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Educational Resources

Broaden your horizons—teacher workshops, program previews, in-service training and other adult education opportunities are available for a variety of subjects. These unique learning opportunities address both Illinois State Learning Standards and Teacher Performance Standards. Check our calendar for upcoming programs.

Teacher Appreciation Day

Friday, August 9 from 9 am–3 pm

Join the Lake County Forest Preserves and its Dunn Museum for a new FREE event to honor the work of local educators! Teachers will have the unique opportunity to participate in a variety of educational activities, while learning about programs and resources available to them and their students from history and environmental education staff. Enjoy a provided lunch, giveaways, and more! Additional information and details to come.


Digital Resources

Stay connected to Lake County nature and history from the comfort of home. We have expanded our collection of digital resources—videos, activity sheets, backyard birding, story times, Dunn Museum virtual tours, wildflower walks, and more—to help.

Take a look at the resources below, then check our calendar for upcoming virtual programs. Remember to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube @LCFPD. And check back often for even more new resources.


A Tale of Two Ponds

Eileen Davis and Jan Ward, Environmental Educators, recently conducted separate water quality studies of two ponds in Lake County. Take a look at what they found.

A Tale of Two Ponds: Eileen
A Tale of Two Ponds: Jan

Adventures in Nature with Jan

Stay curious and learn about local nature with Jan Ward, Environmental Educator.

Art, Arches and Forts
Fall Leaf Hunt
National Pollinators Month: Jan’s Garden
Pond Scooping

Ask an Educator LIVE

A bimonthly Q&A series featuring a panel of educators excited to share their expertise about Lake County nature and history.

July 20, 2022: Net-Zero Buildings
June 15, 2022: Caring for Trees
May 18, 2022: An Inside Look at the Lake County History Archives
April 20, 2022: Threatened and Endangered Species
March 16, 2022: Landscaping for a Changing Climate
February 9, 2022: Controlled Burning—Life from the Ashes
January 12, 2022: Winter Ecology
December 8, 2021: Behind the Scenes at the Dunn Museum
November 10, 2021: All Things Nature
October 13, 2021: Dinosaurs
September 22, 2021: Buckthorn Removal and Healthy Hedges
September 8, 2021: Singing Insects
August 11, 2021: Raptors and Hawkwatch
July 20, 2021: Ask an Educator Hits the Trails
July 14, 2021: Bonner Farm and Early Settlers to Lake County
June 23, 2021: Fishing Hotspots

June 9, 2021: All Things Turtles Fundraiser

May 12, 2021: Rivers and Streams of Lake County
April 14, 2021: Sustainable Landscaping

March 10, 2021: Maple Syruping

February 10, 2021: The Last Ice Age

January 13, 2021: Winter Tracking

December 9, 2020: Enjoying Winter in the Forest Preserves

November 25, 2020: All Things Preserves
October 30, 2020: Adlai Stevenson II

October 14, 2020: Play in the Preserves
September 30, 2020: Buckthorn Removal and Healthy Hedges

September 2, 2020: Nighttime Insects

August 19, 2020: Hummingbirds and Monarchs

August 5, 2020: Paddlesports
July 22, 2020: Turtle Talk
July 8, 2020: Weather
June 24, 2020: Semi-Aquatic Mammals
June 10, 2020: Nocturnal Animals
May 27, 2020: Birds and Native Plants
May 20, 2020: Backyard Birds and Native Plants

Backyard Birding

Photos, facts, and videos straight from the backyard bird feeder of Mark Hurley, Environmental Educator.

Dark-Eyed Junco
Northern Cardinal
Brown Creeper
American Robin
Brown-Headed Cowbird
Baltimore Oriole
Eastern Gray Squirrel

Blanding’s Turtle Recovery Program

Enjoy scenes from our Blanding's Turtle Recovery Program, an effort to boost local populations of the state endangered Blanding's turtle (Emydoidea blandingii).

Good Luck, Turt Reynolds!
Welcome to the Founders Circle

Creature Feature

Learn timely facts and tidbits once a week about the wildlife you might see in the preserves, and in your yard or neighborhood.


Dunn Museum

We are stewards. Storytellers. Educators. Explorers. We are dedicated to sharing the entwined stories of people, events and nature through exhibitions, education and community engagement.

