, September 2  -  7-8:30 p.m.
Lost Valley Visitor Center, Glacial Park 

Gina Gonzalez (guitar, vocals) has acquired quite a musical resume. She has traveled all over the world and the U.S. enchanting and entertaining the hearts of many. Gina has performed for some of the highest ranking military personnel to famous actors and respected fellow artists. She has earned awards for recognition including honors from the U.S. Congress and the Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation. Gina has done all of this by her own determination and drive.

Star Party 
Friday, September 23  -  6-10 p.m.
Marengo Ridge, Marengo

Northwest Suburban Astronomer members will point out highlights in the night sky as they aim their telescopes at globular and open star clusters in the Milky Way as well as at planetary nebulae and the Andromeda Galaxy. Dress for the weather, bring a flashlight covered with red plastic or cellophane (red light preserves everyone’s night vision), and insect repellent. Bring your own telescope or binoculars for NSA members to provide guidance in its use. 

The Great Outdoors Beer Trail
Saturday, September 24 - 1-5 p.m.
Fel-Pro RRR, Cary

If you love sampling good craft beer and spending time outdoors, this event is for you! Walk the one mile partially wooded, paved trail while visiting various regional brewers along the way. Play a game of bags, listen to music, enjoy some tasty bites from local food trucks. This is a dog friendly event - leash required.

  • Early Bird: $45 (Before August 1) -- Includes 3 oz. tastes from multiple brewers + souvenir tasting glass
  • Late Bird: $60 (After July 31) -- Includes 3 oz. tastes from multiple brewers + souvenir tasting glass
  • Designated Driver: $10 -- Includes water/soda & commemorative glass

Archaelogical Awareness

Sunday, September 25  -  Noon - 4 p.m.
Powers-Walker House, Glacial Park 

See demonstrations of a stone grinder, flintknapper, and other prehistoric skills. Try your hand at throwing an atlatl while pretending you are on a prehistoric big game hunt. A mounted cavalryman will be on hand to explain archaeology of the Little Big Horn site. Archaeologists will describe how prehistoric technologies are discovered and interpreted. Examples of artifacts will be on display, including those found at the Powers-Walker House. Bring your own arrowheads or prehistoric tools for identification by professional archaeologists.
Glacial Park Team Challenge
Saturday, October 8  -  8 a.m. - 2:30 p.m. 
North Branch Conservation Area, Richmond 

Grab a friend or two for this non-competitive biking, paddling, and off-trail hiking adventure. The triathlon starts with a light breakfast and information on the habitats you will venture through during the event. Participants will pedal 14 miles, hike/run five miles, and paddle seven miles. Participants need to bring a bike; canoe/kayak equipment is provided. Refreshments and snack stands are available along the course and at the end. And you'll receive a Glacial Park Challenge t-shirt to remember this momentous day! 

The Big Sit - Bird Watching Event
Sunday, October 9  -  7 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Lost Valley Visitor Center, Glacial Park 

Celebrate National Wildlife Refuge Week at The Big Sit, an annual, international, noncompetitive birding event. The concept is simple: find a good spot for bird watching, sit in one spot for a designated time period, and count all the bird species you see or hear. Gather your closest bird-watching friends for a bird-a-thon, a perfect excuse to share good stories, meet new friends, enjoy the outdoors and appreciate our fine feathered friends. Stop by for a few minutes, stay a few hours or join the whole 12-hour sit. Bring a lawn chair and your binoculars and layered clothing. For more information visit Friends of Hackmatack National Wildlife Refuge - hackmatacknwr.org.

Big Woods Planting Party

Saturday, October 15  -  1 - 4 p.m.
Marengo Ridge, Marengo 

Join us for our 7th annual OAKtober Planting Party! During this special event, you'll work with District staff and volunteers to reforest the heart of Marengo Ridge, as part of the District's long-term efforts to restore the "Big Woods" that once covered a third of our county in oak woodlands. Plan to hike a short distance off trail to the planting site, where you will learn why this work is important and how to plant tree seedlings. Dress for getting grubby and bring work gloves if you have them. This is a great opportunity to have some fun with  the whole family and log service hours for Scouts and students.    

Twilight at the Farmhouse
Thursday, October 20  -  6 - 8 p.m.
Powers-Walker House, Glacial Park 

Enjoy the twilight ambiance of this 1850's house by candlelight and lamplight while enjoying a fall evening viewing the ever-changing colors in the Lost Valley Marsh. Smell the aromas of what is baking in the wood-burning stove. We think of candlelight at the end of the day as peaceful, but try doing detailed work in dim lighting! See how the early settlers tried to get the remains of their work done at day's end.
Harvest Time in 1858
Sunday, November 6  -  Noon - 4 p.m. 
Powers-Walker House, Glacial Park, Ringwood 

Step back in time to the 1850's at harvest time. Try your hand at corn shelling, grinding corn into flour, or making a corn husk or yarn doll. Witness harvest activities like the baking of bread in the wood-burning cookstove and grinding herbs for winter use. Tour the historic farmhouse to learn more about its restoration, or visit with a Cavalry sergeant and his horse as they demonstrate the weapons of the era used to protect these frontier lands.