Calendar of Events – 2022

Due to Covid-19, some of our indoor events may require a mask and/or social distancing. Please check back to our page for the most up-to-date information or contact the event leader if you have any questions.

All times are Central Time.

JANUARY

Saturday, January 8, 2022, 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. –TRASH PICK-UP AND RAPTOR VIEWING
Let’s keep the roadsides at Kankakee Sands clean by picking up trash. We’ll also keep an eye to the sky for winter raptors such as red-tail hawks, rough-legged hawks, short-eared owls and northern harriers. Bring gloves and dress for the weather. We’ll provide the trash bags and orange vests. Meet at The Nature Conservancy’s office (3294 N US 41, Morocco, IN) to organize into groups. Social distancing and/or masks required. This event is hosted and led by Friends of the Sands in partnership with The Nature Conservancy’s Kankakee Sands. Please RSVP! Contact Jeanette Jaskula (jmjaskula@yahoo.com, 219-869-1004) for more information or to RSVP.

In 2020, we picked up a port-o-potty urinal along the roadside!

Monday, January 17, 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. – MARTIN LUTHER KING JR. DAY OF SERVICE
Let’s work to beautiful our community by collecting trash along the roadsides at Kankakee Sands. Bring gloves and dress for the weather. We’ll provide the trash bags and orange vests. Meet at The Nature Conservancy’s office (3294 N US 41, Morocco, IN) to organize into groups. Social distancing and/or masks required. This event is hosted and led by Friends of the Sands in partnership with The Nature Conservancy’s Kankakee Sands. Please RSVP! Contact Jeanette Jaskula (jmjaskula@yahoo.com, 219-869-1004) for more information or to RSVP.

Friday, January 21, 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. – BRUSH PILE BURN AT WILLOW SLOUGH
Help the DNR rejuvenate oak savanna habitat at Willow Slough Fish and Wildlife Area. At this workday, volunteers will drag cut honeysuckle to brush piles for burning. Bring a lunch and come all day, or just a portion of the workday. To be safe around fire, wear natural fibers for your exterior clothing. Please RSVP for this event! Contact Gus Nyberg (gnyberg@dnr.in.gov, 765-427-4345) to RSVP and to learn where to meet.

Burning honeysuckle at Willow Slough Fish and Wildlife Area

Saturday, January 22, 4:00 – 5:30 p.m. – FINDING SHORT EARED-OWLS
Short-eared owls are only found at Kankakee Sands during the winter months as they soar over the prairie in search of prey. Join two bird-watching enthusiasts, Barb Lucas and Jeanette Jaskula, as we search for owls at dusk. We may also see other winter raptors, such as Northern Harriers and Rough-legged Hawks. Dress warmly and bring binoculars. Meet at The Nature Conservancy’s office (3294 N US 41, Morocco, IN) for a short introduction to owls before carpooling to a few parking areas for owl-viewing. Children and families are encouraged to attend. Social distancing and/or masks required. This event is hosted by the Newton County Park Board, The Nature Conservancy’s Kankakee Sands, and Friends of the Sands. Contact Jeanette Jaskula (jmjaskula@yahoo.com, 219-869-1004) for more information.

Short-eared Owl. Photo by Rick Katz.

Friday, January 28, 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. – WORKDAY AT CONRAD STATION SAVANNA
Come for as little or as long as you like! Join Jessica Gomez, Land Steward at The Nature Conservancy’s Kankakee Sands, for a day of building brush piles at Conrad Station Savanna. Understory saplings of honeysuckle, autumn olive, and sassafras will be cut. Volunteers 16 and older can apply herbicide to the cut stumps to prevent re-sprouting. All ages are welcome to assist with using loppers and handsaws and dragging cut stems to brush piles for burning later in the year. This event is hosted and led by The Nature Conservancy’s Kankakee Sands in partnership with Friends of the Sands. Social distancing and/or masks required. Meet at the Conrad Station Savanna Parking Area located on 725 N, ½ mile east of US 41, south of Lake Village, IN. Please RSVP for this event! Contact Jessica Gomez (Jessica.Gomez@tnc.org).

FEBRUARY

Thursday, February 10, 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. – GREENHOUSE WORKDAY
Help Friends of the Sands prepare for our 2022 Native Plant Sale. It may be cold outside, but it’s warm in the greenhouse! We will sow seeds that we prepared over the last two months with cold/moist stratification to help them germinate. Social distancing and/or masks required. Meet at the Kankakee Sands Native Plant Nursery (1492 W 250 N, Morocco, IN). Please RSVP! Contact Jeanette Jaskula (jmjaskula@yahoo.com, 219-869-1004) for more information or to RSVP.

