4-H Spin Club – Junior Master Naturalist

The University of Illinois Extension Junior Master Naturalist Program in partnership with the Canton Park District provides science-based educational opportunities that connect kids with nature and helps them become engaged environmental stewards.  Ages 9-12 are welcome to join this group to gain a sense of place with hands-on exploration through nature!

Attendance at each session is highly recommended.


Location: Baker Recreation Center *dress in layers and be prepared to go outside.

Time: 3:30 pm – 5:30 pm

Date: Wednesday, January 17th – Wildlife of Illinois


Location: Donaldson Community Center

Time: 3:30 pm – 5:30 pm

Date: Wednesday, February 21st  – Fossils/Geology


Location: Donaldson Community Center

Time: 3:30 pm – 5:30 pm

Date: Wednesday, March 20th –Weather & Water Cycle


Location: Lakeland Park – Ranger Station

Time: 3:30 pm  – 5:30 pm

Date: Wednesday, May 15th  Pond Explorers/Aquatics/ Insects


Location: Big Creek Park Pavilion

Time: 1:00 pm  – 3:00 pm

Date: Wednesday, June 12th – Camping Adventures


Location: Big Creek Park Pool

Time: 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm

Date: Wednesday, July 17th – Pool Party & Plans for next year


Cost: $20 per child (4-H membership)

Max Participation:  20 Members



Let’s celebrate Earth Day and connect with nature!  Learn about the natural environment around us: native birds, fish, and wildflowers. Dress for being outside and wear comfortable shoes for hiking the trails. Registration is required.


Location: Lakeland Park – Ranger Station

Time: 9:00 am – 12:00 pm

Date: Saturday, April 20th

Cost: FREE – ALL ages welcome!   


  • Earth Day 101
  • Birding Basics 9:15-10:00 am
    • Learn tips & tricks to identify backyard birds, sound recognition, and practice with binoculars. Bring your binoculars or borrow one of ours.
  • Native Fish Program 10:15-11:00 am
    • This program will feature live animals and fun facts about the fish found in and around Canton.
  • Wildflower Walk 11:15 am-12:00 pm
    • Get up close with the beautiful spring wildflowers that are native to our forest. Join us on a guided hike to learn facts and ID


Tree Meditation

Join U of I Extension Master Naturalists Renee and Kim each month to experience the benefits of meditating outdoors and discover how nature can be healing. During this nature retreat, you will be taken through a short 15-20-minute guided meditation, learn a fun fact about nature, and participate in an engaging activity that you can easily recreate at home. This experience will reignite your inner child and remind you of the joy of playing outside.  Let us reintroduce you to nature and before you know it, you’ll be seeking out new nature trails and discovering a newfound love for nature.  No cost for this program; all ages 9+ are welcome!


Location: Big Creek Bottom Area

Time: 10:00 am – 11:30 am   

Dates: Saturday, May 4th – Flower Mandalas


Location: Big Creek Fire Circle Area

Time: 10:00 am – 11:30 am   

Dates: Saturday, June 1st – Painting with Mud


Location: Lakeland Park – McCamey Lake

Time: 10:00 am – 11:30 am   

Dates: Saturday, July 6th – Nature & using your 6 senses


Paddle the Park

Have you ever wanted to kayak or canoe Lakeland, but didn’t want to go alone or unguided? Maybe you are a novice but want to try it with a guide.  Canton Park District is offering guided tours on Fitch and Bond Lake.  You can bring your own kayak, canoe, or paddleboard for this 2-hour trip.  A limited number of kayaks and canoes are available, and registration is required. If you are new to paddling, we will do an instruction course before starting.


Location: Lakeland Park

Time: 10:00 am – 12:00 pm   

Dates: Saturday, June 8th

Cost: $3 per person


Monarch Migration

Join the BIG BUTTERFLY COUNT with a local expert!  Learn and see close up a butterfly’s life cycle, make your own butterfly to take home, and sing the monarch song!  Be a part of tagging and releasing monarchs and watch them on their journey.  Monarch Watch is an international system that tracks their patterns and identifies trends that will help us plan how to protect butterflies from extinction, as well as understand the effect of climate change on wildlife. This is a family-friendly event.


Location: Lakeland Park – Bond Lake

Time: 1:00 pm  – 3:00 pm

Date: Saturday, September 7th

Cost: $2 per person with a max of $10 per family (3 and under free)


Fall Hike

Hike the trails of Big Creek Park with one of the U of I Extension Master Gardeners and see the stunning views of the changing colors of fall. Learn to identify native trees along the path.  Dress for the weather and wear comfortable walking shoes. We will be staying on the trails. Leaf rubbing activity to follow the hike.


Location – Big Creek Park Pavilion

Time: 10:00 am – 11:30 am

Date: Monday, October 14th 

Cost: FreeD