School Programs

The Forest Preserve District offers a range of field trips and self-guided programs for pre-K through 12 at five education centers and two additional forest preserve locations. In-class presentations are also available.

How do I register my class for a program?
The program titles below link to separate pages with registration info, dates, run times, chaperone requirements and other details.

Is there somewhere my class can picnic before or after our program?
DuPage County forest preserves have open grassy picnic areas with tables at no extra cost, and some offer shelters on a first-come, first-served basis. A few shelters can be reserved in advance for a fee either online 24/7 or through Visitor Services weekdays at (630) 933-7248.

What if we have accessibility concerns?
The Forest Preserve District is committed to making its educational programs available to all groups. Please mention any accessibility needs or concerns when you reserve your program.

What if I’m interested in a topic that’s not listed?
We’ll gladly consider requests to develop special programs but reserve the right to decline one. If we can accommodate a request, we’ll calculate the fee at the time of the reservation based on the time needed to develop, prepare, travel to and present the program. Programs are charged at a rate of $20 per hour per staff member for DuPage County groups and $50 for out-of-county groups.

What programs are available?

Danada Equestrian Center 
Guided Tour of Danada
Pre-K – 12
$35 per program for 20 students from DuPage County schools ($65 for out-of-county schools)
Students gain insight into the world of horses and the animals’ management and care.

Fullersburg Woods Nature Education Center 
Wildlife and You Outreach
Pre-K – 4
$65 per program
Invite a naturalist into your classroom to lead an active discussion that allows students to examine animals, engage with science experts, and learn how humans affect and interact with wildlife.

Get Sticky! Maple Syrup Program 
Pre-K – 8
$5 per person (including chaperones)
NGSS: LS 1, 2 ESS 3 PS 3
Students learn about tree identification, plant physiology and the art of sap collecting and see maple syrup made from start to finish.

Bass in the Class
Pre-K – 12
Fee Varies
ILS: 1, 3, 5, 6, 7, 10, 11, 12, 13, 26
Liven up your science curriculum by raising bass in your classroom with this eight-week hands-on aquatic biology program that’s wildly popular with teachers and students.

Nature Hike 
Pre-K – 12
$2 per student
ILS: 19, 21 — NGSS: LS 1, 2, 3, 4 ESS 2, 3
Students use their senses to observe and record their surroundings during a hike with a naturalist through an oak-hickory forest followed by an activity and Q-and-A time at the visitor center.

Food-Chain Challenge 
Grades 1 – 5
$60 per program
NGSS: LS 1, 2, 4 PS 3 ESS 3
Students learn how ecosystems function through scientific experiments and real-life examples, including an activity that places them in a forest preserve food chain.

Plant Power 
Grades 1 – 5
$60 per program
NGSS: LS 1, 2, 3, 4 ESS 2, 3 PS 3
Students discover the science of trees and other plants as they hike with a forestry scientist, “build a tree” from the inside out, and learn about seed dispersal, photosynthesis, physiology and identification. 

Get Outside! Outdoor Education Day
Grades 1 – 8
$10 per student
NGSS: LS 1, 4 ESS 2, 3 PS 3
Students spend a full day outdoors learning about topics from environmental science to recreation with activities focusing on tree and plant identification, birds and team building.

Geocaching Adventure
Grades 4 – 12
$60 per program
ILS: 17
On this high-tech outdoor treasure hunt, students learn about satellites and the science of GPS as they hone their team-building skills.

Operation Restoration
Grades 4 – 12
$75 per program
NGSS: LS 1, 2, 4 ESS 2, 3
Get your students to think globally and act locally as they learn about biodiversity and participate in a restoration-focused work session that demonstrates how groups can make a big difference in a short amount of time.

Stream Monitoring
Grades 4 – 12
$75 per program
Students discover insects and other macroinvertebrates with varying degrees of tolerance to pollution as they learn how to measure water quality and gain real-life ecological experiences.

Kline Creek Farm
My First Visit to the Farm (January – March and April – June)
$2 per student
Pre-K – 1
ILS: 15, 16, 17, 18, 22 — CC ELA: SL 2, 3, 4 L5, 6 — CC Math: CC, MD, G — NGSS: LS 1, 2, 3 ESS 2, 3
Children explore fields, pastures and buildings as they learn about agriculture, including how farm animals differ from wild ones and which purposes they serve on a farm.

