Environmental Education Program


Educational programs at the Watershed Nature Center offer engaging, nature-based experiences that invite students to gain awareness and appreciation for the environment.  Programs are designed to address Common Core and Illinois State Learning Standards, emphasizing activities that correlate with The Next Generation Science Standards.  Students participate in “learning by doing” experiences that connect science, technology, society and nature.


Units and Sections

Unit: Early Childhood Education - Second Grade

Take Another Look: Students experiment with using their five senses to take a different look at nature. 

This is for the Birds: Students learn about birds in the winter and use natural and recycled materials to make bird feeders and binoculars. 


Unit: Kindergarten - Second Grade


Animal Homes: Students learn that animals have specific habitat requirements that fulfill their needs for food, water, shelter, and space.

Should I Stay or Should I go?: Students learn about winter survival strategies of wildlife found at the Watershed Nature Center. 

Soil - Can You Dig It?: Students will learn that soil is composed of many things, including living organisms, 

Touching Trees: Students will explore their sense of touch and discover why touch is important to animals. Students will also explore how trees touch our emotions. 

Go, Seed, Go: Students learn about how seeds move from one place to another using socks and gloves to demonstrate seed dispersal. 

Beaks, Feet, and Eats: Students take a closer look at some adaptations that make birds uniquely suited to their habitat. 


Unit: Third - Fifth Grade


Wetland Water Works: Students learn about wetlands through the use of metaphors and hands-on experiments. 

In Cycles We Trust: Students discover the importance of cycles in nature as they study the life cycles of trees. 

The Giving Tree: Students learn how all parts of a tree are used to make the products we use every day.

Birds of A Feather: Students will examine how the structure and function of a bird's feathers support their survival. 


Unit: Fifth and Sixth Grade


Aquatic Energy Pyramid: Students learn about food chains, energy pyramids, and the influence of nonliving elements in a wetland.

Fall Wetlands: Students learn about the seasonal changes in the life of a pond and observe some of the plants and animals that are an important part of the wetland ecosystem. 


We are committed to providing excellent environmental education for all children to help them understand the natural world and their place as environmental stewards. The Center has accessible trails and age-appropriate curriculum that can be adapted for all student needs. Additionally, we have diverse internship opportunities for high school and college students. Professors can call or e-mail us to discus service learning, research partnerships, and other collaboration opportunities. 

Scheduling will open soon for the 2018-19 school year - with preference to teachers who have reached out to us during the past year as we were redeveloping our curriculum. Teachers will be contacted via email to reserve available dates with their selection of topic. Trips will include background information, learning standards, and a take home component.