River State Park
5314 W. State Route 102
Bourbonnais, IL 60914
Kankakee River State Park is
located 6 miles northwest of Kankakee along the Kankakee River.
The park consists of approximately 4,000-acres and is bordered on
both sides by Rt. 102 on the north and 113 on the south. Activities
available at Kankakee River include hunting, fishing, canoeing,
camping, picnicking, hiking, and horseback riding.
Stacey Johnson - Interpreter
Kankakee River State Park Interpretive Program offers many hikes
and programs throughout the year. The park also has a small Visitors’
Center which contains numerous displays and hands-on activities
pertaining to the history and wildlife of the park and Illinois.
and other large groups should call ahead for reservation. If you
have a church group, other organization or just a group of friends
that would like to take advantage of these programs.
ARE AVAILABLE BY CALLING (815) 933-1383, ext.25
PROGRAMS ARE FREE!
Programs | Events | Flora
& Fauna of the Park | Jr. Naturalists’
Program | Kids’ Page | School/Homeschool
Programs | Scout Programs |
Seasonal Programs | Self-Guided Hikes |
Visitors’ Center | Volunteer
2013 SEASONAL PROGRAMS - 2013 Program Schedule
Programs last approximately one hour and participants should meet at the park’s visitor center (across from main office), unless stated otherwise.)
Leave No Child Inside Outdoor Experience 2010!
Mothers’ Wildflower Walk & Crafts 2010
The Kankakee River State Park Interpretive Program offers many programs to compliment the curriculum of the educator. Listed below are examples of some of the most popular programs (with the corresponding Illinois Learning Standards) that can be offered in your classroom. Other topics for programs can be implemented to meet your lesson plans. Other topics can include trees, plants, geology, history, recycling, pollution, etc.
These one-hour programs are indoor introductions and activities that are especially effective if they are followed by a visit to the park in the spring. Once at the park, students are able to see first-hand what the lesson in the classroom was all about. A one-hour walk or activity is then led at the park for each class, as this allows the majority of the day for your activities, lunch, etc.
The park also has a small nature center with displays and hands-on activities that the students can tour. The park makes for an excellent field trip.
Our state park is a wonderful asset for this community. If you are interested in these natural resources programs, please contact me at 815-933-1383, ext. 25 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I look forward to hearing from you!
OBJECTIVE: Students will understand the importance of water as a resource and the accessibility and pollution issues that accompany this resource. Students will identify macro-invertebrate insects and discover how they help us analyze the quality of our local water resource.
PARK VISIT: Students will participate in the stream monitoring of Rock Creek by catching and identifying macro-invertebrates and other plant and animal species of a clean stream habitat.
Late Elementary- 11.A.2b, 12.B.2a, 12.E.2a, 13.B.2e
Middle School- 11.A.3a, 12.B.3b, 12.E.3a, 13.B.3f
LET’S ROCK AND ROLL
OBJECTIVE: Students will reach an understanding of how rocks are categorized as sedimentary, igneous, and metamorphic types and through property analysis will classify and identify different samples of rocks and fossils.
PARK VISIT: Students will observe erosion and rock formations of Rock Creek Canyon and will have the opportunity to collect and identify the different types of rocks and fossils.
Early Elementary-11.A.1c, 12.E.1a, 12.E.1b
Late Elementary- 11.A.2b, 12.E.2a, 12.E.2b
SEEDS, ROOTS, & LEAVES…OH MY!
OBJECTIVE: Students will distinguish between the different types of Illinois trees including their life cycles, parts, functions, and products.
PARK VISIT: Students will identify the different Illinois trees of the forest by their seeds, bark, and/or leaves.
Early Elementary:12.A.1a, 12.B.1a,12.E.1a, 13.B.1d
Late Elementary: 12.A.2a, 12.B.2b, 12.E.2a, 13.B.2c
CALLS OF THE WILD
OBJECTIVE: Knowing the characteristics of birds and amphibians, students will not only be able to physically identify different Illinois birds and frogs, but will be able to discover and decipher the calls of these vocal animals.
PARK VISIT: Students will be able to identify live birds and amphibians by their physical characteristics, vocal calls, and habitats.
Early Elementary-12.A.1a, 12.A.1b, 12.B.1a, 12.B.1b
Late Elementary- 12.A.2a, 12.B.2a, 12.B.2b
Middle School- 12.A.3c, 12.B.3b
WARM OR COLD-BLOODED?
OBJECTIVE: Through observations and group analysis of live animals and their anatomical parts, students will compare and contrast the adaptations of mammals and reptiles and will identify and describe these Illinois species and their habitats.
PARK VISIT: Students will be able to identify live Illinois reptiles and mammals of the forest and wetland habitat.
Early Elementary-12.A.1a, 12.A.1b, 12.B.1a, 12.B.1b
Late Elementary- 11.A.2e, 12.A.2a, 12.B.2a, 12.B.2b
Middle School- 11.A.3g, 12.A.3c, 12.B.3b
resources for meeting all those scout requirements can be difficult.
