Macon County Conservation District Explore the Outdoors
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Special Programs for Educators & Teachers

Your Place or Ours

Let us bring a program to you with the following special presentations from our Mobile Nature Center. These programs may also be scheduled at Rock Springs Nature Center. Presentations are listed by age appropriateness with youngest first.

Fees

Special Presentations at Rock Springs Nature Center, all groups: $1.00 per student.
In your classroom: Macon County Schools $30.00 per class up to 30 students. $25.00 each additional class that day. Out of County $35.00 per class up to 30 students. $30.00 each additional class that day, plus $.50 per mile round trip. $10.00 surcharge for trips more than 100 miles round trip.

Nature

Discovering Dinosaurs
Children are fascinated by dinosaurs. Children will examine replicas of a dinosaur track, skull, egg, tooth and more. Learn the “dinosaur chant.” Story time is also available for younger children.
Who: P through 2nd grade. Can be adapted for older groups.
Time: 30 min. – 1 hour
SLS: 1BECb, 1CECb, 4AEC, 12AECa & b, 12BEC, 4AKa & b, 12AKa & b, 12CK, 16AKb, 2A, 1a, 1b, 2a, 2b, 12B 1a, 1b, 2a, 2b, 16A, 1a.

Frog Music
Children will meet live amphibians, make a puppet and enjoy an interactive story while learning about frogs and toads.
Who: P through 3rd grade
Time: 1 hour
SLS: 4AEC, 9AEC, 11AECa, 12AECa, 12BEC, 19AECb, 11AKa, 12AKa, 12BK, 12CK, 12A, 1a, 1b, 2a, 12B, 1a 1b, 2a, 2b, 13B, 2e, 2f

The Un-loveables
This presentation focuses on animals that are not “cute” or “cuddly”. In fact, some of us might even say “YUK!”. Students will learn the truth about these misunderstood members of the animal world and the important role they play.
Who: P through 8th grade
Time: 30 min. – 1 hour
SLS: 4AEC, 9AEC, 11AECa, 12AECa, 12BEC, 11AKa, 12AKa, 12BK, 12CK, 12A, 1a,1b, 2a, 12B, 1a,1b, 2a, 2b, 3a, 3b, 4a, 4c, 5a, 16E, 1(w)

Whoo Goes There? Owls
Children will learn about the habits and habitats of native owls. A craft is available for younger students. For the older students, dissection of owl pellets is offered for an extra fee of $2.00/student. Note—no live owls.
Who: P through 12th grade
Time: 45 min. – 1 1/2 hours
SLS: 4AEC, 9AEC, 11AECa, 12AECa, 12BEC, 19AECb, 11AKa, 12AKa, 12BK, 12CK, 12A, 1a, 1b, 2a,
12B, 1a, 1b, 2a, 2b, 3a, 3b, 4a, 4c, 5a

The Buzz About Bees
Students will learn the important role bees play in our life - from making honey to pollinating food crops. The difference between bees and wasps will also be highlighted. Content adapted to the age group. For older groups, information on native bees and honey bee diseases will be included.
Who: P through college
Time: 30 min. – 1 hour
SLS: 1BECb, 1CECb, 4ACE, 5BEC, 5CEC, 6AECb, 11AECa, 12AECa, 12BEC, 12FEC, 13BECa, 31AECb, 5DK, 11AKa, 12BK, 12DKa, 12FK, 12A, 1b, 1a, 12B, 1a, 1b, 2a, 2b, 3a, 3b, 4a, 5a, 5b, 15B, 2a, 2b, 15B, 4b, 16E, 3c(US), 4a(w), 16F, 5b(w)

Reptilian Roundup
Meet a real snake to find out what they are really like. Live turtles and snakes help students learn the true nature and value of these creatures.
May be adapted for various age groups.
Who: P through college
Time: 30 min. – 1 hour
SLS: 4AEC, 9AEC, 11AECa, 12AECa, 12BEC, 11AKa, 12AKa, 12BK, 12CK, 12A, 1a, 1b, 2a, 12B, 1a, 1b, 2a, 2b, 3a, 3b, 4a, 4c, 5a 16E, 1(w)