Preparing our bags of seed for sowing in flats.

Saturday, February 12, 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. – BISON VIEWING AREA BRUSH REMOVAL WORKDAY
Help The Nature Conservancy keep the Bison Viewing Area free of view-blocking shrubs and small trees. All ages are welcome to help cut cherry and sassafras sprouts with loppers and pile up woody debris for burning. This event is hosted and led by The Nature Conservancy’s Kankakee Sands in partnership with Friends of the Sands. Social distancing and/or masks required. Meet at the Kankakee Sands Bison Viewing Area parking lot west of U.S. 41 on S. 400 W. in Morocco, IN. Please RSVP! Contact Olivia Schouten (Olivia.Schouten@tnc.org) for more information or to RSVP.

Saturday, February, 19, 1:00 – 3:00 p.m. – WEED WRANGLE© AT THE NATURE CONSERVANCY’S KANKAKEE SANDS NURSERY
The inaugural event for the brand-new Newton County Nature Partnership (NCNP)! This group promotes healthy landscapes by eradicating non-native invasive plants. Fencerows and property lines are apt to be overtaken by non-native shrubs like autumn olive and honeysuckle. The non-native plants then produce seed and spread onto Kankakee Sands and adjacent homeowner properties. At this Weed Wrangle©, help NCNP remove these troublesome plants. Loppers will be used to cut saplings and herbicide will be applied to cut stumps. Social distancing and/or masks required. This event is hosted by NCNP in partnership with The Nature Conservancy’s Kankakee Sands and Friends of the Sands. Please RSVP! Contact Alyssa Nyberg (anyberg@tnc.org) for more information or to RSVP.

The welcome sign at the Native Plant Nursery.

Thursday, February 24, 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. – CONRAD STATION SAVANNA WORKDAY
Volunteer for as long or as little as you like! Join The Nature Conservancy’s staff at Conrad Station Savanna as they remove the dense understory brush on the east side of the savanna. Target species will be non-native Honeysuckle, Autumn Olive, and also Sassafras. Staff will use power equipment like brushcutters to cut brush and folks who are 16 years of age or older may apply herbicide to the cut stumps. Other workday tasks include using loppers and handsaws to cut brush and stacking brush into piles. If conditions allow, brush piles will be burned to keep folks warm and comfortable. This event is hosted and led by The Nature Conservancy’s Kankakee Sands in partnership with Friends of the Sands. Social distancing and/or masks required. Meet at the Conrad Station Savanna parking lot located on the gravel road CR 725 N, ½ mile east of US 41, south of Lake Village, IN. Please RSVP! Contact Jessica Gomez (Jessica.Gomez@tnc.org) for more information or to RSVP.

MARCH

Saturday, March 12, 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. – WEEKEND BRUSH REMOVAL WORKDAY
Help The Nature Conservancy remove small shrubs and trees from the prairie. All ages are welcome to help cut cherry and sassafras sprouts with loppers and pile up woody debris for burning. This event is hosted and led by The Nature Conservancy’s Kankakee Sands in partnership with Friends of the Sands. Please RSVP to Jessica Gomez (jessica.gomez@tnc.org) to learn the meeting location.

Saturday, March 19, 1:00-3:00 p.m. – FAIRY SHRIMP HIKE
An annual tradition! While some look to the robin as the harbinger of spring, many wetland enthusiasts mark spring by the appearance of fairy shrimp in our ephemeral ponds and pools. Tiny (less than an inch) fairy shrimp swim, belly up, through their watery world and live for only 2-3 weeks. Join us for a fun and easy walk for all ages at Holley Savanna, a preserve owned and managed by NICHES Land Trust. Bring your water-boots or waders to enter the pools to search for fairy shrimp and other aquatic invertebrates or stick to the trails surrounding the pools. Meet at Holley Savanna (3250 E 100 S, Fair Oaks, IN in Newton County). The property is adjacent to North Star Cemetery. This event hosted by Newton County Park Board and Friends of the Sands. Contact Jeanette Jaskula (jmjaskula@yahoo.com, 219-869-1004) for more information.

