Illinois Department of Natural Resources


Volo Bog State Natural Area
28478 West Brandenburg
Ingleside, IL 60041

Moraine Hills State Park
1510 S. River Rd.
McHenry, IL 60051
(815) 385-1624

Public Programs | Public Book Discussions | Schools and Other Youth Groups

Adult Groups | Park Information | Scholarships Offered

Friends of Volo Bog Website

Volunteer Opportunities | Volo Bog Activity Guide - Primary



Forty-five miles northwest of Chicago in Lake County, Volo Bog is the only “quaking” bog in Illinois. The bog is a registered National Natural Landmark and a dedicated nature preserve. Picnicking, hiking, and cross country skiing are offered at the site. There is an abundance of unique plants and wildlife that can be seen in Volo Bog.

Volo Bog State Natural Area is home to Illinois' only remaining open-water quaking bog. A gift of the Wisconsin Glacier, Volo Bog began forming in a kettle hole lake over 6,000 years ago. A floating mat of vegetation encroached from the lake edges toward the center. The initial plant community included sphagnum mosses and sedges. As these plants died, they did not decompose but formed a floating substrate of peat from which more plants grew. As the mat thickened, it supported larger plants such as cranberry, leatherleaf and poison sumac. Deciduous tamarack pines gained a foothold as the mat thickened to support their increasing weight. Highbush blueberry, the carnivorous pitcher plant and several orchids also make their home in Volo Bog. Today, five plant communities encircle a half-acre pond like a target. The pond has no true bottom; suspended peat thickens toward the bottom of the old kettle hole 50+ feet below. A 1/2 mile trail including a wooden boardwalk loops through all the stages of bog succession to overlook the center pond.

Volo Bog was designated an Illinois Nature Preserve in 1970 and a National Natural Landmark in 1973. It is an excellent outdoor laboratory and classroom. Interpretive programs are available to most ages (beginning at 4 years old) throughout the year.



Stacy Iwanicki

For the General Public:

Guided public tours of Volo Bog are conducted on Saturdays and Sundays at 11:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. for individuals, families and small groups. Groups of ten or more are asked to make arrangements for a private group tour. The one-hour bog tour follows a half-mile boardwalk through all the stages of classic bog succession as an old glacial lake gives way to sphagnum moss, orchids, poison sumac and tamarack trees. Frogs and tadpoles entertain most every visitor spring through fall. Muskrats and mink delight the more careful observers. Even winter is a wonder at Volo Bog with bright red berries on winterberry and an abundance of animal tracks on freshly fallen snow. Occasional winters have hosted rare visitors from the north including saw-whet owls and crossbills. Pets not allowed on the Boardwalk.

In addition to the public bog tours, a broad spectrum of special events, tours, lectures and workshops are also held throughout the year.

Winterfest - 2nd Sunday in January
International Migratory Bird Day - Sunday in late April/Early May
International Bog Day - 4th Sunday in July
Ghost Stories - 2nd Saturday in October



Volunteer Opportunities at Volo Bog & Moraine Hills

Volo Bog Volunteer Application | Moraine Hills Volunteer Application

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources is looking for dedicated adults for a variety of volunteer projects (outlined below) at Volo Bog State Natural Area and Moraine Hills State Park. For further information, or to register for a workshop, please contact Naturalist Stacy Iwanicki at 815-344-1294 or

Crafty Bog Committee at Volo Bog
Volo Bog State Natural Area is re-vamping its CBC! Members of this committee will develop craft ideas made with natural and used materials, and will enjoy teaching the projects to others at special events and craft days.

Roving Naturalists at Moraine Hills
Roving Naturalists, as the name implies, will not sit in one place for long! Dressed in “naturalist-wear,” they will reach out to visitors along the trails to answer questions and share seasonal observations such as frog & bird calls, flowers in bloom, animal signs, etc... A wonderful example is when a volunteer bluebird monitor discovered the emergence of garter snakes and stopped passers-by to share in the wonder.

Docents at Moraine Hills
Docents are friendly adults who greet people on weekends at Moraine Hills’ Nature Center. They assist with directions and share insights to enhance the visitors’ park experience. For example, docents will encourage folks to contribute to the site’s bird log, sign up for interpretive programs or check out loaner binoculars. Docents will also encourage visitors to watch for Roving Naturalists along their hike.

Bluebird Monitors at Volo Bog & Moraine Hills
Bluebird Monitors check and maintain from 10 - 20 nest boxes once per week from late March through early August. There are three openings for bluebird monitors at Moraine Hills State Park. Additional monitoring opportunities may be available at other trails throughout Lake and McHenry Counties.

Prairie Gardeners at Volo Bog & Natural Gardeners at Moraine Hills
Volunteer gardeners attend to the native prairie & woodland gardens that grace the grounds at each site. Some gardeners have prior knowledge but many are beginners who learn on-the-job. PGVs and NGVs are folks who like to keep their own schedule and work mostly behind the scenes but who are not afraid to promote the use of natives in the garden with visitors who happen by.
Prairie and Native Gardeners will have their spring organizational meeting at Volo Bog State Natural Area on Sunday, March 21 from 12:30 p.m. - 2:00 p.m. To register, phone 815-344-1294.

