Parents & Teachers

Finding fun and engaging things to do outdoors is easy.  Exploring the natural world can be done almost anywhere, in national forests and state parks to city parks and your own backyard.  Can't venture outdoors? There's many ways of bringing the wonders of nature indoors. The Shawnee National Forest offers everything from classroom programs to guided fieldtrips to engage people of all ages in learning and exploring the natural world.   


School Programs - There are a variety of topics that we offer surrounding natural and cultural resources; everything from wildlife, forestry and habitats to cultural heritage, wilderness and careers with the Forest Service. Please contact one of the coordinators listed below at least 4 to 6 weeks prior to when you'd like to schedule a school program.

Smokey Bear or Woodsy Owl Program - These beloved characters are a great way to bring across the message of outdoor safety, wildfire prevention and environmental ethics. To arrange a Smokey Bear or Woodsy Owl program please contact the Shawnee National Forest or call 618-253-7114 (Headquarters office); 618-658-2111 (Hidden Springs Ranger District); or 618-833-8576 (Mississippi Bluffs Ranger District).

Fieldtrips to Shawnee National Forest- Enhance your groups visit to the Shawnee National Forest with a guided fieldtrip. Please contact one of the coordinators listed below at least 6 weeks ahead of your trip to discuss potential dates and locations that are suitable for group visits. (Guided fieldtrips are contigent upon availability of personnel).

Educational Workshops - The Shawnee National Forest offers several workshops throughout the year for both formal and non-formal educators, volunteers or general public.  For a current list of workshops being offered refer to the Programs & Events section above.

Educational Resource Trunks available for Loan. 


*NEW* Project EduBat - This trunk includes curricula that meet national educational requirements for students in elementary grades through high school.   It includes bat skeletons and skulls, books, videos, brochures and materials to create a bat mural and other fun craft activities.  A Project Edubat trunk is available at the Mississippi Bluffs Ranger District office located at 521 N Main Street, Jonesboro, Illinois.  Contact Linda Hauser at 618-833-8576, Extension 104 or for more information or to reserve a trunk.  The trunk is free and can be checked out for 2 weeks.

Naturalist in the Classroom- or NITC is a combination of classroom programs followed by a fieldtrip to the Shawnee National Forest; all guided by natural resource professionals.  NITC will be offered to 3rd , 4th , and 5th grade students in the fall of 2016, and teachers have the choice of choosing between a few specified program themes (for instance, Forest Ecology and Wetland Ecology).  To learn more about NITC and how it can enhance your classroom curriculum contact Linda Hauser (618) 833-8576 (ext. 104).