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Virtual Education Programs Available

May 13, 2020 01:14 PM
Cranes-racoon-credit Anoop Anand Anandakrishnan
© Anoop Anand Anandakrishnan

An array of virtual nature and history programs, summer camps, school field trips, and digital resources are available through the Lake County Forest Preserves.
“While the state's stay-at-home orders have forced the temporary cancellation of all in-person education programs and summer camps, our professional educators have developed many virtual programs, activities and digital resources for at-home learning,” said Director of Education Nan Buckardt. “Program series feature virtual wildflower walks, scavenger hunts, citizen science opportunities, and viewing items from the Dunn Museum’s collections and archives,” she said. "Some camps, such as Wetland Explorers, also feature a self-guided outdoor adventure component that families can do together." 
“Backyard Birding,” was one of the first virtual programs developed last month in response to the state's original stay-at-home order. Mark Hurley, environmental educator and volunteer coordinator, launched the program to assist people with detecting the species they see while birdwatching in their own backyards. “It’s fun, educational and a nice diversion,” said Hurley about sharing his photography and educational facts about birds visiting his home feeders on the Lake County Forest Preserves social media outlets. 
Browse all virtual education offerings and register online. Follow along on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @LCFPD for more educational resources, webinars and videos.
Virtual Summer Camps
Though in-person summer camps running June 15–August 14 are canceled, many have been replaced with virtual camps to offer a balanced learning experience for children ages 6–14. Fees and schedules have been modified, and auxiliary activities provide at-home learning along with an outdoor adventure component. Browse virtual camps and register online.
Virtual School Field Trips
In addition, Forest Preserves educators are available to help teachers while they finish the current school year remotely. “We offer several virtual field trips that will engage students and lighten the load for teachers,” Buckardt said. History and environmental educators offer interactive, engaging experiences, she said. “Our programs use artifacts, live animals, and biofacts to help students learn about local history and the natural world,” Buckardt said. Teachers can choose from topics including prehistoric Lake County, Potawatomi lifestyles, early settlers, animal adaptions, lake ecology, and plant life cycles. View virtual field trips. Scheduling for virtual field trips for the 2020-2021 school year will be available starting July 3. For questions or to book a virtual field trip, email us
Help Record History
“Each of us is living through a significant moment in history,” Buckardt said. As the principal steward of Lake County’s history, the Bess Bower Dunn Museum in Libertyville has launched a new project. “We are documenting the impact of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic in Lake County,” she said.
As part of the Documentation Project, over the coming weeks and months, the Dunn Museum is collecting stories and photographs that demonstrate how COVID-19 is affecting the lives of Lake County residents, businesses and caregivers. “You can help us by sharing your personal experiences and digital photographs,” Buckardt said.
“All accepted materials may be made available for future study, public research and exhibition by the Dunn Museum,” Buckardt said. View guidelines on submitting materials.
Dinosaur Working to Raise Funds for Museum
Though the Dunn Museum is temporarily closed, the Online Museum Store is open and currently selling its popular Dryptosaurus T-shirt, while supplies last. Order here. Cost per shirt is $35 and includes tax and shipping. Proceeds from the sale support upcoming exhibitions. The Dunn Museum is among only 3% of museums nationally to have earned accreditation from the American Alliance of Museums, an industry mark of distinction.

Ask An Educator

Got a burning question about Lake County history or nature? Our professional educators have the answer. Email your questions to<​/a>.