Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie Program brings kids closer to nature

Leah Anderson
Eastern Region, U.S. Forest Service
August 12th, 2013 at 4:15PM

Participants get an up-close look at one of the critters before it’s released. The Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie offers lots of unique educational experiences and opportunities to get involved throughout the year – through public tours, volunteer days and special events.

As part of the “Midewin for Kids” activity series, kids are invited to the prairie for an exploratory hike with a Forest Service environmental education specialist.

Participants learn about some of the most beautiful and misunderstood critters in the natural world. With net in hand, kids can get an up-close and personal glimpse by gently capturing, investigating and releasing butterflies, beetles, spiders and more.

“As you hike nearly 500 acres of restored prairie, don’t forget to take in the beautiful scenery all around you,” said Midewin Environmental Education Specialist Wendy Tresouthick. “Take in the blooming Bee Balm, Pale coneflower, Prairie Blazing Star, Mountain Mint and more – some of which will tower over your head.”

On Aug. 10, kids will learn about hawks during “Hawk Tawk” with Prairie State Nature Programs Raptor Handler Tanja Eaker. Kids will have a chance to meet a red-tailed hawk, feel the bird’s feathers, eggs and talons, and learn about its diet, habitat and importance to the prairie ecosystem.

Lastly, mark your calendars for the 4th Annual “Trick or Treat! Bunker Style” on Oct. 19. With only a lantern to guide your way, you will get to explore Midewin’s trails and bunkers, then warm up by the campfire for some drinks and other treats.