Saturday, March 26, 1:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. – GREENHOUSE WORKDAY AND BOTANY HIKE
Come spend the afternoon in the warm and cozy Kankakee Sands greenhouse transplanting tender native plant seedlings into individual pots. After the workday, we’ll take a few minutes to eat our picnic lunches, then head out into the Kankakee Sands Nursery for a botany stroll focused on leaves. Leaves can be a great way to help identify plants; knowing what to look at and what to look for is important. We’ll dive into these two ideas during the one-hour botany stroll. This event is very family friendly. Please bring a picnic lunch. This event is hosted and led by The Nature Conservancy’s Kankakee Sands in partnership with Friends of the Sands. Meet at the Kankakee Sands Nursery (1492 W CR 250 N, Morocco, IN). Social distancing and/or masks required. Please RSVP! Contact Alyssa Nyberg (anyberg@tnc.org, 219-866-1706) for more information or to RSVP.

Saturday, March 26, 7:30 -9:30 p.m. – AN EVENING OF FROG FINDING AND SALAMANDER SEARCHING
Spring rain showers signal it’s time for frogs and salamanders to emerge and migrate into our wetlands to breed. Join us as we visit a wetland after dark to observe and identify some of our local species. Bring a flashlight and some muck boots if you have them. Dress for potentially rainy weather. Meet at The Nature Conservancy’s office (3294 N US 41, Morocco, IN). This event is hosted and led by The Nature Conservancy’s Kankakee Sands in partnership with Friends of the Sands. Please RSVP! Contact Alyssa Nyberg (anyberg@tnc.org, 219-866-1706) for more information or to RSVP.

APRIL

Friday, April 1, 8:00 – 10:00 p.m. – INTERNATIONAL DARK-SKY EVENT: STARGAZING UNDER A NEW MOON
Come enjoy a moonless sky at Kankakee Sands to celebrate International Dark-Sky Week! Learn about the impacts of light pollution on wildlife, get some simple tips on how to help reduce light pollution, and gaze at the stars, planets, and Milky Way on the prairie. Meet at the Kankakee Sands Bison Viewing Area parking lot west of U.S. 41 on N. 400 W. in Morocco, IN. This event is hosted and led by The Nature Conservancy’s Kankakee Sands in partnership with Friends of the Sands. Please RSVP! Contact Olivia Schouten (olivia.schouten@tnc.org) for more information or to RSVP.

Saturday, April 9, 1:00 – 3:00 p.m. – WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE PRAIRIE CHICKEN?
Joel Greenberg, author of several books, including “A Natural History of the Chicago Region”, will tell the story of the once-abundant prairie chicken in Newton County and relate his own experience of being one of the last people to see this iconic species in Newton County in 1970. While prairie chickens no longer enchant this area, bring your binoculars for a morning of birding with Joel. Meet at The Nature Conservancy’s office (3294 N US 41, Morocco, IN) to carpool for birding and an interpretive hike. This event is hosted and led by Friends of the Sands in partnership with The Nature Conservancy’s Kankakee Sands. Please RSVP! Contact Jeanette Jaskula (jmjaskula@yahoo.com, 219-869-1004) for more information.

Joel Greenberg photographs Wild Wild Indigo (Baptisia alba) at Conrad Station Savanna. Photo by Jeanette Jaskula

Saturday, April 16, 5:30 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. – CONRAD STATION SAVANNA HISTORY HIKE
Ever hike through a ghost town at night? If not, now’s your chance! Join us for a 1.6 mile hike through historic Conrad with local librarian Mary Kay Emmrich. You’ll learn about the history of the area and about the fascinating town’s founder, Jennie M. Conrad. This hike is hosted by the Newton County Park Board in partnership with Friends of the Sands and The Nature Conservancy. Meet at the Conrad Station Savanna Trailhead on gravel road 725 N, 0.5 miles east of US 41. Please RSVP! Contact Gus Nyberg (nyberggus@gmail.com) for more information or to RSVP.

Saturday, April 16, 7:00 – 9:00 p.m. – WOODCOCK WALK
The woodcock is a superbly camouflaged bird that is seldom seen, but commonly heard at dusk on cool spring nights performing its aerial courtship flight. Join Gus Nyberg Conrad Station to stroll the prairie and woodland edges at sunset to watch the woodcocks emerge. Meet at the Conrad Station Savanna Trailhead on gravel road 725 N, 0.5 miles east of US 41. This event is hosted by Friends of the Sands, Newton County Park Board, and The Nature Conservancy’s Kankakee Sands. Please RSVP! Contact Gus (nyberggus@gmail.com, 765-427-4345) for more information or to RSVP.

Monday – Sunday, April 18-24, INDEPENDENT ROADSIDE GARBAGE CLEAN-UP
During the week of April 18–24, participate in our Independent Roadside Garbage Clean-up!
Volunteers will gear up to clean-up along roadsides to honor Earth Day which falls on April 22nd. We have strategic locations at Kankakee Sands in mind for this important work. We can provide you with some ideas on good locations to tackle, as well as provide garbage bags and reflective vests. Contact Alyssa Nyberg (anyberg@tnc.org, 219-866-1706) to get started.

