Youth Conservation Action at The Field Museum: Spring 2014 Newsletter


Photo: Science and Education staff



As the flowers and greenery begin to emerge this spring, we are wrapping up another great and exciting year of environmental education programs here at The Field Museum.  Over the past year we have grown from the Calumet Environmental Education Program (CEEP) to Youth Conservation Action. New and expanded partnerships throughout the Chicago Wilderness region have allowed us to build on our ten years of success in Calumet where we now reach over 3,600 students. We use new and innovative ways to connect children and youth to nature and to help them become the next generation of conservation leaders. 

       None of this work would be possible without the hard work of our 150 dedicated teachers and the generous support of our funders.  Thanks again for your help supporting young people to take conservation action in their communities! Our spring newsletter showcases the Green Ambassadors, a program that blends nature and culture into a new leadership internship for Chicago students. It also features educator resources and upcoming events


Alison, Angie, Betsy, Ivana, Jacob, Laura, and Mario

P.S. Tell us what you want! Please take two minutes to fill out a survey about how we can make this newsletter most effective for educators. Thanks!


Photo: Science and Education staff




Green Ambassadors

For the past ten weeks thirty Bronzeville and Pilsen teens and mentors have come together to discover the connections between nature and culture in their communities. These Green Ambassadors are participants in a new 10-month program jumpstarted by the Field Museum, The Chicago Park District, Mujeres Latinas en Acción, Sacred Keepers Sustainability Lab, and Centers for New Horizons. Green Ambassadors expands on the successes of the 2013 pilot Green Voices program. The Green Ambassador program focuses on helping young people build important connections between community heritage and the environment in their neighborhoods.

The Green Ambassadors are actively contributing to the exciting expansion of the Chicago Community Climate Action Toolkit and the transformation of the Burnham Wildlife Corridor. The Corridor, located along the lakefront from McCormick Place to 47th Street is undergoing a massive restoration effort to become a rich urban ecosystem. The Corridor is along the route of the Mississippi Flyway – a migratory bird route traveled by over 300 species of birds. Not only do the trees help reduce the urban heat island and clean our air, they serve as important infrastructure for birds who are dealing with multiple stressors in this age of climate change. The Green Ambassadors are helping connect their communities to the Corridor and gain knowledge and skills regarding climate change, environmental stewardship, green careers, and connections between nature and culture.

May 10th marks an important day in the program when the Ambassadors will participate in the Chicago Park District's Routes and Roots to Grow: A Community Tree Planting Event. Over 600 community members from Bronzeville and Pilsen will join together Mother’s Day weekend to plant more than 25,000 native trees in the Burnham Wildlife Corridor. Following the tree-planting event, the Green Ambassadors will continue to be trained by community and museum experts and will be given opportunities to apply what they’ve learned in their communities. We're excited to see what these Ambassadors accomplish over the next few months! 



Photo: Science and Education staff




Workshops and Events

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

  • The 2014 Earth Force Student Summit: Friday, May 16th at The Field Museum. Approximately three hundred 7th and 8th grade Earth Force students will showcase their environmental action projects from 10:30am-12:30pm at The Field Museum. We invite the general public to come talk with students and learn about student's efforts to make a difference in the environment. Please RSVP to Laura Milkert by Tuesday, May 13th 

  • The Calumet Is My Backyard (CIMBY) Science Summit: Friday, May 23rd, from 10 am-1pm at The Field Museum. Three hundred CIMBY students will be presenting projects focused on the natural areas where they do stewardship throughout the year. We invite the general public to come talk with students about their accomplishments and lessons learned. Please RSVP to Laura Milkert by Tuesday, May 20th.

  • Urban Biodiversity Week, located throughout the Millennium Reserve Calumet Core during the week of May 10-18, features opportunities to learn about and enjoy nature.

  • Beaubien Woods Celebration, June 14th, 11 am -4 pm. Features opportunities to enjoy and learn about the preserve, participate in games, fish, hike, and celebrate Leave No Child Inside Month.  [Contact info?]

Photo: Science and Education staff



Classroom Resources

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

  • June is Chicago Wilderness’ Leave No Child Inside MonthThis year’s theme – Stick with Nature – highlights how a simple object found everywhere in nature can spark a wide range of outdoor activity ideas.  Connect with Chicago Wilderness on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest to find out what others are doing and to share how you are using sticks, twigs, and stalks to make children laugh, build, imagine, and explore in the outdoors this June and beyond. The link above provides suggestions for simple stick activities you can do with your students (possibly on your Mighty Acorns Field Trips!).


  • The Illinois Department of Natural Resources, Kids for Conservation™, website is a fun interactive way for kids to learn about some of the animals, plants and other organisms in our state and in their backyards. A contest each month will let kids show the IDNR their outdoor experiences. The site also features positive actions that young Illinoisans are taking to help the environment.


  • Climate change: Earth's giant game of Tetris by Joss Fong.   This short video is a good tool for explaining to your students how greenhouse gases are accumulating in our atmosphere (click play on the video link on the right hand side of the page).

Photo: Jessica Canas


Special Thanks

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

The Boeing Company

Chicago Park District

Chicago Wilderness


Illinois Department of Natural Resources


NOAA’s Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management in conjunction with the Illinois Coastal Management Program, Illinois Department of Natural Resources

Sally Mead Hands Foundation



Alison Paul

Angie Viands

Laura Milkert


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