Connections With Nature Through Inside, Out & About

Friends' Mark Hauser teaches students about water quality testing at Beaubien Woods.

Students, families, individuals, and groups are deepening their connections with nature and increasing their awareness of our natural areas through hands-on learning as part of our Inside, Out & About program. The program promotes and encourages the use and stewardship of natural areas, and helps people understand that being outside in nature is good for our health.

Friends’ Ecology Outreach Manager Mark Hauser, who leads our Chicago River Schools Network, recently trained a group of high school students at Beaubien Woods to conduct water quality testing as part of the Forest Preserve Experience, a five-week summer program for high-school students to get a hands-on education in conservation, and summer employment. The program includes restoration work such as invasive plant removal, litter cleanups, and opportunities learn about nature and explore green jobs and career opportunities.

In a July 15 Daily Southtown profile of the program, Forest Preserve General Superintendent Arnold Randall said: “We love that it’s a first job for a lot of people and will expose them to things they may not have engaged with before. That next generation of conservation leadership can come out of programs like this, and we’re excited about that.”

In its fifth year, the Forest Preserve Experience program is coordinated by our partners at Friends of the Forest Preserves and the Forest Preserves of Cook County.

 At the Forest Preserves' Kids' Fest at Wampum Lake on July 10, Hauser was also on hand to help more than 100 kids and parents learn about chemistry testing as well participate in an insect metamorphosis craft. According the Daily Southtown, Kids’ Fest is one of the largest events of the Forest Preserves of Cook County.