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Contents tagged with public programs

  • Person Behind the Program: Andy O!

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    Tags: public programs, children and family programs

    Created: 2/6/2014      Updated: 8/9/2016

    Hi there! My name is Andy O and I’d like to take a little time to tell you about my upcoming interactive story time, “Stories and more with Andy!” at the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum on Monday, February 17 at 11 a.m. This program offers a chance for children and families to tell and act out different nature stories for a fun, educational, but most of all, REALLY GOOFY time!

    Andy posing with a butterfly in the Haven

    So, what makes me the expert for a really goofy time? Well, for four years I taught a Star Wars and Harry Potter “Hogwarts” themed camp. My work involved encouraging children to use their imagination. We were able to harness the essence of our favorite animals in our “Transfiguration” class and study evidence left by dragons during “Care of Magical Creatures.” In Star Wars Camp, children spent a week learning intergalactic life lessons in our “Jedi Training Academy.” They were able to direct, write and star in their own Star Wars movie!

    I’ve never felt happier than watching the kids watch their own movies, patting their friends on the back, laughing and and being proud of their own work. Positive experiences like these are rewarding for children’s self-esteem and overall emotional growth.

    Andy posing with polar bear mount

    Although we will not be at Hogwarts or riding the Millennium Falcon, the Nature Museum offers a stimulating and interactive environment for children to explore. Who wouldn’t want to enter a beaver’s den or slide on down from a tree house? The easiest path to opening up and learning is through new experiences that are fun and educational. This is what will be going down at the Nature Museum on Monday, February 17 at 11 a.m. It’s science. I’ve watched the Ted Talk. Come prepared to help me tell stories, interact and have some laughs!

    Andy O      

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  • Oh What Fun it is

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    Tags: winter, warm-up, winter activities, family activities, family, public programs, chicago winter

    Created: 12/16/2013      Updated: 8/9/2016

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    Winter is in the air and I couldn’t be happier! I have lived in Chicago my whole life and have learned to embrace this chilly season a long time ago. What’s there not to like? Buildings are lit up for the holidays. Sledding hills and ice skating rinks are open. Everyone looks cozy- bundled up in coats, boots and hats. We drink delicious hot chocolate. What is a prettier sight than a bright red cardinal perched on a snow covered tree? The list is endless.

    Cardinal in snow-covered pine tree

    It is also a season of bustling activity. If you are like me, you spend extra time with your family and friends.I’m always looking for new winter experiences. Here at the Nature Museum we have a great line-up of seasonal activities for all ages.

    Bison sculpture with holiday wreath

    You can complete your gift list at Green Gifting December 21st and 22nd with make and take projects like jar terrariums, natural lip balms and handmade snow globes. Live animal shows like Flying Fox on December 21st and Natures Creatures on December 26th are a great way to escape the cold. We even can help you decide on a New Year’s resolution at our Habitat Conservation Fair where you can meet representatives from area conservation organizations and discover opportunities to become involved.

    Chicago skyline

    I hope that the museum can become part of your seasonal traditions. Enjoy this beautiful city with all the wonder and excitement that winter brings. I have to go now- there’s an ice rink somewhere calling my name!

    Laura Saletta
    Public programs educator

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  • Person Behind the Program: Lily Emerson!

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    Tags: public programs, holiday, tras to treasure, family programs, family, nature, chicago, lincoln park

    Created: 12/10/2013      Updated: 8/9/2016

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    Lily Emerson has been singing, dancing, and leading programs at the Nature Museum since 2009. You can meet Lily this month during the Nature Museum's Trash to Treasure: Sounds of the Season, Thursday, December 26- Saturday, December 28, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

    Lily Emerson

    We decided to ask Lily a few questions so that you can get to know the person behind the program!

    How long have you been working with the Nature Museum? What kinds of programs have you done?

    I've been working at the Nature Museum as a music and movement artist in residence since 2009. It was supposed to be just for the summer of that year, but I loved it so much I asked the education department to keep me on for the next year. And the next. And so on. Now, I create music and movement classes for the summer camp sessions, teach Brilliant Butterflies workshops for schools that come to the museum on field trips, and make puppets and other fun things with folks who come in during each year's Trash to Treasure event. It's a pretty wonderful gig as a freelance teaching artist: I get to combine my love of arts education with my love of nature and environmental education, which quite possibly makes me one of the happiest art-and-nature nerds in the city. 

