Nature Programs

America Recycles Day—It’s Electric!America-Recycles-Day-logo

Sat, Nov 19  | 11am-3pm
Anita Purves Nature Center


Join our FREE recycling celebration!

  • Explore repurposed creations made by local artists and make your own.
  • Play games, meet community recycling representatives, and take home free goodies.
  • Staff from the I.D.E.A. Store will lead a recycled electronics craft.
  • The following items will be accepted for recycling at the event: ink jet cartridges, cell phones and household batteries.

Make your own creation from reused or repurposed materials at home before the event, and enter to win an award in the third annual Creative Reuse Competition:

  1. Purpose: Creations should be useful and serve a purpose.
  2. Materials: All creations should be composed of at least 90% recycled content. Participants must state where/how the materials were obtained.
  3. Size: The creation should be no heavier than 10 pounds and no bigger than 3’L x 3’W x 3’H.
  4. Submission: Creations may be dropped-off at the Anita Purves Nature Center from 3-5pm on Friday, Nov. 18 or from 9am-2pm on Saturday, Nov. 19, 2016. All participants must turn-in a completed Entry Form with their creation (available at drop-off). Judging will take place from 2-2:30pm on Sat, Nov. 19; winners will be announced from 2:30pm.
Small electronics need repair? Gadget_Garage_Logo

The Gadget Garage will be on-hand during the event! Work together with their volunteers to troubleshoot, diagnose, or repair your electronics at this collaborative pop-up. Fill out the Diagnostic Form in advance to secure your troubleshooting session during America Recycles Day: Repairing technology is sustainable and lessens the overall community carbon footprint by keeping tech out of landfills.

East-central Illinois has a natural diversity all its own—from oak savannas to prairie, from woodlands to wetlands. Park district natural areas, facilities and programs provide opportunities for visitors to explore topics ranging from spring wildflowers and nocturnal wildlife to prairie ecosystems, wetland habitat restoration and more.



Preschoolers and their parents discover nature firsthand during environmental programs that include hikes, hands-on learning, stories and crafts. Seasonal programs encourage preschoolers' curiosity in nature, engage their senses, and provide an platform for outdoor investigations. Find more information about preschool nature programs in the Program Guide here.

Spring Break Day Camp and Nature Day Camp in the summer offer kids (preK-5th grade) an in-depth time to explore nature, science and the environment.

A summer leadership program gives teens a fun way to gain new skills while engaging with younger campers. Download a Counselor-In-Training Application here.

Natural history, science and environmental topics are offered each season just for adults. For those interested in organic gardening, community garden plots are available to rent at Meadowbrook Park. The Meadowbrook Organic Garden service offers a place for you to grow your own produce.

All Ages
All Ages programs are open to anyone - individuals and families alike. They offer a variety of ways for you to interact with and increase your knowledge about the natural world. Both free and fee-based programs are offered at the Anita Purves Nature Center and at district natural areas. Find more information about All Age nature programs in the Program Guide here.



School Programs
These environmental education programs, offered both on and off park district property, correlate with state and national learning standards. We focus on preschool through grade 5, but programs can be customized. Browse our current Educational Services Brochure here or contact Heidi Vasel for more information. Each spring, teachers receive an educational services brochure for the next school year. Click for Naturalist in the Classroom Request Form or School Tours Request Form.

Traveling Naturalist Programs and Special Tours
These programs, offered both on and off park district property, are available for local scouts, clubs, churches, community groups, senior centers and more. Audience age may vary from preschoolers to senior citizens. Learn more about these programs in the Nature Connections brochure.

Birthday Parties
Nature Birthday Parties are a fun alternative to traditional parties and often include a visit from one of the Anita Purves Nature Center’s education animals.

Nature Discovery Packs
Borrow a Nature Discovery Pack and take it along with you when you explore local parks and natural areas. These packs include suggested hiking activities and related equipment such as magnifiers, binoculars and field guides. Specific packs about astronomy, birds, ponds, Busey Woods and Meadowbrook Prairie are available. Call 217-384-4062 for more information.


Wild about parks quest

Wild About Parks Quest Letterboxing on Siesta
The Wild About Parks Quest letterbox activity is on hold. Park district projects will require some letterboxes to be unavailable for a period of time. Staff will be reviewing clues and adjusting box locations. Check back here for a new and improved quest experience in 2016.

Letterboxing is a fun, free way to spend time outside with friends and family. Each hidden letterbox contains a specific stamp you use to record your “find” in your personal Quest Clue Book.
Call 217-384-4062 to inquire about the status of boxes.