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The Nature Museum Comes to You!

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Created: 3/17/2020      Updated: 7/6/2020

We hope you and your family are safe and healthy at home, but we know how difficult it is to be away from school, friends, and activities. That's why we're happy to provide you with this new email series, dedicated to a day's worth of nature and science facts, activities, guiding questions to ask your kids, and more. Check out the links below for each day's theme and activities, and then subscribe to the newsletter to receive more!

Additionally, follow the Nature Museum on our social media channels for a behind-the-scenes look as we continue taking care of our live animals and butterflies! 

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#NatureMuseum – Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

 

Past Wonder at Home Emails

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Plants and More!

Let's take a look at some of the plants you can find around the Nature Museum and in your own backyard! Read on to learn more.

Originally published March 24, 2020

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All About Lizards!

Although you can't see the lizards in our Dragons Alive! exhibit right now, we can take a closer look at some of them and also discover some of the lizards that call Illinois home!

Originally published March 31, 2020

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You Are A Scientist!

There are a variety of community science projects out there with different commitment levels. We're going to highlight a few that you can get involved in this month!

Originally published April 7, 2020

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Blanding's And Box Turtles!

We know you're missing our turtle-y awesome friends Manny, Charlie, and the rest of our Nature Museum turtles. So, we've dedicated the newsletter to bringing our box turtles and Blanding's turtles to you!

Originally published April 8, 2020

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Meet the Mollusks!

Mollusks are a group of invertebrates with soft bodies that live in aquatic or damp habitats. Read on to learn more about these cool aquatic creatures!

Originally published April 9, 2020

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Scales, Feathers, and More!

Different animals have different types of body coverings to help them survive. Although some animals have more than one type of covering, there are five basic types.

Originally published April 10, 2020

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Super Squirrels!

If you've ever walked through our Nature Trails, you've probably encountered the many squirrels that live on our grounds! Read on to explore these awesome animals!

Originally published April 14, 2020

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Helping Pollinators!

If you love pollinators as much as we do, you’re probably aware of the recent population decline of many pollinator species. We're taking a closer look at the things we can do to help our local pollinators.

Originally published April 21, 2020

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Happy Earth Day!

Today marks the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, and although we can't celebrate it in the way we originally planned, there are lots of ways we can mark this event from home.

Originally published April 22, 2020

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How Can I Conserve Water At Home?

Did you know that Lake Michigan is the largest public drinking water supply in the state of Illinois? Even though the lake is large, it's not an unlimited supply. Let's learn some simple steps we can all take to help conserve water at home!

Originally published April 23, 2020

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All About Hummingbirds!

Although there are more than 300 species of hummingbirds, the only hummingbird we're likely to see in Chicago is the ruby-throated hummingbird. Let's explore this beauty!

Originally published April 28, 2020

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Unexpected Pollinator Pals!

We spend a lot of time talking about how important bees and butterflies are to pollinating plants, but they aren't the only ones who help! In fact, there are a lot of other insects to play a role in pollination, too!

Originally published April 29, 2020

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Sssimply Snakes!

There's ssso much to say about our slithery snake pals, so we're taking a closer look at them in today's newsletter! Keep reading to find out some answers to your common snake questions!

Originally published April 30, 2020

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Celebrating Butterflies!

Today would have marked our 22nd Butterfly Ball, and although we cannot celebrate the way we had originally planned, we are taking this opportunity to focus on some of our history and our premier exhibit–the Judy Istock Butterfly Haven!

Originally published May 1, 2020

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Just Blending In!

Animals have developed all kinds of adaptations to help them survive. Some are poisonous, some have protective shells, and some have coloring that helps them blend into their surroundings. Let's explore some cool camouflaged critters!

Originally published May 4, 2020

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At Home With Mom!

A habitat is the area in which a group of plants and animals live and interact. If an animal is in the right habitat, they'll have access to shelter, food, water, and a place to raise their young! Let's learn more about habitats!

Originally published May 5, 2020

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Baby Animals!

It's amazing how animals change as they grow up! While some are born looking a lot like their parents, others go through a huge transformation. Even wilder, some babies are on their own from the moment they hatch! Let's learn more about some baby animals and their parents.

Originally published May 6, 2020

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Answering Your Questions!

You asked and our scientists answered! In today's newsletter, we're answering some of your most common questions. Have other questions? Be sure to drop us a line and maybe we'll include it in our next Frequently Asked Questions roundup!

Originally published May 7, 2020

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Let's Learn In Spanish!

Although we can't offer our Spanish Through Nature course right now, we can still explore Spanish vocabulary and the natural world! Read on for stories, resources, and more!

Originally published May 8, 2020

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Let's Learn More About Frogs & Toads!

We're taking another look at frogs and toads! Keep reading for stories, Critter Connections, and more. Don't forget you can also pair these activities with our first frog and toad email, and with our frog-themed Story Time.

Originally published May 11, 2020

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Spiders Don't Have To Be Scary!

Today, we're taking a closer look at spiders. Some people think they're scary, but they're actually helpful! Not only are most of them harmless to people, they're actually very beneficial. They eat lots of insects that damage crops, and they also eat insects that can carry disease. Let's explore them some more!

Originally published May 12, 2020

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Ducks, Geese, & Swans!

Waterfowl are birds that live on or near water. Ducks, geese, and swans are all waterfowl, so they have a lot of similarities. They all have webbed feet, and broad, flat bills. But they have a lot of differences too. Let's explore them!

Originally published May 13, 2020

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Let's Draw!

