There's no better way to beat cabin fever than to grab your coat, boots and adventurous spirit and march into the great outdoors.
Not all animals sleep through winter. Many are busy searching for food, shelter and mates.
The McHenry County Conservation District has several outdoor programs planned for January that range from searching for owls to learning about animal tracks.
Here's a list of upcoming events:
Friday, Jan. 11; Free for residents
7 to 8:30 p.m. Prairieview Education Center, 2112 Behan Rd., Crystal Lake
Simultaneous "Owl Prowls" will be held Friday night, one for adults (14 years & older) and a separate prowl for children age 6-13.
Winter is the ideal time to observe owls and their behavior. Owls are busy staking claim to territories and searching for mates. In this program, participants will meet live owls, share stories and folklore, and go for a short hike in search of owls.
Children's program will be similar with the addition of watching an owl video and dissecting owl pellets. Participants must pre-register online at www.mccdistrict.org, or by calling the Prairieview Education Center at 815-479-5779.
Adult program is free for residents, and $6 for non-residents. Registration code for adult prowl: 213102-00. Children's program is free for residents, and $5 for non-residents. Registration code for children's prowl: 213153-01.
Winter Scavenger Hunt
Saturday, Jan. 12; Free & for all ages
1 to 2:30 p.m. at The Hollows, Picnic Grove #1, 3804 Route 14, Cary
Meet at The Hollows for an introduction around the campfire at the pavilion. From there, your family will head out on a scavenger hunt, looking at winter plant life and searching for signs of animal activity.
Children under age 14 must be accompanied by an adult. To register, be sure to include both the adult and all youths on the same order. Registration code: 213154-01.
Lost Valley Ventures Family Exploration Programs
Saturdays in January; Free
2 to 3:30 p.m. at Lost Valley Visitor Center, Glacial Park, Route 31 and Harts Road, Ringwood.
Here's a program the whole family will enjoy on Saturday afternoons. Topics change monthly: January–Animal Tracks and February–Sugar Maple Trees. The program includes a nature lesson, game and a hike. Participants should dress for the weather and walking. No registration required. All ages welcome. This event is intended for families and cannot accommodate organized groups.