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National Park Service Develops New Partnerships with some "Old Friends"

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Date: July 9, 2010

When you plan a trip to Chicago this summer to visit some of the museums and parks in and around the city, do not be surprised to see a national park ranger encouraging you to come visit your nearest national park, Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. The National Park Service has developed new partnerships this summer with three Chicago institutions: the Chicago Botanic Garden, The Field Museum of Natural History, and the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum. These partnerships are part of America’s Great Outdoors Initiative which promotes and supports innovative community-level efforts to conserve outdoor spaces and to reconnect Americans to the outdoors. This initiative also seeks to promote partnerships for community-based recreation and conservation. Now through late August a national park ranger will be stationed at these Chicago landmarks to provide information and interpretive programs to visitors and to provide the public with an understanding of the relationship between the Botanic Garden, the Field Museum, the Nature Museum and the National Lakeshore.

Chicago’s Botanic Garden (CBG) encourages visitors to "enjoy, understand, and conserve plants and the natural world." On Tuesdays look for a national park ranger sharing ideas on climate change and the biodiversity of southern Lake Michigan in the Daniel F. and Ada L. Rice Plant Conservation Science Center, interacting with the public on the garden grounds, or encouraging children participating in Camp CBG to earn Junior Ranger patches as they explore nature, play games, achieve hands-on projects, plant or other inquiry based activities. For more information on the Botanic Garden go to www.chicago-botanic.org

The Field Museum of Natural History has many featured exhibits that complement programs and activities offered at the Dunes. Climate Change, one of the museum’s current exhibitions, is timely and offers visitors the opportunity to explore the scientific evidence for climate change, past and present, and its’ far reaching consequences on people, plants, animals, and the habitats in which they live. Mondays you may find a national park ranger encouraging kids to earn a Junior Ranger patch by participating in a scavenger hunt for the state symbols of Illinois in the Nature Walk exhibit or by offering up the climate change solutions that they will try to implement in their daily lives. For more information on the Field Museum go to www.fieldmuseum.org.

As the urban gateway to nature and science, The Chicago Academy of Sciences (CAS) and its Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum embrace the collaboration with the National Park Service to inspire people to get closer to nature and learn more about our urban environment. On Thursday mornings, you can join a National park ranger for a nature walk in the Museum’s Wilderness Walk. Visitors can stroll through three meticulously re-created environments: a prairie, savanna and dune complete with true-to-life lighting, sound and real live and preserved animals. Or you might find the ranger assisting with the Observation Stations in the Museum’s Compost Corral, Rain Barrel Ranch, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Cliff Garden, Elizabeth Plotnick Prairie, Micole Birdwalk, Woodward A. Wickham Butterfly Garden, and the Museum’s largest exhibition – the restored native prairie. For more information about Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum go to www.fieldmuseum.org.

As the urban gateway to nature and science, The Chicago Academy of Sciences (CAS) and its Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum embrace the collaboration with the National Park Service to inspire people to get closer to nature and learn more about our urban environment. On Thursday mornings, you can join a National park ranger for a nature walk in the Museum’s Wilderness Walk. Visitors can stroll through three meticulously re-created environments: a prairie, savanna and dune complete with true-to-life lighting, sound and real live and preserved animals. Or you might find the ranger assisting with the Observation Stations in the Museum’s Compost Corral, Rain Barrel Ranch, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Cliff Garden, Elizabeth Plotnick Prairie, Micole Birdwalk, Woodward A. Wickham Butterfly Garden, and the Museum’s largest exhibition – the restored native prairie. For more information about Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum go to: www.chias.org/

Did You Know?

water color painting of a wetland

Poet Carl Sandburg and Artist Frank Dudley were inspired by the dunes. Today, through the park's Artist-in-Residence program, artists come to the dunes to create and share their work.