Forest, Forest, Where is the Forest?
Students participate in a skit to “build” a forest and then observe the effects as pioneers move in and cut the trees to build their community.
Who: K through 6th grade
Time: 30 – 45 min.
SLS: 12AKa & b, 12BK, 14AKb, 16AKb, 17CK, 17DK, 12EKb, 12B, 1a, 1b, 2a, 13B, 1d, 1e, 2d, 2e, 2f, 16E, 1(us), 2a(us), 2c(us), 3c(us), 3b(us)

Going Batty
Focusing on Illinois bats, children learn truth from myth about these fascinating mammals. A variety of activities will entertain and educate the students. Note—no live bats.
Who: K through 12th grade
Time: 30 min. – 1 hour
SLS: 11AKa, 12AKa, 12BK, 12CK, 12A, 1a, 1b, 2a, 12B, 1a, 1b, 2a, 2b, 13B, 2e, 2f

Illinois Mammals
Learn facts about the life histories of common and not so common Illinois mammals through examination of pelts, skulls, tracks and scat. Can be tied to Illinois history during the French fur trading era.
Who: K through 12th grade
Time: 45 min. – 1 hour
SLS: 11AKa, 12AKa, 12BK, 12CK, 12A, 2a, 2b, 3c, 12b, 2a, 2b, 3a, 3b, 4a, 4b, 5a, 5b, 13B, 2e, 2f, 3d, 3e, 16C, 3a, 4a, 16D, 2a, 3a, 3b, 16E, 2a(us), 2c(us), 3a(us), 2a(w), 4b(w), 17C, 2c, 5b

Symbols of Our State
A quick look at Illinois’ natural history through symbols which were chosen by school children to represent our state. Includes the state tree, bird, wildflower,mammal, insect, prairie grass, fish, amphibian, reptile, fossil and mineral.
Who: 1st through 6th grade
Time: 45 min. – 1 hour
SLS: 12A, 1a, 1b, 2a, 12B, 1a, 1b, 2a, 2b, 3a, 3b, 16E, 1(us), 2a(us), 3b, 3c

Let's Rock
Learn the basics of rocks and minerals and their uses in our everyday life. Program also includes a look at fossils.
Who: 2nd through 12th grade
Time: 1 hour
SLS: 12E, 1a, 2a, 2b

A Trip Through Time - Geology of Illinois
Students will take an imaginary trip through time to explore the geologic history of Illinois. We will discover warm tropical seas, dark muddy swamps with giant insects and the ice age.
Who: 3rd through 12th grade
Time: 45 min. – 1 hour
SLS: 12E, 2a, 2b, 3a, 3b, 4a, 4b, 5

Wild and Wonderful Wolves
Are Little Red Riding Hood and The Three Little Pigs really presenting an accurate story? Learn about the history of wolves and how people view these animals today.
Who: 3rd through 12th grade
Time: 45 min. – 1 hour
SLS: 12A, 2a, 2b, 12B, 2a, 2b, 3a, 3b, 4a, 5a, 5b, 13B, 2e, 2f, 3d, 3e, 17C, 2a, 5a, 5b, 18A, 2, 3, 4

Exploring the Universe
A slide presentation takes participants on a tour of the universe. Greek and Native American legends add to the program. Can be combined with stargazing to provide a highlight to this program. Projects or crafts are available.
Who: 3rd through college
Time: 1 – 1.5 hours
SLS: 12F, 1a, 1b, 2a, 2b, 2c, 3b, 3c, 4a, 4b, 5a, 13A, 4c, 13B, 2b, 3b, 3c

 

