ROCKFORD – It's called The Grove, but the name barely describes what the site holds.
This outdoor classroom is an embrace from nature at the Severson Dells Nature Center. It features a pergola and stage supported with the help of black locust trees. And it's all about the woods – tree stumps and logs to sit on, a drum, and objects to explore.
One way to get to know The Grove is on a musical note during the Fiddle Festival. The seating is outdoors, but in case of bad weather, limited seats are available inside the center. Donations from those attending are appreciated.
The planned concerts will be from 12:30 to 5 p.m. Sept. 14 featuring:
n Dirt Simple, at 12:30 p.m., known for strong vocals and informal performances. They've also been known to lead impromptu dances and singalongs.
n Ida Jo, at 2 p.m., classical skills with folk fiddle flourishes.
n Barbara Jean, at 3:30 p.m., a multi-instrumentalist and song writer.
Later in the fall, Kraig Kenning will perform at 3 p.m. Oct. 4 in The Grove. His music runs the gamut of folk, roots rock, and blues.
It isn't only about music. Severson Dells has something for adventurers. Canoe Convoys take place at 6 p.m. Mondays through Sept. 29. Participants will get out into Winnebago County on canoes. The cost is $20, which includes guides, equipment, and shuttle rides; those with their own canoes pay $5. The program is for ages 10 and older. Those attending need to call each week on the Friday before the trip to make a reservation: 815-535-2915.
Family fun is slated for 1 to 3 p.m. Sept. 13, during the Animal Olympics. Comparisons will be made between humans and animals. Can a participant run as fast as a deer? Can a human remember as well as a squirrel hiding food? It's free to find out. Call the above number to register.
Those who have an interest in camping, but don't know where to start, might want to take a look at the Camp Techniques program from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sept. 20. Students will learn how to cook a meal in the wilds, start a fire, and build an outdoor shelter. There's no cost; registration is required.
It's back in the water from 10 a.m. to noon Sept. 27 for Fall Float the Kish. Center staff will guide participants, as everyone floats along the Kishwaukee River in canoes. The cost is $20; those with their own canoe pay $5. Early registration is recommended.
With all this going on, it's worth a meander toward Rockford to spend some time getting to know nature better.