Saturday, April 23, 1:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. – GREENHOUSE WORKDAY AND BOTANY HIKE
Come spend an afternoon in the warm and cozy Kankakee Sands greenhouse transplanting the next round of tender native plant seedlings into individual pots. After the workday, we’ll take a few minutes to eat our picnic lunches, then head out into the Kankakee Sands Nursery for a botany stroll focused on stems! Even stems can be a great way to help identify plants, knowing what to look at and what to look for is important. We’ll dive into these two ideas during the one-hour botany stroll. This event is very family friendly. Please bring a picnic lunch. This event is hosted and led by The Nature Conservancy’s Kankakee Sands in partnership with Friends of the Sands. Meet at the Kankakee Sands Nursery (1492 W CR 250 N, Morocco, IN). Social distancing and/or masks required. Please RSVP! Contact Alyssa Nyberg (anyberg@tnc.org, 219-866-1706) for more information or to RSVP.

Thursday, April 28, 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. – GARLIC MUSTARD PULLING WEED WRANGLE©
Come join the staff at Kankakee Sands and members of Newton County Nature Partnership at a Weed Wrangle©! Garlic mustard is a non-native, invasive plant species that threatens the health of our ecosystems. Garlic mustard loves the shade of our savanna and woodlands and can crowd out native wildflowers. Plants will be pulled by hand and collected in garbage bags for disposal. Long pants, long-sleeved shirt, hat and sturdy boots are strongly recommended. Leather gloves, eye protections, and garbage bags will be provided. This event is hosted and led by Newton County Nature Partnership and The Nature Conservancy’s Kankakee Sands in partnership with Friends of the Sands. Meet at the Conrad Station Savanna Trailhead located on the gravel road 725 N, 0.5 miles east of US 41, Lake Village. Please RSVP! Contact Jessica Gomez (Jessica.Gomez@tnc.org) for more information or to RSVP.

MAY

Tuesday, May 3, 5:00-6:30 p.m. – NEWTON COUNTY FAIRGROUNDS GARDEN CLEAN-UP
Join us at the Newton County Fairgrounds for a spring cleaning of the Friends of the Sands native plant display garden. We’ll remove last year’s stems and rake up the leaves. Please bring your work gloves, rakes, hand clippers, brooms, or other garden tools to help us out. Don’t forget snacks and water. We’ll provide a tarp for dragging away leaves. Many hands make light work! We hope to see you there to welcome the new growth in the garden together. Meet at the Newton County Fairgrounds at 12189 Punkin Vine Rd. in Kentland, IN. Contact Stephanie Frischie (stephaniefrischie@gmail.com, 219-208-5879) for more information.

Thursday, May 5, 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. – BIRD’S FOOT TREFOIL WORKDAY AT THE GRACE TENINGA TRAIL
While springtime marks the beginning of beautiful wildflower booms, it is also the time of year when Kankakee Sands staff begin their work on non-native plants. Come out to Unit B (Grace Teninga Trail) to help staff with herbicide treatments on Bird’s Foot Trefoil. While this plant is often used as a cover crop, it can aggressively invade our natural areas. It often forms dense colonies that tend to exclude native plants. Our staff are professionally trained and licensed by the state of IN for use of herbicides. They will provide a basic introduction on the proper and safe use of herbicides at the start of the workday. There will be backpack sprayers and various hand sprayers available for use. Long sleeve shirt, long pants and closed-toe shoe/boot are required for herbicide use. Hats strongly recommended as there is no shade in/near the work area. Nitrile gloves and eye protection will be provided. This event is restricted to folks age 16 yrs+ due to herbicide use. Meet at the Grace Teninga Trail parking lot located on County Road 600 North, just one half mile east of County Road 200 East. Please RSVP! Contact Jessica Gomez (Jessica.Gomez@tnc.org) for more information or to RSVP.

Bird’s Foot Trefoil by Stuart Orr, TNC

Friday, May 6, 9:00 – 11:00 a.m. – BISON VIEWING AND NATIVE PLANT SALE TASKS
Friends of the Sands Newton would love some help with writing out plant tags for our upcoming Native Plant Sale. We have over 2,000 plants that need tags! We’ll set up a tag-writing station at the Bison Viewing Area. Bring an extra permanent marker if you have it and any tags such as popsicle sticks or old plastic blinds. Meet at the Bison Viewing Area (located west of U.S. 41 on 400 S). Contact Jeanette Jaskula (jmjaskula@yahoo.com, 219-869-1004) for more information.