Self-Guided Discovery Tour
Pre-K – 1
Free
ILS: 15, 16, 17 — CC ELA: SL 2, 4 L 1, 4 — NGSS: LS 1
Use picture booklets to guide your students as they use magnifying lenses and spyglasses to explore the farm. 

Barn Building Outreach
Grades 1 – 6
$50 per class ($100 for high-interest days)
ILS: 16, 18, 19, 21 — CC ELA: SL 2, 3, 4 L 5, 6 — CC Math: CC, MD — NGSS: ESS 3 P 2
This program introduce students to architecture in your classroom by showing them the tools and techniques of timber-frame construction. They’ll learn the history of barn building and construct a one-sixth-scale timber-frame barn. 

Building an 1890s Farm Outreach
Grades 1 – 6
$50 per class
ILS: 15, 16, 18 — CC ELA: SL 2, 3, 4 L 5, 6 — CC Math: CC, MD — NGSS: ESS 3 PS 2
Have one of our costumed interpreters come to your classroom to lead activities that have students saw, make rope, churn butter and build a small-scale model post-and-beam barn, helping them compare and contrast their lives with life in DuPage 125 years ago.

Christmas on the Farm
Grades 1 – 8
$2 per student
ILS: 15, 16, 17, 18, 22 — CC ELA: SL 2, 3, 4 L 5, 6 — CC Math: CC, MD, G — NGSS: LS 1, 2, 3 ESS 2, 3
This program focuses on traditions and gives students the chance to discuss their own traditions while learning about Christmas trees, gifts and decorating and to talk about food while preparing cookies to bake in a wood-burning oven. A self-guided tour of the farm describes how the shorter, cold winter days affected farm life from transportation to animal care.

Day at the Farm
Grades 1 – 8
$5 per student
ILS: 15, 16, 17, 18, 22 — CC ELA: SL 2, 3, 4 L 5, 6 — CC Math: CC, MD, G — NGSS: LS 1, 2, 3 ESS 2, 3
Seasonal activity stations reveal the life and work of an 1890s farm family and teach students about products farmers provide. Students may experience what it's like to raise food in the kitchen garden, harvest crops, stack bales of straw and hay, use tools, or watch blacksmiths, beekeepers and draft horses at work. 

Self-Guided Alphabet of Agriculture
Grades 2 – 5
Free
ILS: 15, 16, 17 — CC ELA: SL 2, 4 — NGSS: LS 1
Use the alphabet to sharpen students’ observation skills with a simple scavenger hunt that has them look for farm-related objects beginning with each letter.  

Self-Guided Architecture Adventure
Grades 2 – 5
Free
ILS: 15, 16, 17 — CC ELA: SL 2, 4 L 1, 4 — NGSS: PS 2, 3
Acting as detectives, students resolve architectural mysteries of the design and function of various farm buildings.

Farm Tour (January – March and April – June)
$2 per student
Grades 2 – 8
ILS 15, 16, 17, 18, 22 — CC ELA SL 2, 3 L 5, 6 — CC Math CC, MD; NGSS LS 1, 2, 3 ESS 2, 3
Students experience farming’s close relationship to nature and discuss the work necessary to be successful as they tour the fields, farmhouse and barn and interact with livestock.

Evolution of Agriculture (January – March and April – June)
$2 per student
High School – College
ILS: 15, 16, 17, 18, 22 — CC ELA: SL 9, 10 — CC: Math SP, MD — NGSS: HS-ESS 2, 3 HS-ETS 10
Students get a first-hand look at changes in farming technology and techniques over the past 125 years, including transportation, expanding markets, the development of agribusiness, food safety and the environmental effects of agricultural practices. They’ll examine geography, crops, livestock, machines and implements, and visit the house, barn and other buildings.

Mayslake Peabody Estate
1900 – 1920: Exploring Changing Times
Grades 6 – 8
$2 per student
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Learn about the beginnings of the 20th century through a lively visual presentation, a tour of historic Mayslake Hall, hands-on activities, questions and discussions. 

