Of the many eclectic things I’ve experienced or learned about in my job, skydiving has not been one.

It’s one of those stretches with all kinds of eclectic options for this Wild Weekend Wandering around Chicago outdoors: skydiving, the environment in children’s literature, a report on the impact of climate change, a smattering of Chinook near shore in and early Canada goose hunting.

There’s a major skydiving event running for days in Rochelle.

I’ve done hot air balloons for a magazine story on the hot-air balloon festival in Grand Rapids, Mich. It was fun and different and as far as I want to go in descending through the air.

I say that even though one of the women at our church, who did skydiving at 90, absolutely loved it.

Then we have the weather to throw us off.

My plans may be all screwed up this weekend because of the weather. It already changed my plans. I usually put in an hour or so of work Friday mornings working on setting up an edible trail. Once again it was rained out.

My hopes of goose hunting this weekend with Frank Lagodny may already be swamped out. We’ll double check tomorrow morning. Otherwise Saturday is pretty much tied up with family stuff, mostly soccer.

Otherwise, my week is shaping up to be busier than I expected with some interesting side notes.

Tuesday night might be a reach for me to make, but I would love to sit in on DePaul’s Liam Heneghan’sBEASTS AT BEDTIME: Revealing the Environmental Wisdom in Children’s Literature” at North Park Village Nature Center.

On Wednesday, I think I will go to the Portage Bass Pro for the release of “Aquatic Ecosystems in a Shifting Indiana Climate.”

With that, to this Wild Weekend Wandering around Chicago outdoors and the many eclectic options, including some expanded free access this month at the Shedd Aquarium.

SKYDIVING CHAMPIONSHIP: The 2018 United States Parachute Association (USPA) National Skydiving Championships will be held through Sept. 18 at the Chicagoland Skydiving Center in Rochelle.

Here are some details:

The schedule of events/competitions includes (subject to change based on weather conditions):

September 5-7                         Vertical Formation Skydiving, Artistic Freeflying and Freestyle

September 7-8                         Mixed Formation Skydiving

September 8-12                       4-Way Formation Skydiving

September 12-15                     8-Way, 10-Way and 16-Way Formation Skydiving

September 15-18                     Wingsuit Flying and Speed Skydiving

For more information on making a first jump or to find a skydiving center near you, visit www.uspa.org or call 800-371-USPA.

CHINOOK: There’s  been enough kings around to keep the dream alive.

Stacey Greene at Park Bait at Montrose Harbor said this morning, “Mornings have been really good. Tuesday and Wednesday nights they started popping on the night shift.”

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Dawn before a successful early-season hunt for Canada geese in 2017.
Dale Bowman/Sun-Times

EARLY CANADA GOOSE: Season runs through next Saturday, Sept. 15. Trick is finding spots open to hunt, especially in northern Illinois where no harvest has started. I am hoping to get out this weekend.

INDIANA CLIMATE CHANGE: Indiana Climate Change Impacts Assessment team releases “Aquatic Ecosystems in a Shifting Indiana Climate” report, which details some of the impacts on Lake Michigan and such things as smallmouth bass and perch.

It’s at 11 a.m. Wednesday at the Conservation Room at the Bass Pro in Portage.

Click here for more preliminary info on the report.

KIDS LIT & THE ENVIRONMENT: As mentioned above I intrigued by the Chicago Audubon Soceity presenting Heneghan on “BEASTS AT BEDTIME: Revealing the Environmental Wisdom in Children’s Literature.”

It is at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the North Park Village Nature Center.

Here are details from CAS:

Conservation biologist Liam Heneghan is a professor of environmental science and studies at DePaul University and a father of two grown children to whom he read every night of their early years. He will examine the environmental underpinnings of children’s stories and discuss how classic children’s stories can provide a complete guide to environmental literacy.

SU KIDS DERBY: Salmon Unlimited holds its 10th annual Kids Derby at Waukegan Harbor on Saturday, 7 a.m.-noon. It’s free to kids 18 and younger, 13 and younger must have an adult guardian.

FLYER Click here to print rules, map, and mail in registration document.

CAST AND COMPARE: The Illinois Smallmouth Alliance holds its “Cast & Compare,” a chance to try different fly rods, 8 a.m. to noon Saturday at Glenwood Forest Preserve in Batavia.

REI CELEBRATION: REI is celebrating its new Vernon Hills store with a weekend of activities. Here are some details.

