ROCKFORD, IL – Natural Land Institute (NLI) is pleased to announce the first-ever Family Nature Adventures, an opportunity to connect and engage with nature through a series of 13 free guided activities with topics ranging from water to archaeology, pollinators to mammals and soils to seeds. Anyone can discover the outdoors together in their backyard, local park or nature preserve with these learning videos to guide their exploration. This experience is open to all and tailored to families with kids two to 14. It will begin Wednesday, June 10 and run through Monday, August 10. Fall in love with nature, discover the outdoors, spend time with kids and grand kids and learn how to help protect and have fun in nature.
NLI, a Rockford-based private nonprofit land trust in northern Illinois that conserves natural areas, protects wildlife habitat, clean air and water, created Family Nature Adventures with its volunteers and partner organizations in response to COVID-19 restrictions. In previous years, NLI held Family Nature Day, a one-day event in June, at Nygren Wetland Preserve (Rockton, IL), which is one of the few preserves owned by NLI with public access.
Every Wednesday from June 10 through July 1, find three to four new videos and interactive activities on Natural Land Institute’s website covering a variety of topics, including wetlands, fish, water, mammals, birds, archaeology, pollinators, butterflies, creepy crawlers, prairies, forests, seeds and soils, related to that week’s theme. Weekly themes include All About Water, Find It Close to Home, Little Helpers and Growing Up. Activities can be done in any order and at one’s own pace. Participants can complete at least six of the activities and the Final Participation Form by Monday, August 10 to earn a personalized Junior Naturalist Badge, which will be mailed to their home.
As a bonus activity, download and print a free coloring book that features animals in their habitat with illustrations by artist Laura Sjoquist. Video releases will be announced on NLI’s email newsletter and social media accounts. There is no cost or registration needed to participate. Participants are encouraged to post photos of themselves doing the activities to social media and tag NLI, to consider becoming a member of NLI and to visit Nygren Wetland Preserve for these activities or at any time.
Learning video hosts include NLI’s Education Committee members and other volunteers: Rick Barton, David Brandt, Machelle Dopkins, Laura Sjoquist, Dawn and John Skupien, Julie Tackett, Stacy and Dana Wallace, and Barbara Williams. Partner organizations providing videos include Burpee Museum of Natural History, Macktown Living History, Severson Dells Nature Center, Taylor Creek Restoration Nurseries, and Welty Environmental Center.
The following businesses and organizations are supporting this free event for the community: Event Sponsors ($500): Northwest Bank, and the Northern Regional Groundwater Protection and Planning Committee (NRGPPC) and WIPFLI, Supporting Sponsor ($250): Nicor Gas. Grantors: This program is supported by grants from the Dr. Louis & Violet Rubin Fund of the Community Foundation of Northern Illinois and the Brubaker Charitable Trust.