Discover Nature All Around You!

Thank you to everyone who participated in Family Nature Adventures between June 10 to September 7, 2020 and a big shout out of Congratulations! to those who earned their Junior Naturalist Badge.

You can still watch the learning videos and do the activities even though the deadline has passed to earn a Junior Naturalist Badge for this year.

Fall in love with nature, discover your outdoor surroundings, spend time with your kids and grandkids and learn how you can help protect and have fun in nature.

Family Nature Adventures is an opportunity to connect and engage with nature through a series of 13 free guided activities with topics ranging from water to archaeology, pollinators to mammals and soil to seeds.

Watch a video, do the suggested activity, answer questions. The learning videos will include a variety of nature themed topics: wetlands, fish, water, mammals, birds, archaeology, pollinators, butterflies, creepy crawlers, prairies, forests, seeds and soils. 

Complete at least six of the activities and the Final Participation Form (see bottom of this page for the form) by Monday, September 7 to earn your very own personalized Junior Naturalist Badge.

We invite you to participate in this ongoing summer program with your family or on your own!

  • No cost or registration to participate.
  • This free experience is open to all and tailored to families with kids ages two to 14
  • You can do this anywhere. Since these activities are posted online, there is no specific geographic boundary
  • Anyone can participate at their own pace
  • Completing the videos and form to earn your badge is based on the honor system
  • Video releases will be announced over NLI’s email and on social media

Scroll down to the Learning Videos and Activities section to get started.


Win Prizes!

Congratulations to the winners of the drawings!

Grand Prize: Avery Lovejoy, Second Prize: Luke Mayfield, Third Prize: Aidan Martin

As an added incentive to get you to work towards a Junior Naturalist Badge we will enter your name in three random drawings to win prizes that include family membership to Natural Land Institute, field guides and tools, games, puzzles and NLI logo merchandise.

Anyone who fills out the Final Participation Form and submits it by September 7, 2020 will have their name entered in the drawings for Grand Prize, Second Prize and Third Prize. Keep in mind you have to complete at least six of the thirteen activities and filling out the form is on the honor system.

Read about the three drawings for prizes here.

Good luck!


Bonus! Virtual Coloring Book

A bonus activity that is included is a virtual coloring book that features animals in their habitat. This can be downloaded and printed for anyone to color here: FNA Coloring Book. Thank you to artist Laura Sjoquist who created these coloring pages for you.


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)                                                                     
Supporting Sponsor ($250)


Thank You, Grantors!

This program is supported by a grant from the Dr. Louis & Violet Rubin Fund of the Community Foundation of Northern Illinois.

This program is supported by a grant from the Brubaker Charitable Trust.


Share Your Outdoor Adventures on Social Media

We want you to share with us what you’re doing while you’re participating in Family Nature Adventures. Use #FamilyNatureAdventures for all social media.

Tag us on Facebook: Natural Land Institute and Nygren Wetland Preserve if you go there to do an activity.
Tag us on Instagram: @NLI1958
Tag us on Twitter: @NLI1958 


Become a Member of Natural Land Institute

Are you a member of Natural Land Institute? If not we invite you to become one. Click here to join now to support the protection and preservation of nature.


Visit Nygren Wetland Preserve

We invite you to visit Nygren Wetland Preserve while participating in Family Nature Adventures or for any reason to spend time in nature. Click here to view the map and here to read more about this 721-acre wildlife refuge in Rockton, Illinois.

 


Learning Videos and Activities

Eager to get started? Click on tabs below to watch the learning video, read the activity instructions, and answer one or more questions for that topic.

 

 

WETLANDS - All About Water

Thank you to Rick Barton for hosting this learning video.

Watch this learning video then do the suggested activity.

After you do the activity, fill out the form below and submit it. Then go on to the next learning video.

Suggested Activity: Now that you’ve watched the Wetlands learning video, ask an adult to go with you to visit a wetland. If you have permission from the owners to be on their property (if it isn’t a public preserve), use the macroinvertebrate tally sheet to look for animals in the sludge. You will need a net, sifter or bucket for this. You can also use your eyes and ears to find other larger animals and different types of plants at the wetland.

Resources: Buy economical nets from https://www.acornnaturalists.com/, get cheap nets at a dollar store, or use sandbox sifters if you have any at home. You can also use sand buckets to gather and let the sledge settle. Use this macroinvertebrate tally sheet to keep track of what you find.

Tell us what you discovered by filling out the form below and submitting it.