Hummingbird Feeder Maintenance at Volo Bog
Volo Bog is going to hold a Hummingbird Festival at Volo Bog this summer! Volunteers are needed to clean and re-fill up to ten hummingbird feeders every-other day from late March - early November (possibly even later). To accomplish this at least 3 volunteers will be needed to contribute once per week - If more people are available, each can come in less frequently.

Volo Bog State Natural Area is an Illinois Department of Natural Resources site located in Ingleside on Brandenburg Road west off U.S. Highway 12 between State Highways 120 and 134.
Moraine Hills State Park and McHenry Dam are an Illinois Department of Natural Resources complex located south of McHenry on River Road between State Highways 120 and 176.

For further information on volunteer opportunities, or to register for a workshop, please contact Naturalist Stacy Iwanicki at 815-344-1294 or

Volo Bog Offers Scholarships

The Friends of Volo Bog is offering two scholarships for $1,000 each to outstanding students interested in pursuing environmental careers. Applications can be found at and are due by the fourth friday in February.

To be eligible for the "Entering College" Scholarship the applicant must reside in Lake, McHenry, Kane, Cook, DuPage, Kendall, or Will County, attend a high school in one of these counties, have a minimum B average for the first three years, and plan to attend an accredited college or university. The applicant should be planning to enter a career directly related to preserving the environment.

To be eligible for the "Continuing College" Scholarship the applicant must be currently enrolled in an accredited college or university, have a permanent residence in Lake, McHenry, Kane, Cook, DuPage, Kendall, or Will County, have graduated from a high school from one of these counties with a minimum B average, and currently hold a minimum B average in their college studies. The applicant should be on a course study leading to a career directly related to preserving the environment.

Applications are due by the fourth Friday in February.

Application packets are available at

The Friends of Volo Bog is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) membership organization dedicated to the preservation of the area’s natural heritage, maintenance of site facilities, and advancement of educational programming at Volo Bog State Natural Area.

Spring into Spring at
Volo Bog SNA, Moraine Hills SP & McHenry Dam

  • Most programs are FREE - Donations are happily accepted by our Friends groups
  • Reservations are requested for most programs (and required for some) - Phone 815-344-1294 or email
  • Limited Drop-ins usually welcome but...program may be cancelled if minimum registration is not met 24 hours prior.

Would you be our Friend?
Our Friends provide support of educational programs, habitat restoration and other activities at your favorite nature sites!
Perhaps you'd like to join them?
For membership and other information visit and
Donations to these 501(c)(3) organizations may be tax deductible - consult a tax advisor

Guided Tours of Volo Bog
Most Saturdays & Sundays    11:00 a.m. & 1:00 p.m.    LNCI!
All ages are welcome to our one-hour public tours for individuals, families and small groups of nine or fewer.  No reservations are needed except... groups of 10 or more, please phone to arrange a private group tour.  For more information, phone 815-344-1294 or visit Volo Bog State Natural Area at


Moraine Hills State Park Photo Contest Entries sought
Entry Deadline this Friday, June 7th . See Entry Form with all rules and details
Celebrate your love of nature and show off your ability to capture its essence!  Submissions are being accepted for Moraine Hills State Park's 16th annual Nature Photo Contest.  See entry form attached for all rules & details.  Entries will be accepted in seven categories - Color Plant, Color Invertebrate, Color Vertebrate, Color Landscape, Black & White, Beyond Illinois, and People (& Pets) in the Park.  See attached for complete rules and timeline.  Submissions being accepted at Moraine Hills State Park office on Friday between 10 am - 3 pm.


Calling all Artists -
Help us Celebrate the Beauty and Mystery of Bogs - in Art
Art submissions will be accepted Wednesday, June 5 through Thursday, June 27 for our July show.   See Invitation/Entry Form
The goal of Bogs in Art is to encourage artists to learn about bogs around the world, and to capture their beauty and mystery in art.  Bogs in Art is open to adults and interested youth age 11 and up.  There is just ONE RULE - Work MUST represent and/or be inspired by... Bogs!  "Any" medium goes!  From paintings to ceramic, tapestry to jewlery, if you can tell us how it captures the essence of a bog, we want it for our show!  See attached entry form for a definition of bogs, as well as other details for submission.  Then tell your friends to come see the display and - if you choose - ask them to bid on your work.  Bogs in Art doubles as a fund-raiser for Volo Bog through Friends of Volo Bog.  A silent auction opens with the debut of the show and closes at 3:00 p.m. July 28 during Volo Bog's International Bog Day's celebration.


