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!

Winter Walkabout – part of Beloit Winterfest @ Nature At The Confluence Campus
Jan 26 @ 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm

Come explore the Confluence during our Winter Walk About during Beloit’s Winterfest!

  • Do a Walk About with our Naturalist to see what critters are active during the winter at the confluence.
  • Enjoy a Winter Scavenger Hunt
  • Enjoy free S’mores and warm yourself at our big fire as the sun sets on a beautiful winter day!
  • Make a paper snowflake to decorate our walls this winter!
  • Free drop in program – come and go at any time!
  • No Registration required.
Coyote – The Misunderstood Trickster @ Nature at the Confluence
Feb 19 @ 6:30 pm – 7:30 pm

Cunning, social, resilient, opportunistic, faithful, adaptive, shy, successful, hated, inspirational…

Coyotes have to be one of the most misunderstood species in Illinois and the U.S. They conjure up mixed feelings of fear, anger, and for some wild beauty. There are many stories about coyotes and some circles believe them to be the jokester of the wild. Many of these feelings depend on who you are, where you live, and even what you do for a living. Coyotes get blamed for many things they do and don’t do in our spaces. They none the less should get the award for best survivalist despite the human population. We have all but paved the road for the coyote’s historical expansion. Come and hear more about this incredible animal and what you can expect from them in your neighborhood.

This free presentation is brought to you by Sinnissippi Audubon Society and is presented by Peggy Doty, Educator for the University of Illinois Extension 

BIO: Peggy Doty is an Educator for the University of Illinois Extension specializing in environmental education as a means to relate wildlife related issues and water quality to all ages. She holds a B.S. in Zoology with a specialization in wildlife management. She also holds a M.S. in Education with a specialization in Outdoor Teacher Education in Curriculum and Instruction. Peggy is especially interested in human reactions and relationships to wildlife who have adapted to urban environments. Peggy has been teaching environmental education for over 20 years and is passionate in regards to teaching children about their environment and helping people understand wildlife as it relates to their lives.

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

Would you like to be informed of new programs about the history of the confluence? Sign up below.

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 Echos 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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