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Greatest summer classroom is outdoors

Created: 5/8/2018      Updated: 5/8/2018

The arrival of warm temperatures and more hours of daylight has quickly turned our thoughts to summer and to spending more time outdoors. My first inclination is to walk outdoors and watch for nature in unsuspecting places, including just steps outside the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum’s front door here in Lincoln Park.

The opening of blooms and buds changes the feeling of walking around North Pond Nature Sanctuary, which I can see from my office window. Turtles sunning on a log, song birds calling on their migration back from the south, nesting birds along the shore, and busy squirrels remind us of the abundance of wildlife here in Chicago’s biggest park.  

These experiences are far from mundane. In fact, they are quite profound to our health and to our children. We know from studies that a child’s early experiences in nature, including in city parks, will positively influence their interest in and care for nature and the Earth.

A fun, safe way for children to connect with nature in Chicago is through one of the Nature Museum’s many summer camps. I equate participating in our summer camp experiences with kicking open the backdoor and going out to play.

Our camp kids explore nature in many ways throughout Lincoln Park, which is one of the largest parks in the country and a city gem. I invite you to find out more about the wonderful options for getting your children engaged in nature through summer camp fun at

I’d love to hear from you about your favorite place to enjoy or discover urban nature. I’ll collect a list and share it with readers in a few weeks.

Deborah Lahey, CEO & President

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