History

A Visit to Homestead Prairie Farm
Hike through woods and prairies, experience life at an 1860s living history farm — emphasizes change in local environment and lifestyle. Limited to 30 students. Read more about the Homestead Prairie Farm.
Time: 2 hours
Non-school youth groups and Out of County Schools $2.00 per student
SLS: 12B, 2a, 2b 15A, 2b, 15B, 2a, 16B, 2d(us), 16C, 2b(us), 2c(us), 16D, 2a(us), 2b(us), 2c(us), 3b(us), 16D, 2(w), 17A, 2a, 2b, 17B, 2a, 2b, 17C, 2a, 2b, 2c, 7D, 2b,18C, 2a

Meet the Trobaughs
Learn about life in the past from stories of the Trobaugh children. Tour the 1860s house they lived in. Limited to 30 students.
Who: K through 3rd grade
Time: 1 hour
SLS: 4AKa & b, 5BK, 14AKb, 15BK, 16AKb, 17CK, 17DK, 19AKa & d, 16A, 1a, 1b, 16C, 1b(us), 16C, 1a(w), 1b(w), 16E, 1(us), 17D, 1

Bethel School Days
A turn-of-the-century, one-room school experience at Bethel Schoolhouse. Adapted to the appropriate learning level for your group.
Who: K through 8th grade
Where: Friends Creek Conservation Area, Argenta, IL
Time: 1 hour
SLS: 6AKa&b, 14Kb, 16AKb, 14Kb, 16Akb, 17DK, 19AKa & d, 21BK, 16A, 1a, 1b, 1c, 16B, 1a(us), 1b(us), 16C, 1a(w), 16D, 2b(us), 3a(us), 3b(us), 16E, 2b(us), 3b(us)

Holidays on the Prairie
Students will learn about Christmas of the past at the Homestead Prairie Farm and early Christmas traditions in this hands-on program.
Who: 1st and 2nd grade
When: Late Nov. through early Dec.
Time: 1 hour
Fee: Macon County Schools $1.50 per student, Out of County Schools $2.00 per student
SLS: 16a, 1a, 1b, 1c, 16B, 1(w), 16C, 1b(us), 16D, 1(w), 16E, 1(us), 17C, 1a, 17D, 1

Homestead Prairie Farm Tour
Living history tour of an 1860s farmhouse and dooryard.
Who: 3rd grade through college
Time: 30 min. – 1 hour
SLS: 15A, 2b, 15B, 2b, 15C, 21, 2b, 16A, 3c,16B, 4(us), 5b(us), 16C, 2b, 2c, 3b, 4a(us), 4b(us), 5b(us), 16D, 2a, 2b, 3a, 3b, 5(us), 16E, 2a(us), 2b(us), 2c(us), 3b(us), 3c(us), 4b(us), 5a(w), 17B, 2a, 2b, 3b, 17C, 2a, 2b, 2c, 3a, 3c, 4a, 4b, 4c, 17D, 2b, 3a, 3b, 4, 18C, 2

Native American Sky Legends
The first people in North America had many legends about the beginning of their world. Students will enjoy this interactive storytelling session as they learn about American Indian traditions and the night sky.
Who: P through 5th grade
Time: 30 min. – 45 min.
SLS: 4AEC, 12AECb, 12FEC, 18AEC, 2EKa, 4AKa & b, 12FK, 16AKb, 17CK, 12F, 1b, 2c, 16A, 1a, 1c, 16E, 1(W), 2a(W), 4a(W), 18A, 2.

One Room School
What was school like in the 19th century? Learn about one-room schools, teachers’ duties, lessons, and student life with this interactive presentation.
Who: K through 5th grade
Time: 45 min. – 1 hour
SLS: 6AKa & b, 14AKb, 16AKb, 17DK, 16A, 1a, 1b, 1c, 16B, 1a(us), 1b(us), 16C, 1a(w), 4b(us), 16D, 2b(us), 2(w), 3a(us), 3b(us) 16E, 2b(us), 3b(us)

