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!

Solar Eclipse Celebration at Nature At The Confluence @ Nature At The Confluence Campus
Aug 21 @ 11:30 am – 2:30 pm

On August 21, 2017, a total solar eclipse will cross the continental United States from Salem, Oregon to Charleston, South Carolina. Because no other country will get to see this total eclipse, it’s being nicknamed “The All-American Eclipse.” The last time a total eclipse crossed the United States from sea to sea was June 8, 1918.  In the U.S., millions will gather along a tiny ribbon less than 100 miles wide to see totality, the complete blocking out of the sun by the Moon which will reveal the solar corona (the closest total eclipse viewing area near us is Carbondale, IL). The rest of entire country will be able to see a partial eclipse (that’s us!). It is also truly an historic event and a wonderful opportunity to view one of  nature’s most stunning  displays. The next eclipse to go through the continental U.S. will be on April 8, 2024, so you don’t want to miss this party!

Come Celebrate This Awesome Event with Us!

Nature At The Confluence is partnering with South Beloit Library and Beloit Library to bring a special Solar Eclipse Celebration to our community, Monday, August 21, 11.30am-2:30pm at Nature At The Confluence Learning Center, 306 Dickop Street, South Beloit, Illinois.

It is important to wear safety glasses when viewing the eclipse and the South Beloit Library has received Solar Eclipse Viewing Glasses as part of a grant to provide them free to the community. We have limited supply of glasses and they will be available only while supplies last. We will reserve a few dozen for sharing.

Solar Eclipse Celebration Activities – Free to the community, no registration needed!

If it is cloudy that day we will still have some of the activities (those not dependent on the sun) and will livestream NASA’s coverage of the total eclipse inside the learning center.

  • 11:51 am – The eclipse begins (a small sliver will become noticable – glasses must be worn when viewing)
  • 12:00pm – Solar Eclipse Discovery Stops 
    • Make a Sundial –  You only need the sun to know what time it is! Come make your own sun dial to take home
    • Make a Nature Sunprint – use the power of the sun to make a beautiful take-home memory of this event
    • Solar Oven Demonstration – Come see if we can make s’mores using only the heat from the sun!
    • Solar Eclipse Simulator –  Make this paper simulator of the eclipse that lets you follow along as the event happens
    • Roast your own s’mores in our big fireplace!
  • 12:00 pm – Solar Firestarting Throwdown – We’re pitting Beloit Library against South Beloit Library in a Solar Firestarting challenge to see who can get a fire started the fastest using only the sun’s rays to start it!
  • 1:16 pm – Maximum partial eclipse of the sun – this is it!
  • 2:39 pm – Eclipse is over – go home with great memories of celebrating the “All-American Eclipse” with us!

What is A Solar Eclipse?

Visit NASA’s website to learn all about the solar eclipse

A total eclipse is when the Sun is completely hidden by the Moon, the sky becomes dark, and the Sun’s faint atmosphere (its corona) becomes visible – like a beautiful halo. This total eclipse will ONLY be visible on a narrow track stretching from Oregon to South Carolina across the U.S.

The rest of the U.S. and other parts of North and Central America will see a partial eclipse, where the Moon covers only a portion of the Sun. A partial eclipse may not be as aweinspiring and memorable as a total eclipse, but it is still a beautiful experience that will not quickly be forgotten. It will be important to use safe viewing strategies during the partial eclipse, since it is dangerous to look at without something to protect your eye.

A total eclipse of the Sun occurs when the Moon gets between the Sun and the Earth and covers up the Sun. It just so happens that the Moon and the Sun, as seen from Earth, are the same size in the sky. So if the two are exactly lined up, the Moon can hide the Sun from our sight. When this happens, the sky darkens and the fainter outer layers of the Sun become visible. This allows us to see the Sun’s atmosphere (corona) — a beautiful ring of light around the edge of the dark Moon. The sky becomes so dark, stars become visible, birds stop chirping because they think it is time to roost, and people have an eerie sense of it being night in the middle of the day. Many people feel that a total eclipse is one of the most beautiful natural sights, and worth seeing at least once in a lifetime.