Volunteer Veterans' Conservation Corps meets at Volo Bog State Natural Area
Every other Saturday *** 9:30 am - 12:00 Noon
June 8, 22; July 6, 20; August 3, 17; September 14, 28
First-timers are encouraged to join!         Ask for our Flyer
The Chimney Swift Project continues; the crew is currently working in the Volo Bog SNA garage behind the Visitor Center. 
See the plans at
Up Next - Osprey Tower, Leopold Benches, Seed Sorters

Volunteer Veterans' Conservation Corp provides opportunities for veterans to continue serving their country by assisting with and developing projects to enhance our state parks and natural areas.   The VVCC is a cooperative effort of the the Illinois Department of Natural Resources at VBSNA, MHSP & MD, Friends of Volo Bog and Friends of Moraine Hills State Park with additional support provided by the Veterans Assistance Commission of McHenry County.  Natural Resources Coordinator Stacy Iwanicki, advisor to the VVCC, emphasizes how the corps is bringing veterans from different generations and conflicts together around a common cause - protection and enhancement of the natural environment in Illinois.  For information on joining the Volunteer Veterans' Conservation Corps, contact Ms. Iwanicki at 815-344-1294 or


Book Discussions at Volo Bog State Natural Area
Second Saturdays     10:00 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.       See our Summer Flyer and ask for our cumulative list of over 200 titles
Of Bogs & Books is in its 20th year!  The monthly gathering of adults (age 17 & older, generally...) shares discussions of nature, science & environmental readings over morning coffee & snacks.  Over 200 titles have been discussed since establishment in 1994!

  • June 8 - Dakotah: Or Life and Legends of the Sioux Around Fort Snelling by Mary Eastman, 1849!
  • July 13 - The Sea Around Us by Rachel Carson
  • August 10 - The Ocean of Life: The Fate of Man and the Sea by Callum Roberts

Free Family Fishing & Nature Discovery Day at  McHenry Dam
Saturday, June 8   11:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Join us for an afternoon of fishing at the north end of McHenry Dam.  All equipment is provided by Friends of Moraine Hills State Park - poles, hooks, bait, etc...  In addition to fishing, discover other river wildlife from dragonfly nymphs and giant water bugs to frogs, birds and maybe mammals as well.  We'll have aquatic collecting kits for the macroinvertebrates, binoculars to look for birds and mammals, and a variety of scavenger hunts and other activities.


Appreciating Nature in Colored Pencil at Volo Bog State Natural Area
Sunday, June 9     9:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. + afternoon field sketching
Registration Required - Class-size limited        Geared to Adults & Youth ages 11 and older
Explore your Creative Side – Appreciating Nature in Colored Pencil
If you can write your name, you can draw!  Start a nature journal, explore the important connections between people and plants, and see the world with entirely new eyes!  Learn how to express nature’s beauty in this half-day class with the option of field sketching instruction in the nature area in the afternoon. (Please bring a bag lunch and folding stool or sit-upon if you would like to stay for that portion.) Artist-grade supplies will be provided for you to take home and continue your artistic explorations of the natural world. 
Folding Stool or Sit-upon (or borrow ours), Bag Lunch, Jump/Flash Drive

All art materials generously provided through the Anne Ophelia Dowden grant from the American Society of Botanical Artists.
Kathleen Marie Garness has exhibited her watercolors at Kew Gardens London, the Chicago Botanic Garden and the Smithsonian, among other venues. She is currently Artist-in-Residence at the Oak Park Conservatory and has taught book arts at Morton Arboretum. She enjoys bringing her love of plants, especially native orchids, to new audiences. Images of her work may be found at:

Explore More:


Bird Walks at Volo Bog State Natural Area    LNCI!
Saturdays & Sundays     8:00 a.m.     Ask for our refrigerator flyer!
June 15, 29; July 14, 27; August 18
The birds are gearing up to feed their young - from bluebirds and tree swallows at their nest boxes to red-winged blackbirds and sandhill cranes in the marshes, the busy season is here.  Also watch (& listen) for Virginia rail, sora, marsh wrens and swamp sparrows in the marshes and yellow warblers, common yellowthroats & veeries calling from the Volo Bog itself.  The woods is alive with nuthatches, woodpeckers, pewees and others.  Shrublands often reveal rufous-sided towhees, blue-gray gnatcatchers, and sometimes blue-winged warblers.  Eastern kingbirds and meadowlarks can be found in the grasslands.  Late spring is a great time for birding!

Bring binoculars and field guides or borrow from our leaders.  Walk is just under three miles and takes from 1.5 - 3+ hours with weather and luck in birding.  Adults and attentive kids ages 6 and older are welcome.  Meet in the parking lot.  Registration is requested at 815-344-1294 or  Walk-ins welcome but walk may be cancelled if minimum registration is not met 24 hours prior.

Co-sponsored by McHenry County Audubon.  Visit

Bird Walks at McHenry Dam are on hold until further notice, due to needed trail repairs.  "Dam Regulars" will find a warm welcome at Volo Bog SNA's Bird Walks.  LNCI!  

