URBANA, Ill. – Nature is a place for children to explore, learn and grow and the new virtual Wee Naturalists program allows for just that.

University of Illinois Extension is once again offering nature-loving children, families and educators the opportunity to explore a different nature theme monthly starting in November until May 2021 through provided lessons and videos.

The Wee Naturalists program began in 2019 in Northern Illinois led by Peggy Doty, Extension Energy and Environmental Stewardship Educator. Now, the course is being offered virtually to families with children ages 4 to 7 and pre-K to 2nd grade educators around the state and beyond.

“Learning through nature-related stories, a lesson and even virtual hikes will give children a view of nature they don’t always see or hear,” Doty says. “The lessons introduce science vocabulary, build knowledge, and help children understand relationships in our ecosystems.”

The monthly program starts November 7 and continues through May 2021. November’s topic is “What is a Habitat?” and will use a story about a boy who finds a salamander to help children understand what all living things need to live well.

Register online at go.illinois.edu/WeeNaturalist for one or all of the sessions. The cost to participate is $5 for a household or classroom per month. The pre-recorded hour-long program will be available the first Saturday of the month and can be accessed and viewed any time after.

Other monthly topics are: December 5 Animal Tracks, Animals and People in Winter, January 9; Dirt is Misplaced Soil, February 6; Spring has Sprung, March 6; Earth Gifts, April 3; and Roots Slurp, May 1.

For more information, please email Program Coordinator Judy Hodge at hodg@illinois.edu or call the Natural Resource Education Center at (815) 784-2000.

University of Illinois Extension provides equal opportunities in programs and employment. If you need a reasonable accommodation to participate in this program, please contact Judy Hodge at hodg@illinois.edu. Early requests are strongly encouraged to allow sufficient time for meeting your access needs.

SOURCE: Peggy Doty, Energy and Environmental Stewardship Educator, University of Illinois Extension
WRITEREmily Steele, Media Communications Coordinator, Illinois Extension

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