Eclipse Viewing Safety Info (Spanish)
Eclipse Viewing Safety Info (English)
NASA Eclipse Viewing Guide

Nature Kids program | Have fun naturally! @ Nature At The Confluence Campus
Aug 22 @ 10:00 am – 11:30 am
Nature Kids program | Have fun naturally! @ Nature At The Confluence Campus | South Beloit | Illinois | United States

Kids + Nature = Fun! Introducing our new Nature Kids program. Bring the kids to Nature At the Confluence for some natural fun!
A program that offers free play time at our Discovery Stops featuring water play, sand play, stone art, stories.
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.
Held each Tuesday, 10am-11:30am through August 22. Come once, or come for all!

Program Themes

  • July 11 – How Does Our Garden Grow?
  • July 18 – Be A Butterfly Hero 
  • July 25 – Please Bug Me!
  • August 1 – Story Stones
  • August 8 –  Bee In Love
  • August 15  – Bird Crazy
  • August 22 – Rain, Rain…don’t go away
Cameras At The Confluence: Photographer Meetup Event Featuring the Work of Joel Sartore @ Nature At The Confluence Campus
Aug 22 @ 6:30 pm – 8:00 pm

Calling all photographers! Here’s your chance to meet. learn. share.

Each month “Cameras At The Confluence” will feature a segment of National Geographic Masters of Photography video course, then have some time to talk, share and maybe go outside and shoot. This is a free event open to area photographers. No registration required.

This month we’ll watch “Make A Difference” Segment from from the photographer who brought you Photo Ark, National Geographic’s Joel Sartore.  After watching the segment, we’ll have some discussion time and plan an upcoming photography outing.

MAKE A DIFFERENCE: Good light. Good composition. A moment. Explore the key ingredients of a great photograph with Joel Sartore as you continue investigating what makes an ordinary picture extraordinary. Get pointers on using storyboarding, remotes, and additional tools in wildlife photography, then see how his images have “gone to work” on behalf of endangered species and other animals.

National Geographic Masters of Photography course goes inside the creative process of the industry’s most sought-after photographers as they reveal their working methods, from the planning stages of an assignment through the execution.

The best way to learn any art form, including the art of photography, is by watching a master artist at work. By observing the creative process of a photographer who has truly mastered the trade, you can gain rich insight into how to approach your own images, boost your confidence as you work, and improve your photographs by learning skills that are rarely shared or taught in an ordinary classroom.Even if you’re already a skilled photographer or simply an appreciator of art, the gripping images and stories these esteemed experts share make the experience highly worthwhile. You’ll gain insight on the elaborate process National Geographic photographers go through—both in the technical and artistic sense—from researching and planning a shoot to working a scene and waiting, often for hours, for the right elements to come together.

Photo by Jamie Street on Unsplash

Wednesday Walkabout @ Nature At The Confluence Campus
Aug 23 @ 9:00 am – 11:00 am

Hit the gravel-packed trails each week for the Wednesday Walkabout at the Confluence Campus, from 9am-11am. Come when you want, go as far as you like! Bring a friend, your kids, or your pup (on a leash). Stop in the Learning Center afterwards for free coffee, water and a “Confluence Critters” organic animal cracker snack.

  • Free and open to the public.
  • All ages welcome. Kids under 12 must be accompanied by an adult.
  • No registration needed.
  • The Learning Center is open 9am-11am each Wednesday.

Large Loop 1/2 mile – 4 laps = 1 mile
Small Loop 1/8 mile – 8 laps = 1 mile

Wednesday Weeders – A Green Team Program @ Nature At The Confluence Campus
Aug 23 @ 9:00 am – 11:00 am

Weeds happen! We invite you to be part of the Green Team and help us stay on top of the weeding and other invasive plants at Nature At The Confluence! Spend as much time as you can share to help bring this land back to life!  Come for 1 to 2 hours whenever you are available on Wednesdays, 9am-11am.