Saturday, May 7, 8:00 – 9:30 a.m. – BIRDING HIKE AT CONRAD NATURE PRESERVE
Join Matt Beatty, Regional Ecologist with the Indiana DNR-Division of Nature Preserves, for a birding adventure at Conrad Nature Preserve. If you have binoculars and a bird field guide, please bring them. Meet at the Conrad Nature Preserve located on 700 N, west of US 41, Lake Village. Please RSVP! Contact Gus Nyberg (nyberggus@gmail.com) for more information or to RSVP.

Saturday, May 7, 10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. – GREENHOUSE WORKDAY AND BOTANY HIKE
Greenhouse workdays are coming to a close. This will be the final greenhouse transplanting workday for 2022. Come spend the morning with us finishing up the last few species to be transplanted and helping to move the plants outside under the shade tarp. After the workday, we’ll enjoy our picnic lunches, then head out into the Kankakee Sands Nursery for a botany stroll focused on flowers. We’ll look at the shapes and structures of the flowers, and begin to identify some of our native prairie flowers. This event is very family friendly. Please bring a picnic lunch. This event is hosted and led by The Nature Conservancy’s Kankakee Sands in partnership with Friends of the Sands. Meet at the Kankakee Sands Nursery (1492 W CR 250 N, Morocco, IN). Social distancing and/or masks required. Please RSVP! Contact Alyssa Nyberg (anyberg@tnc.org, 219-866-1706) for more information or to RSVP.

Saturday and Sunday, May 14 and 15, 7:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. – INDIANA DUNES BIRDING FESTIVAL FIELD TRIPS TO KANKAKEE SANDS
Bird watcher and Friends of the Sands’ volunteer, Barb Lucas, will lead two field trips at Kankakee Sands in conjunction with the Indiana Dunes Birding Festival. Participants must be registered with the event and pay a fee to attend this field trip. Visit Indiana Dunes Birding Festival to learn more and register. Contact Barb (blucas1123@gmail.com) for more information.

Saturday, May 14, 10:00 a.m. – CONRAD HISTORY HIKE
Join the Newton County Public Library, The Nature Conservancy, and Friends of the Sands for a morning of stories as we visit the old town of Conrad. Guides will share their knowledge about the town and the spring flora and fauna. This is a family-friendly event. Please RSVP. There is a limit of 25 people. To RSVP, please contact the Newton County Public Library, Roselawn Branch, at 219-345-2010.

Sunday, May 15, 9:30 p.m. – 12:00 a.m. – TOTAL LUNAR ECLIPSE VIEWING ON THE PRAIRIE
A total lunar eclipse will be visible from Kankakee Sands on this evening! Join us at the Bison Viewing Area to enjoy this astronomical event. The total eclipse begins at 10:30 p.m. and ends at 11:50 p.m., but the partial eclipse is visible before and after those times. We will also look at stars and plants and enjoy the night sounds on the prairie. This event is hosted by The Nature Conservancy’s Kankakee Sands in partnership with Friends of the Sands. Meet at the Bison Viewing Area west of US 41. Please RSVP! Contact Olivia Schouten (Olivia.Schouten@tnc.org) for more information or to RSVP.

Thursday, May 19, 6:00 – 7:30 p.m. – SPRING WILDFLOWER WALK AT KANKAKEE SANDS
Join Stephanie Frischie, a Newton County-raised naturalist, for a two mile walk on the Grace Teninga Trail at Kankakee Sands. Stephanie will share her work to recover violets and share their importance. During the walk, other blooming spring wildflowers will be seen. Meet at the Grace Teninga Trail (CR 600 N., 0.5 miles east of the intersection of CR 600 N, in Lake Village, IN). This event hosted by Newton County Park Board in partnership with The Nature Conservancy’s Kankakee Sands and Friends of the Sands. Please RSVP! Contact Gus Nyberg (nyberggus@gmail.com) for more information or to RSVP.

Saturday, May 21, 8:00 – 11:00 a.m. – CONRAD SPRING BIRD COUNT
Come enjoy the morning with Kankakee Sands staff member Jessica Gomez for a Conrad Spring Bird Count. While any time of year is great for birding, spring migration is an especially exciting time for individuals wanting to see a variety of species. Woodland songbirds, woodpeckers, warblers, and vireos are some of the species we will hope to see. Checklists and field guides will be available, but feel free to bring your own. Kankakee Sands’ staff will compile the data and submit our sightings to eBird. Bring binoculars if you have them. Meet at the Conrad Station Savanna parking area located on CR 725 N, a half mile east of US 41. Contact Jessica Gomez (Jessica.Gomez@tnc.org) for more information.

