Thank You to So Many Who Made Family Nature Adventures a Success!

It Was About Discovering Nature All Around You

Thank you to everyone who helped make Family Nature Adventures possible and to everyone who participated in this ongoing summer event. Along with earning a Junior Naturalist Badge and Certificate, those who earned a badge had their name put into three drawings for a chance to win prizes. Congratulations to the Grand Prize winner, Avery Lovejoy!

Avery Lovejoy, Grand Prize Winner of the Family Nature Adventures Drawing

Avery Lovejoy and her mother, Kelly, said their whole family had a wonderful time participating in the activities. Avery has two brothers that also earned a Junior Naturalist badge. Not only were the videos and activities fun and interesting, they made them more aware of their surroundings. This is a family that was already pretty active in the outdoors. Kelly said that the soils video really made an impression on them because after watching it, “we noticed erosion when we went kayaking on the river”.  She said they watched all 13 videos and did most of the corresponding activities and that it provided something for them to do throughout the summer. Mom was very appreciative to have this program available for her kids to do. Avery was excited as she talked about seeing fish and a crayfish during the fish and wetland activities.

2nd Prize winner of the FNA drawing, Luke Mayfield (center) with his sister, Hailey (L) and mom Nicci Mayfield

Second prize winner was Luke Mayfield. He said his favorite video and activity was, “Grandpa Rick’s, of course!”. Grandpa Rick Barton hosted the Wetlands learning video. Luke and his sister, Hailey, said they enjoyed learning new things about nature.

3rd Prize winner of the FNA drawing, Aidan Martin

Third prize winner was Aidan Martin. Aidan said his favorite topics were wetlands and fish. He said, “I liked using a net at Nygren (Wetland Preserve) and finding little frogs and toads on the path. The frogs move faster than the toads.” Who knew? Now we all do!

Thank you to our prize winners, and to all of the kids and families who watched the videos and participated in the activities. We estimate more than 1,100 people saw the videos with 14 children earning a Junior Naturalist badge. We have already started planning for an in-person event in June of next year, combined with an updated virtual event on our website. Let us know if you have any ideas to help make it better for next year (email Kim at

The videos and activities for Family Nature Adventures will continue to be available on our website ( for anyone to do. The nature themed learning activities provide opportunities for teachers, homeschool parents, Girl Scout and Boy Scout Troops, community centers, churches, and other organizations to use with their students and children as learning tools for subjects such as science, biology, art, human history, reading, writing, and so much more.

Thank You, Learning Video Hosts!

Learning video hosts include NLI’s Education Committee members and other volunteers: Rick Barton, David Brandt, Machelle Dopkins, Laura Sjoquist, Dawn and John Skupien, Julie Tackett, Stacy and Dana Wallace, and Barbara Williams.

Partner organizations providing videos include Burpee Museum of Natural History (Anne Weerda)Macktown Living History (Illinois Archaeology Survey and Dr. Rochelle Lurie)Severson Dells Nature Center (Ann Wasser and Andrea Wallace Noble)Taylor Creek Restoration Nurseries (Corrie Daniels), and Welty Environmental Center (Aaron Wilson).

Thank you SPONSORS

Event Sponsors ($500); Northern Regional Groundwater Protection Planning Committee, Northwest Bank, WIPFLI

Supporting Sponsor ($250): Nicor Gas

Thank you GRANTORS

This program was supported by the Brubaker Charitable Trust and a grant from the Dr. Louis & Violet Rubin Fund of the Community Foundation of Northern Illinois.

See the list of prizes here: 

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