Habitat Restoration and Stewardship Team
at Volo Bog State Natural Area
Brush Removal at VBSNA's North Bench Overlook
When?  Wednesdays, June 19    1:00 - 3:30 p.m.
Where?  Volo Bog State Natural Area - Meet in the Visitor Center
Who?  Habitat Restoration & Stewardship Team; Leaders Neil Whitman and John Katzenmayer
Bring?  Drinking water, comfortable work gloves
Reply to register.
Enjoy fresh air as we tackle exotic invasive species and re-establish the natives.  We pull, cut, plant and gather seeds, depending on the season.  HWDs are a fun family project (adults & Kids 7 & up).  Please dress for the weather and bring gloves (we’ll have a few to borrow too). Reservations requested at 815-344-1294 or   Walk-ins welcome but session may be cancelled if minimum registration is not met 24 hours prior.  New HRST Volunteers, please arrive 15 minutes early for paperwork ;0)


Nature Photography Club Meets at Volo Bog State Natural Area
Third Wednesdays,         7:00 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.
June 19; July 17; August 21
Improve your Nature Photography!  Learn camera skills as well as digital manipulation.  Through guest speakers, programs and competitions, photographers will learn how to create impactful nature images.  While membership is required to compete, non-members are always welcome to attend - no registration required.  Memberships are available at the meetings.  Visit for more information.


Astronomy Nights at Volo Bog State Natural Area          LNCI!
Third Fridays        8:30 p.m. - open
June 21; July 19; August - Members' Only Night
This Month:  Ken Daniel & Ken Weik presen "Radio Telescopes of the National Radio Astronomy Observatories"
After the indoor program, if the weather permits, members of the club will set up telescopes in the parking lot for some viewing of the night sky.
Lake County Astronomical Society meets at Volo Bog SNA on the third Friday of each month except December.  A business meeting is held at 7:30 p.m. followed by an indoor presentation at 8:30 p.m. and - if skies are clear - viewing about 9:30 p.m.  Everyone is invited to peer through members' scopes.  The public is always welcome - no registration required.  Visit for program details.

Astronomy Under The City Lights (AUTCL) or Lake County Astronomical Society Hits the Road
Utilizing powerful telescopes, amateur astronomers from Lake County Astronomical Society will share views of the Moon and planets from outside local libraries. This event is free and suitable for all ages. There will be special surprises for the young 'future astronomers' who attend.  No advanced registration is required.  These events are dependent on dry weather and clear skies.  Visit for the next location near you!  Questions? Contact the LCAS at  


Friends of Volo Bog Members’ Only Picnic and Annual Meeting
      followed by Chipmunk Woods Grand Opening
Sunday, June 23   *   12 Noon - 3:00 p.m.
All Food and Beverage is provided as a part of membership!  Please bring your own reusable place setting & eating utensils.  New members welcome at picnic – membership starts at $10.00.
See for membership application.  Registration Required by 3:00 p.m., Wednesday, June 19 at 815-344-1294 or at

Chipmunk Woods Grand Opening at Volo Bog State Natural Area
Sunday, June 23    *    2:30 - 3:00 p.m.

Chipmunk Woods invites kids to explore!  A fun free-play nature area and outdoor classroom behind Volo Bog State Natural Area's Visitor Center, Chipmunk Woods is an oak woodlot that is on its way back!

Bordered loosely by a split rail fence, the area features whimsical discoveries hidden here and there among native plants planted each spring by area students through the Illinois Department of Natural Resources Earth Day in the Parks program.

In Chipmunk Woods, children are invited to explore - to turn over logs and turn them back, build a fairy village or a fort out of nature's supplies, balance on a log, create their own games, test their strength, discover their own limitations and abilities, ask questions, make observations and share discoveries.  Whether with a guided group on on thier own with friends and family, Chipmunk Woods is Nature's idea of a playground.

Chipmunk Woods is a joint effort of Volo Bog State Natural Area, Earth Day in the Parks, Friends of Volo Bog, the Bornhoeft Family of Green Oaks, Volo Bog SNA Volunteers, and Eagle Scout Sam Gibson of Woodstock, Illinois.  Under Sam's coordination, 20 scout family volunteers installed nearly 1,000 feet of split rail in one day to define this amazing outdoor classroom!  Please join us as we thank Sam Gibson and his scouts along, with the Bornhoeft family and Friends of Volo Bog, for making this amazing nature classroom a reality.

Chipmunk Woods will always be a work in progress.   For more information about the Grand Opening or to learn how you can help CW grow, please contact Natural Resources Coordinator Stacy Iwanicki at or 815-344-1294.


Bogs in Art!
Celebrating the Beauty and Mystery of Bogs through Art
Show Dates: July 3rd - August 11th   (Closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays)
Bogs in Art is a fund raiser as well as an art show celebrating bogs.  Please stop by and put a bid on one of the items in the silent auction.  Bids close on Sunday, July 28 as we celebrate International Bog Day.  Procedes support Volo Bog SNA through Friends of Volo Bog.  Watch for more details as the date approaches.


Friends of Moraine Hills State Park Annual Picnic and Meeting
Saturday, July 13        12:00 Noon - 3:00 p.m.
A park needs all the Friends it can get!  Established in 2007, the Friends of Moraine Hills are seeking new members and now is a good time to join - in time to attend the annual pot-luck picnic!   The Friends supply all grillable meats & sodas.  Members are asked to bring a side dish or dessert to share.  After lunch, members mingle over games of baggo and other lawn games and an afternoon of fun.
For membership information visit  Members are asked to RSVP for the picnic to or through Volo Bog SNA at 815-344-1294.


