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CEEP Newsletter Spring 2013

Photo: Sarah Casson

Dear teachers and friends,

As spring arrives and the school year begins to wrap up, we have a lot to celebrate here at The Field Museum’s Calumet Environmental Education Program (CEEP). Due to the hard work of educators like you it’s been a great school year with over 3,400 students engaged in the Mighty AcornsEarth Force and Calumet Is My Back Yard (CIMBY) programs.

Here you’ll find classroom resources, upcoming events and workshops, and a story about how Mighty Acorns students from Gallistel met the governor on a recent field trip. Thank you for all your hard work and we’ll see you in Calumet!


Alison, Angie, Betsy, Jessica and Laura

Photo: Laura Milkert


Signs of the Season

The vibrancy of spring is all around us! Birds are on the move, blue spotted salamanders, frogs, and toads lay their eggs in ephemeral spring ponds, woodland spring flora begin to bloom in succession, green shoots of emerging plants like nodding onions  appear underfoot, and it's prime season for mammals like raccoons and coyotes to be born.

Photo: Harvey Tillis, IOCI Media Services



Photo: Harvey Tillis, IOCI Media Services



Photo: Harvey Tillis, IOCI Media Services

Mighty Acorns Recognized by Gov. Quinn 

“It’s Alderman Pope!” shouted a group of students from Gallistel Language Academy when they saw Alderman John Pope at a March 1st press conference held by Governor Pat Quinn at the William Powers Recreation Area. Gallistel students have been helping restore habitat at William Powers for several years by cutting down invasive species such as Honey Suckle and Buckthorn during their regular Mighty Acorns field trips supported by The Field Museum’s Calumet Environmental Education Program (CEEP).

When Melissa Dippel, a 5th grade special education teacher at Gallistel, was asked if she would like her students attend a press conference with Governor Quinn she eagerly responded, “Um, PLEASE!?  We have been studying government too so that would be an amazing tie in!” So on March 1st, sixteen Gallistel 5th and 6th graders, along with their chaperones and teachers, Melissa Dippel and Andrea Porth, excitedly entered the newly constructed William Powers Visitor Center to meet the Governor and hear about the environmental conservation efforts taking place in the Calumet Region. Governor Pat Quinn announced several strategic developments of the Millennium Reserve Initiative in the Calumet Region including support for the restoration of green spaces and enhancement of public recreation opportunities. The Field Museum-supported Mighty Acorns program has been named a 2012 Millennium Reserve Model Program and Millennium Reserve support has helped Gallistel student restoration efforts at the site.

Three Gallistel students clad in Mighty Acorns and Gallistel t-shirts stood attentively behind the Governor and other officials and organization representatives while they spoke about the Millennium Reserve conservation efforts. The Gallistel students gleamed with astonishment and joy when the General Superintendent of the Forest Preserve District of Cook County, Arnold Randall, shared that his mother was a proud graduate of Gallistel Language Academy with fond memories of her years spent at the school.  Overall, the paring of a Mighty Acorns field trip and a governor’s press conference was a great success! It served as a learning experience and a time to recognize the hard work of all Mighty Acorns students in the Calumet Region.

CEEP will continue to recognize and celebrate the amazing work done by Mighty Acorns students and teachers in the Calumet Region of Chicago by hosting four End of the Year Celebrations scheduled to take place April 26th at Eggers Woods, May 3rd and 17th at William Powers, and June 8th at Beaubien Woods.

Photo: Laura Milkert

Photo: Lisa See Kim

Photo: Sarah Casson


Workshops and Events

Rivers Curriculum Workshop
This four-day Friends of the Chicago River workshop trains teacher how to use an innovative curriculum focused on rivers and watersheds as a way to teach biology, chemistry, earth science, language arts, math and geography. July 22-25. Cost per teacher is $125. Click here for more information and program registration.

Edible Science, Grades K-12
Learn how to teach science through food by conducting experiments that use everyday foods to investigate concepts in biology and chemistry. April 20th and 27th at the Chicago Botanic Garden. Fee: $150.  Register here.

Form and Function
Engage in hands-on investigations centered on animal dentition, the structure of cells, camouflage, attracting pollinators, and taxonomy. May 11th at the Brookfield Zoo and May 18th at the Chicago Botanic Garden.  Fee: $150.  Register here.

The Importance of Place in Climate Change Education (Webinar)
Learn how to make climate change a personal and relevant issue for your students using a place-based education model. Thurs, April 25, 2013.  7:30 - 8:30 p.m. EST.  Visit for more. Register here.

Outdoor Nation Youth Summit
Organizations can send leaders ages 16-28 to the Outdoor Nation Signature Summit in Chicago, July 13-14, 2013.  The summit includes a one-day conference at the University of Chicago and camping at Northerly Island.  For more information, visit

Summer Master Naturalist Class
This program educates and trains adult volunteers to be better equipped to share natural resource information with others in their communities and to assist with environmental conservation and restoration activities. Classes are led by regional scientists and educators and offer a total of forty-eight (48) hours of instruction including some field trips. Click here for more information.

The Field Museum Workshop: Spring Flora Identification
Calumet Volunteer Enrichment Series, May 4, 1-3pm
Improve your plant id skills! This field-based workshop will focus on identification of spring flora commonly encountered in local woodlands. Location: Sand Ridge Nature Center, South Holland, IL. Register by contacting Becky Collings, 312-665-7420,

Photo: Sarah Casson




Classroom and Educator Resources

IL Wildflower Guide Online
Check out the extensive online catalog and guide of Illinois wildflowers developed by Dr. John Hilty.

University of Michigan Global Warming Resources
This online curriculum by the U of M teaches students about the effects of warming temperatures on biological communities. 

Water-Cycle Diagram
Check out the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) & Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) water-cycle diagram for kids and elementary and middle schools.

ARKive School Museum
The ARKive School Museum provides fascinating biological facts about endangered species, designing and creating fun, interactive exhibits, and hosting unique, hands-on activities in their own ‘museum’.

Think Garden Video Series
Check out this teaching tool about growing food and all elements around food gardening.

Photo: Alvaro del Campo


Special Thanks

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




Bears Care


Illinois Department of Natural Resources (Millennium Reserve Model Project)

National Fish and Wildlife Foundation

Sally Mead Hands

US Fish and Wildlife Service


Mighty Acorns
Jessica Cañas, Chicago

Betsy Quail, Northwest Indiana

Earth Force
Angie Viands

Laura Milkert

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