Meet the Unhuggables of the Forest: A Fantastic Family Event

Meet the Unhuggables of the Forest is a fabulous family event hosted by Citizens to Preserve Black Hawk Park Foundation and co-sponsored by the Sierra Club Eagle View Group. The annual event is an absolute delight featuring a variety of forest animals and the qualities that make them unhuggable/huggable and lovable/unlovable. My family attended for the first time this year and WOW! I was impressed. So were the three of my sons (ages 7, 4 and 2) that joined me.

We drove to Singing Bird Center at the Black Hawk State Historic Site which is a lovely location. Outside, eight different stations were arranged, each near a tree. Each station hosted an Augustana College theatre student prepared to engage and delight young and old about the creatures that live in Black Hawk Forest. From my eager to learn, but shy 4-year-old to my inquisitive, engaged 7-year-old to the just-barely-understanding 2-year-old, the “creatures” and information appealed to all ages.

The animals (and one plant) highlighted were: Fox, Bat, Butterfly, Bee, Snake, Opossum, Poison Ivy (my son calls it Poison Hivy…which is really a better name) and Vole. We learned where they live, what they eat, how they take care of their young, special traits unique to each animal, and why they are considered unhuggable critters. My kids listened with eager minds. Frankly, so did I. Do you know all the disgusting things an Opossum eats? Did you know a fox is a member of the dog family – the only one that can climb trees? The kids were especially glad they had decided to give the Poison Ivy a pass on hugging, but did, in fact, hug most of the rest of the animals.


Simon hugs the fox puppet.

After enjoying the outside interactions, we headed indoors where there were refreshments and the fabulously interesting Mr. Chuck Wester who is the Black Hawk State Historic Site Naturalist. With decades of experience teaching young people, he is enthusiastic, fun, and full of fantastic information. (Did you know the normally brown weasel grows a whole new — white — coat in the winter to hide in the snow from the red tailed hawk?) He had a table filled with pelts and animals – both living and stuffed as well as all kinds of large laminated photos. He jumped (almost literally) from topic to topic sharing tidbits of great insights about all the animals. We got to pet a toad and see a huge praying mantis.

Meet the Unhuggables of the Forest is a yearly FREE event offered in October from 6:30-7:30 p.m. See the Upcoming Events page for the Black Hawk Park for details.

I’d highly recommend this event for anyone – young and old. It would also be a really fun scouting event or learning opportunity for a group of young people. My family loved it. I bet yours will, too!



About the author

Meghan Cooley Meghan Cooley moved to the Quad Cities from St. Charles, IL, as an Augustana College student over 20 years ago. She left briefly after graduation and then returned to work in admissions and then marketing at Augustana College for 18 years. She now works as a consultant for admissions marketing and social media. She also does copy editing and writes for the Quad City Moms Blog. Now a true Quad Cities transplant, Meghan lives in Rock Island with her husband, Luke (R.O.W.V.A. and Augustana grad and Modern Woodmen employee) and four boys. She loves living in the Quad Cities and finds it the perfect place to raise a family, plan a date night, and go on adventures.

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