REGISTRATION: There are three ways to register for the following classes, programs, and activities. Register in-person at the Nature Center during open hours, or telephone the Nature Center at 708-747-6320
 or by via e-mail at


Logo- Friends-Jim1
Join other nature lovers for a fall hike, a program and refreshments at the Friends Annual meeting. Bring someone new as a guest. New supporters, find out what makes Thorn Creek unique! Open to the public. Free. All ages. Sun., Nov. 8, 1 to 3 pm.  No registration required. 

In 1957, May Theilgaard Watts, naturalist at the Morton Arboretum in Lisle, Illinois wrote the enchanting book “Reading the Landscape”. She wrote “there is good reading on the land... The records are written in the forests, in fence rows, in gardens, in tree rings.” Join us on this fall hike to read the landscape of Thorn Creek Woods. Sat., Nov. 14, 1 to 3 pm  Free. All ages. RSVP by Thurs., Nov. 12.




Have you ever wondered how animals spend the winter? They may not have a cozy house and can’t make hot chocolate, but several adaptations allow them to survive even our harshest Midwest winters! We’ll walk the trails searching for signs of animals preparing for winter. Sun., Dec. 6, 1 to 3 pm. Free. Ages 8 and up. RSVP by Fri., Dec. 4.

food-driveStart your holiday season off right by giving to others at Thorn Creek Nature Center’s annual food drive and music event. Savor all-you-can-eat homemade soup while listening to seasonal musical selections by popular area performers. Bring a bag of groceries and the program fee will be waived! All donations and proceeds will be donated to the Rich Township Food Pantry. Sat., Dec. 12, noon to 2 pm. Ages 12 and up. $10 per person or 1 bag of groceries per person. RSVP by Thurs., Dec. 10.







Click the image (above) to read or download.






Wednesdays through Dec. 16,
9-10:30 a.m.
Follow the forest’s seasonal changes,
enjoy light exercise and experience nature first-hand on 2 miles of Thorn Creek Woods Nature Preserve’s winding trails.
Trails can be wet or muddy,
so please wear sturdy shoes.
Free! Ages 13–adult. Registration
required two days before
your first walk.





Sat., Nov. 7 — Noon3 pm 
Sat., Dec. 5 — Noon3 pm

Noon-3 pm. Free! Ages 912.

Registration required 
2 days before 

each program day.

Thorn Creek Woods Nature Preserve’s 
Junior Ecologists Club offers 
fun-filled nature activities each 
month for young people. Each month, 
they will explore the woods, track 
seasonal changes and discover 
woodland plants and animals. Young 
people should be prepared to get muddy, 
and should wear boots and long pants, 
and bring a water bottle and 
insect repellent.

... A founding member of the Friends of Thorn Creek Woods



Lawrence G. Lubertozzi, 76, of Olympia Fields and formerly of Park Forest, passed away October 22, 2015, after a nine-month battle with cancer. Larry was born in Chicago on August 10, 1939—the feast day of St. Lawrence, for whom he’s named—to Carlo and Rose Lubertozzi.

Larry grew up on the West Side of Chicago in the Italian neighborhood of Garfield Park, where he learned his culinary skills from his grandmother, Vincenza. The oldest of three siblings, Larry attended St. Philip Basilica High School. The first member of his family to attend college, Larry enrolled at Loyola University in Chicago. While a student there, he first met his wife, Mary (née Bossarte, from Jacksonville, Illinois), in a psychology class in October 1960. They went on their first date dressed as painters for a Halloween party and were sweethearts ever since. They were married in 1963, while Larry was studying for his master’s in social work from Loyola University (1964) and began his career as a psychotherapist and counselor.

In 1964 their first son, David, was born, followed by a second son, Alex, in 1968. In 1968 Larry and family moved to Park Forest, where they raised their family and lived for 23 years before moving to Olympia Fields. Larry counseled individuals, couples, and families for more than 40 years with Oak Lawn Family Service, Catholic Charities, and in private practice. In 2003 Larry became the proud Poppa of Nicholas, his grandson by Alex and his wife, Helen Martch. Larry was active in his community, a longtime supporter and past president of Tall Grass Arts Association (formerly the Park Forest Art Center) as well a founding member of the Friends of Thorn Creek Woods. He also was an active member of the Sauk-Calumet chapter of the Sierra Club and the Thorn Creek Audubon Society. Larry volunteered for progressive candidates in many local, state, and national elections and served as treasurer for State Representative Jim Marzuki’s successful election campaign.

Larry was a voracious reader and was a member of his local Martini Club book group for more than 25 years, where his clear and articulate voice will be missed. He was an accomplished gardener and woodworker, enthusiastic birder, jazz aficionado, and lifelong Cubs fan. Larry was an avid traveler, having trekked with Mary through all 50 U.S. states and Puerto Rico, North and South America, Europe, Africa, Asia, Australia, New Zealand, and the islands of the Caribbean and South Pacific.

He is survived by his loving wife, sons, daughter-in-law, grandson, brother Carl, sister Marie Martin, and an extended family that included many brothers- and sisters-in-law, nieces, and nephews. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Tall Grass Arts Association ( and Friends of Thorn Creek Woods (

Let us know!


Share your observations of birds—or critters or plants

Let us know what birds (and other critters and plants) that you observe in the woods this year. Tell us what you observed and where in the preserve. How? Leave a note or the blue Trail Watcher sheet in the Drop Box at the front door to nature center. Email us at You can also stop in the nature center Friday-Sunday from noon to 4 p.m.

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