Can you help?– it’s 4th Graders on the Prairie time!

Volunteer opportunities to help youth discover the wonder of nature around them.

Want to help develop future stewards to help nature? Can you share 2 hours to help with this unique experience? You can make a difference and volunteer.

Sign up by 9/2 to help. Contact: 847-381-5760 or [email protected]. See info below.

This program is an award-winning collaboration between Barrington District 220 and Citizens for Conservation. Designed for learning, it uses a focus on structure and function of prairie plants to teach the fundamentals of scientific observation, data collection and analysis – all while having fun!

 4th graders in all eight elementary schools of D220 will participate. The program runs from September 17 to October 2. Students will visit CFC’s Flint Creek Savanna and FPDCC’s Spring Creek Galloping Hill prairies.

Chaperones are provided by the school district, but volunteer leaders are needed for the in-class orientation sessions as well as activities which take place during the prairie visits. CFC volunteers are responsible for activities, while school chaperones are responsible for the students.

CFC makes it easy by offering a training session for all volunteers.  Training will be Tuesday, September 3, at 9:30 a.m. at the CFC farmhouse across Highway 22 from Good Shepherd Hospital.  It is highly recommended, especially for new volunteers.

Multiple activities where you can volunteer and help:

In- orientation sessions class will be provided to each fourth-grade classroom September 4.  Presenters are given a suggested outline for the presentation which is about 30 to 40 minutes in length as well as a flash drive with slides which can be projected on Smart Boards.  The volunteer presenter discusses what a prairie is, why prairies are important, examples of the structure and function of prairie plants, and guidelines for the field study activities.   

Prairie field studies will take place September 17 through October 2.  The three activities during prairie visits (Seed Collecting, Measuring and Drawing, and Discovery Walks) require a two-hour time commitment: either 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. or 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. (or, even better, both sessions)Have a favorite school? You can sign up to help for their visit.

Seed Collecting is a quiet activity in which students and chaperones are given bags and instructed to collect a specific seed in a designated area.  Students remain with their chaperone and listen for the sounds of the prairie while observing their surroundings.  Students learn to differentiate among different prairie plants and are expected to walk gently among the forbs and grasses.

Measuring and Drawing:  Each student is required to choose any plant to draw from several perspectives.  They have hand lenses for the close-up view, colored pencils, and papers they bring from school (they also practice drawing at school before the prairie visit).  Volunteers help identify plants they have chosen.  Each group records heights of three samples of three different plant species.  Chaperones use the carpenter rulers as students record the information on papers they bring from school.  Data collected is shared and compared from year to year.  Structure and function of prairie plants will be highlighted.

Discovery Walks:  Students are encouraged to find and identify forbs and grasses as well as insects, birds, or other wildlife.  Students use all their senses to experience the prairie while staying on established trails.  Students will learn and understand structure and function of prairie plants.

Questions?  847-381-5760 or [email protected]