APPROXIMATELY 25 MILES WEST OF DOWNTOWN CHICAGO, COMMUTERS DRIVING ON I-290 PASS THE 70-ACRE VILLAGE OF ITASCA SPRING BROOK NATURE CENTER – A SANCTUARY FOR REGIONAL BIRDS OF PREY AND A RESOURCE FOR ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION.
The Spring Brook Nature Center plays an active role in the community. According to Debby Farley who is in charge of the raptor programs, the Center’s activities include “ ... interpreting and preserving natural resources found in the region ... ” by caring for educational birds of prey; educating families, scouts, and school groups; and restoring vital natural habitats. Spring Brook’s grounds and two miles of trails are open to the public, and dog owners are allowed to bring their pets. Highlights of the Center’s work within the community include two free festivals per year and day camps for children of all ages in the summer.
The Center opened in 1980 and started its work with birds of prey in 1987. The Center presents approximately 150 raptor programs annually at schools and on the grounds. Spring Brook provides housing to these well-traveled birds, attempting to make them comfortable by simulating each of their natural habitats.
Funding from the Subaru of America Foundation is being utilized to create a barred owl mew. This involves designing a pond and wooded environment in an octagonal space measuring approximately 18 feet by nine feet. The Center’s Junior Naturalists volunteer group – local 4H members – have helped plan and build the habitat.
For more information about the Spring Brook Nature Center, go to www.itascanaturecenter.com.