The Forest Preserve District of Will County offers hands-on learning incorporating science, social studies, history, art, math and language arts.
The Forest Preserve District is now accepting requests for the 2023-2024 school year. Virtual programs, in-school programs and field trips are available September 4, 2023 through June 7, 2024. Schools, summer camps and other groups interested in summer programing should contact the following facilities:
- Four Rivers Environmental Education Center: 815-722-9470
- Isle a la Cache Museum: 815-722-9301
- Plum Creek Nature Center: 815-946-2216
Requests are approved dependent of staff availability.
A field trip day is typically four hours, unless other arrangements have been made. The duration consists of the length of one to two programs, site introduction, lunch, bathroom time and a program wrap-up. Use of Forest Preserve District picnic facilities is included as part of your program permit.
Programs take place outside, rain or shine. Field trips require walking on uneven terrain such as gravel, unpaved trails and grass.
Field trip programs are free for Will County schools. A fee of $2 per student applies to out-of-county schools. Payment is due 10 working days from the issuance of the program permit packet unless other arrangements are made.
Chaperones play an active role in programs. A ratio of one chaperone to 10 students applies for field trip programs. Chaperones are free of charge.
The Forest Preserve District offers field trip support with bus reimbursements. Funding is available to Will County schools in districts with ‘Schoolwide Title 1’ designation. The goal is to reduce or remove the barrier of transportation costs to attend education field trips to Four Rivers Environmental Education Center, Isle a la Cache Museum, or Plum Creek Nature Center. Funding is provided by Pembina to The Nature Foundation of Will County. Scholarship funding will be awarded as long as funding remains available. Contact any of the three field trip facilities or email [email protected] for information.
Programs can be brought to Will County classrooms. They are designed for 10 to 35 students. As many as three classrooms may receive programs per day. In-school programs are $40 for the first program per day and $10 for the second and third programs held on the same day.
Payment is due 10 working days from the issuance of the program permit packet unless other arrangements are made.
Virtual programs are offered to Will County schools free of charge.
Available programs include themes on a variety of teaching topics and satisfy Illinois learning standards. A Zoom link is emailed to teachers upon booking.
Home school groups
Organized home school groups of age-appropriate students may register for field trip and in-school programs. In-school programs may be presented in public buildings. They may not be presented in private residences. Visit the field trip and in-school program pages to see what's available.
Youth group programs focus on nature, environmental education, cultural history and recreation and are offered at a number of locations.
Teaching students with special needs
Forest Preserve education programs and resources are a great fit with special needs classes. Non-traditional learning environments and hands-on engagement are proven methodologies to connect with alternative learning students. Additionally, the District offers sites and accommodations for all audiences. Experienced educators are trained and eager to teach audiences of all abilities. Contact Four Rivers Environmental Education Center, Isle a la Cache Museum or Plum Creek Nature Center to explore opportunities for your special education students.
Resource loan kits
Topic-themed kits are available for teachers and home school parents. These kits are provided by the Forest Preserve District and the Illinois Department of Natural Resources:
- Field trip packs
- Illinois insects and spiders
- Illinois' invasive species
- Illinois pollinators
- Illinois prairies
- Illinois' state symbols
- Illinois tree trunk
- Mammals of Will County
- Pioneer life
- Urban ecology
- Water and wetlands
These resource loan kits are a collection of educational materials that help students explore. Kits are available for a two-week loan period without rental fees.
However, lost, broken or missing items will be paid for by the rentee. To reserve kits and arrange for pickup and drop-off at the Isle a la Cache Museum, call 815-722-9301.
Check out our Willy's Wilderness website for nature-themed learning and engaging activities.
Here to help
Contact any of the District’s education facilities with questions or for assistance.
Four Rivers Environmental Education Center, Channahon
Isle a la Cache Museum, Romeoville
Plum Creek Nature Center, Crete Township near Beecher