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CEEP Newsletter: Fall 2012

The Calumet Environmental Education Program (CEEP) is a part of Environment, Culture, and Conservation (ECCo), a Division of Science at The Field Museum.

Photo: Alvaro del Campo


Dear Teachers and Friends,
We are happy to share this issue of our newly redesigned e-newsletter. Here you will find useful tools for learning about nature in the Calumet region, professional development opportunities and classroom resources. 

We are looking forward to working with you for another great school year. In 2011-2012, 100 teachers participated in Mighty AcornsEarth Force or Calumet Is My Back Yard (CIMBY). With your help, last year we engaged over 2,700 students in conservation activities in Calumet.

Best wishes for another wonderful school year,
Kirk Anne, Alison, Laura, Angie, Betsy and Jessica

Photo: Laura Milkert

Signs of the Season

  • Native moths like the Cecropia moth spin weather-resistant cocoons, creating a home in late summer and fall that will shelter them throughout the winter before their metamorphosis in the spring.
  • The monarch butterflies’ fall migratory journey south is about to begin. Insects like the milkweed beetle and the monarch butterfly are generally host-specific to the milkweed plant (meaning they spend their life cycle on milkweed and get their food and shelter from it).
  • It’s a season of purple and gold hues in the prairie, as the last ripe prairie seeds are collected and people make the most of the decreasing daylight hours.

Photo: Laura Milkert

CEEP Students Intern at The Field Museum

It was our pleasure this summer to host nine high school students for the six-week Ford Environmental Leadership Internship funded by Ford Motor Company and Community Services Fund. Using the Earth Force environmental problem-solving curriculum, the students researched biodiversity in the Calumet region. Inspired by what they learned from interviewing people in the community and by the Richard Louv-inspired Leave No Child Inside movement, the interns focused on developing educational tools to help connect young kids to nature in their community. Check out their blog and an article on The Field Museum’s website to learn about their adventures and the tools they created this summer. Congratulations to the interns on a job well done!

Photo: Maggie Baker


Photo: Kelly Butler


Photo: Kelly Butler

Workshops and Events

Looking for educator events, opportunities for your students to shine and/or ways to enjoy nature this fall? Check out the following activities:

  • The Field Museum annual Educator Open House will be held Tuesday, October 16th from 5-8pm. Join us to see new temporary exhibitions Maharaja: the Splendor of India’s Royal Courts and Extreme Mammals, explore Museum collections with experts, meet scientists and learn about cutting-edge research. Check out new and improved materials from the N. W. Harris Learning Collection and receive a special discount on membership. This educators-only event is free and pre-registration is required. Teachers will receive 3 CPDUs. Register online or by calling 312.665.7500.
  • Association for the Wolf Lake Initiative (AWLI) Student Art Competition: College, high school, and middle school students are invited to submit paintings and sculpture/3-D artwork that contains recycled materials. The art competition will take place at the 7th annual Greening of the Arts Tour, Reception & Art Show and awards will be presented, Sunday, October 28th. Winners will receive monetary prizes. The registration deadline is Friday, October 5th and entries are due by 10am on Saturday, October 27th. For further information, call 312.220.0120 or 219.933.7149.

Upcoming CEEP trainings:

  • Mighty Acorns Teacher Training: Thursday, October 4th from 8am-3:30pm at The Field Museum. All 4-6th grade teachers who are new to the Mighty Acorns program and/or who would like a refresher training on Mighty Acorns curriculum are encouraged to attend. Contact Jessica Canas at for more information.
  • Mighty Acorns & CIMBY Volunteer Training: Thursday, November 1st, 9:30am-1pm at Rowan Park Field House (11546 S. Avenue L, Chicago). Join us to learn about how volunteers, school staff, and parents can support both the Mighty Acorns and/or CIMBY programs this school year. Contact Laura Milkert at for further information.
  • Earth Force Back to School Planning Session: 7th and 8th grade teachers will join us for a short planning session to map out their 2012-2013 service learning projects on Thursday, September 27th at the Chicago Public Library Jeffery Manor Branch (2401 E. 100th St. Chicago). CEEP will provide new and exciting resources to returning teachers. For more information please contact

Stay up to date on Calumet Region Events and find out about more opportunities by “liking” the Calumet Stewardship Initiative (CSI) Facebook page

Photo: Laura Milkert

Classroom Resources

Looking for natural science resources for your classroom this fall? Check out the following links for easy-to-use classroom tools:

  • Natureworks is a 16-part video series for students in 3rd-7th grades on natural sciences. Each 15 minute episode is aligned with state standards and episodes include topics such as Adaptation, Habitat, Species Diversity and more.
  • Illinois Wildflowers contains extensive information on wildflowers in Illinois.
  • Lake Education Assistance Program (LEAP) is an Illinois EPA initiative designed to encourage the study of Illinois lakes by providing up to $500 dollars for field trips, seminars or lake-related activities. Grant deadlines are Sept. 30th & January 31st.
  • The Water for Tomorrow Project is a partnership between IBM and The Nature Conservancy that provides information and resources for educators to use with youth ages 13-17 to educate about watersheds and promote land management decisions that preserve our freshwater resources. Water for Tomorrow Project resources include an informative powerpoint presentation and an interactive watershed map.
  • The Field Museum's ECCo Division provides free educational  Rapid Color Guides to help students quickly identify plant and animal species. The Rapid Color Guide to Common Spiders of Chicago can be especially useful for students as they are out exploring this fall.

Photo: Laura Milkert

Special Thanks

We’d like to thank our funders for their generous support of CEEP:

  • ArcelorMittal
  • AT&T
  • Bears Care
  • Ford Motor Company Fund and Community Services
  • Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation
  • IBM
  • Illinois Department of Natural Resources
  • Sally Mead Hands Foundation

Photo: Betsy Quail


Photo: Nicholas Hallworth

CEEP Updates

  • CEEP's Mighty Acorns program was recently named a Millennium Reserve Initiative model project.  The Millennium Reserve is part of President Obama’s America’s Great Outdoors Initiative to reconnect Americans, especially children, to America's outdoor treasures. The Millennium Reserve support will make it possible for more Chicago students to take part in Mighty Acorns stewardship activities at William Powers Conservation Area (Wolf Lake) this school year.
  • Staff Transitions: CEEP's Urban Conservation Manager, Kirk Anne Taylor will be leaving The Field Museum in October. The Field Museum thanks her for all her hard work in shaping CEEP's programming and wishes her the best.  Please see her message to CEEP teachers below.

    Dear CEEP Teachers,

    After eight wonderful years, I will be leaving The Field Museum in October. It has been a sincere pleasure to work with you and your students. I would like to thank each of you for the hard work that you do everyday as educators. I continue to be inspired by your dedication to your students, and your commitment to connecting your students to the natural world around them. I am also grateful to The Field Museum and the division of Environment, Culture and Conservation (ECCo) for giving me the opportunity to be a part of CEEP. It has been a fabulously rewarding and educational experience. My family and I are relocating to the San Francisco Bay Area this fall. I look forward to continuing my work in environmental education there, and to staying connected to CEEP from afar.

    With much gratitude, 

    Kirk Anne


Mighty Acorns
Alison Paul

Earth Force
Angie Viands

Laura Milkert

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See past CEEP newsletters