Deliver Benefits to the Public

New “Midewin for Kids” virtual education program provides at-home learning

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Siobhan Solkowski-Peacy (left), a visitor information specialist at Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie, and Julie McDonald, park ranger for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, use ropes to demonstrate the depth of prairie plant roots. Solkowski-Peacy will deliver virtual conservation education sessions for children, on this topic and many others, throughout the summer. Photo courtesy of Canal Corridor Association.

ILLINOIS – This summer, kids can learn about the outdoors from their own homes. The USDA Forest Service’s Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie will provide virtual 15- to 20-minute informational sessions tailored especially to children. Offered from June 9 to August 6, each of these sessions will feature a different topic on natural resources or conservation.

All sessions begin at 11 a.m. To register, contact Midewin at or (815) 423-6370 and provide your name and email address. A representative will respond with connection information. See the full list of topics and dates below.

Fun with Fossils, Tuesday, June 9, and Thursday, July 30. Learn about fossils in a fun and interactive way. Discover how they were formed and where you might find some! Recommended for ages 5-12.

The Bison Project, Wednesday, June 10. Learn about bison! Recommended for ages 6-12.

Croakin’ Around—Toad or Frog? Thursday, June 11. What’s that sound? This “Leap” Year, learn something new about frogs and toads! Recommended for ages 5-12.

Bird’s the Word, Tuesday, June 16, and Thursday, July 23. Learn about the different birds at Midewin. Find out where to go to look for birds. Recommended for ages 6-10.

Prairie Roots, Wednesday, June 17. How do prairie plants survive fire, drought and freezing temperatures? They have special roots! Learn what makes their roots so special.  Recommended for ages 4-8.

Prairie Detectives, Thursday, June 18; Wednesday, July 8; and Thursday, August 6. Use your detective skills to find out what animals live on the prairie. Recommended for ages 4-8.

Prairie Stories Chalk Art, Tuesday, June 23. Listen to fun tales about prairie animals and show us photos of your latest chalk art. Recommended for ages 5-10.

Just Batty, Wednesday, June 24, and Wednesday, August 5. Learn all about bats and decorate a bat house.

Crayfish Corner, Thursday, June 25. What are crayfish? Learn all about these little crustaceans. Where do they like to live? Discover if they live near you.

Prairie Picassos, Tuesday, June 30. Calling all budding artists! Turn the beauty of the tallgrass prairie into art! Recommended for ages 6-12.

Pond Life, Wednesday, July 1. Uncover an amazing underwater world. Learn about the insects, amphibians and mammals that call the pond their home. Recommended for ages 6-12.

Beaver Tales, Thursday, July 2. Discover cool facts about these water mammals. Learn about their unique tails, too!

Dragonflies a.k.a. Mosquito Hawks, Tuesday, July 7. Learn about these flying aces (also known as “master mosquito hunters”)! Recommended for ages 6-12.

Buzzing about the Prairie, Thursday, July 9. Learn about the insects that pollinate the prairie. Recommended for ages 4-12.

The Skinny on Mammals, Tuesday, July 14, and Wednesday, July 29. Illinois is home to more than 60 different mammals. Learn about the characteristics of mammals and how they differ from other animal groups. Recommended for ages 5-12.

Coyote Call, Wednesday, July 15. These canines live all around us, and they howl at the moon! Learn all about them.

The Life of a Butterfly, Thursday, July 16. Discover the life cycle of butterflies. Learn about habitats, butterfly nectar plants and host plants. Recommended for ages 5-12.

The Prairie Trees, Tuesday, July 21. Bur oak trees are unique to the prairie and can survive fire. Their acorns wear festive “hats.” Learn how to identify a bur oak by its leaves and acorns and how to reveal the age of a tree. Recommended for ages 6-12.

Moth Quest, Wednesday, July 22. Learn about amazing moths!
Prairie Stories Chalk Art, Tuesday, July 28. Listen to fun tales about prairie animals and show us photos of your chalk art. Recommended for ages 5-10.

Walk Like an Animal, Tuesday, August 4. Learn how to identify animal houses, fur, scat and tracks to discover what animal was there. Use their clues to solve the puzzle! Recommended for ages 6-12.