Playtimes Past
What kinds of toys did children have in the 1800s and what games did they play? Children will discover the fun of old fashioned pastimes during this interactive presentation.
Who: K through 5th grade
Time: 45 min. – 1 hour
SLS: 14Kb, 16AKb, 9AKa & d, 16A, 1a, 1b, 1c, 16D, 2(w), 3b(us), 18A, 1, 2, 3, 19A, 1, 2, 3, 19 B1, 2, 3, 19C, 1, 2, 3

Native American Life-Ways
What was life like for the Native Americans who inhabited Illinois? What natural resources were available and how did they use them? Take a trip back to a different time and culture.
Who: K through 12th grade
Time: 45 min. – 1 hour
SLS: 15BK, 16AKb, 17CK, 17DK, 12B, 1a, 1b, 2a, 2b, 15D, 1b, 2a, 15E, 4b, 16A, 1a, 1b, 1c, 16C, 1a(US), 1a(W), 1b(W), 3a(US), 3b(W), 3c(W), 4a(US), 4b(US), 16D, 2a(US), 2(W), 3(W), 4(W), 16E, 1(US)

Quilts Through The Years
Children learn the history of quilts and their importance in daily life through sample quilts and the stories they tell. Hands-on materials available for small groups. Can be adapted to other grade levels.
Who: 3rd through 6th grade
Time: 45 in. – 1 hour
SLS: 16D, 2b, 16D, 2(w), 18A, 2, 3

The Traveler's Trunk
What was it like to be a traveler in the old days of stage coaches and steam trains? Learn how to pack light and make do.
Who: 3rd through 12th grade
Time: 45 min. – 1 hour
SLS: 16A, 1a, 1b, 1c, 16B, 1a(us), 1b(us), 16C, 1a(w), 4b(us), 16D, 2b(us), 2(w), 3a(us), 3b(us), 16E, 2b(us), 3b(us)

Trappers and Traders
Who were the first Europeans to explore and exploit Central Illinois? What were they looking for and how did they interact with the people already living here?
Who: 3rd through 12th grade
Time: 1 hour
SLS: 12A, 2a, 3c, 12B, 2a, 2b, 3a, 3b, 4a, 4b, 5a, 5b, 16B, 2d(us), 2a(w), 16C, 3a(us), 3b(w), 4a(us), 4b(us) 16D, 2a(us), 3a(us), 4(w), 16E, 2a(w), 4a(w)

Governor Oglesby Mansion
The Governor Oglesby Mansion offers special presentations for fifth grade classes in early May. This program includes information about the life of Governor Oglesby, his relationship with Abraham Lincoln and Ulysses S. Grant, and historic Decatur, as well as a tour of the mansion. Special group tours can be arranged. The Mansion is open for public tours the last Sunday afternoon of each month from March through November. To make arrangements for a tour or special presentation call 217-429-9422. The Governor Oglesby Mansion, located at 421 W. William St. in Decatur, is owned by the Macon County Conservation District and operated by Governor Oglesby Mansion, Inc.

 


Our Educational Guide is available to all teachers. If your school hasn't received one or you would like extra copies, give us a call at 217-423-7708.
Information for Educators

- General Information & Reservations
- Tips for a "Greener" Field Trip
- Awareness Hikes
- Nature Programs
- Special Presentations
- Mobile Nature Center
- Muesum in a Box
- Illinois Department of Natural Resources’ Lending Trunks
- Grants and Workshops
- Shilling Library at Rock Springs

Visit Our Conservation Areas

Rock Springs Conservation Area
Friends Creek Conservation Area
Sand Creek Conservation Area
Griswold Conservation Area
Fort Daniel Conservation Area

 

The Macon County Conservation District invites you to visit the many natural areas in Macon County, Illinois, including Rock Springs Nature Center, which offers nature programs, special activities, nature hikes, summer camps, music programs, conference rooms for all ages throughout the year in Decatur, Illinois.
Macon County Conservation District
3939 Nearing Lane
Decatur, IL 62521
(217) 423-7708
mccd@maconcountyconservation.com

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Click for Printable Educator's Guide