    We hear that you’re a very busy person! Tell us about the different projects you’re currently working on.

    In addition to my work at the Nature Museum, I'm also a teaching artist with Lookingglass Education and one of the many creatives who work at The Hideout, one of Chicago's most interesting venues, but I spend most of my time working on Adventure Sandwich, a live-action cartoon about imagination, collaboration, creative problem-solving... and cardboard. It's a kids' TV show made without any CGI or green screen. Instead, we build all of our sets, props, and "special effects" out of cardboard and other everyday materials. I could go on and on about Adventure Sandwich, because it's the project I love most of anything I've ever created, but I'll spare you my ramblings and point you instead to the videos and so on at adventuresandwich.org

    What do you have planned for this year’s Trash to Treasure?

    This year, we'll be making puppets, shakers, thank you cards, and more out of gift bags, wrapping paper, wrapping paper tubes, and other odds and ends. Whenever possible, we'll also be creating original stories and acting them out with the puppets we'll be making, which will be a hoot. I have one of my favorite collaborators and fellow music and movement artists, Tara Smith, working with me this year, and I can't wait! 

    Tell us about your favorite animal at the Nature Museum.

    I love the button quails who live in the butterfly haven. They're the most adorable flightless birds I've ever had the pleasure to meet. You don't notice them right away, and can miss them entirely if you're not looking down between the bushes, but if you can pull your gaze away from the butterflies for a moment, you're likely to be charmed by those cute little waddlers, too. 

    Thanks, Lily!

    Heather Grance
    Manager of Public Programs

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  • Green Cleaning 101

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    Tags: public programs, green cleaning, natural ingredients

    Created: 9/5/2013      Updated: 2/16/2017

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    Wondering how to green-up your clean-up? Join us on Wednesday, September 11th from 6-7pm for Green Cleaning 101! In this one hour workshop, you’ll learn the basics of green cleaning for your home and make a starter kit so that you can get cleaning right away- no excuses!

    Conventional cleaners
    Conventional Cleaners

    Green Cleaning 101 has been held at the Nature Museum since 2010. Over the past three years, many people have taken the class, including some of our Nature Museum volunteers. Walt Mellens has been a Nature Museum volunteer for three and a half years, and took the class with his wife. Here’s what Walt has to say about his experience with the class:

    “We took the Green Cleaning 101 Class at the Museum and what a difference it made! Previously we were purchasing 'green' cleaning products at a premium price, and unhappy with the efficacy of them.  Now we make our own cleaning products for pennies, and we are constantly impressed with the results!  We have a clean home, a green home, and no chemicals in the air we breathe! Thank you!”

    Green cleaning ingredients (lemons, vinegar, baking soda etc.)

    Green Cleaning 101 ingredients

    Ready to get started? The class is only $10/members, $15/non-members and includes all materials, even a bucket to lug everything home! Register online at naturemuseum.org (click the date on the online calendar for the registration link) or call 773-755-5122.

    We hope that you can join us!

    Heather Grance
    Manager of Public Programs

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  • Woo, hoo, hoo: Hooray for Quails!

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    Tags: butterfly haven, button quail, public programs

    Created: 8/6/2013      Updated: 8/9/2016

    A few years ago, before I was employed in the Public Programs department, I was a volunteer here at the Nature Museum. I remember my orientation day with a group of five other new volunteers. We were introduced to various staff members and given a tour of the Museum. When the group was led to the Butterfly Haven, someone asked, “Will we see the Button Quails?”, and I thought to myself, “What is a button quail?” We went inside and I soon laid eyes on the adorable little birds. They looked and walked like little chickens and they vocalized with a hearty “Woo, hoo, hoo”. I was smitten! I wanted to know everything about them, especially- why are there Button Quails in Butterfly Haven?

    Female Button Quail (light brown plumage)

    Button Quails are small birds- about 5” in size. The males are usually dark grey with a white bib under their chin; females are usually light brown with black ticking. They are ground dwellers that can fly slightly – they take off and fly in a straight line for a very short distance- so they are not a threat to the butterfly population. They do eat small insects, such as aphids, making them quite the help for our plant life. The last two points would answer my original question in short, but over the years, I have found more value to those little creatures than I ever would have thought.