Youth Art Guild meets at Volo Bog State Natural Area        LNCI! 
Sundays (see below)    1:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.           Ask for Flyer
VBSNA's Youth Art Guild is open to children ages 11 - 17 who wish to explore nature through art.  As members of a nature art guild, young artists explore and create nature-themed works, and meet with guest artists of varying interests.  While the style and media varies (ex. botanical/scientific illustration, anime, whimsical sculpture, inpressionistic painting, etc...) the central theme always celebrates Nature. 

  • July 14 – Karyl Shields – Two dimensional mixed media
  • August 4 - Mike Trahan – Photography part - 2
  • September 8 – Nandu Dubey – Drawing birds (Colored pencil)
  • October 6 – Jenny Vogt (TBA)
  • November 3 – Kimberly Butts – (Metal manipulation)
  • December 1 – Sinead Carus – Graphic Design part - 2

 The program is non-competitive, individualistic, interactive & supportive.  Group size is small - limited to 17 guilders.  Each session includes outdoor sketching & journaling, as well as indoor work.  Sponsored by Friends of Volo Bog - $30.00 annual fee plus $10.00 monthly fee covers most supplies.  Sponsor Reprographics Imaging and Art Supplies of Crystal Lake provides guild members with discounts on art materials - visit them at   For more information contact Stacy Iwanicki at or 815-344-1294.


International Bog Day at Volo Bog State Natural Area
Sunday, July 28     12:00 Noon - 4:00 p.m.
Artists' Reception and Silent Auction of Bog Art kick off our celebration.  Live music, storytelling and poetry slam follow the auction.  Bog tours throughout the afternoon.
Become a part of the action:

  • Submit art for the show by June 27
  • Sign up to take the stage by July 28 (as openings permit)
  • Place your bid on the artwork by 3 pm, July 28
  • Become a member of Friends of Volo Bog and stay for the anniversary celebration and dinner that evening

Friends of Volo Bog 30th Anniversary Celebration
Sunday, July 28         5:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.
Members of Friends of Volo Bog will enjoy stories, movies, pizza and more.  Open to members only.  For membership information visit


Calling all Grownup "Children of Volo Bog!"
Did you grow up with Volo Bog State Natural Area as a part of your childhood?  If so, please share your story in 250 - 1,000 words.  Please either type directly into an email body, or provide it in Word format, to Natural Resources Coordinator Stacy Iwanicki at  We'll collect all stories (18 years and older), and share some of them in future issues of The Bog Log.


Donations Sought
Simple things from around the house (and some a little more generous) go a long way!
Contact Volo Bog by reply or 815-344-1294 before delivering donations.
Friends of Volo Bog & Friends of Moraine Hills State Park are both 501(c)(3) organizations so donations may be tax deductible - consult a tax advisor!

  • Library Book Truck (a cart on wheels, with sloped shelves) - used OK - or fund a new one (about $300.00 with S&H)
  • Library Card Catalog File - Used/wooden prefered (they don't make them anymore) with 2 to 8 drawers
  • Dry Erase Board (2'x3' White)
  • Light-weight easels to hold dry erase board
  • Closed-cell foam camp pads - we cut them up to make sit-upons and only need two more! Quality Turkey Basters (not cheepos from the dollar shop)
  • Metal Bells of all types and sizes (go ahead, ask ;0)
  • Nature DVDs for our libraries
  • ON HOLD (We're good for now) White View Binders - any size; used OK, if in good shape

Thank you donors:
The Bornhoeft Family of Green Oaks - Our sponsor for Chipmunk Woods Split Rail Fence as well as a composting tumbler!
Karen Dietrich for sponsoring our Falconer for IMBD
Sam Gibson, Eagle Scout for the fence installation as his Eagle Scout Project


Shop the Tamarack Shop
Friends of Volo Bog's "Small Business"/Not-for-Profit Nature Store!
Many Items Made in America; some by local artisans and craftspeople

Spring Sale - 10% OFF on select T-Shirts while supplies last!
NEW - Audubon Plush Birds - Squeeze them and hear them sing ;0)
Nature Books & Field Guides, Fold-out ID Cards
Sweat Shirts, T-shirts, Wildlife Puppets
Music & Nature Sounds CDs

Volo Bog Sweat Shirts, Coffee Mugs, and Patches
featuring the art of bog artist Sinead Carus of Irish Viking Design

Volo Bog Ball Caps & Bumper Stickers

Friends of Volo Bog members save 10% on most items.
Memberships start at only $10.00!!!  Find a printable membership form at

Open* Wednesday - Sunday 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
*(as volunteers are available, and by luck and chance otherwise ;0)!

We currently accept Cash and Checks only.  Watch for credit card capability this summer.
All proceeds support programming, habitat restoration and other projects at Volo Bog State Natural Area.



Enjoy the great outdoors this Summer.  Let Nature motivate YOUR Exercize!
- Hike almost 6 miles of natural grassy paths at Volo Bog State Natural Area including .4 miles into the heart of Volo Bog!
- Hike or bike 10 miles of trails at Moraine Hills State Park & McHenry Dam including a 2 mile loop at McHenry Dam
23 1/2 Hours...  Here's another good reason to hike our trails (Not that enjoying Nature isn't enough ;0)


Would you be our Friend?
Our Friends provide support of educational programs, habitat restoration and other activities at your favorite nature sites!
Perhaps you'd like to join them?
For membership and other information visit and
Donations to these 501(c)(3) organizations may be tax deductible - consult a tax advisor

Visit our sites' Friends Groups & Associates:

Leave No Child Inside!