  • Fill in your answer here:
FISH - All About Water

Thank you to Ann Wasser and Andrea Wallace Noble from our partner organization, Severson Dells Nature Center, who hosted this learning video.

Watch this learning video then do the suggested activities. After you do the activities, fill out the form below and submit it. Then go on to the next learning video.

Warning: this video includes a fish dissection (starting at 5:20) and may not be suitable for all ages to view

Suggested Activities:

Use the word bank on the second page of the handout to fill in the parts of the fish. Click Fish Handout to view and download to print it.

With the help of an adult, go to a nearby creek or pond and see if you can see fish in the water. Keep track of how many different kinds of fish you see.

Tell us what you discovered by filling out the form below and submitting it.

  • Fill in your answer here:
WATER - All About Water

Where it comes from, where it goes

Thank you to Dan Kane from Boone County Conservation District for hosting this learning video.

Watch this video then do the suggested activity below. After you do the activity, fill out the form below and submit it.

Suggested Activity:

Go outside and see what water is doing near you.

Tell us what you discovered by filling out the form below and submitting it.

  • Fill in your answer here:
MAMMALS - Find it Close to Home

Thank you to Stacy and Dana Wallace for hosting this learning video.

Watch this video then do the suggested activity. After you do the activity, fill out the form below and submit it.

Suggested Activity:

Take a walk outside in your backyard or a local park. How many mammal clues can you find in the Mammal Scavenger Hunt? Use this Scavenger Hunt Form to help you look and record what you see on your hunt.

  • Fill in your answer here:
BACKYARD BIRDS - Find it Close to Home

Thank you to Anne Weerda and Burpee Museum of Natural History for permission to use their videos.

Watch one or both videos then do the suggested activity. After you do the activity, fill out the form below and submit it.

Bird Beaks

Bird Feet

Suggested Activities:

Many birds live in our neighborhoods. Spend some time in your backyard, or take a walk through your neighborhood. What kinds of birds do you see? What are they doing? Can you hear birds, but not see them?

Tell us what you discovered by filling out the form below and submitting it.

  • Fill in your answer here:
ARCHAEOLOGY - Find it Close to Home

Thank you to Dr. Rochelle Lurie and Macktown Living History for assisting with this activity and allowing us to use the video produced by Illinois Archaeological Survey.

Watch this video then do the suggested activity. After you do the activity, fill out the form below and submit it.

An excavation and information about Macktown Living History is in the first few minutes of this video.

Suggested Activity:

If you can, visit Macktown Forest Preserve (2221 Freeport Rd., Rockton, IL) and walk around to look at the historic signs placed around the preserve. If you can’t visit the preserve look at the historic signs by Macktown Living History to find your answers:

Historic Signs for ReferenceMack HouseHeritage GardenMedicine GardenPrehistoric CampsShell Midden

Another thing you can do is visit a museum of living history in your area, wherever you live, to think about how people lived in the past and interacted with nature.

To find out more about Macktown Living History and upcoming events visit their website here.

Tell us what you discovered by filling out the form below and submitting it.

  • Fill in your answer here:
POLLINATORS – Little Helpers

Thank you to Barbara Williams for hosting this learning video. 

Watch this video then do the suggested activity. After you do the activity, fill out the form below and submit it.

 

Suggested Activity:

Go outside and find some flowers that are blooming. Smell them. Do they have an odor? Push your finger gently inside one flower to find out if you can get some pollen on your finger. Pollen looks like tiny bits of sand or dust. Now push your finger with the pollen on it into another flower of the same type and wiggle it around to wipe off the pollen. You are a pollinator! Find a bee or some other insect on a flower. Watch it. Talk to it. Listen to it. Can you see pollen on the insect? Can you hear its buzzing wings? Can you follow it?

Tell us what you discovered by filling out the form below and submitting it.

  • Fill in your answer here:
BUTTERFLIES – Little Helpers

Thank you to Julie Tackett for hosting this learning video and to Machelle Dopkins for coordinating the suggested activity.

Watch this video then do the suggested activity. After you do the activity, fill out the form below and submit it.

 

Suggested Activity:

Make a nature butterfly craft. Click here: Butterfly Station Activity to view and print the instructions.

Tell us what you discovered by filling out the form below and submitting it.

  • Fill in your answer here:
CREEPY CRAWLERS – Little Helpers

Thank you to Laura Sjoquist for hosting this learning video.

Watch this video then do the suggested activity. After you do the activity, fill out the form below and submit it.

