Alderfer/Oenslager Wildlife Sanctuary is the home of the park district's environmental education center. The area is named after the family which donated the original 103 acres to begin this site. The donation was made with the stipulation that the land be used for environmental education with an emphasis on programming for children. The park district acquired an additional 145 acres in 1999 to expand the area to 248 acres.
A new building housing classrooms, offices, and rest rooms opened to the public in October of 2000. This facility provides space for park district nature programs that are conducted for school groups and the general public. A wide variety of habitats from mature forests to wetlands, meadows, and prairies offer students opportunities for nature study. The nature programs offer hands-on experiences in the study of the environment.
With a new theme every month, the Rangers offer a story hour with a twist - not just a craft, but often an outdoor experience as well to support the theme. We attended January's Animal Tracks Tales for Tots - had our story in front of the stone fireplace, worked in the craft room on our own guide book to animal tracks and then bundled up to go on a hike to see real ones! Turkey & Deer abounded, but the real surprise was the snakey track through the snow made by the vole. Warm and inviting staff on hand to educate all ages.
Monthly puppet shows too!