2021 A Year in Review, What’s Next for 2022
Behind the Scenes: Bill Sienkiewicz Exhibit Installation
Bill Sienkiewicz: Pop Culture Revolution Exhibition
Bonner Heritage Farm Cider Press
Breaking Barriers | Women in the Military Exhibition Development
Cameras from the Collection
Civil War Frontlines
Civil War Homefront
Collections Care | Applying Accession Numbers to Recent Donations with Paraloid B-72
Collections Care: Digitizing the Signal Hill DAR Grant
Discover Bonner Heritage Farm
Dryptosaurus 101
Dunn Museum and College of Lake County “Latinx Community Engagement Project”
Dunn Museum Holiday Gift Shop Sale
Dunn Museum Holiday Sale 2020
Dunn Museum Store: Shop Local!
Glaciers and Lake County, Illinois
Growing Up in Lake County, Illinois
History Minute: Bess Bower Dunn
History Minute: Early Settler Toys
History Minute: The Heroic Iron Lung
Historymakers | Amos Bennett
Historymakers | Introduction
Historymakers | Mettawa
Historymakers: Susie Smith Minto
How We Study the Past: Adlai Stevenson
Historymakers: The Booker T. Washington Progressive Club of Zion
How to Visit the Dunn Museum on a Field Trip
Installation of the Photography Exhibition, Ansel Adams: Early Works
Mother Rudd
Museum Exhibit Design
Native People Today
Not DUNN Yet: Caramel Cake
Not DUNN Yet: Hominy Bread
Not DUNN Yet: Parker House Rolls
Not DUNN Yet: Soft Ginger Cookies
Our Voice is Black History Panel Discussion with the College of Lake County
Our Voice is Black History—Words For the Future
Rondout Train Robbery
Spotlight on Collections Care
The Atlatl
The First People
The Silurian in Lake County, Illinois
Tour Our Replica Potawatomi Wigwam
Travel Through Prehistoric Lake County, IL
True Crimes of Lake County: Introduction
True Crimes of Lake County: Prohibition and the Fox Lake Massacre
True Crimes of Lake County: Rondout Train Robbery
Waukegan Artist Reima V. Ratti (1914-1945)
Waukegan’s Motion Picture Industry of the 1890s
Welcome Back! Welcome to DunnTV
Women Artists Commemorated the Civil War

Early Birding

Enjoy peaceful winter scenes from the triple bird feeders of Mark Hurley, Environmental Educator II.

Dark-Eyed Juncos

House Sparrows

March 29. 2021
March 22, 2021
March 15, 2021
March 8, 2021
February 22, 2021
February 8, 2021
February 1, 2021
January 25, 2021
January 11, 2021
January 4, 2021

Mourning Doves
December 28, 2020

December 14, 2020

Education Animals

See how staff takes care of our education animals behind-the-scenes.

Fox Snake Shed
Hope You’re Owl Doing Well

Hikin’ Tykes

Join Jenny Sazama, Environmental Educator, for fun nature activities designed for children ages 2–4.

Blanding's Turtles


Woolly Bear Caterpillars

Mark's Nature Walk

Tag along with Mark Hurley, Environmental Educator, on his nature walks through the preserves to learn about the common and not-so-common plants and animals he finds.

Part One
Part Two

Meditative Minute

Enjoy 60 seconds of serene scenes from the preserves.

Fort Sheridan
Fox River
Hastings Lake
Heron Creek
Independence Grove
Lyons Woods
MacArthur Woods
Maple Syrup
McDonald Woods
Old School
Pine Dunes
Rollins Savanna
Ryerson Woods: Part One
Ryerson Woods: Part Two
Van Patten Woods

Mud Kitchen

Has quarantine meant spending a *lot* of time testing new recipes? Try stretching your child’s imagination with a different culinary space: a mud kitchen.

Creating a Mud Kitchen
Creating with Mud
Stocking a Mud Kitchen

Nature in My Backyard

Tag along with April Vaos, Environmental Educator, as she explores nature in her backyard.

Whose Scat is That?
Frogs and Toads

One Minute Walks

Want to walk in a preserve, but can’t get there right this moment? Try a soothing One-Minute Walk video to tide you over.

Ryerson Woods

Other Resources

A Changing Climate: Global Challenge, Local Response—Strong Roots
Ask An Educator
Cardinal Cam

Controlled Burn: Fall 2021
Coyote Choir Practice
Earth Week: Garbage Ball Activity
Earth Week: How You Can Help the Earth
Eastern Prairie Fringed Orchids
Ethel Untermyer Conservation Forum: Building with a Light Touch
Every Last Drop–Episode One of a Special Webinar Series
Forest Preserve Careers: Environmental Education
Forest Preserve Careers: Fundraising
Forest Preserve Careers: Golf Course Superintendent
Forest Preserve Careers: Information Technology
Forest Preserve Careers: Landscape Architecture
Forest Preserve Careers: Restoration Ecology
Halloween Hikes Through the Years
Happy National Reptile Appreciation Day
Happy National Trails Day
Happy Thanksgiving from Tom Turkey
Happy World Environment Day
Happy World Frog Day
How to Identify Poison Ivy
How to Properly Plant a Tree
How to Remove Garlic Mustard
Make Snow Ice Cream
National Pollinators Week
Virtual Program: Fishing at Independence Grove
Virtual Program: Profiles in Excellence
Welcome to Summer Adventures

Places to Paddle

People love to paddle. Our staff know a lot of places to paddle. Sounds like a match.