Volo Bog State Natural Area is an Illinois Department of Natural Resources site located in Ingleside on Brandenburg Road west off U.S. Highway 12 between State Highways 120 and 134. For program reservations, contact 815-344-1294 or

Moraine Hills State Park and McHenry Dam are Illinois Department of Natural Resources sites located South of McHenry on River Road between State Highways 120 and 176. For reservations for programs at Moraine Hills, please contact Volo Bog at 815-344-1294 or For information on the park itself, please phone 815-385-1624.




"Of Bogs & Books

Engaging Conversations since 1994!

Second Saturday of each month @ 10 AM

Volo Bog’s Visitor Center Library

Refreshments & Coffee

Participants are encouraged to have read at least part of the book (although this is not required).

No minimum requirement - come once a year or every month as time allows and/or the book entices.

Reservations are requested at or 815-344-1294.



Volo Bog offers 17 different programs ranging from Bog Life and Aqua Safari to Animal Tracking and Tomorrow’s Leaders. There are numerous programs offered at each grade level beginning at 2nd grade. Prekindergarten through 1st graders are taken on a Small Wonders program which focuses on the safe use of our senses as we explore the natural world.

NOTE: All programs are offered at Volo Bog State Natural Area.  Programs indicated with an * are also offered at Moraine Hills State Park. Sorry, no indoor lunch facility at Moraine Hills State Park.

At Volo Bog, we define "Youth Group" very casually. Any gathering of ten or more people (minimum 8 children with two supervising adults) qualifies.


    Fall (September - December)
    Winter (January - February)
    Spring (March - May)
    Summer (June - August)
    Registration begins the first Wednesday in:

SCHOOL GROUP SIZE: 10 Students minimum; 60 Students maximum (will be broken into smaller groups)

SCOUT AND OTHER YOUTH PROGRAMS are offered on Saturdays. Generally one month notice is adequate but availability varies seasonally. Youth group size: 10 people minimum; 40 people maximum (split into two groups).

BOG LIFE Note: I/O = Indoor/Outdoor

2nd - 12th grades Year-round (I/O) 1 ˝ - 2 hours

Learn how Volo Bog was formed then explore this unique wetland for fascinating plants and secretive animals. Scary tales of bog bodies and boogie men are among the favorites. Add the famous Visitor Center Hunt for the extra half-hour.


7 - 12th grades May - October (I/O) 4 hours

A program to really get into - this program involves the students in their studies of Volo Bog through an in-depth, interactive, interdisciplinary program. An activity guide leads students through two class periods of required preparations before the visit and gives suggestions for follow-up extensions.


2nd - 12th grades May - September (I/O) 1 ˝ - 2 hours

Explore the private lives of aquatic inhabitants. Using such highly technical equipment as dish pans, kitchen strainers and turkey basters, students gather aquatic invertebrates and study one in detail. Older students discuss biodiversity and the use of aquatic invertebrates as environmental health indicators.


3rd - 6th grades May - September (Outdoor) 1 ˝ hours

Students get face to face with the secretive inhabitants of the “underworld.” The formation and importance of soil is discussed. Biodiversity is introduced through fun, comparative data collection and analysis appropriate to elementary levels.


2nd - 5th grades October - April (I/O) 1 ˝ hours

Everybody needs a HOME! Or do they? Through interactive games and/or a scavenger hunt, children distinguish homes from habitats. The characteristics and uses of habitats and homes are discussed then we explore for real-life examples of each.


2nd - 6th grades October - April (I/O) 1 ˝ hours

What makes a bird a bird? First we’ll discover what makes them different from other animals. Then we’ll take an up-close comparative look at some examples. Finally, an outdoor excursion will demonstrate how to look for birds and signs of their presence. “We’ll GO BIRDING!


2nd - 6th grades December - March (I/O) 1 ˝ hours

What do all mammals including humans have in common? How are they different from all other animals? What mammals are native to Illinois? Discover this an more through hands on activities and a scavenger hike.


1st - 6th grades October - March (Indoor) 1 ˝ hours

“Bats are blind...Bats get caught in your hair...All bats carry rabies...Bats will suck your blood...Bats are flying mice...” NOT! A video or slide show dispels these myths then games and crafts add to the fun of learning about these most misunderstood mammals.


2nd - 6th grades June - September (Outdoor) 1 ˝ hours

Discover more animals than can ever be imagined in one small field! Learn what makes insects unique, some of their survival techniques and how they fit into our lives.


3rd - 12th grades January - February (I/O) 1 ˝ hours

Learn how different animals walk and how to decode the variety of signs they leave behind. Then explore the area to discover the secrets of winter life revealed in the signs discovered.


PK (min. age 4) - 1st. grade Year - Round (I/O) 45 minutes - 1 hour

A grab-bag-o-fun fro the very young! Through a variety of activities and stories, children learn how to safely explore nature with their “discovery tools.” Activities vary with the seasons, needs of the group and adult:child ratios.