Saturday, May 28 – NATIVE PLANT SALE BY FRIENDS OF THE SANDS
Pick-up of pre-ordered plants will be on May 28 at The Nature Conservancy’s Kankakee Sands Native Plant Nursery (located across the street from North Newton High School). Our sale funds are used to support conservation efforts in Newton County. For information on pre-ordering over 50 native plant species, please visit our plant sale page. Our Gallery of Native Plants has pictures and growing information. Have questions? Contact Jeanette Jaskula (jmjaskula@yahoo.com., 219-869-1004).

Marsh Blazing Star (Liatris spicata) at the Native Plant Sale. Photo by Jeanette Jaskula.

Saturday, May 28, 8:30 – 11:00 p.m. – MOTHS OF KANKAKEE SANDS
Join two moth-ers, Chris Joll and Jeanette Jaskula, for an evening of discovering moths at Kankakee Sands. We’ll have a light set up with a white sheet to attract moths. We’ll also spread moth bait (a mixture of beer, brown sugar, and over-ripe bananas) that is sure to please our resident moths. Children and families welcome! Don’t forget to bring a flashlight. Meet at The Nature Conservancy’s Seed Barn at 419 W CR 600 N, Lake Village, IN. Contact Jeanette Jaskula (jmjaskula@yahoo.com, 219-869-1004) for more information or to RSVP.

JUNE

Friday, June 10, 7:30 – 10:30 a.m. – BIRDING ON THE PRAIRIE
Barb Lucas and Jeanette Jaskula will search for the secretive grasshopper sparrow, state-endangered Henslow’s sparrow, and many more birds on this birding tour around Kankakee Sands. Meet at The Nature Conservancy’s office (3294 N US 41, Morocco, IN) to carpool. This event is hosted and led by Friends of the Sands in partnership with The Nature Conservancy’s Kankakee Sands. Please RSVP! Contact Jeanette Jaskula (jmjaskula@yahoo.com, 219-869-1004) or Barb Lucas (blucas1123@gmail.com) for more information or to RSVP.

Birding on the Prairie. Photo by Jeanette Jaskula.

Saturday, June 11, 1:00 – 3:00 p.m. – IN SEARCH OF CATERPILLARS OF THE BUCK MOTH
Buck moths fly by day in the fall at Kankakee Sands. Pheromones, released by males, attract females to mate and she lays her eggs on willow. The eggs hatch the following spring and the caterpillars feast on willow leaves during the months of May, June, and July before emerging as adults in the fall. At this event, we’ll walk in the willows and search for caterpillars. We’ll be cautious and not touch the caterpillars, as they have stinging hairs that can deliver a painful sting. Meet at The Nature Conservancy’s office (3294 N US 41, Morocco, IN). Contact Jeanette Jaskula (jmjaskula@yahoo.com, 219-869-1004) for more information.

Buck moths at Kankakee Sands in October of 2020. Photo by Jeanette Jaskula.

Tuesday, June 14, 5:00 – 6:30 p.m. – NEWTON COUNTY FAIRGROUNDS GARDEN CLEAN-UP
Join us at the Newton County Fairgrounds to clean the Friends of the Sands native plant display garden. We’ll remove last year’s stems and rake up the leaves. Please bring your work gloves, rakes, hand clippers, brooms, or other garden tools to help us out. Don’t forget snacks and water. We’ll provide a tarp for dragging away leaves. Many hands make light work! We hope to see you there to welcome the new growth in the garden together. Meet at the Newton County Fairgrounds at 12189 Punkin Vine Rd. in Kentland, IN. Contact Stephanie Frischie (stephaniefrischie@gmail.com, 219-208-5879) for more information.

JULY

Tuesday, July 5, 5:00 – 6:30 p.m. – NEWTON COUNTY FAIRGROUNDS GARDEN CLEAN-UP
Friends of the Sands tends a native wildflower display at the Newton County Fairgrounds. We’d love your help prepping the beds and tidying up before the fair starts on July 11th. Meet at the Newton County Fairgrounds at 12189 Punkin Vine Rd. in Kentland, IN. Contact Alyssa Nyberg (anyberg@tnc.org, 219-866-1706) for more information.

