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Ford Mighty Acorns Year-End Celebration

Photo: Laura Milkert

Thanks to a generous contribution from the Ford Motor Company Fund & Community Services, on May 13th, 2011, ECCo's Mighty Acorns students took part in a year-end celebration.  Over 270 students, their teachers, and a handful of parent chaperones explored conservation activity stations led by local environmental experts, enjoyed a special musical performance, and participated in land stewardship activities.  The event took place at the William Powers Conservation Area - a state park managed by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (INDR) located on Chicago's southeast side.

In addition to The Field Museum's Division of Environment, Culture, & Conservation (ECCo) and the IDNR, local conservation partners such as the Forest Preserve District of Cook County, Save the Dunes, the National Park Service, and Chicago State University provided hands-on activities for the participants.  Students investigated the plant and animal life in the park, got a close-up look at a red-tailed hawk,  had a chance to try out fishing and archery, and learned how to navigate using hand-held GPS units.  After a lunch-time break, while listening to a duo of performers from Chicago's own Dreamtree Shakers, students boarded buses and headed out to their stewardship locations.  Students cut invasive woody brush and pulled garlic mustard at various nearby sites to help restore the natural communities within their community.  Sites where students completed work included: Eggers and Beaubien Woods Forest Preserves, Hegewisch Marsh, Sand Ridge Nature Center, and Green Lake Savanna.

Teachers were also presented with framed certificates at the event to recognize them for their commitment to the Mighty Acorns Program.  It is because of committed teachers like these that school children are developing a lasting connection to the environment and hundreds of acres are being restored.  The long-term benefit to both the children and the earth is the spirit of the Mighty Acorns program.

Middle Photo: Laura Milkert

Bottom Photo: ©2011 The Field Museum, GN91508_034d, Photographer Karen Bean