The grand opening of “Homer’s Odyssey,” the Burpee Museum of Natural History’s new permanent exhibit of its “teenaged” Triceratops, takes place June 29 in Rockford. (Conner Ross photo)

Mind & Spirit Calendar

There’s so much to do in our neck of the Old Northwest Territory! Here’s a sampling of some upcoming events.

The grand opening of “Homer’s Odyssey,” the Burpee Museum of Natural History’s new permanent exhibit of its “teenaged” Triceratops, takes place June 29 in Rockford. (Conner Ross photo)


Nature Photography Contest
Through July 31. Keep Northern Illinois Beautiful invites amateur photographers to submit nature images taken within the last two years. Complete rules/entry forms online at or at Camera Craft, 3801 N. Perryville Road, Rockford.
1876 Banwarth House Historic Tours
Through Sept. 21, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. An informative guided tour and view of everyday life during America’s centennial year. Barnwarth House & Museum, 408 E. Sycamore St., Elizabeth, Ill., (815) 858-2014,
Make a Woodland Vessel Class
June 25, July 2 & 9, 9:30 a.m.-noon. Make a clay effigy pot and decorate a gourd vessel lined with beeswax. $55; all materials included. Class size limited. Macktown Living History Center, 2221 Freeport Road, Rockton, Ill., (815) 624-4200,
Pig Minds Brewery Networking Event
June 28, 5 p.m. A beer tasting event with appetizers to benefit Shelter Care Ministries, a local nonprofit offering housing and services to the homeless. Pig Minds Brewery, 4080 Steele Dr., Machesney Park, Ill. Info:
Geneva Lake Amazing Race
June 29, 7 a.m. registration, 8 a.m. race start. Teams race to collect clues, solve puzzles and complete physical challenges. Proceeds benefit Tuberous Sclerosis Alliance/Children’s World Impact. Event start: Geneva Ridge Resort, W4240 State Road 50, Lake Geneva, Wis. Info:
Homer’s Odyssey
June 29, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Grand Opening of Burpee’s “teen-aged” Triceratops, from its discovery in the Badlands to reconstruction and creation of the exhibit. Burpee Museum of Natural History, 737 N. Main St., Rockford, Ill. (815) 965-3433,
Party on the Prairie Goes to Provence
June 29, 5-9 p.m. Dinner outdoors, live music, silent auction, guided and self-guided walks. Fundraiser for The Natural Land Institute. Info/tickets: (815) 964-6666, Event: Nygren Wetland Preserve, 3190 W. Rockton Road, Rockton, Ill.


July 4, 12:30-5 p.m., July 5, 11 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Play with explosions, mini rockets, potato poppers; more. Short walk downtown to parade and fireworks. Discovery Center Museum, 711 N. Main St., Rockford, (815) 963-6769,
July 5, 12, 19, 26, all-day. Dig on the property of William Shores, one of the first settlers in Pekatonic (Macktown). BYO water, lunch, gloves. $25/session. Macktown Living History, Rockton, (815) 624-4200.
Friends First Fridays Used Book Sale
July 5, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Used books, CDs and other media sold at bargain prices. Rockford Public Library (RPL), Main Branch, 215 N. Wyman St., Rockford, (815) 965-6731,
Book to Film Series: Life of Pi
July 10, 6-8 p.m. Based on the novel by Yann Martel, about a young man’s battle to survive at sea with a Bengal tiger. Adult; Beloit Public Library, 605 Eclipse Blvd., Beloit, Wis., (608) 364-2905,
Finding Grants for a Non-Profit Organization
July 11, 2-3:30 p.m. Learn to search the Foundation Directory Online to find grants for non-profit organizations (NOT for businesses or individuals). Must be Internet proficient. Ages 18 and over. RPL Main Branch, Rockford, (815) 965-6731.
Giant Grasshopper Dissection
July 11, 7-8 p.m. Learn about insects by dissecting a Lubber Grasshopper and meet live creepy crawlies. Ages 8 and up. $15/$13 Members/$5 accompanying adults and siblings. Registration required. MMNH, Sycamore, (815) 895-9777.
How Does Your Garden Grow ?
July 12, 11 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Discover hidden colors, dissect a flower, count petals, play with worms in the outdoor science park. Dress for mess. Discovery Center, Rockford,
July 13 2-5 p.m. BYO 3-5 lbs. of fruit to make wine starter for fermenting at home. Fruit help, call Dave, (608) 934-1070. Bucket, fermentation lock, tubing supplied. $65; registration req. Angelic Organics Learning Center, 1547 Rockton Road, Caledonia, Ill., (815) 389-8455,
Versatile Herbs! Medicinal and Culinary Uses
July 14, 1-4 p.m. Harvest herbs, learn qualities and uses, make recipes & body care products. $50; registration req. Angelic Organics, Caledonia, (815) 398-8455.
Beekeeping Workshop
July 14, 2-4 p.m. Marketing strategies and health department news. Outdoor workshop. $2. Byron Forest Preserve, Byron, (815) 234-8535.
Heritage Garden Walk
July 14, 5-8 p.m. Tour the five Heritage gardens as costumed interpreters answer questions. Recipes/heirloom vegetable seeds, refreshments, demos, more. Free. Gustafson Nature Center, 603 N. Appleton Road, Belvidere, (815) 547-7935,
Affordable Care Act Benefits
July 17, 1-2 p.m. Learn health insurance coverage changs, comparing health insurance online, eligibility requirements for tax credits or subsidies. Ages 55 and over. Rockford Public Library (RPL), East Branch, 6685 East State St., Rockford, (815) 965-7606, option 2,
Jason Kollum: See a Juggler, Be a Juggler
July 19, 11 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Performs and lessons designed for kids. Various times; preregistration recommended. Workshop space limited. Discovery Center, Rockford,
Bumble Bees in Your Backyard
July 20, 9-11:30 a.m. Bee species identification; hunt for bee species outside. Free. Severson Dells Forest Preserve, 8502 Montague Road, Winnebago, Ill., (815) 335-2915,
Swashbuckling Science
July 26, 11 a.m. -3:30 p.m. “See” the difference an eyepatch makes; navigate by the stars; more. Discovery Center, Rockford, (815) 963-6769.
Yo Ho Ho (and a Bottle of Rum)
July 26, 6-10 p.m. Adults, explore the exhibition, Treasure!, without the kids. Discover the history, mystery and science of rum, and learn with the skills needed by buccaneers. Discovery After Dark (21 & up), Discovery Center, Rockford,
Assessing Risks/Resources to Start a Small Farm or Market Garden
July 27, 1-5 p.m. Types of sustainable farming careers in, self-assessments, regional training opportunities. Includes a presentation of farming enterprises and tour of a growing site. $60; advance registration req. Angelic Organics, Caledonia, (815) 398-8455,


