Loan Box Program Expanded for Educators
Environmental educators from the Lake County Forest Preserves are expanding an initiative to area teachers in providing fresh, interactive science lessons for their classrooms. Classroom teachers and non-formal educators can rent three new themed Educator Loan Boxes for up to two weeks. Each box comes complete with hands-on group learning activities, educational items and reference materials that support Illinois Learning Standards. Activities are geared toward K–5 classrooms.
Themed boxes pertaining to mammals, insects and ecosystems join the bird-themed box that debuted in the spring. "The new loan boxes feature a strong focus on wildlife habitats in Lake County," said Environmental Educator Eileen Davis. "Through the boxes, teachers are able to introduce their students to important science concepts in a hands-on, engaging way."
The mammals box allows students to explore the major characteristics and adaptations of mammals through the use of local mammal study skins and skulls. Students also learn about the important role beavers play in our local ecosystems and are challenged to design, build, test and modify a structure that mimics the function of a beaver dam.
The ecosystems box covers topics including the water cycle, interdependent relationships in ecosystems, energy flow, predator and prey relationships, and human impacts on the environment.
The insects loan box allows students to explore the major characteristics and adaptations of arthropods and insects through activities and the use of preserved insects. Topics covered include insect form and function, insect life cycles, insect collection and observation in the school yard.
The bird box contains supplies to set up a bird feeding station, including a bird feeder with seed, binoculars for students and teacher, bird identification books, and a bird observation data sheet. Egg replicas, feathers, bird bones, bird skull replicas and migration posters showing Illinois birds are also included.
"To assist the teacher, we've developed an educator manual that provides instructions for each activity and additional resources pertaining to the topic," Davis said.
Educator Loan Boxes can be reserved by calling 847-968-3321. Pickup is available at the General Offices in Libertyville and at the Ryerson Welcome Center in Riverwoods. Cost is $20 for Lake County residents and $40 for nonresidents.
Eileen Davis, Environmental Educator, edavis@LCFPD.org, 847-968-3371
Kim Mikus, Communications Specialist, kmikuscroke@LCFPD.org, 847-968-3202