Conservation and Outdoor Education
Nature Bulletin No. 375-A March 28, 1970
Forest Preserve District of Cook County
George W. Dunne, President
Roland F. Eisenbeis, Supt. of Conservation
CONSERVATION AND OUTDOOR EDUCATION
IN THE FOREST PRESERVE DISTRIC.
The Forest Preserve District offers many priceless opportunities for the
schools of Chicago and suburban Cook County. Nowhere on this
continent is there such a great area of publicly -- owned native
landscape so easily accessible and devoted to the education, pleasure
and recreation of the people. The interiors are truly wild and
remarkable for the wealth and diversity of their plant and wildlife
populations The District is a 61,879 acre sanctuary and laboratory for
field trips, nature study and outdoor education. Its educational
program is designed to inspire and assist such use by the schools.
These weekly nature bulletins, for instance, are effectively used by
most teachers in classroom work and for reference. On the basis of one
copy for each teacher in the elementary grades and one for each
biology teacher, they are mailed to every parochial school and every
suburban and rural school in Cook County. The Chicago public
schools should receive many more than the 4000 copies we deliver to
the Board of Education and it has been urged that they mimeograph
and distribute the requisite number, since our present weekly
production of 25,300 copies cannot be materially increased.
mid-October until mid-March, naturalists are available for
school assembly programs. There is no charge. A program ordinarily
begins with a brief talk on how to use and enjoy the preserves,
followed by about 22 minutes of superb movies, in color with sound,
on wildlife or natural history subjects suitable for the grade levels of
the pupils. During the remainder of the period the naturalist answer
questions from the audience. Appropriate programs are available for
high school assemblies.
Since there are over 1,022,374 pupils enrolled in the public schools of
Cook County, it is obviously impossible for us to conduct field trips
for, lecture to, or otherwise deal with individual classes. That is a
responsible function of the schools. However, many teachers do not
feel competent to teach natural science and are understandably
reluctant to attempt field trips. There is increasing demand for courses
which will train them to do so.
Each year this department conducts such courses for groups of
teachers A series of three-day workshops are offered in May along
with two five-day advanced workshops. This series is repeated again in
Our Sand Ridge Nature Center in South Holland, Little Red
Schoolhouse in the Palos, Trailside Museum in River Forest, River
Trail Nature Center north of DesPlaines are extensively used by
busloads of school children on scheduled trips Another which is to be
called Crab Tree Nature Center located south of Barrington, will be
completed this year. With their nature trails and exhibits they are
devoted largely to use by teachers and their classes.
We have assisted in the conduct of experimental in-school camps to
demonstrate how, by conducting field trips, more natural science may
be brought into the classrooms.
We invite further inquiries and greater use of the forest preserves.
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Update: June 2012