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Free Virtual Conservation Programs This Summer for Kids at Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie

American Bullfrog

American Bullfrog by U.S. Air Force Veteran Chip Miller, by Forest Service, Eastern Region

The U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service is implementing a summer schedule of virtual conservation education programs tailored especially to children of all ages. All classes begin at 11 a.m. and last from 20 to 30 minutes.

National Association of Interpretation-certified interpreter Siobhan Solkowski-Peacy has produced the curriculum and schedule, and will lead the classes, which cover a wide range of topics from how to tell the difference between a bison and a buffalo to skills and tools that are necessary to become a “prairie detective”.

June 15, Bird is the Word: At Midewin NTP, volunteers and staff are working to increase and improve habitat for native Illinois grassland birds and more. Birds abound at Midewin NTP— they are in the prairies, wetlands, and woods. Learn about the birds that live at Midewin NTP including whether all birds live in the same habitats and if they eat the same foods.

Gray tree frog photo by Penny Vanderhyden

June 17, Croakin’ Around:  Learn about the distinguishing sounds and ears of frogs and toads, how long they can hold their breath and more in this class.

June 22, Fun with Fossils: Discover how fossils were formed and where we might find some.

June 24, Pond Life: Uncover an amazing underwater world that exists on the prairie. Learn about the insects, amphibians and mammals that call the pond their home.

June 29, Crayfish Corner: Learn all about these little crustaceans, including what they are and where they like to live including if they live near us.

July 1, Just Batty: Find out how bats are some of our most helpful neighbors. These “creatures of the night” are gentle and shy, and they help us tremendously.

July 6, Buzzing about the Prairie: Buzz with the bees—and learn their fancy dance. Discover the magical world of bees including what pollination is and why it’s important for us.

July 8, Life of a Butterfly: Discover the amazing “super-heroes” of the prairies that can metamorphosize. Find out what butterflies do for people and when is the best time to find them and more.

July 13, Prairie Detectives: Pull out the magnifying glass and sharpen those detective skills. Discover the amazing animals and plants hidden in plain sight on the prairie.

July 15, Dragonflies a.k.a. Mosquito Hawks: Discover where these fearless “super-fliers” spend most of their life. Learn the best place to find them and how they love mosquitoes.

July 20, Moth Quest: Marvel at the beauty of moths, these amazing creatures of the night. Find out the best way to see these shy creatures.

July 22, Coyote Call: Coyotes are canines that live all around us, yet some of us may not have  ever seen one. Discover why wily coyotes howl at the moon and more.

July 27, Bison or Buffalo?: Find out which is the correct name for the fascinating animal. Learn how much they weigh, how fast they can run, what they eat and more.

July 29, Prairie Roots: Uncover what makes prairie plants so special including the heights they can reach. Learn how prairie plants adapt to survive the weather of the Illinois prairies.

August 3, Beaver Tails: Discover cool facts about some of the most interesting mammals of the waterways. Learn what makes their tail special and more.

Classes are free. For more information and to register, call 815-423 -6370 or email [email protected].