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Lake County Forest Preserves | Preservation, Restoration, Education and Recreation


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Science Explorers in Nature


SEN_2016_at_IGScience Explorers in Nature is a free summer science enrichment program designed for Lake County youth from minority or underserved communities who are entering grades 7–9. Students spend one month exploring the natural world and learning about potential careers in the sciences.

Students from selected schools may enroll in the four-week session that takes place at Greenbelt Cultural Center in North Chicago Monday–Friday, 9 am–3 pm. A school bus route with stops at participating schools provides transportation starting as early as 7:45 am to bring students to the Center by 9 am. Students are provided with all materials they need to participate, including free snacks and lunch every day of the program.

What do students do?

  • Explore outside taking part in hands-on science activities
  • Discover local forest preserves to learn about natural areas including prairies, woods, and wetlands
  • Talk to a variety of scientists and field experts
  • Learn how to conduct their own scientific research and prepare a presentation
  • Spend all day in a new world surrounded by nature and other curious students

ScienceFirst02Who can participate?

Eligible students entering grades 7–9 in a Lake County school. Priority is given to students who receive (or would be eligible for) a free or subsidized school lunch and to returning students. Students and parents must commit to all four weeks of the program and agree to provide their own transportation to one of our designated middle school bus stops in Zion, Beach Park, North Chicago, Waukegan, Round Lake, Diamond Lake/Mundelein, Fox Lake or Ingleside, or to the Greenbelt Cultural Center. There is no supervision at these school bus stops.

How do students apply?

To apply to Science Explorers in Nature you must submit a completed application form and agreement, signed by the student and parent or guardian. You must submit a completed recommendation form, preferably from a science teacher or community leader (pastor, youth group leader, etc) who knows you well and is not related to you.  You must also provide a copy of your most recent report card.

Submit your completed application package as soon as possible to help ensure your chances of being accepted. Applications must be postmarked or received by the last Friday in April. Submit all application components (application, agreement, recommendation, and report card) together to:

Melissa Alderson
Science Explorers in Nature
Lake County Forest Preserves
21950 North Riverwoods Road
Riverwoods, IL 60015

If you have any questions, contact Melissa Alderson at 847-968-3326 or

Thank you to the following program sponsors:

Abbott_Fund_Logo        ComEd_K

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