There’s many ways to learn, explore, experience nature and have fun at the Confluence Learning Center!

Would you like to see a program here or hold a program? Please email [email protected]

Click the “Categories” button below to see programs and events specifically for youth, adults, families, and free programs!

The Search for Ke-Chunk Village At The Confluence with Dr. Bill Green @ Nature at the Confluence
Mar 10 @ 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm

The Search for Ke-Chunk Village At The Confluence 

At the confluence of Turtle Creek and the Rock River there once was a very large Ho-Chunk (Winnebago) settlement called Ke-Chunk (Kečąk) or Turtle Village. The Ho-Chunk lived all along Turtle Creek until 1832. “We Once Lived Here: The Ho-Chunk at Ke-Chunk Village” series features a variety of programs held throughout the year at Nature At The Confluence that highlights the culture and heritage of historic and contemporary Native American Indians.

Dr. Bill Green

The Search for Ke-Chunk Village: In this free program, Dr. Bill Green will present findings from his archaeological research along Turtle Creek on the current Confluence Campus in the summer of 2012 which resulted in his report “The Search for Ke-Chunk”. Come learn what we know about Ke-Chunk Village and why people called this area home. We’ll start indoors with a visual presentation and discussion, then walk the confluence property to learn more (less than quarter mile).

BIO: Dr. Bill Green recently retired from Beloit College where he was Adjunct Professor of Anthropology and Chair, Museum Studies Program. His major professional interests include North American archaeology, ethnohistory, and ethnology. Dr. Green actively conducts archaeological studies of Woodland communities occupied 1000-2000 years ago in the Mississippi River valley.

While this program is offered free to the public, donations are appreciated to support bringing programs like this to the community.

See all programs from the We Once Lived Here: The Ho-Chunk at Ke-Chunk Village Learning Series

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Let’s Find Signs of Spring! Program with Welty Environmental @ Nature at the Confluence
Mar 19 @ 3:30 pm – 5:00 pm

Celebrate the Spring Equinox–the 1st day of Spring is March 20th.  Come hike around Nature at the Confluence looking for signs that winter is over. A take home spring craft will also be included.

All ages welcome.

This fun program is offered by Welty Environmental Center . Register using the link below or call 608-362-6212

Prescribed Burn Training presented by Natural Land Institute @ Nature at the Confluence
Mar 31 @ 9:00 am – 11:00 am

Prescribed Burn Training

Sunday, March 31, 2019
9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Cost:  $60 (Includes the 155 page Midwest Ecological Prescription Burn Manual)
Preregistration is required

Register with Natural Land Institute at this link

Location: Nature at the Confluence for classroom instruction, 306 Dickop St., South Beloit, IL  61080 and prescribed burn location after the lunch break is to be announced and weather permitting.

Natural Land Institute’s Director of Stewardship, Zach Grycan, and Melissa Grycan, Restoration Ecologist for The Land Conservancy of McHenry County, will lead a Prescribed Burn Training Workshop for anyone interested in learning how to manage their own land and volunteering for NLI land stewardship or for other conservation organizations. Learn how to conduct a prescribed burn and tips on best practices from Zach, a Certified Prescribed Burn Manager and Melissa, with many years of experience conducting prescribed burns. The workshop will be based on Chicago Wilderness’ Midwest Ecological Prescription Burn Crew Member Training Manual.

Indoor Classroom Instruction:  9:00 a.m.—12:30 p.m.

Topics to be covered will include:

  • Discussion of fire behavior and suppression
  • Effective use of hand and power tools
  • Effective use of water to aid fire suppression
  • Conducting a prescribed burn
  • Ecological effects of fire

LUNCH: 12:30 p.m.—1:30 p.m. (On Own)

Conduct a Prescribed Burn:  1:30 p.m.—3:30 p.m.

Participants will receive hands-on learning when they assist with a prescribed burn (weather permitting) at a site to be determined.

To register please call: 815/964-6666 or send your name, address, affiliation (if any) and payment by March 29, 2019 to Natural Land Institute, 320 S. Third St., Rockford, IL  61104, or fill out the form below.

Ho-Chunk Flute Making Workshop @ Nature at the Confluence
Apr 5 – Apr 7 all-day

A Program Of Our 2019 Learning Series – Kečąk: We Once Lived Here | The Ho-Chunk At Ke-Chunk Village 

Ho-Chunk Flute Making Workshop with Bill Quackenbush, Ho-Chunk Tribal Historic Preservation Officer, 3-day course held April 5-7. During this 3-day instructional course you’ll learn about the history of the Native American courting flute, then you’ll be guided on how to make, then play your very own flute.

This program is held at Nature At The Confluence Environmental Learning Center, which is situated along Turtle Creek and the site of the historic Ho-Chunk Village: Kečąk or Turtle Village. You’ll be able to learn more about the history of this village during the workshop. This program is part of the 2019 Learning Series – Kečąk: We Once Lived Here | The Ho-Chunk At Ke-Chunk Village.