 

Suggested Activity:

Lift up a rock or turn over a log. What critters can you find living underneath?

Tell us what you discovered by filling out the form below and submitting it.

  • Fill in your answer here:
PRAIRIES – Growing Up

Thank you to Dawn Skupien and her children, Payton and Forest, for hosting this learning video.

Watch this video then do the suggested activity. After you do the activity, fill out the form below and submit it.

Suggested Activity:

In your backyard, or at a park, use a tape measure or ruler to measure something that is the same length as the roots of big blue stem: 7 feet and/or lead plant: 15 feet.

Tell us what you discovered by filling out the form below and submitting it.

  • Fill in your answer here:
FORESTS – Growing Up

Thank you to Aaron Wilson and Welty Environmental Center for hosting this learning video.

Watch this video then do the suggested activity. After you do the activity, fill out the form below and submit it.

Suggested Activity:

Make a leaf rubbing. (Material and Instructions provided in the video).

Tell us what you discovered by filling out the form below and submitting it.

  • Fill in your answer here:
SEEDS – Growing Up

Thank you to Corrie Daniels and Taylor Creek Restoration Nursery for hosting this learning video.

Watch this video then do the suggested activity. After you do the activity, fill out the form below and submit it.

Suggested Activity:

Now that you know more about how seeds are raised in a seed nursery, where else do you think you can find seeds. Look in your yard, garden, even in your food and you will find all kinds of different seeds. Pick a few and compare them. Are they all the same size, shape and color? Do you think they travel in different ways?

Tell us what you discovered by filling out the form below and submitting it.

  • Fill in your answer here:
Soils – Growing Up

Thank you to Dave Brandt for hosting this learning video.

Watch the four sections in this video then do one or more of the suggested activities. After you do the activities, fill out the form below and submit it.

Suggested Activities:

Do one or more – your choice.

EROSION: Look for erosion in your backyard or nearby park. Or, when it hasn’t rained in a few days go to a nearby creek and look at the water. How does it look? Wait until the next time it rains and go back to the same place. What does the water look like?

WHAT IS SOIL? Using a clear plastic water bottle fill it with soil from somewhere in your yard (get permission to do this) halfway, then fill it with water to the top. Shake it up and wait a few minutes to let the soil and gravel, if any, settle.

DRAINAGE QUALITY: Find out what kind of soil your home sits on. If you can, visit or call your local Soil and Water Conservation District and ask their staff to help you find out this information.

Tell us what you discovered by filling out the form below and submitting it.

  • Fill in your answer here:
  • Fill in your answer here:
  • Fill in your answer here:
Final Participation Form

Thank you for participating in Family Nature Adventures! We hope you had fun learning about nature in your neighborhood and community.

Before we send you a Junior Naturalist Badge we will need your contact information and would like to know what activities you participated in and hear about your experiences.

We will also ask you optional questions that will help us gather demographic data for grant purposes. This is not required to receive the Junior Naturalist Badge and Certificate. Any information you provide to us will be kept confidential and we do not sell any personal information collected. Here is our website user privacy policy: https://www.naturalland.org/website-user-privacy-policy/

Please fill out the form below and we will mail your Junior Naturalist Badge and Certificate to you.

  • Please fill out one form per participant.

  • Please check all boxes that apply:
  • Fill in the field below:
  • Fill in the field below:
  • If you’re not a member, we invite you to join today to help protect and preserve nature. To learn how you can become a member of NLI by visiting our membership page (https://www.naturalland.org/membership)
  • CONTACT INFORMATION

  • NLI MAILING LIST

  • How did you hear about Family Nature Adventures?

  • JUNIOR NATURALIST PLEDGE

  • DEMOGRAPHIC QUESTIONS

    OPTIONAL – Not required. We respectfully request that you fill in the demographic information below on a voluntary basis to help us with future grant applications that ask for this type of information. This is not required to receive the Junior Naturalist Badge and Certificate. Your answers will be kept confidential and only used in a cumulative total.
  • THANK YOU TO OUR SPONSORS

    Event Sponsors ($500): Northern Regional Groundwater Planning and Protection Planning Committee, Northwest Bank, and WIPFLI Supporting Sponsor ($250): Nicor Gas
  • THANK YOU TO OUR GRANTORS

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

    Thank you for participating in Natural Land Institute’s Family Nature Adventures. Please submit this form by September 7, 2020 to receive your Junior Naturalist Badge and Certificate.

 

 

 

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