The Conservation Foundation’s education programs allow children to experience nature up close. By providing opportunities to explore natural habitats, children will be able to connect to the plants and animals that live in our area. Our hope is that these early experiences with nature will inspire them to become supporters and stewards of the environment as they grow into adults and become parents themselves.
Our team of trained educators will work with you to deliver engaging, hands-on environmental education programming to your child or group. We work with schools, scouts, summer camps, and many other youth-focused groups to provide kids with a positive outdoor experience and foster their sense of wonder that can keep them engaged with life and their surroundings as they grow. Our school programs are aligned with Next Generation State Standards, and other programs can be adapted and designed to meet your needs.
Our dedicated, trained naturalists will guide your group on a nature adventure exploring McDonald Farm’s wetlands, prairies, organic farm fields, native gardens, renewable energy demonstrations and more to help provide the science and social enrichment that may be reduced in today’s adapted learning models.
Schedule a time to grow and discover in the safest place of all, the Great Outdoors!
Our 60-acre McDonald Farm in Naperville is the perfect campus for a tremendous variety of impactful scouting experiences, boasting a variety of ecosystems and plenty of room to spread out for activities. Scouts can earn badges, belt loops, and more at our unique facility! Programs last approximately 60-90 minutes.
"Mighty Acorns® is like a field trip that comes right to our classroom door three times a year, and I think it’s actually more impactful and relatable for my students since it is happening right in their community. When I ask my students each May what their favorite part of the school year was, it’s Mighty Acorns®, hands down, every time.”
Mighty Acorns® is a stewardship-based environmental education curriculum for 3-5th graders that incorporates classroom curriculum, hands-on restoration and exploration activities, and is tied to Next Generation Science Standards, STEM and Common Core. Our experienced naturalists provide classroom and outdoor activities during the fall, winter, and spring seasons.
Summer Camp registration is now open! We offer unique, small group camp experiences at our McDonald Farm in Naperville.
After school club nature
We welcome elementary age children to our after school nature club! Each week, they will immerse themselves in our McDonald Farm in Naperville, gardens, and native ecosystems and explore a unique theme while enjoying the health benefits of nature and fresh food from the garden! Programs are fully outdoors. Space is limited and scholarships are available for those in need.
Family Adventures at McDonald Farm are a perfect way to get in some quality time with the people you love most, experience the change of seasons and refresh your minds and bodies in the safest place of all – the great outdoors!
The Paul D. Pierotti Memorial Scholarship scholarship is designed for students from DuPage, Kane, Kendall, or Will Counties pursuing college majors and careers in the environmental fields.
Paul D. Pierotti Memorial Scholarship
This scholarship fund was established in 2006 by the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County President D. “Dewey Pierotti, Jr. and his wife, Leslie, in memory of their late son Paul. “He had a great love of the outdoors… This scholarship will enable deserving students with similar interests to pursue an education related to nature.”
Youth Education Scholarships
At The Conservation Foundation, we want everyone to have access to our programs regardless of their ability to pay the full fee. If you would like to be considered for a scholarship, please fill out our form, attesting to your need and how much you are able to pay.
Our experienced educators can provide Project Learning Tree workshops for K-12 teachers that provide a hands-on approach to learning. Project Learning Tree provides “the tools educators need to bring the environment into their classrooms and their students into the environment.”
Children’s Outdoor Bill of Rights
Every child should have the opportunity to:
To learn more about Chicago Wilderness and Leave No Child Inside initiative go to www.kidsoutside.info