We're celebrating Drawing Day a little early so that we can explore art and nature together! Not only can drawing nature teach us a lot about the world around us, drawing is an amazing tool in helping us learn!

Originally published May 14, 2020

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It's Endangered Species Day

Today is an important day. It's Endangered Species Day, a day to learn about endangered species and how to protect them. We're focusing on some of the endangered species that our scientists work with every single day.

Originally published May 15, 2020

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International Museum Day

Museums make it possible for us to learn from the past, better understand our present, and plan for the future. We're proud of our 163-year history and place as Chicago's first public museum. So, today, we're taking a look at a part of our 350,000-piece collection.

Originally published May 18, 2020

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How Do Animals Protect Themselves?

Camouflage and special body coverings are two ways that animals protect themselves from other animals. But there are some other defensive behaviors that we haven't talked about yet! Let's explore some of the amazing ways that animals protect themselves.

Originally published May 19, 2020

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World Bee Day!

Happy World Bee Day! Today is the perfect day to recognize how important bees are. They're the most prolific pollinators in the world! Let's spend more time learning about these fuzzy friends.

Originally published May 20, 2020

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Exploring Lakes, Rivers, and Ponds!

As Chicagoans, we're in a really unique position! We live close to several different types of bodies of water, including lakes, ponds, and rivers. But what is the difference between them? And what types of animals live in them? Let's take a closer look!

Originally published May 21, 2020

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What Is Biodiversity?

Today is the International Day for Biological Diversity. Our scientists are dedicated to conserving and bolstering the biodiversity of our native species. But what does that mean? And why is it important? Let's explore this topic.

Originally published May 22, 2020

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Let's Explore Animal Habitats

What is a habitat? A habitat is the area in which a group of plants and animals live and interact. An animal's habitat provides it with food, shelter, and a place to raise its young. Although all habitats share the same basic function, they can vary a lot!

Originally published May 26, 2020

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Magnificent Milkweed

Although we often associate milkweed with the monarch butterfly, there are lots of other insects to discover on this incredible plant! Today, we're exploring some lesser-known milkweed residents!

Originally published May 27, 2020

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What Are Host Plants?

Host plants are plants that an organism lives on and lives off of. There is a big crossover between the types of plants we typically grow in vegetable gardens and the plants that insects have as host plants! Learn more in today's newsletter.

Originally published May 29, 2020

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Learn About Smooth Greensnakes

Dr. Allison recently released some smooth greensnakes into the Lake County Forest Preserves as part of our ongoing headstart partnership. So we thought we'd share some photos and video from the release and explore these adorable, teeny snakes in more detail.

Originally published June 2, 2020

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What Are Skippers?

Is it a moth? Is it a butterfly? It's a skipper! Let's explore these special butterflies and discover some that you might see in your own backyard!

Originally published June 3, 2020

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Meet the Mudpuppy

Did you know that June is Mud Month? That's why we're dedicating today's email to mud and the critters you can find in it (including one special animal with "mud" in its name). Read on to explore with us.

Originally published June 4, 2020

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World Environment Day

World Environment Day is celebrated on June 5 every year to encourage awareness and action for the protection of our environment. Today, we're focusing on the importance of the environment through age-appropriate lessons, stories, and more.

Originally published June 5, 2020

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The Great Outdoors

The month of June also marks Great Outdoors Month, making it a great opportunity to explore our local nature and wildlife. We have a long list of ways to help you do just that.

Originally published June 6, 2020

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Cicadas Up Close!

Have you ever wondered what animal was making the noise we often hear in the summer in Chicago? It’s a cicada. Cicadas are strange-looking insects that can measure up to 2.25 inches long. Despite their kind of small size, they can make a lot of noise! Let's learn more about these cool critters.

Originally published June 9, 2020

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Fantastic Fossils!

How often do you think about the ground under your feet? About what it is composed of or how old the rocks are? Did you know that under your feet, there are not just rocks and soils, but fossils? Let's explore these amazing snapshots in time!

Originally published June 10, 2020

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Dragonflies and Damselflies!

Today we're talking all about dragonflies! Although they look a little intimidating, they're actually very cool (and won't hurt you!). Let's take a closer look at these misunderstood insects.

Originally published June 11, 2020

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More Than Just "Weeds"

Dandelions, Queen Anne's lace, and other "weeds" are often thought of as nuisances. Many people do their best to get rid of them in their lawns and gardens, but they're actually important! Let's learn about some of these often overlooked plants.

Originally published June 12, 2020

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Nature Photography Day

Today we're celebrating Nature Photography Day by highlighting nature photographers, sharing some of our staff's favorite photos, and challenging you to go out and snap some shots of your own!

Originally published June 15, 2020

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"Hop" To It!

Grasshoppers, crickets, and katydids. Those names are often used interchangeably, but they actually belong to very different insects. Although they're all part of a group of insects known as orthopterans and have a lot of similarities, there are some distinguishing features to help you tell them apart. Let's take a closer look!

Originally published June 16, 2020

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What Is Weather?

The weather is getting warmer and warmer...but what is weather? Weather is the temperature and other outside conditions at a particular time and place. Let's take a closer look at summer weather!

Originally published June 17, 2020

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Surprising Summer Species

Over the last several weeks, we've talked a lot about the cool critters you can find in our area, but there are some animals that might take you by surprise this summer. Read on to find out more!

Originally published June 18, 2020

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1 Comment

  • Nicole Slykas said (on 3/24/2020 )

    Thank you so much for doing this. This format is perfect for us to follow with our preschooler while she's out of school!

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