Not only do we protect and restore natural open spaces in our community, Chikaming Open Lands is inspiring the next generation of nature enthusiasts and conservationists. We’ve partnered with River Valley Elementary School to launch The Mighty Acorns, an environmental education program targeted to third, fourth and fifth grade classes.
The Mighty Acorns program includes a classroom curriculum and field study trips that are held on one of Chikaming Open Lands’ nature preserves and led by our staff and volunteers. The curriculum was developed by a group of teachers, naturalists and scientists led by the Field Museum in Chicago to reflect the latest scientific and environmental information available, and to align with federal education standards.
So far, we’ve had the kids out to our Robinson Woods and Flynn Woods Preserves twice, in the fall and the winter, and it has been great fun. The children had a blast playing outdoor learning games, turning over logs to investigate frogs, salamanders and bugs, and completing two new trail loops in both preserves (“making the trail!” as the kids called it, seemed to be everyone’s favorite activity). And we’ve been so thrilled to watch the kids get so excited about their local environment, developing what we hope will be a lifelong passion for nature.
After the success we’ve had launching Mighty Acorns with River Valley Elementary, we are pleased to announce that New Buffalo Elementary School will be a part of the program as well starting next school year (2017-2018). We are really excited to meet this new group of teachers and students when the program launches in New Buffalo this fall.