    Male Button Quail (Blue and brown plumage)

    First, let’s think about the fact that the Button Quails are at the eye level of many of our visitors. Running around the plant beds, the little birds are often the first thing that our young visitors spot in Butterfly Haven. Many interpretive opportunities have arisen as a result. Discussions about eggs, social species of animals and life cycle are all regular parts of public programming days when we are around the quails. We have written a few programs centered around our feathered friends such as “Bird Talk”, “Father of the Year”, and “Who’s Hiding in the Haven” to name a few. The Button Quails are a great resource for public programs.

    Tiny, striped button quail chick

    The next time you are visiting Butterfly Haven, keep an eye out for our covey of Button Quails. I hope they delight you, as much as they have me.

    Laura Saletta
    Public Programs Educator

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  • It's Time to get your Bug on!

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    Tags: bugapalooza, insects, public programs, Biology, apiary, bees, Ants, butterflies, entomology

    Created: 7/22/2013      Updated: 8/9/2016

    It’s Time to Get Your Bug On!

    Summer has finally arrived in Chicago with it the endless array of festivals. Not to be outdone, the Nature Museum will once again be celebrating all things invertebrate with its fifth annual Bugapalooza event. So if boiling your brains out with music in Grant Park with several thousand others is not your idea of a fun time (or even if it is, you can do both) why not head over to the museum on August 2nd and delve into the delights of entomology?

    Wasp on flower

    We will have a great selection of bugs on display in our highly popular Bug Zoo with experts on hand to give you all the fascinating facts about these often overlooked creatures. You'll get the chance to learn about bug diets when we do our Bug Feeding Program and we'll also be doing Bug Walks on the museum grounds to show you the vast array of species that call our prairie landscape home.

    Moth

    Along with Bug Crafts, Bug Coloring and Bug Tattoos we will also be throwing down the gauntlet to see how adventurous you are feeling by offering you some tasty dishes to try where the key ingredient is, you guessed it, BUGS!!

    Scorpion

    Our collections staff will be on hand demonstrating the delicate art of insect pinning and we will have our neighborhood apiarist here to explain the skills of bee keeping whilst our younger visitors can learn how bees dance. You will even get the chance to see our Leaf-cutter Ant Colony up close too.

    Katydid

    Of course no celebration of the invertebrate world would be complete without a special ‘after hours’ opportunity to visit our iconic Butterfly Haven and to cap off the evening we will be doing a First Flight Butterfly Release. To register for this great event, simply click on this link.

    Celeste Troon, Director of Living Collections

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  • The Nature of Feeding

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    Tags: food, living collections, Biology, rats, snakes, feedings, public programs

    Created: 7/12/2013      Updated: 8/9/2016

    Food: The Nature of Eating focuses on how human eating habits impact us and the planet. While this exhibit focuses on the human relationship with food, the Public Programs department teaches visitors about the importance of a balanced diet for animals through our daily animal feedings. 

    Two of our most popular feedings are the water snake and rats. The water snake feeding takes place every Thursday at 1 p.m. During this time our water snake feasts on a large bucket of live fish! Our attendees are glued to the glass as they observe the water snake slowly slither to the container of unsuspecting fish. Sorry, fish, but your new home is in the belly of a water snake, not in a bowl at the dentist’s office. This container full of fish keeps the water snake satiated for an enitre week!

    Water Snake

    On Saturdays at 1 p.m. we feed our two beloved rats, Smudge and Sooty. Their meal consists of almost anything. Seriously. They feast on Greek yogurt, local and exotic fruits, veggies, seaweed, dog food, wax worms and, of course, a sweet treat for dessert. We do not intend to gross-out the public when we feed them dog food or worms. We want visitors to realize that rats are scavengers and will eat anything we eat or set out for other animals and more! Rats will thrive anywhere that supplies them with food, water and shelter- that’s why we find them in our neighborhoods.

    Smudge and Sooty the rats

    So, next time you are visiting the Nature Museum, make sure to check the guide to find out which animal will be fed and when. The experience will surely be a treat!

