Environmental Education

Take your next field trip at Spring Valley! 

Spring Valley offers numerous school field trip opportunities. Program themes change seasonally and all include outdoor activities and inspire curiosity and teach about the natural world.

Group programs offered at Spring Valley have student resources and teacher resources available online. These resources are great for learning more about topics taught in group programs.

​Group program scholarship funding is available through the Spring Valley Nature Club. View the application here.

For more information, call 847-985-2100.

Program Survey

Take the program survey.


  • Conservation in Action - Help with conservation efforts! Some time will be devoted to an explanation of the importance of the particular activity and the rest will be on the activity itself! Projects might include collecting seeds, planting wildflowers or trees, clearing brush or wood chipping.
  • Ecosystems - Become familiar with local Illinois ecosystems, and discover how species diversity is the key to a healthy ecosystem through exploration and data collection in the tallgrass prairie, woodland and wetland ecosystems Spring Valley supports.
  • Fall Ecology - Fall is a time of great activity in the natural world as plants and animals prepare for winter. We will search for seasonal changes in the prairie, under logs, in holes and just about everywhere. We’ll also explore connections between plants and animals.
  • Green Thumbs - Gardening is fun! Join us in our Learning Garden and Greenhouse to discover what plants need to grow. Then plant, transplant, water, weed and harvest our vegetables and flowers. Activities follow the seasonal growing calendar.
  • Night Hike - Experience nature without the benefit of sight and use the rest of your senses on a walk at night.
  • Spring Ecology - Spring is a season of lush growth, migrating birds, emerging insects, flowering plants, and competition for nesting territory. We will search for early signs of spring in March or April, and explore the diversity of new life later in the season.
  • Spring Sing- Become an expert birder! Learn to recognize the chickadee, red-winged blackbird, robin, goose and mallard duck by sight and sound through an interactive story. Then hit the trails hiking in search of our singing feathered friends.
  • Sugar Bush - When nighttime temperatures are below freezing and daytime temperatures are above, the sap begins to flow and maples are ready to be tapped! Celebrate spring with a tapping demonstration, boildown and a taste test.
  • Wetlands - Marshes, streams, rivers, lakes and ponds provide homes for wildlife and purify our drinking water. Investigate the full aquatic food web through the discovery of aquatic life. Activities center around the diversity of animal and plant life within a wetland and how wetlands are formed and changed.
  • Winter Ecology - Winter is a challenging time for plants and animals. Students focus on the adaptations they use to survive and look for evidence that they're still active around Spring Valley. Participants view birds at the birdfeeders and if there's snow, may go snowshoeing.