Those who enjoyed the 2017 Nature and Literature Festival at Lake Katherine Nature Center & Botanic Gardens will be happy to hear that this year’s spring festival has been expanded. The first Nature and Arts Festival will include more arts and lots of local talent.
“This year it’s a much bigger scale,” said Jeannine Kacmar, head of public services for the Palos Heights Public Library. “We have so many incredible art-related resources here in town…so that’s why we expanded it to art in general.”
Kacmar said through the collaboration of The Center and Palos Library and the talents of the Palos Heights Public Arts Commission, this year’s spring festival will celebrate nature through diverse arts in feature presentations, hands-on nature-based activities and family entertainment.
Four feature presentations by local professionals will run on the hour, beginning at 11 a.m. and last about 45 minutes each, Kacmar said.
All feature presentations will take place in the Nature Center Auditorium.
At 11 a.m. a trio of Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra musicians will play classical pieces with a nature theme.
At noon, nutrition educator Chris Rosandich will present her “Wild Edibles Cooking Demonstration.” Rosandich will show guests how to create healthy good-tasting foods using ingredients “gathered from the wild,” such as berries and greens. Rosandich will also discuss the benefits of cooking with natural foods.
Guests can sample the food and grab a leaflet of information about where to find the “wild” ingredients in Rosandich’s recipes.
American Institute of Designers’ Designer of the Year Walter Fedyshyn will “Embrace the Environment in Design” at 1 p.m.
Fedyshyn will create a natural container from recycled material and decorate it with items found in nature such as twigs, moss, leaves and other natural objects which can be found in backyards, gardens and forests.
Guests can enter a drawing to win Fedyshyn’s work of natural art.
At 2 p.m. author and photographer Mike MacDonald will inform and entertain the audience with a multi-media presentation about his “inspirational journey” through Chicago’s “natural paradises.” The presentation will include photographs from his coffee table book “My Journey into the Wilds of Chicago.”
“There’s more protected natural area within fifty miles of downtown Chicago than 34 of the 59 national parks,” MacDonald said. “These same preserves have more native plant species than any national park.”
MacDonald said it has become his mission to “introduce Chicagoans” to the beauty of their surroundings.
MacDonald will be available from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. in The Clubhouse with books for purchase.
A number of additional indoor activities for all ages will take place in The Clubhouse throughout the festival.
“Make-and-take” nature-themed writing activities include nature journaling, creative writing prompts and a poetry wall to display original work.
Several hands-on art activities for all ages include butterfly-themed and leaf print projects, a “found art” work station and music-making with natural objects.
Outdoors, families can follow the “Storybook Trail” with signpost excerpts from a “Winnie-the-Pooh” story to a cozy spot above the waterfall and under the large evergreen tree where Palos Library librarian Tina Ruszala will read to her guests during a noon “Story Time.”
Ginger Brashinger is a freelance reporter for the Daily Southtown.
Nature & Arts Festival
When: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. April 28
Where: Lake Katherine Nature Center & Botanic Gardens, 7402 W. Lake Katherine Drive, Palos Heights
Information: www.lakekatherine.org or call 708-761-3056.