3rd - 6th grades October - May (I/O) 1 ˝ hours

Compare animals that are similar yet different to explore how they are each uniquely equipped for survival in different niches. Then, through activities such as the popular Bat & Moth and Hawk and Rabbit games, the concepts are reinforced.


3rd - 6th grades May - September (I/O) 1 ˝ hours

Web-O-Life introduces communities: first our own human-dominated community, next a natural outdoor woodland community and finally a pictorial wetland community. Through hands-on exploration and personal involvement, students discover the interrelationships and interdependency of all members in a community. Final discussion addresses the most powerful community member of all.


7th - 12th grades Year Around (Indoor) 2 hours

Students simulate a town meeting to make some very important choices concerning the future of their environment. This is a high-spirited program which stimulates discussion that often follows the students back to school and home! Optional follow-up classroom activity adds deeper dimension.

4th - 6th grades April - October (I/O) 1 1/2 hours

Learn the phases of the moon, how season work, the planets in our solar systme and why the sun and stars appear to ove across the sky. Finish with an introduction to fun constellations like Cassipoeia and the Big Dipper! All this and more is explored with members of the Lake County Astronomical Society through a fun, interactive approach!


Garden clubs, college classes and other groups of adults can take advantage of private group tours of Volo Bog as well as bird walks, bog botany and tree classes, Bats in Your Belfry (which includes a trip to Illinois’ largest known nursery colony of little brown bats), and a nature awareness immersion program, Rediscovering the Wonder Within.
Civic Groups * Garden Clubs * Environmental Clubs
Scout Leaders * Singles Groups * Religious Groups
Parent Groups * Senior Groups
Friends & Neighbors * Any Social Group


10 - 40 people** Year Round (I/O) 1 ˝ - 2 hours

Volo Bog is a fascinating wetland ecosystem of treacherous floating soils and bizarre plants. This guided, half-mile tour along a floating boardwalk gives an up-close introduction to this strange world. Tours differ with each season: its hard to say which is best. Even winter offers a unique experience that is available at no other time. The tour can include a half hour slide presentation providing a glimpse of Volo Bog throughout the year. The slide portion alone is ideal as an off-site program for group gatherings. **As an off-site program, there is no maximum group size limit. A dark room with a projection- surface is required.


10 - 15 people May - October (I/O) 2 hours

Bog Botany is a fascinating study for garden clubs and other groups with a special botanical interest. The program addresses the unique adaptations of Volo Bog flora and includes a “hands-on” field identification session.


10 - 25 people May - October (I/O) 2 hours

A true “Rediscover Your Sense of Wonder” program, Pond Life invites participants to lie on their bellies and reach within the depths of a pond. The emphasis is on the aquatic invertebrates. The function of these animals as water quality indicators is addressed.


10 - 25 people Year Around (I/O) 2 hours

Common trees and shrubs of northeastern Illinois woodlands will serve as examples in the development of tree identification skills. The program begins with a hands-on introduction to dichotomous keys. The field session introduces some of the most common species and quick clues to their identification.


10 - 15 people Year (0) 1 - 4 hours

A bird walk is great for an early morning start. The length of the walk is very flexible and can be tailored to the group. The great diversity of Volo Bog State Natural Area’s habitats provides for a good selection of species with over 170 species documented.


10 - 25 people January - February (I/O) 2 - 4 hours

Animal tracking is a great way to discover mammals living in an area. This program teaches how to identify tracks as well as numerous other signs or clues that mammals leave behind. It includes both an indoor presentation and a practical field session.


25 - 75 people July - August (I/O) 2 hours

Volo Bog State Natural Area is home to the largest nursery colony of little brown bats (Myotis lucifugus) known on Illinois Department of Natural Resources property. This evening program includes a slide presentation and a short field trip to watch nearly 2,000 bats exit their nursery colony for a night’s feeding. Folks with youngsters may wish to watch for our scheduled “Bats in Your Belfry” general public programs. Although youth groups are not allowed to register for public programs, families from the groups may register individually.


10 - 25 people June - August 0 3 hours

Immerse Your Senses in Nature! This is a real “let your hair down” program: great as a stress release in our bustling technological world! Participants learn nature observation and appreciation techniques adapted from John Muir, Aldo Leopold, Rachel Carson and renowned naturalist Joseph Cornell. Plan to leave your beepers, cell phones, watches, etc. at home, or at least in your car!

Volo Bog’s Visitor Center is housed in a turn-of-the-(19th) century dairy barn. The old barn has undergone a series of renovations over the years. It opened to the public as a Visitor Center in 1980 and has since undergone various upgrades and improvements. In November 1996, construction began on the most extensive upgrade yet; a complete renovation. The newly remodeled state-of-the-art building keeps the old-barn charm but is completely accessible (featuring an elevator up the silo) and has a classroom facility to accommodate 80 people. The Tamarack Shop, run by the Friends of Volo Bog, offers gifts and a wonderful selection of nature and environment-related books. The second floor of the Visitor Center is two stories tall and features interpretive exhibits about Volo Bog and wetlands in general as well as a popular interactive discovery center. The Leatherleaf Library houses a wonderful selection of books, magazines, and clippings in a lateral file. Much of the material in the library is donated by visitors, Volo Bog Volunteers and the Friends of Volo Bog. Check-out privileges are extended to Volo Bog Volunteers, and members of the Friends of Volo Bog and The Lake County Astronomical Society.



