Outdoor adventures to track NIU wildlife


Patrick Murphy

Parker Meadows, senior political science major, reads a book Monday beside the lagoon.

By Parker Otto

DeKALB – NIU Outdoor Adventures and the staff of NIU’s Lorado Taft Campus in Oregon, IL will host a series of monthly Nature Ed. classes. The first, about the winter activities of NIU’s wildlife, will be from 1 to 2:30 p.m. Sunday at NIU’s West Lagoon.

Taught by Shannon Forney, Assistant Program Coordinator at Lorado Taft, the first class will cover identifying local animals, tracking them and discovering their activities during the winter, Forney said. 

The purpose of these classes is not only to help students and local citizens learn more about DeKalb’s nature but also to display the kind of programming Lorado Taft offers as part of their Outdoor Education program.

Class attendance costs $5 for students and $7 for non-students. Checks made out to NIU is also an acceptable form of payment, according to the event’s webpage. 

Loredo Taft is a field campus of NIU located in Northern Illinois wilderness that hosts events and retreats for groups including elementary and middle school classes, university groups, church groups and athletic teams, according to Loredo Taft’s website.

When students go to camp with their elementary or middle schools, they come to us,” Forney said. “We teach a variety of classes all related to being outside: ecology, survival skills, living history, team building and more.”

Other classes as part of the Nature Ed. series will be a Birding Hike, to identify local birds, from 9 to 10:30 a.m. on Feb. 20 by the East Lagoon, and making Wooden Spoons from 5 to 7 p.m. by the West Lagoon, Forney said. 

People of all ages are welcome to attend the event, and precautions are being taken to prevent the spread of COVID-19 with face masks and social distancing required. Prior registration is also important because attendance will be limited, Forney said. To register, email Forney at sforney1@niu.edu.