Independence Grove Canoe Launch
Russel Road Canoe Launch
Sedge Meadow Canoe Launch
Sedge Meadow to Gowe Park, Part One 
Sedge Meadow to Gowe Park, Part Two
Van Patten Woods

President's Messages

Hear seasonal messages from Angelo Kyle, President of the Lake County Forest Preserves.

A Message from President Kyle
Embracing Diversity

Take a Breather

Take a break with short, relaxing nature videos.

Double Rainbow
Fort Sheridan
Sycamore and Sky

Story Times

Listen to children’s stories read by our educators.
National Tell a Story Day: Stellaluna
Story Time with April: “Jump!”

Wildflower Walks

Learn more about Lake County's beautiful, native wildflowers with Eileen Davis and Mark Hurley, Environmental Educators.

Wildflower Walk at Ryerson Woods: Part One
Wildflower Walk at Ryerson Woods: Part Two

Wildlife Wednesday

We love wildlife. Especially on Wednesdays.

Mating Monarchs
Slow-Mo Hummingbird

Snowberry Clearwing Moth
Two Cranes and a Colt
Western Chorus Frogs Calling

Words of the Woods

What are the woods telling us? Have you ever stopped for a moment to listen? Our podcast, Words of the Woods, can help.

A Piece of News
Season 2 Trailer: Welcome Back to the Woods

Words of the Woods Season 2: It's a Winter-ful Life


Virtual Summer Camps 2021

Learn more about our 2021 virtual summer camp offerings from our Education staff.

Spiders, Slugs and Really Cool Bugs Camp
Welcome to Pondering Plants Camp
Welcome to Virtual Fishing Camp

Welcome to Virtual History Summer Camp
Welcome to Virtual Summer Camp


Printable Activities

Teacher Professional Development

Our educators offer a Teacher Open House in the fall and trainings throughout the year. Learn about programs and educational resources for your class, and take part in teacher training sessions with our education staff. Up to two Teaching Training Hours available. Check our calendar for open house date or subscribe to our "Education Programs" email list for updates.

School Programs

Teachers know the value of a good excursion. Field trips and in-school programs give students the opportunity for authentic experiences to learn, discover and apply what they know. We bring both nature and history alive year-round with award winning programs and facilities. Our professional educators work hard to make every program a rich experience. Spaces fill up fast! Learn more »

Educator Loan Boxes

Check out an educator loan box and bring a fresh, interactive science lesson to the classroom. Each loan box comes complete with hands-on group learning activities, educational items, and reference materials. Illinois Science Standards are supported, making it easy to incorporate each box into an educator’s curriculum.

Five different themes are available: Birds, Mammals, Insects, Ecosystems, and Plants, Seeds and TreesLearn more »

With a two-week loan period, teachers and students have ample time to explore and repeat activities in each loan box. Activities are geared toward K–5 classrooms, but some items may be helpful to older classrooms. Loan boxes are available to classroom teachers and nonformal educators.


Rental fee: $20 residents/$40 nonresidents

Damage deposit: $25

Late return fee: $10/day

To book a box, please email Pick-up and return are available at Ryerson Woods in Riverwoods, or at our General Offices in Libertyville.

Fort Sheridan | Middle School Curriculum

Fort Sheridan's rich military history and unique natural resources provide an ideal backdrop for studying topics relevant in today's social studies, science and language arts classrooms. You can download lesson plans and supporting photo cards below, or request a complete educator's kit, available for free to instructors of middle school-level students. Call 847-968-3321 or email us for details.


Grants are available to help defray the cost of our programs. Our Gateways Grant program helps to defray the cost of these programs for Lake County public schools with limited financial resources, providing a program fee waiver and partial bus transportation reimbursement. In addition, numerous outside organizations provide grants that can be applied to our programs. Learn more »

Lake Education Assistance Program

This Illinois Environmental Protection Agency program provides funding of up to $500 for school and other nonprofit organization participation in lake or watershed related educational field trips, equipment and activities. Learn more »

Target Field Trip Grants

Each year, Target awards 5,000 grants of up to $800 each for field trips. Learn more »

Illinois Biodiversity Field Trip Grants

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources awards grants yearly to schools to assist students in visiting natural resources sites to learn about nature and conservation. Learn more »

Leave No Child Inside

This Chicago Wilderness initiative aims to connect kids with nature and the outdoors. Learn more »

Science Explorers in Nature

Science Explorers in Nature inspires middle school students from underserved communities to embrace science and advanced education opportunities. Each year, 36 students participate in this free four-week program. Students conduct hands-on scientific experiments, explore Lake County’s biodiversity and participate in team learning activities. Learn more »

Documents and Forms

Follow the links below to download release and grant forms, and pre and post program activities. 

Waiver/Release Forms

Environmental Education Resources

Museum Education Resource