Loan Boxes


To check availability and to reserve any kits listed below please call 217-384-4062.


Anita Purves Nature Center Loan Boxes

Loan boxes may be reserved in advance and borrowed for up to two weeks. Each box contains a comprehensive, standards-based activity guide and accompanying materials. A $12 fee plus a refundable credit card deposit of $15 is required.

Animal Puppets: Use these puppets with the books, pictures, and additional materials to teach about animal groups, habitats, life cycles and more. (K-3rd)

Astronomy: A mini planetarium and constellation cards brings the solar system to your classroom, (3rd-12th)

Birds: Students’ interests will soar as they explore the lives of birds using these kits full of hands-on activities including migration games. (K--5th)

Bird Nests (mini box): Discover how birds build nests and learn what birds need to successfully raise their brood. (K-8th)

Dinosaur Box: Go back in history, way back and explore a time when dinosaurs roamed the earth. (K-3rd)

Endangered Species: See items made from parts of endangered species that were confiscated by US Customs and given to educational institutions. Learn about the reasons that species become threatened and endangered and how you can help. (K-8th)

Feathers (mini box): Feathers are for more than f light. Explore their other roles in a bird’s life with pictures, games and activities. (K-8th)

Habitats: Explore a variety of ecosystems and what it takes to survive and thrive in them. (K-5th)

Insects: Explore the fascinating world of insects and their relatives with the activities in this kit.  (K-6th)

Plants & Seeds: Where would we be without plants? How do they grow? How are they used? Learn the answers using the collections and activities in this kit. (K-5th)

Ponds and Wetlands: This kit includes dip nets, see-boxes, basters and other supplies for a real dip and drip experience! (1st-8th)

Prairie Discovery: Contains equipment, an activity guide, field guides and games to explore the restored prairie at Meadowbrook Park in Urbana. (3rd-5th)

Rainforest: Learn about this rapidly disappearing ecosystem using a kit supported with materials from the World Wildlife Fund and National Wildlife Federation. (2nd-6th)

Reptiles and Amphibians: Bring a live turtle to your classroom! Supplemental activities include care and feeding instructions and reptile and amphibian activities. Two kits are available. (K-5th)

Rocks and Minerals: Investigate the world of rocks and minerals with an activity guide, rock and mineral samples, books, pictures, and basic mineral testing equipment. (K-5th)

Skulls: Great to combine with IDNR Mammals kit, Includes skulls samples from a variety of species. (K-6th)

Squirmy Science: Perfect for lessons about recycling, composting, gardening, soil and invertebrates. This box comes complete with a working worm bin for hands-on investigation. (K-5th)

Tracks: Improve your footprint f finesse with guides, rubs and rubber tracks ideal for stamping. (1st-5th)

Trees and Forests: Learn how important trees are using the activity guide and natural items in this kit. (K-6th)

Wildflowers (mini Box): More than pretty to look at! Discover what is so special about wildflowers from attracting pollinators to being part of the food chain to seed dispersal. (K-5th)

Woodlands: Hands-on activities help students explore woodland habitats in every season. (6th-10th)


Discovery Packs

Borrow a Nature Discovery Pack and take it with you when you explore local parks and natural Areas. These packs include magnifiers, binoculars, field guides and more to help you identify what you encounter. These packs are free with a refundable deposit of $15.

  • Astronomy
  • Birds
  • Busey Woods
  • Ponds
  • Meadowbrook Prairie
  • Carle Park


Illinois Department of Natural Resources Trunks

Borrow an Illinois Department of Natural resources Trunk free with a $15 refundable deposit.

Birds- This trunk is filled with field guides, books, track and egg replicas, CD-ROMs, videos, DVDs, CDs with bird songs and calls and even bird replicas that sing! Suggested grades: 3 - 8. 

Fossils- Borrow an Illinois Fossils trunk to help your students explore Illinois’ natural heritage of the past. Each trunk contains fossil molds, a fossil hunt kit, a video, a fossil reference collection, field guides, posters and more. Suggested grades: 3 - 8.

Illinois past-Prehistoric mammals, extirpated mammals and Native Americans and their relationship with nature are all topics you can teach about by using the items in the People and Animals from Illinois' Past resources trunk. Suggested Grades: K - 6.

Illinois State Symbols-Are you teaching about Illinois? Then the Illinois State Symbols resources trunk is perfect for you! Photos, replicas, actual samples, activity books, information and other items are included for your use. There's an Illinois Facts section, too. Suggested Grades: K - 8.

Illinois Wetlands-Borrow an Illinois Wetlands resources trunk to supplement lessons about these incredibly diverse habitats in our state. Developed by the IDNR’s Illinois State Museum and Dickson Mounds Museum, these supplemental units are available for loan to educators. Each trunk is filled with field guides, videos, lessons, hands-on activities and other items. Suggested grades: 6-12.

Insects & Spiders-Insects and spiders fascinate students. Encourage them to learn more about these organisms by using the resources in this trunk. Books, CD-ROMs, student activities, field guides, posters, insect/spider observation equipment and a video are just some of the items included. Suggested Grades: PreK-8.

Invasive Species-Invasive species cause tremendous ecological problems. With the Illinois Invasive Species resources trunk, you and your students can learn about why they are detrimental, how they arrived in Illinois and what actions can be taken to control them. Field guides, books, lessons, DVDs, specimens, replicas and other items are included. Suggested Grades: 7-12.

Mammals- Are you teaching about mammals? Borrow an Illinois Wild Mammals resources trunk to supplement your lessons. Each trunk is filled with field guides, CD-ROMs, a DVD, fur samples, skulls, track and scat replicas, lessons, activity sheets, posters and other items. Suggested grades: K - 8.

Field trip Backpack-The Field Trip Pack includes many items to assist your early childhood students as they explore nature. Hands-on equipment will encourage self-initiated learning. Suggestions for teachers on how to incorporate natural-resources activities into your lessons are also included. Suggested grades: PreK - 3. 


For more information and pictures please follow the page below.