  • Bring garden gloves, bug spray, sun screen and any tools you prefer to attack weeds!
  • We provide drinking water and granola bars.

Click here to register to volunteer, or you can just show up!

“The Confluence: Looking Back, Looking Forward” Guided Tours at Nature At the Confluence – South Beloit Centennial Celebration Event @ Nature At The Confluence
Aug 26 @ 9:00 am – 3:00 pm

Free 45 Minute Guided Tours Offered:

  • 12pm
  • 2:00pm

The Confluence Learning Center and Grounds are open 9am-3pm.

The confluence of Turtle Creek and the Rock River has been inhabited by humans for thousands of years, as fertile land and abundant resources made it a very desirable place to live. Native American Indians settled here, fur traders used the waters as a trade route, and in the last 100 years, South Beloit has become a bustling community. On August 26  we’re celebrating South Beloit’s Centennial by offering  guided tours of the facility.

On this tour you’ll learn about the history of the land, and the work to bring it back to life. Learn about the people who lived here, see our “secret” creek, visit our Italian heirloom garden and learn about the centennial prairie.

No registration needed. We will be walking on the gravel trails, and a bit on a grassy field (less than 1/4 mile). Free event





South Beloit Centennial Community Paddle Trip @ Nature At The Confluence
Aug 26 @ 9:00 am – 12:30 pm

The confluence of  Turtle Creek and the Rock River has been inhabited by humans for thousands of years, as fertile land and abundant resources made it a very desirable place to live. Native American Indians settled here, Fur Traders used the waters as a trade route. In the last 100 years, South Beloit has become a bustling community and in 2017 we’re celebrating South Beloit’s Centennial by offering a Centennial Paddle.

The Centennial Paddle is guided paddle trip on the Rock River, starting on Turtle Creek in South Beloit, and quickly entering the Rock River, enjoying a scenic paddle to Macktown Forest Preserve.

It’s a very popular trip offered by Rocktown Adventures. Sign up now to secure your spot!


This six mile guided paddle traces the route fur traders used back in the day when the Rock River acted like a Commerce Highway. Enjoy the wooded scenery and wildlife on a leisurely paddle as you follow the Fur Traders route down to the Macktown Trading post, where a shuttle will be waiting to take you back to the launch site at Nature at the Confluence.  There is one portage required on this trip at the Rockton Dam.

The price for this experience is $50 and includes kayak, paddle, pfd, guide, shuttle, and a good time. Price is $20 for those that need a shuttle.  Reservations required! To sign up please give Rocktown Adventures a call at 815-636-9066 or click here to register.

Join on the paddle trip for free if you have your own boat and shuttle! 

Community Cleanup! “Good” plant or “Bad” plant? : Plant ID/Invasive Species Removal at Nature At the Confluence @ Nature At The Confluence
Aug 26 @ 12:00 pm – 2:00 pm

“Good” plant or “Bad” plant? Let’s dig in and find out!

Join the adult Stream Team and spend a morning learning basic plant I.D. techniques and how to identify the plants that don’t belong near our streams. What does the presence of invasive plant species tell us about the health of the NATC ecosystem, and how does removing them improve the habitat for the area’s plants and animals. Revitalize the area by helping with Kelley Creek bank restoration and Turtle Creek clean-up and make a positive impact on the community!

  • Wear long pants, long sleeved shirts, socks and closed- toed shoes.
  • Please bring bug spray.
  • Free program
  • Adult program

Preregistration is required. Please call Welty Environmental Center to register: 608-361-1377, or email [email protected]

About NATC Stream Team Programs

Stream Team programs for adults and youth offer a fun and rewarding way to protect and improve local streams, rivers and our watershed. All ages and backgrounds can get involved and we welcome any level of involvement you choose to take.

This Nature At The Confluence Stream Team program is offered through a partnership with Welty Environmental Center and is supported by a grant Nature At The Confluence received from the Colonel Robert H. Morse Foundation.

Click here to see all Stream Team ProgramsIf you have questions about NATC Stream Team you can email [email protected]