Did you realize that the Kankakee River State Park is one of those
resources? The following is list of Webelos Badge requirements with
corresponding activities that our park offers to assist scout leaders
and their scouts in earning their badges. These programs are free
Many scout leaders take advantage of these programs but many are
unaware of this asset. These programs are especially effective if
they are conducted at the park for a hands-on learning experience.
I do realize with everyone's busy schedules, a trip to the park
is not always possible and I am willing to meet elsewhere and at
scout meeting times to work on these requirements.
in advance to schedule programs. Programs are available year round.
There are less dates available in the month of May as many programs
are being offered to school groups during their field trips to the
park. Fall is a beautiful time for these programs as well as summer.
And don't forget the winter months! This is a good time to get the
scouts out of the indoors and on a hike through the woods discussing
tree i.d. in winter, animal tracks, animal hibernation, etc.
for programs can also be implemented. The following programs are
designed for the Webelos Badge Requirements, but any of these programs
can be modified and broken down for Tiger Cubs, Wolf Cubs, and Bear
Cubs. They may be enhanced for Boy Scouts and many trail maps are
available to assist leaders in long-distance hike requirements.
Also, many Eagle Scout projects are available. We enjoy working
with the scouts on these projects, where we all work together toward
a potential goal.
'The interpreter is also a merit badge counselor for the following badges: bird study, environmental science, fish and wildlife mgmt., forestry, geology, hiking, Indian lore, dog care, insect study, mammal study, nature, pets, plant science, reptile and amphibian study, and wilderness survival
If you've already
participated in these programs with your scouts, please pass this
information on to other leaders and I hope to see you again soon.
If you haven't, I look forward to meeting you in the future.
a museum if natural history, nature center, or zoo with your
family, den, or pack. Tell what you saw.
A tour of the nature center can be provided. The center contains
displays, hands-on activities, and live animals of Illinois.
- Be able
to identify the poisonous plants and reptiles found in your
These are best identified on a hands-on walk but may also be
pointed out in reference books in the nature center.
six wild animals (snakes, turtles, fish, birds, or mammals)
in the wild. Describe the kind of place (forest, field, marsh,
yard, or park) where you saw them. Tell what they were doing.
On a guided walk, many wild animals can be observed along with
the different types of habitat.
six forest trees. Tell what useful things come from them.
a tree key, scouts will be able to identify the different types
of trees on a guided walk. Their products and identification
methods will be discussed. There are also several reference
books, activity books, and posters for the children to use in
the nature center.
six forest plants that are useful to wildlife. Tell what animals
use them and for what.
- Will be
easily identified on a guided walk and/or with reference materials
in the nature center.
- Make a
poster showing the life history of a forest tree.
- Make a
chart showing how water and minerals in the soil help a tree
pieces of three kinds of wood used for building houses.*
the harm caused by wildfires. Tell how you may help prevent
prevention, and Smokey Bear will be discussed. Scouts will also
learn why rangers conduct controlled burns and will be able
to identify some of the non-natives that are eliminated during
- Help with
a camp-out 5 nights away from home with your family. (It doesn't
need to be all at one time.)
Assistance with tent set-up or any other camping related projects.
- With your
family or den, plan and take part in an evening outdoor activity
which has a campfire.
Many campground activities can be offered including animal presentations,
s'mores, sensory activities, animal calling, or even a night
- Help cook
your own lunch or supper outdoors with your parents or another
grown-up. Clean up afterward.
Assistance with campfire recipes and cooking offered.
your Scout camp with your den.
The park has a campground specifically designated for scouts
and other organizations.
Sport: Be familiar with the skills or techniques.
Know the rules, the courtesies, and how to score.
Know the equipment used and how to care for it.
Know the safety rules.
Demonstrate or take part to a reasonable degree.
Archery: Scouts will learn the basic terminology, etiquette,
proper equipment and its handling, safety, and will be able
to shoot targets by the end of the demonstration.
- Make drawings
of three kinds of bridges. Explain them.
Visit, discuss, and sketch the 50ft. suspension bridge over
Rock Creek, a wooden bridge, and a road bridge in the park.
- Draw or
paint an original picture. Use watercolor, crayons, or oil.
Frame it for your room or home.
Where would be a better place to inspire that out in nature!?!?
Sitting by Rock Creek canyon drawing a waterfall, the trees
in the pine grove, spring wildflowers, fall colors, etc. This
can also be done on t-shirts with fabric paint and leaf prints,
animal tracks, etc. too!
- Use plastic
or clay and sculpture a simple object.
Using clay or plaster of paris sculpt your own animal tracks,
fossils, acorns or anything else out of nature that we find
or with your Webelos den do a special Good Turn. Help your church,
synagoue, school, neighborhood, or town. Tell what you did.