Saturday, July 9, 1:00 – 3:00 p.m. – BUTTERFLY “BIG SIT”
This was a huge hit last year with fans of The Sands! Maybe you’ve heard of a “Big Sit” for birds where all you do is find a spot, sit, and watch the birds around you. How about a “Big Sit” for butterflies at Kankakee Sands? No hiking in the heat required. We’ll set up a tent for some shade and watch the Regal Fritillaries and Monarchs float on by. Bring a cool drink and a snack to share with friends. Don’t forget your lawn chair and your butterfly field guide. Meet at the Kankakee Sands Native Plant Nursery (1492 W 250 N, Morocco, IN). This event is hosted and led by Friends of the Sands in partnership with The Nature Conservancy’s Kankakee Sands. Contact Alyssa Nyberg (anyberg@tnc.org, 219-866-1706) or Marilyn Diller (MarilynDiller@yahoo.com).

Butterfly “Big Sit”. Photo by Alyssa Nyberg.

Wednesday, July 13, 4:00- 9:00 p.m. – EARTH NIGHT AT THE NEWTON COUNTY PUN’KIN VINE FAIR
The Nature Conservancy’s Kankakee Sands office will have a booth during Earth Night at the Newton County Fair, organized by the Newton County Soil and Water office. Stop by to say hello and enjoy all the other conservation organizations there that night. This is family friendly and FREE! Visit the fairgrounds at 12189 Punkin Vine Rd, Kentland, IN 47951.

Saturday, July 16, 8:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.m. – MOTH MANIA!
Moths may conjure images of drab and brown insects fluttering at our porch lights, but with over 1,000 species recorded at the Sands, there’s much to learn about these mostly-nocturnal fliers. We’ll have a few lights set up to attract moths, so we can view the stunning diversity of these little gems at Kankakee Sands. We’ll also discuss the importance of moths in prairie and savanna ecosystems and how you can participate in citizen science projects that track moth diversity. This is an excellent program for families, and children of all ages are encouraged to attend. Bring a flashlight. Meet at The Nature Conservancy’s Seed Barn at 419 W CR 600 N, Lake Village, IN. This event is hosted by Friends of the Sands, Newton County Park Board, and The Nature Conservancy in Indiana. PLEASE RSVP! Contact Jeanette Jaskula (jmjaskula@yahoo.com, 219-869-1004) for more information and to RSVP.

AUGUST

Saturday, August 6, 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. – WILDFLOWER HIKE AT CARL BECKER NATURE PRESERVE IN ILLINOIS
Let’s take a trip across the border to visit the Illinois side of the Kankakee Sands region. We’ll join Rob Littiken from The Nature Conservancy for a tour of Carl Becker Nature Preserve. We’ll explore this high-quality sand flatwoods and prairie with an emphasis on its special plants. Plan to bring good hiking shoes and sunscreen. Meet at the Kankakee Sands Office (3294 N US 41, Morocco, IN) to carpool to the preserve in Illinois. Please RSVP! Contact Jeanette Jaskula (jmjaskula@yahoo.com, 219-869-1004) to RSVP.

SEPTEMBER

Friday, September 9, 7:00 – 10:00 p.m. – SHEDDING LIGHT ON MOTHS AND SEED CLEANING
We’ll sit around the moth light and clean some seed as we watch the moths fly in. We’ll use a light to attract moths to a white sheet where we’ll try to identify each species. Each moth has a fascinating story to tell us about how important the prairies and savannas are to its brief life. This is a wonderful program for families, and children of all ages are encouraged to attend. Remember to bring a flashlight. Meet at The Nature Conservancy’s Seed Barn at 419 W CR 600 N, Lake Village, IN. This event is hosted and led by Friends of the Sands in partnership with The Nature Conservancy’s Kankakee Sands. Contact Jeanette Jaskula (jmjaskula@yahoo.com, 219-869-1004) for more information.

Large Tolype (Tolype velleda). Photo by Jeanette Jaskula

Saturday, September 10, 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. – SEED HARVESTING WORKDAY
Let’s spend the morning together at Kankakee Sands harvesting seeds. Alyssa Nyberg will help us take an up-close look at the stems, leaves, and flowers of each species to learn more about native plants. This event is very family friendly. No experience needed. Meet at the Kankakee Sands Nursery (1492 W 250 N, Morocco, IN). PLEASE RSVP! Contact Alyssa Nyberg (anyberg@tnc.org, 219-866-1706) for more information or to RSVP.

