Riverside is reaching out to its fellow member communities in the Cross Community Climate Collaborative (C4), hoping to build on the success of last fall’s Tour de Proviso event with a two-day World Nature Conservation Weekend event highlighting Riverside’s natural setting and opportunities for outdoor recreation.

The World Nature Conservation Weekend, which will be held in and around downtown Riverside on July 29-30, is piggybacking on World Nature Conservation Day, which is observed annually on July 28.

The event grew out of a conversation between Village President Joseph Ballerine and Trustee Jill Mateo on ways to draw people to Riverside via places such as the Des Plaines River, Swan Pond and the Guthrie Park arboretum.

“Joe and I were talking about the nature here and how to attract people to appreciate the resources we have here,” Mateo said. “We decided, let’s try to reach all of the C4 communities that we can.”

In addition to showing those from neighboring towns what Riverside has to offer, the Riverside C4 team also wants community residents to participate, too.

Each day between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. is packed with opportunities to dive into Riverside’s natural offerings. Most of the events require registration, and you can find links to those portals via the village’s website at riverside.il.us/644/World-Nature-Conservation-Weekend.

On both mornings from 9 to 11 a.m., there are bird-watching tours guided by experts who can point out the many migratory bird species attracted to the wooded areas along the Des Plaines River.

Local bird watchers logged more than 340 hours in 2018 and 2019, identifying more than 60 migratory bird species. In early 2020, the Audubon Society designated the Des Plaines River corridor through Riverside an Important Bird Area.

You can also rent kayaks through Paddle On Outfitters, which will conduct expeditions at 9 a.m., 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. each day.

Also, on both mornings at 11:30 a.m., you can take a guided tour of the Guthrie Park Arboretum (across the street from the Riverside train station at 90 Bloomingbank Road) and get a tutorial on Riverside’s online tree finder, which logs info on every tree on public land in the village.

At the same time on both mornings, you can opt to tour Swan Pond and learn about its history and its ecological restoration plan, which has been in process for the past few years.

On June 29 from 9 a.m. to noon, you can join volunteers from the Frederick Law Olmsted Society during their Landscape Workday, near the northwest steps of Swan Pond Park.

Representatives from Brookfield Zoo will be on hand on July 29 from 9 to 10:30 a.m. with animal artifacts and activities geared towards young people interested in conservation.

There will also be a master gardener from the University of Illinois Extension on site from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on July 29 to talk with visitors about native plants and natural lawn care.

On July 30 at 9:30 a.m. get your day started with Tai Chi at the Scout Cabin, 417 Fairbank Road.

If you are interested in seeing more than just the downtown and nature areas nearby, you can also join the Frederick Law Olmsted Society on July 30 at 2 p.m. for their walking tour of the village north of the railroad tracks.

Information on how to register for the tour can be found at olmstedsociety.org/events/historic-walking-tours.

And while there aren’t any guided bike tours of Riverside this time around, visitors can go solo by renting a vintage bicycle at Gears 2 You, located in the Riverside train station at 90 Bloomingbank Road.