Scouts can do a River/Creek clean-up at the park where they
will also earn patches and pins! Scouts can assist in "RiverWatch"
where they will help to collect & identify critters out
of the creek which are water quality indicators. Scouts can
do bird house/nest box building, prairie plantings, minor painting
and/or minerals are used in metals, glass, jewelry, road-building
products, and fertilizer. Examples?*
five geologic specimens that have important uses to man.*
one way in which mountains are formed.*
of these requirements will be enhanced by hiking along Rock Creek
Canyon and the Kankakee River to actually view & discuss examples
children don’t know about it, they won't understand it.
If they don't understand it, they won't appreciate it. If they
don't appreciate it, they won't take care of it.
are our future!
sign up to become a Kankakee River State Park Jr. Naturalist. What
is a Jr. Naturalist? To become a Jr. Naturalist a child must complete
certain activities pertaining to Illinois and the park. Children
will receive various prizes showing that they have become an Illinois
Junior Naturalist. There are 3 levels of this program at this park.
Children sign up at park and upon signing up, they receive a statewide
activity book and an activity book for the park. They must complete
10 activities between the two books, return them to the park interpreter
to bo checked, and then they receive awards. The Kankakee River
State Park has extended this program to two more levels. After children
complete the first level they may go on to another at this park.
There are reference materials and displays in the visitor center
to assist them with their activities.So, once the child completes
one level and receives the prize, they can then proceed to the next
level if they wish. To join just ask the park interpreter for the
activity books and details. There is no time limit on the activities
so the child can work on earning their prizes at their own pace.
Children must join individually-not as a group or organization.
The interpretive program also offers self-guided hikes. When a “guided
hike” is not available, hikers can take the self-guided brochures
and maps with them for an interpretation of the trail. Obtain the
brochures to accompany the trails from the park’s visitor
center or office. These can also be mailed. Two self-guided trails
Creek Canyon - Self-Guided Nature Trail
.....Home to the beautiful outcrops of Limestone rock which are
rare to Northeastern Illinois. Did you know that 400 million years
ago Illinois was covered with shallow seas? These Silurian seas
had many ancient sea animals living in them. These creatures settled
to bottom of the seas along with other sediments and became fossilized
forming the rock formations we see today........
.......as you walk along this 2-mile self-guided trail, you’ll
have an opportunity to enjoy more of the beauty and history of Rock
only memories, leave only footprints
Prairie” A Trail Guide
Did you know that in 1820, 22 million acres of prairie covered the
state of Illinois? When the settlers first arrived in Illinois,
many believed that the prairie soil was poor since no trees grew
on it. It didn't take long for settlers to realize that the soil
was in fact rich in nutrients which plants needed for growth.
By 1900, most
of the Illinois prairie had been turned into farmland and by
less than 2,300 acres of prairie emained……………
…….take a short walk through a prairie restoration area
to get a feel of what the land of Illinois use to be.
out on your walk through the prairie restoration area, you may want
to take a walk through the wildflower identification gardens on
the north side of the park's visitor center to see some of the prairie
plants and/or obtain a guide containing color photos of Illinois
prairie grasses and forbes which can be checked out at the park's
OF THE KANKAKEE RIVER STATE PARK
to the Kankakee River State Park and do a little bird watching!
See over forty-one different species of birds that are here year-round.
Species ranging from Turkey Vultures and Red-tailed Hawks, to Cardinals,
Goldfinches and Blue Jays. So it doesn't matter what time of the
year you visit, these birds will be waiting for you! Stop in at
the visitor center and pick up key to the Birds of the Kankakee
River State Park, which will show you what birds are here year-round,
during the summer, during the winter and which ones migrate through
during the spring and fall.
Lists for the
following can also be obtained from the park’s visitor center:
Mammals of the Kankakee River State Park
Trees of the Kankakee River State Park
Before heading out on your walks, you may want to take a walk through
the wildflower identification gardens on the north side of the park's
visitor center to see some of the prairie plants or spring wildflowers
and/or obtain a guide containing color photos of Illinois prairie
grasses and forbes or spring woodland wildflowers which can be checked
out at the park's visitor center.
The Kankakee River State Park is home to the Kankakee Mallow which
is endangered in Illinois. This beautiful flower is found only
on a small dolomite bedrock island in the Kankakee River. The
site is protected as a state nature preserve.
park’s visitor center contains numerous displays and hands-on
activities pertaining to the park and Illinois’ natural resources.
If children don’t know about it, they won't understand it.
If they don't understand it, they won't appreciate it. If they don't
appreciate it, they won't take care of it. Children
are our future!
What does a snake feel like? What sound does an owl make? Come
to our campground programs to find out. These programs are
in the summer and fall. See Summer/Fall schedule at the campground
on Saturdays. Bring the family to enjoy a variety of presentations
Critters” slide show and “Wildlife Trivia”.