Saturday, Sept. 8

Free bike rentals at Independence Grove Marina (6:30am-sunset)

Free kayak, SUP, canoe, and paddleboat rentals at Independence Grove Marina (12pm-sunset)

Free improv comedy and outdoor film night at Deerpath Park (6pm-9:30pm)

Sunday, Sept. 9

Free bike rentals at Independence Grove Marina (6:30am-sunset)

Free kayak, SUP, canoe, and paddleboat rentals at Independence Grove Marina (6:30am-sunset)

Black Ties, Chacos, and Tacos Party

Click here for more info.

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Relaxing by the Caribbean Reef exhibit at the Shedd Aquarium.
Dale Bowman/Sun-Times

FREE SHEDD: Through Sept. 30, Illinois residents may attend the Shedd Aquarium for free. Also the Shedd is extending its evening programming, aimed at a more adult audience, during September on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings.

Here are the details from the Shedd:

CHICAGO (Sept. 4, 2018) – Fans of Shedd Aquarium’s Jazzin’ at the Shedd series will delight in three new evening offerings from the aquarium throughout the month of September that are all free for Illinois residents. The Shedd After Hours programming expands access to the aquarium for those who might not be able to visit the aquarium during normal daytime hours. With proof of state residence, guests can access the full aquarium until 9 p.m. and enjoy as many evening events as they like, which will feature themed music and custom food/drink menus for purchase:

  • Mondays (Sept. 10, 17, 24) – Shedd After Hours: Caribbean Flavors and Flair

o   Featuring a special menu of Caribbean-inspired cuisine for guests as they explore the aquarium, including habitats like the iconic Caribbean Reef exhibit in Shedd’s main galleries.

  • Wednesdays (Sept. 5, 12, 19, 26 and Oct. 3, 10) – Jazzin’ at the Shedd: Live Latin Rhythms

o   The traditional Wednesday night Jazzin’s, which feature lively music and tasty treats both inside the aquarium and along the lakeside terrace, will take a new, Latin spin with live Latin jazz performers and equally inspired food and cocktails. A list of performers can be found here. Wednesday Jazzin’ will extend into October, with two additional free days/nights through Oct. 10.

  • Thursdays (Sept. 6, 20, 27) – Shedd After Hours: House Party

o   Inspired by a style of music created right here in Chicago, Thursday nights at Shedd in September will feature house music DJs and tasty bites and beverages to buy as guests take in the Chicago skyline. Local DJs include DJ Jesse Saunders, DJ Terry Hunter and Farley Jackmaster Funk.

o   Please note: Thursday, Sept. 13, Shedd WILL NOT be open late, due to a private event. The aquarium will make up this date by staying open late with special programming on Tuesday, Dec. 4.

The new evening program is meant to entice a broader, more adult audience who might not be willing or able to visit the aquarium during the day or for those who wish to avoid heavier crowds over the weekend.

The nights are an extension of Shedd’s Illinois free days, presented by Ford Motor Company Fund, which provides general admission to all aquarium exhibits and experiences, including the multi-species aquatic presentation, the bold and diverse animals within Shedd’s new special exhibit, Underwater Beauty, daily dive presentations, animal chats and more. These free days for Illinois residents will run from Sept. 4-30.

Due to the overwhelming popularity of Illinois Resident Free Days, Shedd reminds guests that attendance is limited to building capacity. Tickets may be reserved online in advance ($3 transaction fee) or purchased at the door. General admission is not inclusive of the 4-D movie experience available for $4.95 per person.

Additional access programs are offered year-round through a variety of other offerings include free admission to eligible low-income families every day presenting an EBT card via the Museums For All program and to Chicago Park District youth groups and staffs, Illinois school teachers and K-12 groups, first responders, and families with children using Kids Museum Passports available at Chicago Public Library branches. To learn more about these offerings, click here.

TREEKEEPERS: Registration is now open for Openlands’ fall course for its TreeKeepers certification course. It is next on my agenda of things to do, but it will not be this fall. Registration runs through Sept. 15.

Classes are held from Sept. 16-Ot. 11 on Sundays 11 a.m.-3 p.m. and Thursdays 6-8:30 p.m. at Welles Park Field House on Chicago’s North Side. Cost is $128. Click here to learn more and register.

FROG SEASON:  Frog season, bullfrogs only, runs through Oct. 15 in Illinois. Daily bag is eight. A fishing license is required and legal means of taking them are “hook and line, gig, pitchfork, spear, bow and arrow, hand, or landing net.”

MIDEWIN: To give an idea of what you might experience at Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie, click here for my column about a visit earlier this summer.

The seasonal guided tours at Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie run weekends through Nov. 4. The Ranger Trailer is open weekends, weather permitting, at the Iron Bridge Trailhead. Trails are open daily 4 a.m.-10 p.m.

For a complete list of events and programming go to https://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/fseprd535052.pdf.