Saturday, September 10, 1:00 – 3:00 p.m. – MONARCH WATCH
Learn about and participate in Monarch Watch, a citizen science program to capture, tag, and release monarch butterflies as they migrate through Indiana on their journey to Mexico. Even if the weather does not cooperate, we’ll still meet to learn more about this research and why it is done. Meet at the Kankakee Sands Native Plant Nursery (1492 W 250 N, Morocco, IN). This event is hosted by Friends of the Sands, Newton County Park Board, and The Nature Conservancy’s Kankakee Sands. PLEASE RSVP! Contact Barb Lucas (blucas1123@gmail.com) or Jeanette Jaskula (jmjaskula@yahoo.com, 219-869-1004) for more information or to RSVP.

Aubrey holds the Monarchs awaiting tags. Photo by Alyssa Nyberg

OCTOBER

Saturday, October 15, 1:00 – 3:00 p.m. – GEOLOGY TOUR OF KANKAKEE SANDS
On this driving tour, we’ll learn about the glacial history of the Kankakee Sands eco-region and the interplay of ice, water, and sand in forming this unique landscape. Meet at The Nature Conservancy’s office (3294 N US 41, Morocco, IN) to carpool to various locations in and around Kankakee Sands. This event is hosted and led by Friends of the Sands in partnership with The Nature Conservancy’s Kankakee Sands. Contact Gus (nyberggus@gmail.com, 765-427-4345) for more information.

Friday, October 21, 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. – CONRAD BY MOONLIGHT
Let’s stroll at dusk among the majestic oaks of Conrad Station Savanna. The moon will shine as we make our way to the foundation of the old hotel at the ghost town of Conrad. You will have the option to continue on the loop trail or return to the parking lot. We’ll have trees along the path baited with a sugary treat for moths in the hopes of observing these autumn denizens of the woods. Children and families are especially welcome. Bring a flashlight. Meet at the Conrad Station Savanna parking area located on CR 725 N, a half mile east of US 41. Social distancing required. Please RSVP! Contact Jeanette Jaskula (jmjaskula@yahoo.com) to RSVP.

Saturday, October 22, 1:00 – 3:00 p.m. – A SEARCH FOR SEEDS AND BUCK MOTHS
Join us for seed-collecting on the prairie. As we fill our bags with seeds, we’ll keep alert for buck moths whose flight time is early to mid-fall. If we’re lucky, we’ll find a mating pair! Meet at the Kankakee Sands Seed Barn (417 W 600 N, Lake Village, IN). This event is hosted and led by Friends of the Sands in partnership with The Nature Conservancy’s Kankakee Sands. Contact Jeanette Jaskula (jmjaskula@yahoo.com, 219-869-1004) for more information.

A mating pair of Buck Moths. Photo by Jeanette Jaskula.

NOVEMBER

Thursday, November 10, 10:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. – SEED CLEANING WORKDAY
To prepare for our 2023 Native Plant Sale, we will be cleaning seed from 50 species of native plants donated by volunteers for our sale. We’ll need to clean the seed from the chaff and tuck the seeds into plastic bags for cool storage until we stratify the seeds in the coming months. If you’re interested in how to grow your own natives from seed, this is a great way to learn, ask questions, and gain some experience. Dress for the weather. This event will be held outdoors. Meet at the Kankakee Sands Seed Barn (417 W 600 N, Lake Village, IN). Social distancing required. Contact Jeanette Jaskula (jmjaskula@yahoo.com, 219-869-1004) for more information.

DECEMBER

Saturday, December 10, 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. – SEED STRATIFICATION WORKDAY
Believe it or not, in only 2 months we’ll be sowing seeds for our May 2023 Native Plant Sale! Come to this workday to help us prepare our seeds for germination. We’ll work together to fill our bags of seed with moist sand before we place them in the refrigerator for 60 days to mimic winter conditions. We’ll meet at Kankakee Sands Native Plant Nursery (1492 W 250 N, Morocco, IN). Contact Jeanette Jaskula (jmjaskula@yahoo.com, 219-869-1004) for more information.

Saturday, December 24, 10:00 a.m. – CHRISTMAS EVE ON THE GRACE TENINGA TRAIL
Enjoy a peaceful morning hike before all the festivities of the holidays. Friends of the Sands, The Nature Conservancy, Newton County Park Board, and the Newton County Public Library will host a hike of the Grace Teninga Discovery Trail at Kankakee Sands. The trail is a moderately strenuous packed dirt, 2-mile loop to the dune top and back. Enjoy wonderful views of what was once Beaver Lake. The trail is dry, but dress for the weather. Hot chocolate, bottled water, and cookies will be served in the parking area before and after the hike. Meet at the Grace Teninga Trail parking lot located on County Road 600 North, just one half mile east of County Road 200 East. Contact Alyssa Nyberg (anyberg@tnc.org, 219-866-1706) for more information.