Held over 3-days: April 5, 5:00-9:00 p.m.; April 6, 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.; April 7, 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

  • Limited to 14 participants
  • Cost is $150 and includes all materials to make your flute and carrying bag.
  • You’ll leave with a beautiful Ho-Chunk style Courting Flute and will have the skills to play your flute.
  • Instructor: Bill Quackenbush, Ho-Chunk Tribal Historic Preservation Officer
  • Participants should be 18 years or older and have the ability to work with woodworking tools.
  • Meals on on your own. Brings snacks and beverages. A refrigerator and microwave are available.
  • We must have a minimum of 7 participants to hold this course. If we don’t reach the minimum the course will be cancelled

Register Below

  • Price: $150.00 Quantity:
  • $0.00

The Reclusive Native Cat – The Bobcat @ Nature at the Confluence
Apr 14 @ 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm

Bobcat photo from the IL DNR website

Presented by Jennifer Kuroda, Founder of the Illinois Bobcat Foundation

Bobcats, named for their short, bobbed tail, are about twice the size of a common house cat. They use their keen sight and hearing to hunt rabbits, squirrels, small rodents and some birds. They are mostly nocturnal, reclusive animals that prefer forested or wooded areas. Once hunted almost to extinction in the Midwest, bobcats have been making a comeback over the past 40 years.

In this talk, Jennifer will cover every facet of the elusive cats, including history, biology, predator perception, and management. Information about the ongoing bobcat population study by Dr. Jacques at Western Illinois University will also be discussed.

Jennifer will have a table of items that includes scat, skull, etc. She will offer a bobcat tracking activity to kids following the presentation.

BIO: Jennifer Kuroda is the founder of the Illinois Bobcat Foundation. She received her B.S. from the Rockford University and is a life-long resident of Rockford, Illinois. She serves on the Board of the Sinnissippi Audubon and has been a nature lover since she was a young girl.

April Showers! Program with Welty Environmental @ Nature at the Confluence
Apr 16 @ 3:30 pm – 5:00 pm

Where does water go? Where does it all come from? Come play games that help us better understand the water cycle, I.D. cloud types, and investigate local runoff and drainage into Kelly Creek and Turtle Creek.

All ages welcome.

This fun program is offered by Welty Environmental Center. Register using the link below or call 608-362-6212

Nature Kids: Ho-Chunk Storytelling | Celebration of National Storytelling Day – Ages 7-11 @ Nature at the Confluence
Apr 27 @ 10:00 am – 11:00 am
Nature Kids: Ho-Chunk Storytelling | Celebration of National Storytelling Day - Ages 7-11 @ Nature at the Confluence | South Beloit | Illinois | United States

A Program Of Our 2019 Learning Series – Kečąk: We Once Lived Here | The Ho-Chunk At Ke-Chunk Village 

Nature Kids: Ho-Chunk Storytelling | Celebration of National Storytelling Day, Saturday,  April 27, 10:00-11:00 a.m.,

Oral storytelling is one way that Ho-Chunk culture, traditions, and language are passed down from generation to generation. The featured story is the “The Ho-Chunk Courting Flute”. Storytelling and an art project are part of this program for ages 7-11. Free program is funded  through a grant from Col. Robert H.Morse Foundation.

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Walk With Me Among My Homelands: Hear the Echoes of My Ancestors @ Nature at the Confluence
May 4 @ 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm

A Program Of Our 2019 Learning Series – Kečąk: We Once Lived Here | The Ho-Chunk At Ke-Chunk Village

Janice Rice, a member of Ho-Chunk Nation, invites you to listen and envision a walk amidst the beauty of her ancestral homelands. Rice is a retired librarian with a focus on American Indian resources, literature, culture, history, language preservation & revitalization. $5 suggested donation.

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Intro to Fly Fishing Program @ Nature at the Confluence
May 25 @ 10:00 am – 12:00 pm

Fly fishing is fun, relaxing and easy to learn for all ages.  

In this basic intro course you’ll get tips on how to choose fly fishing gear & tackle, where to fish, how to safely release fish  and more in this program offered by Joshua Glovinsky, owner of Midwest Fishing Adventures.

After the indoor program, we’ll head outside where you’ll have an opportunity to practice casting on the land, then head to the creek for an on-water demo by Josh.  As you’ll be only casting on land, no fishing license is needed.

Ages: Adults and Youth 14 and up

$5 per person  – must pre-register below to reserve your spot

About Josh Glovinsky Since 2012, Josh spends every free moment chasing Smallmouth and Northern Pike on the watersheds of Northern Illinois. He is an advocate for conservation and practices catch, photo and release. He says “Just a little over 8 years ago I fell in love with Fly Fishing on a guided fly fishing trip for carp on Lake Michigan. Every waking moment since landing my first carp on the fly has been consumed with thoughts of fly fishing. It has become an addiction that has literally kept me sane as I try to balance working full time, teaching at RVC part time, and raising two little ones.”

Register Below

  • Price: $5.00 Quantity:
  • $0.00
“Bears, Bees & Honey Tea Party” | Adventures In The 100 Acre Woods – Ages 4-7 @ Nature At The Confluence Campus
Jun 2 @ 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm

  • “Bears, Bees & Honey Tea Party”  is our theme for this special Nature Kids program.
  • Bring your favorite bear or other stuffed animal and a blanket or beach towel along for this Tea Party where you’ll learn all about how special bees are!
  • We’ll have a tea party under the shade of The Big Tree, where you’ll enjoy tasting organic herbal tea and lemonade sweetened naturally with local honey.
  • Featuring a Story Under the Big Tree and free play at our Pop Up Discovery Stops
  • Recommended for ages 4-7. Siblings are welcome.
  • Must be accompanied by an adult. This is not a drop off program, adult must stay with the kids.
  • Free Program! *
  • No registration needed.

* This program is offered at no cost to the community through support from the Colonel Robert H. Morse Foundation

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