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Family Fun

Wizards, Wands and Wildlife to educate public about wildlife, plants

Willowbrook Wildlife Center naturalist Leigh Korreck thinks she knows why owls are so fascinating to people.

"It's just because of what incredible predators they are and the adaptations that they have that make them such incredible predators," Korreck said. "I think people find them slightly mysterious, too. We don't see them all the time. They're nocturnal animals."

Owls, snakes and other animals from Willowbrook will be on display as part of the Wizards, Wands and Wildlife program from 3 to 6 p.m. Jan. 7 at the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County's Mayslake Peabody Estate, 1717 31st St., Oak Brook. Participants will learn about owls and other creatures, the powers of plants, and the defensive strategies of wildlife.

The program is for ages 7 and older, and those younger than 18 must be accompanied by an adult. The cost is $15 per person, and those planning to attend can register online by going to Willowbrook's website at or by calling 630-942-6200. Registration is no longer being taken, as the program has reached capacity. For those who would still like to attend, there is a waiting list.

It will take place indoors, so participants don't have to worry about bad weather canceling the event. The event revolves around a "Harry Potter" theme.

"We noticed that in the 'Harry Potter' universe, there's a lot of creatures and plants with magical properties," Korreck said. "Part of our job is to educate the public on the animals and plants that we share a habitat with, so we thought it would make a good program to blend these two things and teach people about how real-life animals and plants are also just as amazing."

The Willowbrook Wildlife Center at Willowbrook Forest Preserve in Glen Ellyn is a native wildlife rehabilitation facility run by the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County that provides care and medical treatment to injured and orphaned wild animals.

Those who attend the program also will learn about how to identify native plants.

"We're also going to talk about the plants' special powers, either for human use or how animals use them to survive," Korreck said.

Plant myths also will be covered in the discussion, said Korreck, who will be leading the program. The program also will serve to educate those who are not familiar with what Willowbrook Wildlife Center does.

Korreck said she hopes those who attend the program gain a better understanding about "how many animals share DuPage County with us."

"And I hope they carry that appreciation of how many amazing animals there are out there right in our backyard," she said. "They don't have to go far to find animals that are really fascinating."


If you go

WHAT: Wizards, Wands and Wildlife

WHEN: 3 to 6 p.m. Jan. 7

WHERE: Mayslake Peabody Estate, 1717 31st St., Oak Brook

COST: $15 per person


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