Willowbrook Wildlife Center
Aminals!
Pre-K – 1
$35 per program
NGSS: LS 1, 2
Activities include a story, a poem that students perform, pictures, and a look at animal homes, bones and skeletons. Students also meet and touch one of the center’s pets. 

Guided Tour of Willowbrook
Pre-K – 12
$2 per student
Take a personalized tour of the center’s animal exhibits and hear interesting stories about Willowbrook Wildlife Center and its permanent residents. 

Self-Guided Tour of Willowbrook
Pre-K – 12
$1 per student
Enjoy a brief introduction to the center by one of its naturalists, and then tour the center on your own. 

Animal Exploration Day
Grades 1 – 2
$150 per program
ILS: 17 — NGSS: LS 1, 2, 3, 4
Students learn about three vertebrates – birds, mammals and reptiles – and where and how they live. They’ll meet two of the center’s animals and join naturalist on a tour of the outdoor exhibits. 

Owls
Grades 1 – 2
This program explains the natural history of these birds of prey using "biofacts" such as wings, feet, skulls and pictures as well as live owls.
At Willowbrook
$75 for the first program; $25 each additional
ILS: 7, 21 — NGSS: LS 1, 2, 3, 4
In Your Classroom
$150 for the first class; $50 each additional
ILS: 17, 21 — NGSS: LS 1, 2, 3

What’s a Reptile?
Grades 1 – 2
Students learn about reptiles and how they differ from mammals, birds, fish and other living things during a presentation featuring live reptiles.
At Willowbrook
$50 for the first program; $25 each additional
NGSS: LS 1, 2, 3
In Your Classroom
$100 for the first class; $25 each additional
ILS: 17 — NGSS: LS 1, 2, 3

Reptiles in Review
Grades 3 – 5
This program introduces the scientific concept that animals are grouped by shared characteristics by focusing on reptiles and how they differ from other terrestrial vertebrates. It features activities, discussions and a presentation of live reptiles.
At Willowbrook
$50 for the first program; $25 each additional
ILS: 17 — NGSS: LS 1, 3, 4
In Your Classroom
$100 for the first class; $25 each additional
ILS: 17 — NGSS: LS 1, 3, 4

Intro to Birds of Prey 
Grades 3 – 12
This program teaches the natural history of birds of prey and features “biofacts,” such as wings, feet, skulls and pictures and a presentation of two lives birds of prey.
At Willowbrook
$75 for the first program; $25 each additional
ILS: 19, 21 — NGSS: LS 1, 2, 3, 4
In Your Classroom
$150 for the first class; $50 each additional
ILS: 19, 21 — NGSS: LS 1, 2, 3, 4

Wildlife Scene Investigations
Grades 4 – 8
$50 per program
ILS: 19, 21 — NGSS: LS 1, 2, 3, 4
Students discover how to identify wild mammals that live in DuPage by studying skulls and bones, learning basic natural history and using techniques that unravel wildlife mysteries. With teamwork and observations, they then solve their own wildlife investigations. 

Other Forest Preserve Locations
Blackwell Forest Preserve
Self-Guided Compass Course
Free
Grades 4 – 6
Help students practice and sharpen navigation and math skills by using compasses to locate checkpoints with information about natural and cultural history. To reserve equipment (and get your free permit if your group has more than 25 people) call Visitor Services at (630) 933-7248.

Waterfall Glen Forest Preserve
Self-Guided Orienteering Course
Grades 4 – 12
Free
Explore natural areas while trying to locate checkpoints using maps and compasses to navigate a marked course. To reserve equipment (and get your free permit if your group has more than 25 people) call Visitor Services at (630) 933-7248.

What other educational tools does the District offer?
Education loan boxes are great ways to introduce students to DuPage County’s natural and cultural history. Each contains suggested lessons and activity outlines, books, DVDs, and specimens for students to examine. Boxes are available for up to two weeks through Visitor Services at (630) 933-7248.  

Amphibians and ReptilesMammals
Aquatic LifeOwls
BirdsPeople and Places from Illinois' Past
ELL/ESL Nature DetectivesPollinators
FeathersPrairies
Field Trip Pack for Early Child                               Prehistoric Life
EducatorsSkulls
FossilsTracking
Insects and SpidersWatersheds
Invasive Species    
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