    Glenda Gonzalez
    Public Programs Coordinator

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  • Father of the Year

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    Tags: father's day, button quail, baby animals, birds, public programs

    Created: 6/12/2013      Updated: 8/9/2016

    ‘Father of the Year’ is an annual public program that highlights the best animal dad around the Nature Museum. Every Spring, as new life is booming inside and outside of the museum, we keep our eyes open to observe traits in male animals that contribute to the healthy upbringing of young. Once an exemplary ‘dad’ has emerged, we learn facts about his species and decide if he has what it takes to bestowed this honor. On Sunday, June 16th at 12:00 we will announce the 2013 Father of the Year. Visitors will learn all about the celebrated recipient and what he does to benefit the next generation during the award presentation.

    Male button quail with chick

    Button quail chick

    We started doing this program a few years ago as way of sharing our fondness of the parental instincts of members of our living collection. Visitors are often surprised at how much we might have in common with the rest of the animal world when it comes to ‘bringing up baby’. This program fosters a connection with these notable parents. The 2012 winner of the accolade was the Button Quail- an adorable bird species that resides in the Butterfly Haven. Button Quail males are known to share nesting duties and are be strong protectors of chicks. One day last spring, faint peeping could be heard in the Haven. After a search in between the thick plants, two cute button quail babies were spotted under the wing of one of our males. We knew we had our winner. This year the winner is an equally suitable title holder, but we can’t give it away until the ceremony. Please join us on Father’s Day to learn all about the lauded papa.

    Laura Saletta
    Public Programs Educator

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  • Chicago Botanical Artists

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    Tags: public programs, botanical drawing, art, drawing

    Created: 5/3/2013      Updated: 8/10/2016

    You may already know that the Nature Museum is a regular meeting place for the Chicago Herpetological Society and the Chicago Ornithological Society. Both of these groups focus on animals (reptiles, amphibians and birds, respectively) but as our Horticulturist Seth Harper might say, what about plants? Don’t worry Seth, there is a new group to add to the list- Chicago Botanical Artists.  

    Chicago Botanical Artists is open to all botanical artists, beginners through advanced, who want to sketch together, share works in progress and develop a supportive community that exhibits and educates. The group will sketch native plants in and around the Nature Museum’s gardens, working outdoors when weather permits, or indoors with specimens. Since its inaugural meeting in February, Chicago Botanical Artists has enjoyed steady growth and looks forward to welcoming more new members.

    • Wild Sunflower

      Wild Sunflower

    • Sunflower illustration

      Illustration Courtesy of Derek Norman

    • Common IronweedCommon Ironweed

    The group meets on the second Monday of each month, May-June from 1 to 3 p.m., July-August 3 to 5 p.m. There is no charge to participate. For questions or to RSVP, email adultprograms@naturemuseum.org or call 773-755-5128.

    Heather Grance

    Manager of Public Programs

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  • Out the Door, Let's Explore!

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    Tags: public programs, Biology, outdoor exhibits, summer, spring, nature on tap

    Created: 3/14/2013      Updated: 8/10/2016

    In the Public Programs Department we are eagerly awaiting the warmer spring weather to make use of our biggest exhibit- the outdoors! After a frosty winter, it's a relief to hear Red Winged Blackbirds and see sunning Painted Turtles. Program ideas start flowing!

    While winter presents its own unique programming opportunities, it's hard not to get excited about the signs of spring and summer. Instead of; “The turtles are hibernating”, or “The monarch butterflies are in Mexico,” we can say, “See all of those turtles on that log,” or “How many monarchs can you find in the prairie?” or “Out the door, let’s explore!”.

    • Kids observing North Pond
    • Blanding's hatchling emerging from egg
    • A flower in the prairie

    This spring and summer there will be so much for visitors to discover in our outdoor exhibits. Outdoor nature walks will touch on themes such as "Nature Noises", "Cloud Gazing" and "Ordinary or Extraordinary?". Other programs like Numbers Through Nature, Spanish Through Nature and Polish through Nature will be taking children outside as well. You can even join us this summer for an outdoor film screening of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, to celebrate our new exhibit The Birth of Chocolate, or have a drink outside during our program for adults, Nature on Tap.

    So take off that winter parka and join me outside this spring and summer to discover bugs, listen to birds and to smell the flowers. Doesn’t that sound delightful?

    Laura Saletta
    Public Programs Educator

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