Virtual programs

Virtual programs are available to assist you in your teaching. These programs are STEM strong and aligned with Common Core and Next Generation Science Standards. If you have questions pertaining to these standards as they relate to school programs, please contact Four Rivers Environmental Education Center, Isle a la Cache Museum or Plum Creek Nature Center. All programs are presented by our team of professional and knowledgeable naturalists. 

Requests are time stamped and queued in the order they are received. Please note that submission of a request form does not guarantee a reservation. Request forms are processed in a first-come, first-served order.

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Animal Adaptation Challenge

Grades: 2-5  
Time: 30 minutes
Wild animals have adaptations that allow them to live and survive. Students cheer on an interpretive naturalist as they test themselves against local wildlife’s survival skills. It’s human vs. wildlife at each obstacle along the Animal Habitat Challenge Trail. Who will win the battle of survival?    

Animal Observations

Grades: 3-5 
Time: 45 minutes
Students are introduced to the many signs local animals leave behind and the stories they tell. Students learn the importance of observation and how humans benefit from studying animals, including some cool inventions. Your students' observation skills are put to the test as they find as many signs of animals as possible! Students chat live to discuss their findings and what they learned about different animals.

Ask a Naturalist

Grades: 1-12
Time: 30 minutes
Are your students studying a fun and unique topic related to local culture, Will County history or nature? Need an expert to answer questions? This student-driven informal Q&A is your invitation to get the lowdown. Book 30 minutes with one of the Forest Preserve District of Will County’s interpretive naturalists and ask away. This format is not designed to satisfy any Illinois learning standards. 

Cold-blooded Encounters

Grades: 2-12 
Time: 45 minutes
Let’s become herpetologists! Your students get to meet the reptile residents who call Plum Creek Nature Center home. Students learn the differences between reptiles and amphibians and how our resident reptiles compare to native reptiles and amphibians living in our ponds, forests and prairies. 

Crazy Weather We’re Having

Grades: 6-8  
Time: 45 minutes
Discover how extreme weather and our changing climate are intrinsically connected. Explore the causes of climate change and its impact on life on Earth. This program helps break down the complexities of climate change to help students confidently and positively affect the world around them. After discussing how humans are driving climate change, students are tasked to research a cause of climate impact and model a resolution for Earth’s future.  

Diving Deep Into Wetlands

Grades: 2-12 
Time: 45 minutes
Come discover wetlands from your classroom or homes. This program teaches students about how little fresh water we have on Earth, the importance of wetland habitats, pond biodiversity and the unique adaptations belonging to wetland critters. Students join an interpretive naturalist in scooping below the water’s surface. You never know what we will catch! 

Endangered Species Spotlight: Turtles  

Grades: 3-8 
Time: 45 minutes
Students learn about a local endangered species, the Blanding’s turtle, by meeting one of Isle a la Cache Museum’s animal ambassadors. Learn what special adaptations help these semiaquatic turtles survive and find out how a species can become endangered. Students also learn what they can do to help local endangered species. Your students will love the behind-the-scenes peek at how we care for the turtles.  

Flex Your Mussels

Grades: 6-8
Time: 45 minutes
Meet your local mussels and explore the role they play in our rivers. Discover the secrets of their underwater world and how important they are to the health of our watershed. This program focuses on river ecology and mussels as an indicator of clean waterways. Students will get to flex their own “mussels” exploring filter feeding and experimenting with different water filters. When we come back together, students will discuss their results and how to become an ambassador for the mighty mussel.

Habitat Explorers

Grades: 2-12 
Time: 45 minutes
Take a virtual hike to the habitats of Goodenow Grove Nature Preserve. Through observation, become aware of habitat similarities and differences and how each habitat meets its inhabitants' basic survival needs. Possible habitats on the hike include wetland, prairie and forest.  

Pollination Exploration

Grades: 2-12 
Time: 45 minutes
Why do flowers get so many visitors? What is pollination and what good is it? Let’s find the answers by exploring native flowers and critters! Together your class will discover the secrets that flowers and pollinators hold. 

Quest for the Mississippi

Grades: 3-6 
Time: 45 minutes
Students learn about the travels of Father Jacques Marquette and Louis Jolliet down the “mighty Mississippi” River. An interpretive naturalist facilitates a “choose-your-adventure” activity where students use critical-thinking skills to determine the best course of action when faced with the same hardships and successes of Marquette and Jolliet during their 2,500-mile voyage in 1673. 

Rippling Rivers

Grades: 3-5  
Time: 45 minutes 
Travel through the rivers of Will County! Students create a simple watershed model and illustrate human impacts on our rivers. Uncover the diverse species that make up the river community. Students are challenged to independently investigate how a specific species serves river habitats, and they students share their research and reveal connections between all members of the river community. 

Stop the Invaders

Grades: 9-12 
Time: 45 minutes
Invasive species threaten biodiversity in our local ecosystems. Be it microscopic viruses, shrubs or mammals, let’s tackle the important questions. How did they arrive here? What is their impact? Most importantly, what can be done to combat them? After highlighting a variety of species, students research a local invasive species and discuss possible solutions to managing it.

Trader Training

Grades: 3-6 
Time: 45 minutes
Enroll your students for an online training experience to become 18th-century fur traders who encounter two residents of 1750s Illinois Country (in first-person character!). Students receive training and practice the barter system used by the French and Native Potawatomi to exchange furs and goods. By participating in a trade, students learn about the benefits of this economic process. 

Trouble in the Water

Grades: 4-8  
Time: 45 minutes
Dive into our most important resource — water!  This STEAM-heavy program introduces students to their local watershed while empowering them to think globally and create change. Students are introduced to water issues, including water consumption, quality, scarcity, water waste in agriculture and plastics. As an independent activity, students model a solution to a local water issue.  

Here to help

Contact any of the District’s education facilities with questions or for assistance.

Four Rivers Environmental Education Center, Channahon
815-722-9470

Isle a la Cache Museum, Romeoville
815-886-1467

Plum Creek Nature Center, Crete Township near Beecher
708-946-2216