Activities for the whole family at Winterfest

University of Illinois Extension will host its annual Winterfest from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 18, at the Natural Resource Education Center in Russell Woods Forest Preserve in Genoa. Each year people gather at the Natural Resource Education Center to meet up with friends old and new to share the joys of winter. 

“This is an opportunity to serve our communities with a family-friendly winter event to break up the season,” Extension educator Peggy Doty said. “Winter is a season, not a precipitation, so we will be there whether we have snow or not.”

The day starts indoors at the bird viewing window, where Doty will discuss birds and their behaviors as they come to the feeders. A morning hike for the whole family will leave the center at 10 a.m. No worries if you miss it, because there is another one at 3:30 p.m. Hikes are geared toward all ages, but everyone needs to be dressed for the weather and walking in snow.

Phil Nielsen of Waterman will be in the park from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. giving horse-drawn wagon rides.

The Prairie Gems 4-H Club will sell snacks and lunch items. There are no fees for the activities, but donations are accepted to support the cost of materials.

Make-and-take crafts will be available all day. The annual reading of “The Mitten” by Jan Brett will take place at 2 p.m. in the Little Seeds Library. Candle dipping, a pioneer method of making candles, will be offered from 10 a.m. to noon.

Russell Woods Forest Preserve is located one mile west of Genoa on Route 72.  For more information, call 815-784-2000 or visit

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