Volo Bog Surrounding Area







1. Lakes Region Historical Society
817 Main Street-P.O. Box 240
Antioch, Illinois 60002 (847)395-7337

The restored 1892 Antioch grade school accommodates the collection of the Lakes Region Historical Society. Objects in changeable theme exhibits pertain to local lore and history of the Chain of Lakes area.

2. McHenry County Historical Society
6422 Main Street
Union, Illinois 60180 (815)923-2267

McHenry County history illustrated through four large galleries in the 1870 expanded Union grade school. Exhibits contain artifacts which represent home life, farming, industrialism, and the military. Also featured is a restored 1847 log cabin, a 20th century tourist cabin, and an 1895 one-room schoolhouse. The research library contains postcards, diaries, ledgers, photographs, plat maps, abstracts, reference books, and biographical obituaries, and cemetery files.

3. Lake County Museum-Lakewood Forest Preserve
27277 North forest Preserve Drive
Wauconda, Illinois 60084 (847)526-7878

Hands-on exhibits that highlight the history of Lake County. Housed on a former dairy farm in the Lakewood Forest Preserve, over 20,000 objects are rotated on exhibit including horsedrawn vehicles; Native American tools, art, and clothing; farm, household, and light industrial equipment 1840-1975. The Curt Teich Postcard Archives is a national collection of over 350,000 postcard images and illustrates 20th century America. The exhibit "America in a Postcard Mirror" located in the public gallery shows a portion of this collection. The Regional History archives preserves photographs, documents, diaries, ledgers, and maps relating to the history of Lake County.

4. Wauconda Township Historical Society
711 N. Main Street
Wauconda, Illinois 60084 (847)526-9303

Restored 1840's Cook Farmhouse exhibits the history of Wauconda through period room settings and interpretive displays. Interpreters tour visitors through the house, demonstrate weaving and other crafts. Designated historical site by Illinois State Historical Society.

5. Volo Auto Museum & Antique Malls
27582 Volo Village Road
Volo, Illinois 60073 (815)385-3644
6. Gold Pyramid House
37921 Dilley's Road
Wadsworth, Illinois 60083 (847)662-6666
7. Tempel Lipizzans, Tempel Farms
17000 Wadsworth Road
Wadsworth, Illinois 60083 (847)623-7272
8. Cuneo Museum and Gardens
1350 N. Milwaukee Ave.
Vernon Hills, Illinois 60061 (847)362-3042



1. The Count's House
3803 Waukegan Rd.
2. Memorial Hall
10308 Main Street
Richmond 1908
3. Lucien Boneparte Covell Hse
5805 Broadway
Richmond 1900


1. Muller Chapel (built 1878)
Wilmot & Ringwood Rd.

Widowed Mary Nett Miller built the chapel in 1878 in fulfillment of a promise to the Blessed Mother if she could raise her family "in the fear and love of God". Family services and weddings were held here. (This was built on their farm.)

2. St. John's Church Site (built 1842)
2303 West Church

The site of where this present third church (of Gothic architecture) was of importance to the first exclusively German Catholic Community of Johnsburg who recreated their German roots here. The first structure was a log cabin (1842), and subsequently 2 more structures were built on the same site.

3. Richmond Mill Site (built 1844)
5604 Mill St.

The mill, built in 1844, by Cotting and Purdy was 35 x 40', 2 ˝ stories high. It was destroyed by fire in 1925. The plaque is on the site. It was an example of early water-powered, grain and flour mill. It was one of the earliest in the area. It is presently a restaurant.

4. Charles Cotting's #90 (built 1844)
Mill & Main St.

When Cotting and his wife came to Richmond, which he helped lay out and plat, there were but 2 log cabins in place. This building with stone foundation was across from his mill and probably was a storeroom at one time. This house is thought to be the oldest grame house in Richmond.

5. Charles Cotting House (built 1865)
East Mill St.

Excellent example of a well-to-do merchant's frame home in the Italianate style with an ornate trim including a square cupola. Built in 1865 and was occupied by Cotting until he died in 1883 and in continue family ownership for over 100 years.

6. Sarah Gibbs House (1886)
10313 West St.

This unique home is one of few examples of Second Empire architecture in the area with its mansard roof. It has 7 gables which is an innovative variation of this style. Widow Sarah Gibbs had the house built at the age of 71. Her husband, Herman, was a decendent of a Revolutionary War general and was the town's inn-keeper. The stained glass windows across the street in the church were dedicated to Sarah by her granddaughter.

7. Community Church of Richmond(built 1902)
5714 Broadway

This turn-of-the-century church is the only original church in Richmond still standing. Beautiful stained glass memorial windows highlight the first settlers and important people of the Village.

Link to State of IL Home PageLink to Email ContactsLink to IDNR Site IndexLink to IDNR's FAQs PageLink to Disclaimer