Through grants from the Annual Fund and donor-designated gifts, the Preservation Foundation helps the Forest Preserves serve more people each year through education and public programs.
Our professional staff turns the Forest Preserves into living laboratories for exploration of the wildlife, plants, water, and cultural history of Lake County. Many education programs are available for a nominal fee or free, thanks to donor support.
Our education programs cultivate new advocates for preservation and restoration of our natural resources – both locally and globally.
Science Explorers in Nature:
The Science Explorers in Nature program combines STEM learning with outdoor exploration. Led by Forest Preserves Environmental Educators and a certified science teacher, the four-week program helps middle-school students learn about nature in Lake County and potential science careers. The inquiry-based curriculum includes hands-on STEM activities that support Illinois Learning Standards.
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Program fees and bus transportation can severely limit the ability of Lake County schools in low-income communities to benefit from the Forest Preserves environmental and history education field trip programs. Gateways Grants provide a program fee waiver and a $150 bus stipend to eligible schools. Hundreds of students benefit from field trips in each year, thanks to Gateways Grants, which are made possible by private donations.
The North Shore Gas Education Classroom is home base for our school field trips and education programs. In summer, it hosts camps, scout programs, lectures, public programs and events. Elsewhere in the Dunn Museum, two immersive teaching spaces – a Native American wigwam and a one-room schoolhouse – provide space for formal field trip programs or interactive play.
Thanks to a grant from the USG Foundation, the Dunn Museum is open late and features free admission on the first and third Thursday evening of each month. Visitors can also enjoy special programming and events on a variety of topics.
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