Aug. 2, 11 a.m. -3:30 p.m. Make your own kite, harness air with a hovercraft, pit your strength against air pressure, topple distant objects, more. Discovery Center, Rockford,
Turning 65: Get the Facts about Medicare
Aug. 7, 5-7:30 p.m. Eligibility, enrollment, benefits, on-line resources, the appeal process, more. RPL East Branch, Rockford, (815) 965-7606, press 2.
Book to Film: Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
Wed, Aug. 7, 6-8 p.m. Based on the novel These Foolish Things by Deborah Moggach, about British retirees who go to live in India in a hotel that is less than as described in the brochure. Beloit Public Library, (608) 364-2905.
Summer Inside Out: Squid Dissection
Aug. 8, 7-8 p.m. Learn about these amazing animals inside and out; even write your name in squid’s ink. Age 8 and up. MMNH, Sycamore, (815) 895-9777.
Bonsai Society Exhibit & Class
Aug. 10, exhibit 10 a.m.-3 p.m.; class, 1 p.m. Learn the history and philosophy of this elegant horticultural technique and view Bonsai trees displayed Bonsai Society. Klehm Arboretum, 2715 S. Main St., Rockford, (815) 965-8146,
Beekeeping Workshop
Aug. 11, 2-4 p.m. Checking for mites and overall health of bee colonies. Outdoor workshop. $2. Byron Forest Preserve, Byron, (815) 234-8535.
Annual Perseid Meteor Watch
Aug. 11, 9 p.m.-midnight. BYO binoculars or use ours. Blanket or lawn chair may come in handy. Free. Register by noon on Aug. 9. Weiskopf Observatory, 7993 N. River Road, Byron, Ill., (815) 234-8535,
Native Trees & Shrubs: What Works in This Area
Aug. 15, 7-9 p.m. Insights from Conner Shaw, owner of Possibility Place Nursery, into what trees and shrubs native to this area really thrive, and why. Free. Presented by Wild Ones Rock River Valley. Chapter. Info: (815) 627-0344. Event: Burpee Museum, Rockford, (815) 965-3433.
Nutrition: Strawberries & Eggplant
Aug. 21, 11 a.m.-noon. This presentation, highlighting nutritional values and ways to incorporate cherries & herbs into your diet, is part of a UW Extension Summer Nutrition Program focused on improving the health, nutrition and physical activity of residents. Beloit Public Library, (608) 364-2905.
Wine at the Wetland/Brew at the Slough
Aug. 24, 3-7 p.m. Wine at the Wetland/Brew at the Slough is a Casual end-of-summer fundraising event with wine and beer tastings in the outdoors, with live music, appetizers, cash bar, guided nature walks, more. Cost: $30/$35 at the door. Info/tickets: (815) 964-6666, Event: Nygren Wetland Preserve, Rockton.
Wild Edibles of Late Summer
Aug. 25, 2-6 p.m. Learn to recognize and forage wild edible plants from woodlands and fields, and preparation techniques to make teas, jellies and more in the kitchen. Wear or bring long sleeves/good walking shoes. $60; advance registration req. Angelic Organics, Caledonia, (815) 398-8455,